Space4Work offer virtual office space at Nottingham, Mansfield and Loscoe.
A Virtual Office is a fantastic way of giving your business a better profile and appearance to your customers and suppliers, without the massive overhead cost and commitment of a property lease.
However there are a number of factors you should consider when searching for a virtual office provider....
Are they registered with the HMRC as a Virtual Office Provider?
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.
Top Tip - Don’t forget to ask for their registration number ?
Are they a real business themselves or virtual?
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.
Top Tip – Its good practice to check out your virtual office supplier on Companies house and ask for references from existing customers.
How do they want paying?
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.
Top Tip - Be careful if a suppliers asks you to pay in cash –you may not be covered by the HMRC money laundering guidelines.
What other services do they offer?
Many virtual office provider will provide other services such as telephone answering, secretarial work or access to meeting space or hot-desking.
Top Tip - Make sure you get an idea of the individual costs and how long the contract is before committing to any add on services.
How Long is the contract for ?
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.
Top Tip - You know your business better than anyone. Make sure the length of your contract is suitable for your short and medium term business plans
· How quickly can I get my new virtual address ?
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.
Top Tip – Try and plan your virtual office purchase in plenty of time. Providers are suspicious of clients who need an address “yesterday ”
Is telephone Answering a good idea ?
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.
Top Tip - Test the service before you commit to make sure your customers get the right impression of your business. Ask to ring a clients number.
· Can companies have more than one virtual address ?
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.
Top Tip – Why not combine your virtual office with a local telephone number and you'll look like you're a local company to your potential clients.
Our Last Top Tips…
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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