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The Downside of Running a Part-Time Business from Your Home

PO Boxes May Make Customers Suspicious

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When people start a side business, there's a temptation (and rightly so) to keep costs down.

It's common to use your home as your place of business, or perhaps rent a post office box. But both of these choices have their downsides and can hamper your startup's success, says small business CPA Michael Hanley.

"There is such a stigma associated with using a residential address or a PO Box as your business address. Many consumers view the use of a home address as a sign that you are new in business and that your business is not successful," Hanley notes.

While this may not be true, a consumer's mind may be made up once they see your address and decide not to call you, giving you no opportunity to explain why you operate your business out of your home. To combat this, many business owners opt to go the PO Box route. However, PO Boxes have their own stigma, according to Hanley.

"Many consumers view companies that use PO Boxes as fly-by-night companies that may leave town at the drop of a hat and that they may never be able to get a hold of once their job is done." Hanley suggests some ways around this problem, including:

  • Renting a small office within the office a client, friend, associate, vendor. In addition to giving you a consumer-friendly address to use, situations like this may also open up opportunities for more referrals due to the traffic that your landlord's business is bringing past your door each day.
  • Renting office space or a mailbox within a Virtual Office such as HQ Global, Regus, or Intelligent Office. In addition to the mailbox/mailing address options, most of these Virtual Offices offer the use of Conference Rooms, Receptionist Services, and office space as your business grows.
  • Renting a mailbox at a UPS Store or Mailboxes Etc. While this is nothing more than a "PO Box" located at a UPS Store instead of at the Post Office, it does give you a more consumer-friendly business address.
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