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Are you an online or home-based business owner concerned with your professional appearance because you don’t have a public office?
Most likely, you’re using your home address or a post office box.
As a result, you probably don’t have a professional phone number, voicemail, or an answering service. On top of that — you also lack space for meetings and conferences.
A virtual office is a smart solution for most home-based and online business owners.
Do You Want To Stay Small? Or Are You Ready To Grow?
Online companies and home-based business owners have a lot of options when it comes to office space.
Some choose to to continue to work from home. Others move into cheap rental spaces — like storage pods.
But if you’re ready to grow your business, then it’s time to consider renting virtual office space. Doing so can change your customers’ perception of your small business practically overnight!
Here’s what you need to know about virtual offices, what you can expect if you decide to rent one, the type of services offered, and how much they cost…
What Does Virtual Office Rental Include?
If you find that your home-based business needs a more professional appearance than you can provide from your home, then it’s definitely time to consider virtual office space.
Most virtual office services include:
- A dedicated business phone number
- A professional live receptionist answering calls in your business name
- Corporate mailing address
- Business fax number and fax forwarding to email
- Voicemail forwarding to email
- Corporate voicemail boxes
- Call forwarding to multiple phone numbers
- Acceptance of deliveries on your behalf
- Some even offer domain names and web hosting
If the company providing you with a virtual office is local, then you may also have access to their private rooms for meetings and/or conferences. This is a valuable service for those times when you need to meet face-to-face with clients, partners, vendors, or employees.
Before choosing a local virtual office provider, it’s important that you visit the business in person. Remember, this is the office space that your customers and colleagues will see. Does this space represent your own personality and your company’s image?
Here’s a helpful site to find virtual office space near you.
How To Choose The Best Virtual Office Space
If you haven’t explored virtual offices before, then you may think they only provide temporary office spaces.
In reality, virtual office space can be so much more than that (for an additional price).
If you’re looking for just a virtual address – somewhere you can use as your business address and where you can receive mail – that will definitely be the most affordable option.
Questions to ask yourself before choosing a local virtual office rental:
- Is the building professional looking?
- Are the offices and meeting rooms large enough and professional enough?
- Is there enough parking?
- Is the building in a good location?
If the virtual office building lacks any of these things, you should look for a different company to do business with.
Questions to ask local virtual office rental companies:
#1 – Do you have other locations?
This is important if you’re a traveling professional. It’s a wonderful benefit to have somewhere to work at in the cities where you travel most often — and you will most likely be able to use the virtual services in those locations at little or no cost. This saves you the trouble of having to pay for additional office space when you travel, or having to find somewhere to work (like a coffee shop or hotel business center).
#2 – What’s your conference room policy?
If you’re planning to use the conference room often, then you’ll probably want to opt for a company that includes the conference room as part of their services (instead of paying an hourly fee to use it). Most companies require that you book conference rooms ahead to time — whether or not you have to pay extra for that time.
If those 2 things (remote office locations and conference rooms included) will add value to your business, then you should choose a local company for your virtual office.
Another benefit of choosing a local company for your virtual office is they typically include free use of:
- copy machines
(Some local virtual office space providers also have premium packages that include virtual assistants.)
However, if you only need mail & phone services, then you can select any virtual office company, regardless of location.
Here’s a handy office lease checklist to use when exploring virtual office spaces.
How Much Does Virtual Office Rental Cost?
Most virtual services companies offer different packages, plans, or bundles — depending on your business needs. As you select more services, the cost of your virtual office rental goes up.
One of the most well-known virtual office rental companies is Regus. With 3,000 locations in 120 countries, Regus has many virtual office packages. The basic package starts at $99 a month and includes a professional business address, local phone number and receptionist, mail collection and handling, and 2 days of private office access each month.
Clients can opt for the more expensive version (starting at $225 a month) which can include 40 hours of private office access each month, unlimited access to Regus business lounges and cafes worldwide, and exclusive discounts on office supplies, shipping and other services. For instance, clients receive a 25% discount when they rent a car from Avis. Source
Regus’ main competitor is Davinci Virtual — which offers virtual services ranging from $59 to $799 a month, depending on the features chosen. Davinci has over 15,000 virtual clients.
Most virtual office businesses will allow you to select the virtual office services you need home-based, and offer them at a bundled price. The cost for those services vary from company to company.
Use this virtual office rental price sheet when making your budget decisions.
Virtual Office Space Isn’t For Everybody
Not all home-based and online businesses require the polished, professional touch that virtual office services offer.
There are a few downsides to renting virtual office space, as well:
- No exclusivity.
- Less privacy for clients.
- Less control over the work environment.
Whether you need a business mailing address, an occasional meeting space, or a home base for your office — hopefully you’ve found this article helpful.
My best advice is to first determine what you want the outcome of your virtual office decision to be. For example, how do you see your business 6 months from now? If you can picture it thriving in a virtual office — then it’s a great choice for you!
I’m a health nut, a frugal mom, a dog lover, a DIYer, and a gadget girl. Personally, as a post-divorce, working single mom on a budget I have a lot of experiences that I enjoy sharing so others can learn from the things I wish I knew earlier! Professionally, I’ve worked full-time in a variety of marketing, sales, and editing jobs. You can always find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as Managing Editor at The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites).