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3 Reasons Why a PO Box is a Horrible Business Address

mailbox with red tab upFor many online businesses and home-based businesses, a PO Box is the easiest option for a business address. You can get one that’s close by and at a very low cost. It’s also a much better choice than using a home address, which doesn’t give you any privacy and may get you into trouble with city ordinances or a landlord. But, just because the PO Box is an easy and available option doesn’t mean it’s the best option for a business address. Here are three reasons why PO Boxes make horrible business addresses, and what you ought to use instead.

It Doesn’t Look Legitimate

PO Boxes are often used by scammers and fraudsters as a way to set up their schemes without having to release any personal information that could link crimes back to them. Although you may be running a legitimate enterprise, the fact that PO Boxes have been previously used for sinister purposes may make potential customers weary about your intentions. PO Boxes are simply harder to trace back to actual people, and if a potential customer wanted to do research on your business before paying for products and services, then a PO Box makes that more difficult. You don’t have to be so transparent that you give away a home address, but a PO Box isn’t considered a transparent or open business address where it’s easy to tell if you are who you say you are.

You Can’t Meet Any Clients or Customers at Your “Address”

With a PO Box, it’s difficult to meet any clients or potential customers at your “office.” You either have to arrange for a lunch or coffee meeting (which costs money), or you have to do the meeting at your home (which isn’t very professional or representative of a reliable, successful business). If someone asks to see your office space, or to meet you at your address, then what are you going to tell them when you only have a PO Box? A PO Box as a business address doesn’t show that you are a serious business or that you are open to meeting with clients and customers in a professional, productive location.

A PO Box Doesn’t Work for Google Places

If you want to have your business listed on Google Places, then a PO Box won’t work. Google doesn’t consider it an accurate physical location, and won’t list your business as a result. Part of Google’s requirements is that the business needs to be staffed during its hours of operations, and it’s very difficult to staff a PO Box. This policy especially hurts local businesses, so if you want to be known for your products/services in your area, then don’t use a PO Box. You can’t use it as an address online, which is how people will find out about you and learn about what you have to offer.

Virtual Office Mailing Addresses are the Best

Virtual office mailing addresses are a much better option than both PO boxes and your home address. They afford you privacy like a PO Box, but they are also more professional than either option. Virtual office mailing addresses also offer a variety of services that the others don’t, such as a receptionist to sign for deliveries, access to meeting spaces and business services, and a directory lobby listing. These addresses are also similar in cost to the PO box, while having a lot more flexibility and professionalism. Overall, virtual office addresses are the best business addresses out there if you have a home-based business, an online business, or if you’re a freelancer or sole proprietor.

Related Links:

A PO Box is a Horrible Business Address

Getting a Business Address for an Online Business

The Importance of a Physical, Business Address

Why a Professional Business Address is a Good Idea

mailbox with red tab up

When starting a business or running one on your own, one of the last things you’re thinking about is professional business address. After all, money is tight, and if you don’t have to pay for an address or an office, why should you? Fortunately, getting a professional business address is not only inexpensive but it’s better for you and your business in the long run. Here’s why such an address is a good idea:

Getting Found on Search Engines

It’s tough to find a P.O. box on Google Maps or Google Local, and you certainly don’t want anyone using those tools to find your home address. A business address is a must for just about any startup or company that wants to be taken seriously and considered legitimate. It is especially important if you plan, or already do, have clients and customers coming to your business or that you’re meeting on a regular business. However, a business address makes it easier for your to build your online presence, and to get found online. Search engines don’t count the P.O. box as a physical address.

It’s Necessary for Licensing

Depending on your state or city laws, you may need licensing in order to run your business. To acquire and to renew these licenses, you need a physical address. A P.O. box won’t count, and depending on your state or city laws, a residential address may not count either. Even if you plan to be a home-based business, and have your home setup to be legal to run the business (like have enough room for everything, fit within zoning requirements), a professional business address may be the only thing that counts.

Access to Additional Business Services if Necessary

When starting out, or worrying about the core business, it’s sometimes hard to foresee future needs or even to prepare for current needs. One of the nice things about getting a business address, especially with a virtual office company, is that additional business services are provided at no additional cost, or on an as-needed basis. These services can include conference rooms, mail reception and forwarding, printing, faxing, copying, and even a live receptionist. It’s certainly a lot better than having to take care of all that itself, and it’s nice to know that those services are there as you grow.

P.O. Boxes Don’t Allow for Packages

Okay, you might not get a whole lot of packages. But, what if you make a business purchase online? Or, what if a customer wants to return something? Or, better yet, send you a small holiday gift? If any of those things happen, you can’t have them sent to your P.O. box. Meaning, you’ll have to divulge your home address, even though that was the point of the P.O. box in the first place. Knowing that a professional business address can handle packages, and will still prevent you from having to share your home address to people you’ve never met, is a good thing.

