As part of setting up your online, remote, or work-from-home business, one of the things you’ll need to consider is your business address. This threw me for a bit of a loop – but when the dust had settled, I realised that what I really needed (almost a year ago now) was a business mailing address service.
For you, it might be because you’re considering growing your business with email marketing, or just that you wish to protect your privacy while increasing your SEO rank by creating a local or national presence. It even may be that you wish to have a corporate structure that limits your personal liability (limited company or LC in the US, Limited or LTD in the UK) but you’re not keen on having your home address out of the public domain.
Why would you need a business address?
There are many reasons why people might consider having a business address that is separate to their person address, they could include:
- Having a lease, mortgage, or other restriction on your property that prohibits having a business registered at that address (like renting… most landlords are not a fan!)
- Planning a house move
- Preferring to keep your personal address off the internet (after all, you can never be too careful!)
Why do I need a business address anyway?
If you are intending to use the power of email marketing, it is required by US anti-spam law (CAN-SPAM) that your email includes a real physical address for your business. I would be shocked if you could find a legitimate email autoresponder that will allow you to set up an email campaign without a physical address at the end of every email. I know my choice (a little known but very powerful intelligent business automation suite called Arkflux – combining CRM, email autoresponder, tasks, surveys and all sorts of other goodies into one platform), had my address already setup for me when I FIRST logged in!
The requirement for a business address on email marketing was the straw that broken the camels back for me – it was one of the last “technical” areas that I needed to setup for FleeCorporate. But the requirement to do so brought me back to a core dilemma of my home-based / digital nomad lifestyle business setup – and that was the challenge of business structure.
Why is business structure important and what effect does it have on business address?
Now, I’ve only researched the nuance of business structure in the UK as it was relevant to setting up my business, so if you’re located in another region I would recommend that you check out your local government resources for assistance with this. In the UK, for more details and a handy guide as to business structure you can find loads of information here: https://www.gov.uk/set-up-business.
Other useful resources for setting up your business in the UK include https://startups.co.uk/choosing-the-right-business-structure/, the Prince’s Trust: https://www.princes-trust.org.uk/help-for-young-people/support-starting-business and please don’t forget your accountant, they are a wealth of information and can help you with your decision making (and might even allow you to register your business at their address!)
In a nutshell (and this is not to be considered advice or a substitute for doing your own research and deciding which structure works best for you), the differences between sole traders, limited companies and Partnerships.
Common UK Business Structures
Sole Traders: Personally responsible for your businesses debts. All profits are taxed as personal income. A Self Assessment tax return will need to be filed every year, you will have some accounting responsibilities.
Limited Companies: The companies finances are separate from your own finances (unlike a sole trader). There are additional reporting and management responsibilities that must be undertaken.
Partnership: Simplest way for 2 or more people to run a business together while sharing responsibility for the businesses debts. There will be accounting responsibilities.
Limited Liability Partnerships: There are multiple partners, but at least two of them have to be registered with companies house with a responsibility for the annual accounts. Like a limited company the partnership provides protection to its members assets.
In reality – if you’re sending emails out, people need a physical address where they can write you a paper letter – that’s just the way it is, regardless of company structure. If your business is registered with Companies House here in the UK (you’re a Limited Company or Limited Liability Partnership), the registered address is shown on Companies House (as is the address of the company directors), for anyone to search. Which made me uncomfortable to start with, and also really doesn’t work for the Digital Nomad Existence that I originally planned for my business.
So, what to do?
I chose a business address service! After a lot of research, I found a company called Registered Address which has mailing addresses in England, Scotland and Wales. They offered multiple addresses to choose from, a discount on the first year, and they registered my business for me.
I’ll admit – the first year discount did make me a bit concerned that there would be a significant increase on the second year cost, which is why I haven’t written this until now (my invoice for the second year payment arrived a few weeks ago – with a direct debit option to reduce the ongoing cost!).
If you decide to use them, there is an additional discount for you (and for me), if you enter my affiliate code of 360415 when you check out, it’s that simple!
Things to be aware of…
When I was considering a registered address service there were a few things that surprised me, so to help you make an informed decision, here they are:
You’ll pay for each address service that you use. Makes sense, but for a limited company with one director and email marketing – you have 3 different address usages!
- The Registered Address of the Company
- The Registered Address of the Director (one for each director)
- The Business Address of the Company (this is the one for email marketing and appearing on your website)
They’ll charge you for extras… after all, they’re in business too, and while they are very competitive on price for the basic service, they do have to make their money somewhere.
Letters that are sent related to Companies House and the Director responsibilities are forwarded on to your personal address (they you have advised Registered Address of – please note, they only allow one personal address change per year) for free; but any letters arriving at the Business Address (for example, Christmas cards, invoices, etc) cost you prepaid credits to have forwarded on. You can also opt to have correspondence scanned and emailed before forwarding – for an additional fee for each address type.
One final note – if like me you’ve decided to work from a co-working space, or to rent a desk in an innovation community (I’ve gone for the rent a desk option as a short term solution to being unable to travel), sometimes the use of their address is included within the contract fee that you’re already paying… it is in mine – although as I’m intending on moving in the near future, changing it doesn’t make sense at this point!
Will you be getting a Business Mailing Address Service?
So, now what are your thoughts? Are you going to use your address? Your accountant’s address? Get some physical office space? Or does a business mailing address service make sense for you?