What Is A Virtual Office?

March 10, 2022
Blog
Best Virtual Offices

A virtual office is a real street address you can use to receive letters and packages, scan incoming mail and deposit checks, and use as your company mailing address. Virtual offices protect the privacy of your home address, make your company appear more professional, and help you grow without the overhead expense of costly offices.

After researching more than a dozen companies, Incfile is my top choice for the best virtual office due to its low fees and excellent customer service. Get a 60-minute business tax consultation plus your first year free if you sign up using our link below.

What Is A Virtual Office?

A virtual office is a business location in cyberspace. By leveraging the power of the internet—plus a network of executives, freelancers, and other distributed employees—you can achieve significantly greater work flexibility when compared to a traditional office environment. 

This is by no means a new finding. Back in the mid-1990s, Sun Microsystems found that employees working from home used 60% of the time they would normally have spent commuting actually doing work, boosting their overall productivity by more than 10%. And in the 25+ years since then, countless more studies have backed up the same core finding: working remotely actually makes us more productive, not less.

Getting started with a virtual office is very simple:

  1. Open an account with one of the virtual offices mentioned in this post. I’ve included details about all of their features, including which of them I personally use and why.
  2. The virtual office you select will assign you a unique mailing address, which you can start using for letters and packages.
  3. Start receiving email notifications every time a piece of mail arrives. and use use your new virtual office as much as you want.

Standard Virtual Office Services

  • Online viewing of letters and packages
  • Open and scan/photograph your letters and packages
  • Shred and destroy unwanted mail
  • Forward letters and packages to your domestic or international address
  • Receive credit cards and bank statements
  • Receive legal statements and personal & business bills
  • Instant notification when you receive a piece of mail

Advanced Virtual Office Services

  • Repack and consolidate multiple packages to save on shipping costs
  • Long-term package storage
  • Deposit checks for you or your business
  • Sign for packages upon delivery
  • Real street address (not a PO box)
  • Personal shopping service

What Is A Virtual Office Used For?

A virtual office is used for forwarding mail while you’re traveling or living abroad, or just to keep you more organized. You can also use a virtual office to create an online archive of your documents and important papers, or even as an official business address when opening an LLC.

I personally find myself using virtual office services most often when I’m overseas and need to order things from Amazon and other retailers that won’t ship to my current address. In those cases, I just have the package shipped to my virtual office, and have them forward it on to my current address a few days later.

Having a real street address can be a huge benefit, too, as many banks and government agencies don’t accept PO boxes as legitimate addresses. This means you can use some virtual offices as a registered business address, though not all of them.

Now let’s get into some specific virtual office providers and why you may like them:

Benefits Of Virtual Offices

There are a few major benefits of using a virtual office:

  • Convenience: With a virtual office, you’ll have control over all your mail right at your fingertips. You’ll see new mail arrive, be able to forward it to other locations, and even have checks deposited. If the address you choose also provides virtual office services, you may be able to get a dedicated phone number answered by a real receptionist, too.
  • Freedom To Travel: Have your mail or packages forwarded to you anywhere in the world.
  • Privacy: There are a lot of reasons why you may not want to give out your home address, especially if you’re registering a business and that address will be publicly accessible. Using a virtual office is a great way to maintain your privacy while still reaping all of the benefits a physical address entails.
  • Registered Agent Services: Some virtual office services also offer registered agent services, which can offer tremendous value if you’re considering a virtual office for business use. For example, when a legal document requiring immediate attention is not taken care of in time, it can create a substantial headache for you. The virtual offices in the second half of the list above will take care of that for you.
  • Security: The virtual offices we recommend above go to great lengths to ensure that your documents (legal, business, and personal) are kept under the highest security. Communications with end users are encrypted with bank-level SSL encryption, and your account will be protected behind a password and 2-factor authentication (2FA) if you choose. Every virtual office provider in the United States has to follow strict USPS guidelines, and there are harsh consequences if they fail to keep users’ information safe. 

If you’re looking for fewer features, you may be better served by one of the best virtual mailboxes instead.

Are Virtual Offices Safe?

Yes, virtual offices are safe because they’re accessed exclusively online and are not available to the public. All of the virtual offices I recommend above operate from secure data centers and comply with the latest security protocols, including 128-bit SSL encryption and full disk encryption for all customer data.

All virtual offices in the US must comply with strict USPS guidelines and face stiff penalties if they fail to keep users’ information safe. virtual offices are not permitted to release their users’ addresses to anyone unless they are specifically instructed to do so.

Does USPS Offer A Virtual Office?

Yes, USPS does offer a PO box virtual mail service. However, USPS PO boxes cannot receive shipments from any other shipping carrier, which is why it may be a good business move to get a virtual office address as well.

Can You Pick Up Mail From A Virtual Office?

You can pick up mail from some virtual office, but not all of them. You’ll need to check with your virtual office service’s policies before receiving any packages so that you don’t get charged an extra pickup fee.

Is It Necessary To Have A Registered Agent?

Yes, every LLC and corporation is legally required to have a Registered Agent in each state where they do business. virtual offices like Incfile, Northwest Registered Agent and My Company Works can serve as Registered Agent for you, eliminating expensive legal fees and allowing you to focus on building your business.

Can I Use A Virtual Office For My LLC?

Yes, you can use a virtual office for your LLC, and thousands of companies already do. Whether you already have an established LLC or are opening one for the first time, a virtual office can save you time, money and effort in the process, making your business less burdensome and more profitable.

What Is The Best Virtual Office?

1. Northwest Registered Agent – Best For A Longstanding Reputation

Northwest Registered Agent is a Registered Agent service specializing in the registration of LLCs. They operate in all 50 states and seamlessly take care of all of your legal needs.

Northwest Registered Agent charges $225 + state fees, which is more than Incfile (free for the first year).

Features

  • Same-day email scanning
  • Local area code number
  • Enables you to control over accessing your private information
  • You can send text messages and voicemails to other people from any device
  • Keeps all your information private

Fees

  • Initial subscription: $225 + state fees
  • Annual subscription renewal: $125

Promotion

Zero state fees when you sign up using this link.

Best For

Business owners looking for a proven track record.

2. My Company Works – Best For Maintaining Compliance Seamlessly

My Company Works has helped incorporate over 50,000 LLCs since being founded in 2001. Even though it doesn’t work with the same volume of clients as other companies of its type, it has established itself as a trustworthy service for those who need help in registering and managing an LLC.

Features

  • Very fast service (next business day)
  • Easy to use
  • ComplianceLock helps new companies maintain compliance
  • Free annual report alerts
  • Free handbook

Fees

  • Basic: $79
  • Entrepreneur: $199
  • Complete: $279

Promotion

100% satisfaction guarantee when you sign up using this link.

Best For

Business owners looking to maintain compliance without any headache.

3. Incfile – Best For Opening An LLC Quickly

Incfile is a Registered Agent service that serves all of your tax and legal needs before, during and after you register an LLC. Incfile customers get unlimited phone and email support, plus access to a real-time order tracking tool as you await your documentation.

Your Incfile dashboard digitally stores all of your LLC formation documents and tracks important deadlines and compliance reminders, ensuring you never miss any requirements. By signing up using the link below, you’ll also receive a 60-minute business tax consultation with a certified tax professional, completely free.

Incfile offers virtual offices in 22 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Washington.

Incfile is known for its deeply knowledgeable expertise backed by fast, helpful customer support agents. If you’re incorporating an LLC, I highly recommend Incfile.

Features

  • First year free when you incorporate using the link below
  • Available in all US states
  • No hidden fees or automatic service renewals

Fees

  • Incfile Silver: $75 in state fees
  • Incfile Gold: $224 in state fees
  • Incfile Platinum: $374 in state fees

Promotion

First year free when you incorporate using this link.

Best For

Business owners who want to open an LLC quickly.

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