By Sylvia Schwartz, manager at Company Address
In order to register a limited company with Companies House, you need to register an address. The address you choose to register is up to you, but it’s the address that everyone will see when they look for your company and it’s where all your official post will be sent to.
A lot of people starting out in business will use their home address as their registered address if they don’t have access to commercial office space, but there are some very good reasons to avoid this if at all possible.
1) Your private address will be public
Anyone can look up a business’s registered address online through the Companies House website. In an increasingly connected world, where it’s becoming harder and harder to find spaces that are truly private, many people value the privacy and security of their home address.
Residential addresses are easy to spot, and it will often be obvious if your home address is your business address. I don’t want to be a fear-monger – in most cases, nothing bad will come of your private address being public – however, when you’re dealing with different clients and customers, it can be a benefit to have that buffer of a private address between you and them.
2) Residential addresses make businesses look small
If you’re running a less established business and trying to grow, you need to do everything you can to convince potential customers, clients and investors that you are reliable and professional. A residential address doesn’t really give this impression.
Residential addresses make it obvious that a business is being run out of a home and that it’s still in its very early stages, which might cause potential clients to look to more established competitors instead. By contrast, a virtual address in London gives the impression that your business is professionally run and established in a major business location.
3) You’re missing out on regional benefits
In the UK, different cities and regions come with different reputations when it comes to business. London is obviously a world-renowned financial capital, as well as being a hotbed for successful businesses of all shapes and sizes. Elsewhere in the UK, cities like Leeds, Edinburgh, Bristol and Nottingham are known for technology, innovative companies and emerging startup environments.
By registering your home address, you could be missing out on the helpful associations that come with being registered in one of these cities, or another location in the UK with a good reputation. Being associated with the right region can be a big factor in getting your client base off the ground or attracting investment.
4) You’ll be limited to local customers
Giving people the impression that your business is small and residentially-based could limit your customer-base in another way, making it harder to attract clients and customers from across the country.
When you’re just starting out, it can be good to build up your customer-base or your clients with local people. These are the people that you can meet through networking and who will hear about you through word of mouth. But if you want to grow and convince people from elsewhere in the country to give their money to you, you can’t look like you’re a purely locally-focused business. You need to show people that you have national reach and that they’ll get good service wherever they are in the country – a home address doesn’t really do this.
5) Your work and personal life will be indistinguishable
This final reason not to register your home address is more personal: if you register your home address as your business address, there is very little to separate your personal and professional lives.
If you’re in the middle of starting up a company it might feel like you don’t have much of a personal life anyway, but everyone needs time and space away from work at some point. Even if you work from home, having a separate address that is associated with your business is an important psychological distinction – it helps you break away from the idea that your home is your business. If you have a space that is your own, that you can relax in, you’ll be able to function a lot better in your day-to-day working life, which will lead to more success for you in the future.
Sylvia Schwartz is the manager at Company Address, a UK based company that sells address services and mail forwarding to startups and growing businesses. Your business can benefit from a prestigious address in London, Edinburgh or Dublin.