Setting up a new business is an exciting opportunity. But one of the first hurdles that you’ll encounter comes from the formality of literally setting up your business.
Once you’ve decided on the type of company structure that you want to set up, you’ll need to supply some extra details such as a business address to make it all official.
That may seem simple enough, but if you’re currently running your business from your home, you may not want this information to be in the public domain. What’s more, there are different types of company addresses that you can supply, including a registered office, service address and business address.
If you’re wondering what address can I use for my business, look no further. This guide will answer all the questions you’ll have about company addresses, highlight the difference between these address types and get you ready to set up your own business.
Let’s get started then.
What is a business address?
A business address is the location of where your business is based. In most cases, it’s where you are physically operating your business from – but there can be some exceptions to this, which we’ll cover later.
The address is used to communicate with your customers and vendors. It is necessary in virtually every aspect of business operations, for example:
- Opening a business bank account or merchant account;
- Registering your business domain name;
- Opening accounts with vendors and suppliers;
- Receiving bills, payments, invoices, and statements;
- Filing for legal contracts, permits, and licenses;
- Communicating with your customers;
- Getting your business listed on online sites or directories, such as Google Places, Bing Places, Yelp, Yellow Pages, CheckATrade, etc.
There are three types of business addresses.
This is the address of your business that is registered with the companies house. It will be used for government bodies to address communications to, such as Companies House or HMRC. This address will be publicly displayed on record at the company house and must be legally shown on your website and stationary.
This is the address of a company officer (a director, company secretary or shareholder) designated to receive government mail, such as communications from Companies House or HMRC. This address will be publicly displayed on record at the company house and must be legally shown on your website and stationary.
This is the address where all general business mail will be received, such as communication from banks, suppliers and customers. This address is not needed to set up a limited company or LLP, won’t be available to the public record at Companies House and isn’t a legal requirement to list on websites or stationary.
In simple terms:
- A business address is where you’ll get day-to-day communications and run your business form. This can be your home address.
- A Registered Office is the official address of your business, which will be on the public record and used for official communications.
- A service address is like a Registered Office, except it’s the official address of a delegated company officer instead of a business.
If you want to set up a limited company or LLP, you will need a Registered Office or Service Address.
Recommended Address Service:
If you’re looking for an affordable address service for your business, we recommend 1st Formations.
They offer Registered Office Address, Service Address, and Business Address services either as part of a company formation package or as a standalone service.
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Why do you need a business address?
You need a business address to set up a limited company or LLP. It is required as it will be where all your official communication is sent.
By law, your Registered Office address must be:
- A physical address in the UK;
- In the same country your company is registered in, for example, a company registered in Scotland must have a registered office address in Scotland.
Your company address will be publicly available on the online register and cannot be removed, so think carefully about whether you want your home address information made public before you decide on what could be used as your Registered Office address.
Instead of a Registered Office address, you can submit a service address of:
- The address of the person who will manage your Corporation Tax – you must get their permission first;
- A company formation agent who will give you an address to use.
This address needs to be in place before you can register your company.
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Should I use my Home Address as my Registered Office Address?
The answer to this question is up to you and the people that you live with. There are both pros and cons to using your home address as your Registered Office address.
Firstly, using your home address as your Registered Office address is the cheapest and quickest solution on offer. If you want to get set up fast and want the convenience, then this is a definite option for you.
However, using your home address as a Registered Office address comes with many downsides that you need to be ready to accept, such as:
- Having your home address being publicly available on the Companies House, which means that customers (good and bad) will be able to knock on your front door at any time of day.
- You’ll be opening up your home to a number of cold callers and sales pitches. So, get ready to accept that your phone will be ringing almost non-stop and your letterbox will be full of flyers and leaflets among your official government communications.
- Your reputation will suffer. Having a residential address as your Registered Office will look amateur and unprofessional to some, which could cost you customers and perhaps even get it refused from bank loans and services like Google My Business, CheckATrade, etc.
Unless you live alone and are totally fine with the above, it’s recommended that you don’t use your home address as your Registered Office.
Where does my Registered Office address need to be?
