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What Is A Virtual Address & How Does It Work?

What Is A Virtual Address & How Does It Work?

Working from home in the UK has rapidly increased since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

That’s no surprise.

For many small business owners, renting or leasing an office isn’t feasible. It’s not just the rent – it’s the utilities, business rates, maintenance, and travel cost that eat up chunks of the profit.

Using your home address is another option for your business, but it’s not safe and poses a security risk. Your personal details, including your home address, will be visible on Companies House, the official registrar for UK companies.

What’s the solution? This is where a virtual address comes in handy.

What is a virtual address?

A virtual address is a real address that you can buy and use as your business address or mailing address. Although it has the name “Virtual” in it, it’s a real office address; it’s just that you don’t work there.

For example, if you’re living in Brentwood but want to establish your business presence in Central London while working remotely from home, you could easily sign up with a virtual address company located in Central London and use their address to promote your business.

Are virtual addresses legal to use?

Yes, it’s completely legal to use a virtual address here in the UK. In fact, there are thousands of small businesses that use virtual addresses every year.

How does a virtual address work?

In general, most virtual address providers operate the same, offering similar services. Here’s a basic example of how a virtual address would work:

1. You would first need to choose an address for your business. The price of virtual addresses varies depending on the location. For example, virtual addresses in Central London are typically more expensive than virtual addresses in East London.

2. Secondly, you would need to choose a service for your business. The service you choose will be contingent on why you need the address in the first place. For instance, you may require the address to use on Companies House, your website, invoices, or a combination of them all. Whatever the need, most virtual address providers will have a service to accommodate your business.

3. After you complete the registration (the boring part), you’ll need to upload proof of identification & proof of address. This is required by all virtual address providers due to AML and KYC legislation. After you complete that, you’ll be able to start using the address.

4. When you publish the address on Companies House, your website, and other areas for your business, you’re likely to start receiving mails. This will be received by the virtual address provider.

5. Your virtual address provider will process your mail and forward it to you by post or scan, depending on the service you have with them. You’ll usually get an email notification when it’s posted.

Why should you get a virtual address?

There are many benefits when you sign up and use a virtual address. For small businesses, a virtual address can give you levels of flexibility and stability that a traditional office cannot match. Here are some benefits that can be achieved by using a virtual address for your business:

• Professional appearance
• Privacy - you won’t need to use your home address for your business
• Comfort - you can work from home
• Save money – virtual addresses are cheaper than office space
• You’ll be able to get your letters scanned and posted to you

If you’re interested in learning more about the advantages of using a virtual address for your business, I’ve compiled a comprehensive article where I spill the beans on everything I’ve learned over the past few years. Click the link below to access the full article.

Virtual Office Address: 5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs One

How much does a virtual address cost?

Most recently, there has been a surge in the number of businesses that are opting for virtual addresses. This is attributed to several reasons, such as cost, flexibility, and stability. In comparison to traditional office space, virtual addresses offer significantly more, making it an appealing option for small businesses.

Like buying any product or service, it’s best to browse around and look for good deals. Things to consider are the services that your business needs, the virtual address location, any extra/hidden fees, and any available discounts.

The main thing that determines the cost of a virtual address is the location. Prices will vary from one location to another. London is an ideal city for business presence, it's regarded as an international business hub. It’s also where many virtual addresses are based.

For simplicity, the average cost of a virtual address in London and other popular cities can be separated into three tiers: basic address, mid-range address, and premium address.

Below, I’ve separated each tier and allocated popular virtual address locations to them along with prices. The below findings are based on my own research and experience at present. Keep in mind that prices can fluctuate due to economic status, location development, and new regulations.

Basic address
Location: Barking, Dagenham, Walthamstow, Isle of dogs, and Barnet
Yearly cost: £50 -£70

Mid-range address
Location: Shoreditch, Holborn and Old Street, Kings Cross, Manchester, and Cardiff
Yearly cost: £80-£120

Premium address
Location: Canary Wharf, Oxford Street, Mayfair, Oxford Circus, and Edinburgh
Yearly cost: £150+

Which location should I choose?

Choosing a virtual address depends on the nature of your business. Although you want to look professional and established, at the same time, you don’t want to overdo it. Potential clients will poke around and investigate if they see anything unusual. It’s ideal to look realistic and match the location with your business. For example, if you sell hair extension products online, a premium address might not be suitable at the start. We advise you to look at your industry and go for an address that resonates with your business.

That’s not all, though.

The benefit you get from using a virtual address is that you can always upgrade and change your address. In contrast to physical office space, you will have little flexibility and be obligated to complete your lease agreement - which is usually a couple of years.

What London Virtual Address can provide?

Chances are, you already know which company you’re choosing. Hopefully us (wink). We are a virtual address provider with a clear objective, we want to help your business grow. Here are some reasons why you should choose us:

1. Our prices are low and affordable
2. We don’t charge a fee to set-up 
3. We offer fast registration, which means you can start using our address within hours
4. We notify you every time we receive any correspondence 
5. We offer price match guarantee – we’re confident with our prices
6. We offer additional services, which include website development, IT support, and company formation

Here are some final reminders to summarise and conclude this article

• Virtual addresses are becoming more popular every day
• It’s not safe to use your home address for your business
• Using a virtual address is completely legal in the UK
• Virtual addresses are great alternatives to physical offices
• The cost of a virtual address will vary depending on its location