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What is a virtual office?

A virtual office is a modern solution designed to meet the needs of businesses that operate remotely. It provides a physical address that businesses can use as their official location, even though they don’t have a traditional brick-and-mortar office.

The primary benefit of a virtual office is the prestigious business address it offers. Instead of using a residential address or a generic PO box, a virtual office provides a professional and top-notch location that adds credibility to your brand.

In this article, we explain some of the benefits of using a virtual office service to help you determine if it’s the right solution for your business.

Why not use my home address?

While working from home offers numerous advantages such as cost savings and improved work-life balance, it’s important to consider the drawbacks of using your home address as your business address.

One significant factor to consider is the professional image you project to potential customers. When your home address is displayed on your website, marketing materials, online directories, and invoices, it won’t convey the level of professionalism and credibility that a dedicated business address does. Clients may feel uncertain or less confident about your business if they perceive it to be operating out of a residential property rather than a professional office setting.

Moreover, imagine the scenario where a client unexpectedly shows up at your door. If you find yourself answering in casual attire like fluffy slippers and a onesie, it may not align with the professional image you strive to maintain. This can potentially create an awkward and unprofessional first impression.

Another consideration is your business phone. When using your personal landline or mobile number for business purposes, you may encounter challenges. For instance, if you answer a call that turns out to be a significant potential client, your initial response may not be as polished or professional as you might like. A virtual landline is a dedicated business number, often provided with a virtual office. It helps separate your personal and professional calls, ensuring that you present a consistently professional image to clients.

By opting for a virtual office, you can mitigate these challenges and present a more polished and impressive image to your customers. With a virtual office, you have the opportunity to choose an office address in a desirable location, potentially even in close proximity to industry leaders. This can help you gain credibility and make a positive impression on clients who value prestige and a central business presence.

Overall, investing in a virtual office through a small monthly subscription not only avoids the pitfalls of using your home address but also allows you to enhance your professional image, gain access to valuable business services, and impress potential clients with a prime business location.

So, how do virtual offices work?

One of the key features of a virtual office is the handling of your incoming mail.

You can choose to have your mail opened, scanned, and securely emailed directly to your inbox. We offer customers 10 free mail scans a month with every virtual office subscription. This convenient option allows you to access your mail digitally, eliminating the need for physical delivery and enabling you to stay connected and responsive even when you’re on the move.

Alternatively, you can opt for mail forwarding. This is where physical mail is redirected to your designated address, for example, your home address. This ensures that all important correspondence reaches you in a timely manner, regardless of your location.

Virtual Office Services

1. Trading Address and Mail Delivery Options

A virtual office provides a physical trading address for your business, ensuring you have a professional location for external representation. Additionally, you have the flexibility to choose from various mail delivery options, allowing you to manage your correspondence effectively.

2. Company Registration with Companies House

You can register your company with Companies House with a Registered Company Address addon. This optional service adds credibility and professionalism to your operations, whilst keeping your home address private.

3. Virtual Landline for Business Calls

One popular upgrade is the addition of a Virtual Landline to your virtual office. This feature enables you to have a dedicated business phone number that diverts calls to your home or mobile phone. By selecting a local number for your office, you can create a localized presence and promptly identify incoming business calls.

4. Virtual Reception Services

Virtual office providers often offer virtual reception services to handle your business calls professionally. A virtual receptionist answers calls on your behalf using a predefined script, ensuring a consistent and polished customer experience. The receptionist relays caller details and messages to you via email, ensuring you never miss important communication while maintaining a professional image.

5. Virtual Personal Assistant

For comprehensive support, virtual offices may also provide virtual personal assistants. These assistants handle incoming business calls with a customized script tailored to your specific requirements. In addition to call handling, they can transfer calls to any member of your team, take orders, schedule appointments, manage your inbox, and perform various administrative tasks, providing valuable assistance to streamline your business operations.

What’s the difference between a Virtual Office and a Registered Company Address?

Our Registered Company Address service is not the same as a Virtual Office service. 