 It Simply Looks Better

Admit it, saying that your company is located in “Suite 800”, or on the “10th Floor” sounds fantastic. It sounds real, successful, serious, accomplishing; all attributes that you want to associate with your business and that you want others to associate with your business. That just doesn’t happen with your P.O box, or if you have to say an apartment number or a mailbox number. It really only happens with a professional business address. And, appearances count when it comes to building your brand and your business. Don’t take a chance with a P.O box, or making it clear your working from home, as both make you look like your small-time or just a hobby. Move up with a professional business address.

The Importance of a Physical, Professional Business Address

mail address
Dump the home mail address for a professional business address in a virtual office!

If you’re a really small company, or even just a solopreneur or freelance, a virtual office can come in handy by simply providing a professional business address. A P.O Box simply does not look all that approachable or professional to customers. Using a home address as a business address can be tricky for many reasons, so getting a physical business address through a virtual office is a cost-friendly solution.

Even though you may be able to get the benefits of the virtual office through a virtual office solution or package, if you’re self-employed or a company of a few people, you might just want the professional business address. This way, you don’t have to worry about zoning issues, or lease agreements, or giving away a home address to perfect strangers. You’ll also have a work-friendly environment available to you in case you’d like to get out of the house or you’d like to meet clients outside of your home or in a coffee shop. Plus, using your home address makes your business look like an amateur, or like a company that doesn’t have the resources necessary to deliver quality product or service (whether or not that’s actually the case).

P.O Boxes simply don’t work as well either, even though you may be able to get one at little or no cost. It doesn’t inspire the confidence in your vendors and customers the way that a normal business address does. It also makes your business look small, and unable to handle a big order or a big client. A P.O Box also doesn’t come with the services that professional business address at virtual office does, such as notification of mail, package handling, and mail forwarding.

A professional business address really gives the impression that it’s safe to contact you, that you aren’t a shady little company that’s out to scam people. P.O boxes, home addresses, and no address at all, just don’t do that. Best of all, a professional business address with a virtual office still gives you the freedom to work where you want and to run your business the way you want to. You just now have mail management that offers security and peace of mind to both you and your customers.

A PO Box is a horrible business address

By Nathan Strum

I recently read a blog post by Jennifer Mattern at https://bizammo.com/management/better-business-options-street-address-or-po-box/ . The blog post talks about “the” 3 options for a business address along the benefits and downsides of each option. While I agree with most of the benefits and downsides given by Jennifer, I was horrified that she missed the absolute best of all worlds: a virtual office mail address.

As Jennifer rightfully points out, a PO Box has the advantage of keeping your home address private. This is obviously meant to be a topic for home based businesses. If you have a retail shop or office building, then you would use your physical address at the retail shop, office or warehouse. The home based entrepreneur is faced with the privacy concern when it comes to using their home address, where they are working and running the business from.

Now, Jennifer does talk about a UPS store and the fact that you get a physical mail address wen you rent a mailbox at the UPS store. But there is little difference between a PO Box and the mailbox at the UPS store.

  • Both the PO box and the UPS address requires you to fill out CMRA forms. This means you must trail the address with a box number of sorts. Whether it is a PO box number or a PMB (private mail box) number, it’s still a non-brick-and-mortar address.
  • Anyone with access to the internet will see your address is a UPS store or Post Office. This will absolutely hurt your credibility as people generally want to do business with a company that has enough resources to handle their business. Not having a brick-and-mortar location still brings the connotation that your business is thin on resources.

A virtual office provides you a mailing address outside of your home. A virtual office provides you a physical address. A virtual office address is the same address that companies that rent full time office suites use. Meaning when your potential customer, vendor, investor or any other person interested in the credibility of your business looks you up, they will see that you are at a professional office building.

And what’s more, what happens when you are using a PO box and your customer or business associate wants to drop by your office? Maybe they want to meet with you at your office. Or maybe they just want to drop off some paperwork at your office. This is going to be an embarrassing moment for a business owner that claims to have a business located inside a UPS store.

In a virtual office, if someone stops by your office, your receptionist at the front desk greets your visitor as if she or he works for you. You not only have a professional office address for mail, a office building to call your own… you also have a friendly, professional staff to represent your company.

Jennifer, maybe you were unaware of the virtual office option when you wrote your blog post? If you are still unfamiliar with this great option I would like to invite you to come into one of our 70 locations across the US and Canada for a tour. I think you will be very impressed with this incredible option for small businesses!