Ask Ali: "Should I Use a Mail Service or Get a P.O. Box for My Home-Based Business?” - Glambition Radio

Ask Ali: "Should I Use a Mail Service or Get a P.O. Box for My Home-Based Business?”

Question: “Hi Ali, would you recommend setting up a virtual office for forwarding mail instead of getting a P.O. Box for my business?”
–Regina Andrews, Leaders for Tomorrow, Albuquerque, N.M.
Ali’s Answer: “Regina, this is a great question. Often when I’m helping a client grow her business, even if it’s internet based, she suddenly realizes she should NOT use her home address for her business. This is important for two reasons. First, is your safety and privacy. Whether you have a family or are a single gal, you do not want people to know exactly where you live.
Even if you don’t think it’s a big deal, funny things can happen. A few years ago, a colleague of mine used her apartment address in all her marketing. One time on a teleseminar she was teaching, she was talking with a couple from the Midwest. They mentioned they were going to be vacationing here in L.A. She jokingly said something about dropping by to say hi. Well, they did! One morning a few weeks later, she was sitting in her robe working on a sales letter, and the downstairs buzzer rang. She clicked the intercom, and it was Earl and Fern from Omaha, with their three kids in tow! In shock, she threw some clothes on to run down to say hi for a minute, but it was a wakeup call to begin using a separate business address asap.
The second reason you want to use a separate address is for your business image. While most of the clients you work with likely know you work from home, it still makes a more professional presentation to have a separate mailing address for your business dealings. I have a third reason, too: I like having a separation between my business and personal mail and packages, and I think it’s a good idea for everyone. And there’s no need to request your mail to be picked up or held while you’re traveling.
So now you know you need a separate address. Your main three choices are:
Option 1: A P.O. Box at your local post office. This is your cheapest option, but there is a big drawback. You cannot receive UPS or Fedex packages at these locations. So, if you need to receive a package using those carriers, you’ll have to give them your home address or go pick up the package yourself at a local station for that carrier. Also, from the old days of mail order scammers, P.O. boxes sometimes give a negative connotation. But for many people this is a great place to start.
Option 2: A mailbox service. An example of this would be a UPS Store or a PostNet. These operations are usually in convenient locations and not only will they receive your mail and almost any type of package, but they can also handle shipping, copies, printing, and more. For many years I used a local UPS Store as my business address, and it was great. I could drop off mail or boxes for shipping, and I’d get billed automatically once a month for everything. If you are ready to grow your business, this is my #1 choice.
Option 3: A virtual office center. If you need a vanity address (perhaps something in a classy office building to align with your image for clients), a live operator answering your calls, or occasional workspace or meeting space, this is a great solution. One example of this is, which has many tiers of service. I have used them before for everything from having a small office in one of their centers, to renting a conference room when needed, and mail forwarding. They are a bit pricey, so you may be able to find a similar setup in your area. Look for one that advertises “executive suites” or “virtual office center.” But you really would not need this type of arrangement unless you need the address or these types of services.
I hope these ideas help you, and let me know which one you choose on my Facebook page!
Love and success,

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