When you’re starting a business, especially an LLC or corporation, you might find that a business address is required for some of the steps to get started and do business. If you operate out of your home, though, you might ask yourself, Do I need a business address? After all, you already have your home address that you can use to register for permits, establish a business bank account, and more.
The answer is both straightforward and not. We’ll go through the answer to whether or not you need a business address, as well as review the different types of business addresses you can get and how to obtain them.
What Is a Business Address?
A business address is a separate address you’d use for your business operations. Many businesses have this, of course, if they run physical stores or offices. But as more people run their businesses out of their homes—especially if they’re a one-person operation—obtaining a business address isn’t so easy.
A business address doesn’t actually have to be a physical address (more on this in a moment), but it’s an address that’s recognized by the post office, and somewhere people can reach you or send things.
What a Business Address Is Used For
Business addresses have several different uses, both as you’re establishing your company, cultivating relationships with clients and vendors, and continuing to do business going forward. Here are some situations in which you might find a business address will come in handy.
Registering Important Business Documents and Services
You’ll find that you need a business address to sign up for essential business permits and other elements to conduct business. These might include:
- Registering for business licenses and permits
- Registering your business entity, such as an LLC
- Opening a business bank account
- Signing up for merchant services
- Signing up for business insurance
- Providing vendors with a place to reach you and send invoices
- Registering for a website
- Listing your business on sites including Yelp, Google My Business, and more
Of course, you can use your home address for all of the above, if you’re comfortable with that. If you don’t want this personal information on various platforms, though, you will want a separate business address.
Meeting With Clients
If you plan to conduct business face to face, you might not want to do it at your home—or even a coffee shop nearby. For more important meetings, a business address can come in handy, as well as give your business a more professional quality.
Plenty of professionals are often on the go, whether that’s because they’re digital nomads that work on projects from multiple remote locations, or because they provide traveling services like caregiving or consulting. If this is the case for you, a business address might benefit you since you can aggregate all of your business mail in one place.
Why a Business Address Is Important
Do you need a business address for your LLC or other type of company? In short, no—it’s not required. But there are many reasons why you might want one, including:
Considerations for Safety and Privacy
If your business address is a home address, you’ll want to take your privacy into consideration. Although it’s not hard to find someone’s personal address online these days, offering your home address for business operations means you’re putting out information about where you live very publicly. That’s not a problem for some people—but if you’d prefer that your clients don’t know where you live, or you don’t want your home address to show up on your business’s Yelp page, you might want to consider getting a separate business address.
Professionalism and Client-Facing Image
Having a business address can cultivate a more professional image for clients that are considering doing business with you. It’s generally pretty clear if you’re using a home address for your business—it’s easily seen on something like Google Street View for instance. That’s not necessarily bad, but if you want to project a certain image to clients with whom you’re working, a business-dedicated address can help you reach this goal.
How to Get a Business Address
If you’ve decided that it’s time to get a business address, you have several options to explore. Let’s review some of the primary options.
Immensely popular among solopreneurs and small companies, coworking spaces can provide lots to entrepreneurs. Among these perks, of course, is a business address where you can send mail and register the things you need to do business. And coworking spaces provide an actual space to work without renting an entire office, which is helpful for many businesses. You’ll also find that you are able to entertain clients at coworking spaces.
Because you’re paying for more than a business address if you go with a coworking space, the fees for this may be a bit higher. You can choose something like a “hot desk,” which enables you to work at a desk within the space, one which might move around depending on who else is using the space. Other arrangements enable you to have a dedicated office or desk where you can settle in a bit more permanently. Fees for this will range from about $150 to upward of $500, with coworking spaces in and around major cities commanding a premium.
Another option for a business address is a PO Box with your local post office. You can give out the PO Box address to clients and get your mail there, and can also use this address for other matters, such as on invoices, etc. You can get an extra-small PO Box if you don’t anticipate having a ton of mail, which will cost less than a larger, premium PO Box. Fees for these will begin around $20 per month.
Alternately, you can also obtain a PO Box from a package store, such as UPS, which will provide the same service as one in a U.S. Post Office. Similarly, this arrangement will begin at $20 per month or so for a small box, with the busiest locations charging a bit more.
Virtual Business Addresses
A newer approach to business addresses for those who work at home is what’s called a virtual business address. With this, you’re provided a street address at which you can receive packages and mail, and then can get your mail forwarded to your home. There are also technological advantages to a virtual business address; for instance, they’ll scan your mail for you so you know what’s waiting, and you can let them know if you’d like it forwarded or not.
These “virtual” centers do have actual physical locations, which are generally managed by professional courier services. Prices for virtual business address services can be in the ballpark of $10 per month, or sometimes lower depending on your location.
Can You Use a Home Address as a Business Address?
As we’ve touched on, you can use a home address as a business address. There’s nothing you can’t do—register permits, join business associations, etc.—with a home address as your business address.
There are some advantages to keeping your home address as your business address, such as the fact that it’s free, and you can get all of your mail—business-related or otherwise—in one place.
Establishing a Business Address in a Different State
Some companies—often large corporations—choose to establish their business address in a different state. There are several reasons why businesses may choose to do this, but chief among them is to take advantage of the tax advantages and codes unique to certain states and municipalities.
For instance, Delaware is a common place for companies to set up their business address because they offer significantly reduced tax rates for both corporations and LLCs. You may be able to work with a registered agent in the state you’d like to get a business address in, but make certain that you check local laws about registration before you proceed. You’ll also want to check with your accountant about tax implications.
The Bottom Line
The answer to whether or not you need a business is no. You can do business perfectly well without one, and even grow your company from the comfort of your home. But, as we’ve reviewed, there are a few advantages to having a business address, including privacy and professionalism.
Remember that you don’t have to make a decision about a business address right away. If you’d like to begin at home, you can always change your address to a business address—the same way you would if you had a store that moved locations. But, if you’re ready to get a separate business address, there are several options for you at different price points, and you can start enjoying the benefits of a business address as soon as you sign up.
Sally Lauckner is the editor-in-chief of the Fundera Ledger and the editorial director at Fundera.
Sally has over a decade of experience in print and online journalism. Previously she was the senior editor at SmartAsset—a Y Combinator-backed fintech startup that provides personal finance advice. There she edited articles and data reports on topics including taxes, mortgages, banking, credit cards, investing, insurance, and retirement planning. She has also held various editorial roles at AOL.com, Huffington Post, and Glamour magazine. Her work has also appeared in Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, and Cosmopolitan magazines.