Many virtual office providers are not. This means they will probably take any clients on, including the less savoury ones! This means when trouble occurs through illegal activities and bad debts, the ripples can wash over the other business using the same address.
Companies registered with the HMRC for money laundering will ask for more information from you, but be assured it’s in your best interests.
Some virtual providers are themselves virtual. Ask if you can go and visit them to make sure they are OK. Remember the reputation of your business may be at stake here.
Make sure your supplier offers either monthly or annual options to suit your budget. Most business prefer BACs, Standing Orders or Direct Debits. However only Direct Debit gives you the assurance that your supplier has been checked out by the banks and will honour the Direct Debit Guarentee Scheme.
Many virtual office provider will provide other services such as telephone answering, secretarial work or access to meeting space or hot-desking.
A good virtual business address can be a great stepping stone as you get your business growing, so keeping an easy in/out contract can be useful if you're planning on taking on premises soon. Try and get a short notice period -no more than 3 months.
Some providers can do it instantly online. Those registered with HMRC will take around 3-4 days to get the right information from you before they can approve you as a client.
To some businesses it can be fantastic, to others an expensive overhead. However, many of us prefer speaking to a person rather than leaving a message on an answering machine. Check the call costs and how long the contract is so you're not tied in to a deal which isn't working for you.
Absolutely, and what a great way to build a regional or even national presence for a fraction of the cost. This is a great way of testing a new area for your business without the high risk.
The internet is brilliant for getting information and finding the best deal. Get a couple of quotes before you commit and try to speak to a real person. After all they are going to supply your new business address for you –
Alan Woolley – Director – Space4Work.
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