What is a Virtual Office and why might you need one?

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Start Ups

Setting up a new business can pose as a potentially daunting experience to any budding entrepreneur.

You need to secure suppliers, market your goods and services, think about the competition, work out logistics on how to deliver your goods and services and most importantly find a base for your office to not only work from, but that also acts as the face of your business.

With property prices at an all time high in the UK, finding a cost effective solution for your office requirements can prove a tricky and challenging task.

Many upcoming entrepreneurs and small businesses initially decide to work from home in order to save money that might otherwise be spent on renting out an office.

Whilst this provides a good solution in the interim, it’s not always a good idea to have a business registered at your home address.

In today’s digital age where access to information is only a few clicks away a quick search on Google Maps would soon reveal to any potential customer or client that you may not be the professional business outfit that you are portraying yourself to be and are in fact working from home.

Not only can this have an adverse effect on the image of your business there’s also the inconvenience of having somebody turn up on your door step unannounced to see you. Imagine selling something online only for the buyer wanting to return it and deciding to turn up to your house on a Sunday night to do it.

Then there’s the problem with cold callers. It’s a known fact that new companies attract a large number of B2B advertising with suppliers of Business related goods and services simply relying on the Companies House database to find your address. Think of the inconvenience of the door to door salesman who “popped in because he was in the area” and wants to see “if you might need stationary supplies.”

Then there’s the problem with receiving piles and piles of unwanted junk mail again from businesses offering B2B services. On the other side of the coin there are also times when you are expecting important business related post and parcels and may not be available to sign for them. This means delays and time wasted by making unwelcomed trips to your local post office or parcel depot.

So how can a Virtual Office address solve all of these issues?

A Virtual Office in its simplest form is a physical address that you can use to register your business to, have mail sent to and which you can use for marketing purposes. By choosing the correct Virtual Address you can present a professional image to clients and separate your personal affairs you’re your business affairs with ease.

Increase your footprint

Virtual Offices are not only of benefit to small businesses looking for an address for their business and their mail.

In recent times the market has seen a surge in more established businesses also turning to use the services of Virtual Offices and reap the benefits that they provide.

For one, Virtual Offices provide a cheap solution for setting up an office in another country without actually having a physical presence there. Also sometimes known as setting up a Satellite Office. Let’s say that you have a business in Singapore but wish to present the image of an international company with multiple offices around the world.

A few quick clicks on a mouse and a small fee will get you your own virtual address in pretty much any country that you want, without breaking the bank. This can then in effect give a global image to your company.

Supply Differentiation

There are also companies who offer a range of different products and services and wish to do so under different brands.

Let’s say that you have a carpet fitting company and you now wish to set up a carpet washing service but don’t want it registered to the same address as your carpet fitting company and you also don’t want to spend a fortune in acquiring a new office for the new carpet washing company as you don’t know how successful it will be.

The easy solution is to register the new company to a virtual office. That way there is a clear distinction between the 2 businesses and you haven’t spent a fortune to achieve it.

The Icon Offices Virtual Offices Solution

After researching the market and speaking to a range of different sized businesses across the UK and overseas, we found that clients’ main requirements from a virtual office provider are:

  • A unique address with presentable and desirable buildings that can be seen in Google Maps.
  • A range of different virtual addresses to choose from.
  • Transparency of costs with no hidden charges
  • Easy sign up
  • No contracts
  • Facility to accept mail and parcels
  • Mail forwarding via post
  • Scan to email for post received
  • Facility to collect post in person
  • UK Company Formation
  • An Accountancy Package to handle all Companies House and HMRC filings
  • The provision of Business Phone lines via Voip services
  • The provision of Business Phone lines via Voip services

Icon Offices have taken on board these requirements and launched a range of affordable UK Virtual Office Packages which cater for all requirements and all budgets. Our budget Bronze Package is priced at a very cheap £0.99 per week which is a steal for even those with the smallest of budgets.

The Bronze Virtual Office Package gives clients the facility to use one of our 4 addresses for the face of their Business. It comes with free mail handling and provides clients with a facility to collect their mail in person.

At the top end our Platinum Virtual Office Package weighs in at £10.99 per week. Although more expensive than it’s youngest brother it is still presents great value for money considering what you get with it. We like to call it the Rolls Royce of Virtual Office Packages!

Again clients can choose to register their Business at any 1 of our 4 addresses but the Platinum Package comes with a host of additional benefits, such as unlimited scan to email for all mail received. We also supply a free UK Business Phone Line and a Free Company Formation service with full Accountancy Package included.

This means that you will have access to our team of Accountants who will deal with all of the Tax, Companies House and HMRC aspects of your business leaving you to concentrate on what you know how to do best; running your business!

Our Silver and Gold Virtual Packages fill the divide between our Bronze and Platinum Packages with a variety of benefits which are bundled into an affordable weekly fee. Please see this link for additional information: https://iconoffices.co.uk/virtual-offices.php

What makes us different to the competition?

We have a number of main differentiating points to our service which separates us from other UK Virtual Office providers.

