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

Getting a Business Address for an Online Business

You might think that e-commerce and online businesses don’t need a business address or any physical address for their operations. A contact form and/or a few email addresses, or even a phone number, may suffice for day-to-day operations, but a business address offers much more benefit than just something to keep the business together. If you’ve never considered a professional business address for your online business, here’s why getting a business address is a good idea and a few ways in how to get a professional business address:

It Looks More Legitimate

Consumers like working with local businesses, even those that are completely online. Getting a business address in your area adds legitimacy and credibility to your business; it shows that you’re serious about building a business and maintaining a professional image. Besides, a professional business address looks more legitimate than a P.O Box or a home address, and its an address that you’d actually want to present to potential customers and online (you don’t really want people finding your home address so easily).

Tip: If you don’t ever serve/receive customers at your business address, then the address needs to be removed from your Google listings. Failure to do so could result in a removal of your listing.

P.O Boxes Don’t Always Work

Sure, they’re cheaper than a professional business address and are available at all hours of the day, but some entities don’t consider a business address. For example, some companies don’t deliver to a P.O box, and government registrations and licensing doesn’t count them either. Depending on the size of the P.O box, you might not be able to receive packages either. That could be a problem for an e-commerce business that would need to handle returns from time to time. So, if you’re going to spend the money on an address or mailbox, spend it on a professional business address that can work for everything (and is much more presentable on business cards and your website).

An Address is Needed for Registrations

Everything from filing an LLC to registering your domain name requires an address. Even though a home address or a P.O box may count for some of these, consider the fact that these documents and registrations make it easier to find an address for your business. By putting a home address, you’re making it that much easier for people to know where you live. Also consider the zoning laws in your area or the lease for your home/apartment, either of which may prohibit the use of your home address for any business purposes, even if you were to conduct your business primarily outside of the home.

How to Get a Professional Business Address

There’s no one way to get a professional business address, but the best two ways to get the address without too many extras is through a virtual office service or through a coworking space (sometimes, a provider will have both virtual offices and a coworking space). With either of those, you can get the professional business address without having to get a specific office suite or a telephone number or anything else. You have the option of just the address with maybe mail forwarding, package handling, and perhaps a local place to meet if you need it.

A professional business address may seem like one of the last things an online or e-commerce company would need, but getting a business address should be a high priority. With these types of companies, it’s all about image and credibility, and a professional business address does that much better than any other type of address. All the big sites and e-commerce companies have one, so why shouldn’t you?

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!