Deciding what address to register your business at can be a little daunting when you're starting out. Should it be your home address? Or should it be another address?
Before deciding and registering there are a couple of things to consider. Your Registered Address and your Trading Address (your business address) are different. If I'm stating the obvious - forgive me. If you don't know this - take note!
Your Registered Address is compulsory when setting up at Companies House (in the UK). This address will be publicly shown to anyone searching your business. Your Trading Address doesn't have to be known by the public, unless you want it to.
What if I don't want to use my Home Address to Register my Business?
So. If you don't want your home address to be known publicly you do have options. You can either
Register your accountant's address (with their permission), as they will be the ones filing your submissions to Companies House. This means that all statutory documents will be sent to that address, e.g. Corporation Tax reminders, correspondence from Companies House and HMRC, which is useful.
Use an Agent as your Registered Address. There are plenty of them listed on the GOV.UK website. They are pretty handy people to use (I've used one!) as they can help you through the process of registering if you need that.
Have a 'virtual office' address. These are awesome, as you can pay a monthly fee to have a good business address. You literally rent an address. Do your research though, because your official documents will be sent here and you want this address to be reliable and trustworthy!
What address can I use as my Trading Address?
Again, many new business owners don't want to use their home address as their trading address. The truth is, you don't have to give any address (except to officials such as your bank, etc). My advice to you though would be to consider this carefully. Your options could be to:
Use a 'virtual office' address
Use a PO Box
Again the 'virtual office' addresses are great because you can get a pretty good address, naturally for a fee. Also, a lot of these organisations provide you with the ability to use their office spaces if you have to meet a client. Again, do your research, because you will now be putting your trust into people you don't know to receive post for your business. It's wise to use a reputable serviced office.
Whilst a little more expensive Regus, Beoffices and Basepoint have pretty good reputations for this kind of facility. And the good thing is, when your business grows, you could move into one of these small serviced offices.
A PO Box is very useful too, and you can organise to collect your own business post to keep the costs down.
You may decide not to have a business trading address displayed anywhere at all. You can get away with only giving your trading address to whoever must have it, for example your bank. Whether your trading address is public knowledge or not is absolutely your choice.
A few things to consider before making your decision
Whatever you decide, you'll need to be mindful of how visible your business is to potential and ideal clients. You want to be visible right?
'Google My Business' is quite a powerful (free) tool for people looking for your business. It shows your reviews, opening hours and gives valuable information about your business. Believe it or not, when people search Google, the more information they can get, the more confident they feel to do business with you (see example my business below). Potential customers love to see that extra snippet on the right hadn't side and they want to see reviews too. You have to prove your address to have this facility for your business, and you won't be able to do this with a PO Box.
Identify your business target. Are you B2B (business to business) or are you B2C (business to customer - individual people/endusers)? If you are B2B you may feel a little more confident using your own private address.
Always consider the perception of your business from the point of view of your potential clients, your ideal clients. What do you think they will want to see, so that they can do business with you, with confidence? What do you look for when you're searching for business services? Really think about it. If you're still not sure, it's absolutely ok. Because you can make a decision at a later date when your business is breathing and you're getting reviews.
I hope these little nuggets of information help you setting up. Until next time....