What type of addresses are public when I form my LLC?

There are two addresses that will become public information when you officially form your LLC.

  1. Business address - This is your principal place of business for the state. You don’t need to get a separate business address (i.e you can choose to use your home address) unless you want to protect your privacy, which is often the case for finding another business address alternative. Some popular business address options are a virtual office, commercial office, or a virtual mailbox.
  2. Registered agent - You are required to assign a registered agent to act as your contact between your LLC and the state for service of process. All registered agent information (such as their name and address) will be public information. If you choose to act as your own registered agent and use your home address (mentioned above), that will be exposed as well.

You can read more about this topic at here.

Can I use a PO Box for my business address?

A PO Box is the best choice if you have basic needs for a mailbox service that will protect your privacy, but PO boxes come with a list of serious disadvantages if you are an LLC.

These restrictions include:

  1. Not Permitted for Business Registration - If you are forming an LLC you can’t use a PO box as your principal business address because it’s not seen as an acceptable address.
  2. Not Accepted by All Couriers - A PO box only receives mail delivered through USPS and not other couriers such as FedEx or UPS. This will limit the types of mail you can receive and may cause you to purchase an additional mailbox service.
  3. Inconvenient - You must travel to the physical location of your PO box and be conscious of not letting it overflow with mail and packages. In fact, your PO box may be closed if it overflows often. If a piece of mail or package is too large to fit in your personal mailbox, a carrier might leave the package at your front door or lobby area, which is a security risk for you. The US Postal Service gives the recipient a limited number of business days to pick up a package before it is returned to the sender. This creates problems when you are away or unable to travel to your PO box. USPS also states “if the item requires a signature, a notice will be left. If the second attempt is unsuccessful, the item will be returned to the sender after the required number of business days have elapsed.” This constraint can pose a problem for important legal and time-sensitive documents and can ultimately hurt your business. It’s also worth knowing that in some cases, the senders of technological products will not deliver their products to a PO box address.

A virtual mailbox, on the other hand, overcomes all the above-mentioned limitations of a PO box:

  1. Allowed for Business Registration - You can use a virtual mailbox to register your LLC or corporation, as it provides a real street address for your business. You can also use this business address on state websites, thus protecting your privacy.
  2. Accepted by All Couriers - A virtual mailbox receives mail from all couriers, including USPS, UPS, and FedEx, regardless of size or weight. This means you can rest assured that all of your packages will be accepted and stored, and not left unattended on your porch or in a post office lobby.
  3. Convenient - You can access your virtual mailbox to manage mail and packages remotely from any device, 24/7. Set aside a few minutes to log into your virtual mailbox account and view your scanned mail pieces. Then decide whether to open and scan the contents, forward the item anywhere in the world, or destroy and shred it.

Can I use a virtual office as my business address?

A virtual mailbox offers all the essential features of a virtual office such as an address for mail, business address, and a local presence in a specific city or area. The main difference is that a virtual mailbox does not provide meeting spaces and business-center services.

Virtual Office Advantages

A virtual office comes with a professional business address, mail-handling services, a local phone number, call-handling/receptionist services, and meeting and conference spaces that can be rented out.

The other attractive feature of a virtual office is that there’s no office lease, no utility payments, no hardware, and none of the associated costs that come with having a traditional office space.

Virtual Office Disadvantages

One of the main issues is that a virtual office is costly. While it is a good alternative for those looking to save time and money in recruiting business resources, it is more expensive than other business address services.

Another downside is the lack of flexibility. A virtual office doesn’t let you rent the services you need and you’ll end up paying for all the services the provider offers, including the ones you don’t need or use.

And finally, there’s the issue of use of space. Any time a business owner is at home, vacation, traveling, the office space is empty and underutilized. You can’t use the physical space to do work on a daily basis. Also, there is generally a maximum amount of hours of meeting time in day offices. This isn’t a cost-effective solution if you don’t need the physical space and you only need a business address.

Who Will Benefit Most From a Virtual Office

  1. People who want a “home base” for their business locally.
  2. Individuals who need the services and professionalism of a real office, such as a receptionist, without the cost of hiring one.
  3. Those who need a physical conference space to meet with clients.

Virtual Mailbox Advantages

In contrast to a virtual office, a virtual mailbox is a much less expensive alternative if you’re looking for the following for your business.

A permanent business address. If you move virtual offices you will have to update the address on business licenses, LLC registration, registered agent address, etc. A virtual mailbox will give a permanent address you can use for years, even if you move or change location.

You need mail handling and mail-forwarding services. Virtual offices offer mail scanning and mail forwarding at an extra and higher cost compared to a virtual mailbox.

Another advantage of using a virtual mailbox over a virtual office is versatility.

  1. Check depositing - Never go to a bank to deposit a check. Use your existing bank accounts to receive and deposit checks remotely through your virtual mailbox. Virtual offices do not offer check depositing services.
  2. Digital storage - Digitize all your incoming business mail for ease of record-keeping and hassle-free paperless filing: Digitally archive and manage all physical mail. Easily search mail for important documents and access all of your documents for as long as you need it. Virtual offices do not service this feature.
  3. Forward packages anywhere in the world at affordable prices. Virtual offices charge an extra fee for package forwarding and the prices may not be competitive compared to a virtual mailbox service.

Virtual Mailbox Disadvantages

You should be aware of the additional costs incurred by having to forward mail compared to picking up mail.

Who Will Benefit Most From a Virtual Mailbox

  1. Those wanting to convey the appearance of having a physical office without the need to have a commercial office space.
  2. Home businesses wishing to keep their personal information private.
  3. International companies looking to have a presence in the United States.
  4. Those who run a small business remotely.
  5. People who travel often for business.