When you register your business as a limited company with Companies House you need to provide an official address.

This address is not, necessarily, your trading address. And that’s what differentiates a virtual office from a Registered Company Address.

Your virtual office is just a trading address. Although, for a small additional fee, you can use this address as your Registered Company Address.

Depending on your needs, you can buy either on their own or together within the same subscription.

What sort of businesses use virtual offices?

Virtual offices can be used by any type of business from any industry. They are highly popular with SMEs who want a large presence while benefiting from remote working. 

They also speak to larger companies looking to expand into new territories and take advantage of additional features they need, such as call answering services. 

In short, a virtual office can be used by all business types searching for a low-cost option to impress, grow and expand.  

Where should I rent a virtual office?

The location of your virtual office depends on your market and brand. Most of the time, business owners choose an address in the heart of their target market.

Being local increases the chances of your website or online listings appearing higher on search engines and other sites when people search for your services locally. Every time you appear on screen is another opportunity for a click. call or sale. 

The question of where is also influenced by your brand.

The reputation, image and even micro-culture of a very localised area can add or take away from your brand. 

A street renowned for large corporate business may not be the best place for your online yoga class business. Similarly, a bohemian hipster part of town may not be the best place to base your law firm. 

Fortunately, most big cities in the UK have virtual offices. And they’re often spread out across many districts.

Where you choose to locate your virtual office is up to you. Think about where your potential customers are. Will being local influence their buying behaviour? What does an area add to your brand?

Is a virtual office a real address?

Yes. They never appear to be a virtual office from the outside – but that’s kind of the point. They are amongst real, traditional working offices.

When a potential customer visits your website, your office needs to impress. And at the same time, save you ploughing loads of your profit into leasing your own city centre workspace.

This is why virtual offices are growing in popularity.

How much does a virtual office cost?

You can rent our virtual office in London from just £10 per month. 

Even in central London, you can get a prime business location in the financial capital of the world for less than the cost of two pints of beer – remember, we’re talking London prices here! 

Additional services such as a Virtual Receptionist or a Registered Company Address are available for an extra fee, but even for the full package, you’re looking at getting change out of £50 per month. 

When you think about the potential for more business and the savings you’ll make on renting a traditional office and commuting, it’s a tiny price to pay. 

And as long as you take-up a monthly rolling contract, you can cancel any time. 

If you do decide it’s worth the investment, ask about discounts for paying annually. It’s just one more little saving to make sure you keep as much of your hard-earned cash in your pocket as you can.

What to look for in a virtual office provider

Right, let’s assume you’ve decided a virtual office is for you and you know where you want to be based. How do you go about picking the provider?

First off, you want to look for one that operates UK-wide. This is an indication of the size of the company and it also gives you the flexibility to expand into other cities. 

You shouldn’t be paying set up fees. The whole point of the service is to save money, so there’s no reason to pay anything other than your address rental and postal fees (where applicable).

Look for flexibility in the contract terms. You should be able to choose to pay monthly or annually according to your own preference and check the cancellation policy too. In particular, when you first enter into the world of virtual offices, you want to be able to cancel if you decide it’s not working for you. 

Obviously, you’ll want to compare prices but dig into the detail of each package too. Do they offer a free mail scan-to-email service, for example? This could prove a valuable benefit down the line and save you having to pay and wait for it to be redirected. 

And check the testimonials and reviews. This is a great way to understand what existing clients think of the service. It’s better to find out if a provider is unreliable before you part with any hard-earned cash.

Whether or not a virtual office is the best solution for you will be based on a number of factors and will ultimately be a decision you need to make. But, hey, you’re the decision-maker. That’s one of the reasons you chose to run your own business in the first place, isn’t it?

It’s certainly true to say that changing times have made virtual offices a good choice for businesses of all sizes across the UK and there are multiple reasons why. So, if you’re a business owner and have big aspirations, it’s worth seeing if it works for you.

Paul Sandquest

Head of Marketing

Paul is Head of Marketing at Virtually There and has over a decade of experience supporting businesses across the globe.

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