Officially your company Registered Office address can be anywhere in the UK, as long as it’s in the same country that your business is registered.
So if you register a company in Scotland, you cannot use a London address as your Registered Office address.
That means if you run your business from home, you can use an alternative address to your home address to register your business and keep your private information off the public record.
Can I use a P.O. Box address for my Registered Office?
A P.O. Box is a post office box that you keep inside a Post Office. All of your mail will be stored there for you to access and can act as a helpful address to sort out incoming business post. This is especially useful if you don’t have a permanent address or want to protect your privacy.
Nonetheless, a P.O. Box cannot be used as the Registered Office Address for a Limited Company. This is because by law your Registered Office must have a physical, active location. In theory, P.O. Boxes can be left unchecked for weeks or months, so your Registered Office address needs to be somewhere that will be checked more actively for important and official communication.
What address can I use for my business?
To recap, your Registered Office address needs to be:
- In the UK;
- In the same country your business is registered;
- A real, physical location and not a P.O Box.
You can use your home address as your Registered Office address, but this comes with a number of downsides and will put your private, personal information in the public domain.
You can also use a service address instead of a Registered Office address. This is the official address of a company official, such as a director, stakeholder, secretary or formation agent.
If you’re not sure what address to use, formation agents will be able to provide you with an office address that you can use to register your company and forward the official communication to your normal address to retain your privacy and professionalism.
How much do business address services cost?
- Registered Office address for £39 a year
- Service address for £26 a year
- Business address for £96 a year
All mail and communications that are received at these addresses are forwarded, scanned and emailed to you. So even if you’re not around, you won’t miss anything important in your inbox.
A Registered Office or Service addresses can be used to set up your limited company or LLP, while having a business address from a limited company will help you enhance your business image and help further keep your home address private.
Company formation agents will usually be able to offer you Registered Office addresses as part of a formation package. If you’re just starting up and want someone to take care of the complicated paperwork for you, company formation agents are the answer that you’ve been searching for.
What are company formation agents?
A company formation agent is an independent, professional firm that specialises in the registration of companies at Companies House. Basically, they are professional agencies that set up and register companies, taking the red-tape, confusion and hassle away from you.
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As well as registering your business, company formation agents are there to provide specialist advice and support throughout the application process and beyond.
Most company formation agents offer packages to set your business up, and will often provide Registered Office addresses for your business as part of these packages.
At Business4Beginners, we’ve tried, tested and reviewed the best company formation agents on the market to make sure that you’re getting the best possible advice, help and deal on setting up your business.
If you’re looking to get started right now, here is a quick look at our top three…
1. 1st Formations – Our rating 9.4/10
1st Formations is a Companies House registered eFilling agent and member of the Association of Company Registration Agents (ACRA), that offer various packages depending on the type of limited company you want to set up.
The company offers a simple online application form and boast transparent fees which cover the cost of registering your business in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Island. There are lots of optional extras too, such as address services.
With excellent user reviews and formations completed in less than 3 hours, they’re definitely the formation agency that you should keep at the top of your list.
Our official Business4Beginners rating: 9.4/10.
2. Quality Company Formations – Our rating 9.4/10
Quality Company Formations positions itself as a fast company formations agent with a central London address that is immensely trusted by its customers.
According to them, 99% of their reviews rated them as excellent or great. With over 10 years of industry experience, Quality Company Formations claims to have helped over 250,000 people set up their own and brand new companies within Britain.
What’s more, they also offer some of the lowest prices on the market.
Our official Business4Beginners rating: 9.4/10.
3. Rapid Formations – Our rating 9.3/10
Rapid Formations is a top-rated formation’s company in the UK. They offer four packages that, according to their own statements, will be able to suit any company. In fact, they claim their four-step process to set up a company is so simple that their motto is “the science of simplicity”.
Rapid Formations forms around 36,000 companies every year and it takes an average of three to six hours to register a company.
They offer four basic packages, 18 months of free business banking, an online customer portal, 24/7 customer service, and a wide range of corporate services.
Our official Business4Beginners rating: 9.3/10.
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