Every business that you open in the United Kingdom should have a registered address according to the law. While it may seem like no big deal, renting a business office tends to be expensive.
Additional expenses would come from hiring staff and buying office equipment. To avoid this, most people tend to use their home addresses when they start a business. But is using a home address for a business in the UK a good idea?
The address you use will be published on a public registry for all to see. That leaves you with little privacy. Hoxtonmix experts will help you figure out what alternatives for using your home address for business are available.
UK requirements to register a business
Is it necessary to register your company? Every business in the UK has to register with Companies House. Which means every business must have a registered business address.
In reality, the address doesn’t have to belong to an office building. It can be your home or any PO BOX. Sole traders have to register with HMRC, which still requires providing a business address.
There are two basic requirements for a business address:
- It should be a physical address
- It should be within the UK
Any documentation will be sent to you through your registered address. You can find additional information according to your business needs and requirements at the official website at HMRC.gov.uk.
Why using a home address to register a business is a bad idea
Let’s see the main points you need to research before making any decisions:
Once you register your home address with the Companies House, it will be visible to anyone on the internet. Which means that you and your family will not have any privacy. Anyone can easily look you up and send unwanted post.
2. Unsolicited visits
When your home address is visible for everyone to see, expect anything. Visitors, whether good or bad, can knock on your door at any time.
This can be salespeople trying to strike a deal. Not only is it annoying, but also not safe.
3. It’s unprofessional
Your address has to be shown on your website. It is a way for people to contact you. An address shows that you are an actual company and not a fraudster. It is a way to leave a good impression on prospective clients.
There is nothing professional about using a home address. Neither customers nor partners will take you seriously. It can impact the number of customers you get. Another disadvantage is that it may be more difficult to get loans from banks.
If all your personal and business correspondence comes to the same address, it is very easy to get mixed up. The amount of mail will be more than double what you would usually get. You will waste hours trying to sort it. There can be instances where you can miss important correspondence, such as tax returns. Any delays could lead to fines, which only cost you more money.
By separating your mail, you avoid these issues in the first place. You will be more organized and know which letters are the priority. Attending to all important mail immediately is possible with an actual office address.
5. Lack of trust
Having an address in a prestigious business area can boost customer trust. With a home address, people may not take you seriously. It may also show that you are an amateur and less competitive. Even if you provide the best services, people will be hesitant to work with you as they won’t know what to expect. It can prevent you from building a profitable company.
Providing an office address shows that you are professional and serious. A good address will help your reputation, thus bringing in more customers.
What are the alternatives?
The address you use should be physical, even if business operations are not done from there. Renting an office in any part of London, let alone in business centres, is very expensive.
So one of the best options is to use a business address service. These provide physical addresses that you rent. This will allow you to keep your privacy and show customers and business partners your professionalism.
You get a commercial address from the service provider. All correspondence will be sent to this address, where you can pick it up. The cost of a registered address varies, but can be as low as £30 per year. Any additional services such as mail forwarding may carry extra charges.
Some services provide virtual addresses. These are found in great locations and offer pick-ups and mail forwarding on the same day. A virtual address is usually part of an office, so it comes with additional features such as mail handling. This is the address you will use when registering with Companies House and mailing services.
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An address is a requirement for opening a business in the UK. The most common challenge is that renting an office is expensive. If you are just starting out, it can be unaffordable. Using a home address may be tempting.
However, there are many disadvantages to doing this. It not only puts your privacy at risk but also gives an impression you are unprofessional. There is also the risk of personal and business mail getting mixed up.
So instead of a home address, invest in a virtual address. For a small fee per year, you can rent a virtual address in one of the most prestigious business locations in the UK. A virtual address is a great way to show customers and other businesses that you are a professional.