  • All of our UK Virtual Office Addresses are owned by us. This means that all mail is received and sorted by our own inhouse teams.
  • This ensures that we are in full control over the mail that we receive and are therefore able to deliver the same consistent levels of service to our clients.
  • Behind every address there is a physical building that can be viewed in Google Maps.
  • We occupy 4 locations at present. Hatton Garden in Holborn, Central London, Chadwell Heath Essex, Hainault Essex and East Ham London.
  • If you choose an address at any of these 4 locations a quick Google Maps search will reveal 4 very grand and majestic buildings which act as the face of your Business and form part of your image and branding.
  • Our prices. Our Virtual Address prices start at only £0.99 per week. Can we beaten on price and service? Probably not
  • Our prices. Our Virtual Address prices start at only £0.99 per week. Can we beaten on price and service? Probably not
  • Using these links allows us to provide additional facilities to customers like free Voip Business Phone lines, UK Company Formations and Accountancy Packages all bundled in to 1 monthly fee.
  • Something that none of our competitors can offer with the same precision as us.
  • We’re more than just a Virtual Office provider. Our main core business is the provision of serviced office facilities customers looking for physical office space.
  • That means that behind the provision of our Virtual Offices facilities we have an entire business infrastructure consisting of 4 Business Centres with 70 serviced offices.
  • This means that our Virtual Office clients can tap into the additional services that we offer at any time including meeting room hire, and also short term and long term office hire.
  • For additional information see: https://iconoffices.co.uk/virtual-offices.php

Who can open an UK Virtual Office Account with us?

Our services are available to any company anywhere in the world or any individual anywhere in the world who intends to use our UK Virtual Addresses for Business purposes.

What documents need to be provided to set up a UK Virtual Office?

With any Virtual Office application that we receive we need to perform a certain amount of due diligence. The main part of this is called “KYC” which is short for “Know Your Client.”

This is the process of us verifying the identity of our clients and assessing their suitability, along with the potential risks of illegal intentions towards our business relationship.

Sadly the aspect of “anonymity” that comes with a Virtual Office Package is often appealing to people with ill intentions who plan to engage in criminal and other questionable activity.

To deter this, it is essential for us to establish the identity of all of our clients. When an application for a Virtual Office is received from a company we require photo ID of one of the Directors in the form of a copy of their passport or driving licence.

We accept copies via email. We also require proof of the Director’s residential address. This must be in the form of utility bills or bank or credit card statements dated within the last 3 months. Again this can be emailed to us

We do not require any documentation relating to a UK company itself as this can usually be obtained by us online via the Companies House website.

If the account is being opened by a third party who is not a Director of the company then we also need consent from the Director for us to deal with the third party on behalf of the company. This consent can come in the shape of a letter signed by the Director which needs to be emailed to us.

If the client opening the UK Virtual Office Account is an individual who does not have a company and who is either a UK or non UK resident then this is acceptable so long as they can provide us with copies of photo ID (passport or driving licence) and proof of address in the form of bills or bank / credit card statements dated within the previous 3 months.

This can be provided to us via email. For non UK registered companies and other Business Entities the same set of documentation is required with the addition of proof the company’s incorporation and who it’s Directors are.

The Pitfalls of using a Virtual Office Address

It’s very important that you think carefully and act prudently when choosing a UK Virtual Office provider. Otherwise you could be bringing on unnecessary aggravation for yourself.

  • Choose your Virtual Office address wisely.

    People tend to always jump for a Central London address as they feel that it creates the image of a successful company with an office in one of the most expensive parts of the UK. This can be partly true but it can soon work against you if you are not able to carry off the image that needs to go along with the address.

    Think of the following scenario. You are a 1 person company and you do everything from answering the phone, to providing the services to creating the invoices.

    If you are the only point of contact for your clients it will soon become apparent to them that you are not a not large enough enterprise to be a Central London based operation and therefore you must be using a Virtual Address.

    This can lead to customers to wonder how they can get hold of you if something goes wrong with feelings of mistrust and unease soon surfacing.

    Our advice is if you are small then choose a Virtual Address on the suburbs. For many would be clients and customers they will find it easier to believe that you are a suburban outfit as opposed to a Central London outfit.

    Other than our Hatton Garden, Holborn address, remember we have 1 address to choose from in East London and 2 addresses to choose from in Essex. Choose wisely!

  • Choose the wrong address and collecting mail in person can cause an inconvenience

    If you intend to collect all of your mail in person then choose an address that is local to you and convenient for you to get to. A flash postcode is not everything. Think of the practicalities of visiting our site to collect your mail.

    Take into account traffic along your journey and the distance you will need to travel and the time it will take. We have a range of cheap virtual office packages which means that visiting our offices to collect your mail is not always necessary.

    By choosing the right package you can arrange for your post to be sent to you for free either by post or via email and scan.

  • Don’t let your reputation get tarnished by others.

    One huge sin that many Virtual Office providers commit is providing all of their clients with the same Virtual Address.

    For example you may sign up with “Delboy’s Virtual Office Services.”

    They then tell you that your Virtual Address is 101 Peckham Rye Lane, London.

    Sounds good so far right? The only problem is that they are giving the same address out to all of their clients which means that 100+ companies have the same address as you.

    Not a problem I hear you say?

    Think again. This means that if a company gets up to no good and somebody Googles their address, your address will come up in the same search too leading people to believe that you might be associated to them.

    Then there is the risk of blacklisting to think about. What happens if another company gets the address blacklisted? It means you’re affected too.

    Think about the your bank loan that gets rejected or if one of our suppliers runs a credit check on your trading address. You’ll be paying the ultimate price for someone else’s sins.

    At Icon Offices we have provided a simple fool proof solution to this by issuing all of our clients with their own unique office numbers.

    Eg Office 1, Office 2, Office 3 etc. This means that there is no address association between companies as they all have their own individual office numbers and there is also no risk of your address of company getting blacklisted.

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