Separate Business Address For My Home-Based Business?
Within the spectrum of FAQs (frequently asked questions) put forth by prospective business owners, here’s one that falls under “mundane” or “housekeeping” categories, but is nonetheless important. Not so important to the success of the business, but to the potential well-being of the business owner.
Should I get a separate business address for my home-based business?
No caveats to this reply; the answer is yes. Whether it’s paying for a business address in a shared office space arrangement, whether it’s actually leasing space, whether it’s a business mail drop, or, even something as basic as using a post office box, the cost is well worth it.
If you pay for a business address, it looks a lot better on your business card or website, and you have a place to get parcel deliveries. Depending on the package you sign up for, you may get the use of meeting rooms, which is a better place to meet a client (or prospective client} or partner (or prospective partner), than your house or apartment. Or Starbucks, for that matter. You may also get the use of workspace with Wi-Fi, etc.
But the most important part of getting a separate business address is your (and, if you have a family, their) personal safety. And a post office box that costs only $80 a year works just fine for this purpose.
Think you don’t need it? Do you scoff at the idea that anyone would ever become so unhappy or so angry about their interactions with you and your company that they would come looking for you?
You’re not serious, right?
Pick up a newspaper or log on to a news site on the internet, and you can immediately find news items about people being assaulted or killed for the most trivial of reasons. Let’s face it, there are a fair amount of unbalanced, irrational people in the world, and sooner or later, if your business gets big enough, or is active for enough years, you’re going to have one of these people as a customer.
If that happens, you don’t want that person to have your home address. Realistically, the chances that you’ll have a customer irate enough and unhinged enough to show up at your house at 10 PM because they want to “get this straightened out” right now are low, but, it’s happened. It’s also happened that a customer “stopped by” the house of a woman who ran a pool maintenance company from her home, and wanted to speak with her at that moment, that “it just couldn’t wait any longer”. She wasn’t there, but that didn’t stop the customer from telling the children and the babysitter that were there that they should tell their mother (the business owner) that “she owes me a bunch of money for the damage done to my filter system”, and she wanted that money by the end of the week. You don’t want scenarios like that playing out.
A post office box will do the trick in terms of mail, and places that rent a mailbox to you will also accept parcel deliveries from UPS, DHL, FedEx and USPS in those instances where someone requires a physical address. Even the U.S. Post Office offers this service as of a few years ago – you just fill out another form when you get your box at a post office, and they will sign for any parcels you get at that address, and hold the packages there for you, just as they hold your regular mail.
It’s inexpensive, and enables you to keep your business address separate from your home address.
And all of these solutions (P.O. Box, leasing shared office space, etc.) are tax-deductible, so your actual cost after the tax credit is applied is even less.
Consider this carefully. It’s a small price to pay for a little extra peace of mind.