Discover 3 address options for registering your LLC
A lot of business owners, especially over the course of the pandemic, have started running their business from home. Others—and maybe you’re one of them—have always had a home-based business. In either case, if you don’t have physical office space and you’re forming a Limited Liability Company (“LLC”), you might be wondering, for privacy reasons, what address you should be using when you register. If this is a worry you share, read on to find out your options!
There are a number of reasons why you may not want to use your home address when registering your LLC. Dissatisfied or angry customers could find your home and approach you, other upset people in your life or who cross your path might find you, or a variety of other privacy violations could occur.
As someone who runs a business, you’re prudent, so you’re probably wondering the best way to keep yourself safe and limit the exposure of your personal information to the public. Smart!
It can be worrisome to know your home address is out there, floating around in the ether. Here are some options for the privacy-conscious business owner:
1. Get a “public-facing” address (a PO box)
Since you’re legally required to include your business address in any communications with clients or customers (for example, emails*), you can elect to use a PO box instead of your home address. Keep in mind, though, that when you do official business (like working with banks or filing official documents with your State), you’ll need to use your home address.
If you obtain a PO box, it’s best to be on the safe side and get one in the same city as your home address, for legal reasons as well as ease of access.
Since you’ll still need to use a physical address (i.e., your home address) for LLC registration and official correspondence, this option might still seem a little “exposed” to you. The good news is, however, that even though the address you provide when you register your LLC is public, it’s pretty unlikely a client will search the Secretary of State just to get your address (unless they’re trying to sue you, in which case they are legally permitted to do so).
The downside to using a PO box is that it may seem less trustworthy or credible to your customers or clients. If that doesn’t bother you, this could be an excellent solution.
*Note that if you’re sending business or commercial emails to anyone, they must comply with the CAN-SPAM Act, or else you may face steep fines. See this post for more information.
2. Use a virtual office space/virtual business address/virtual mailbox
Virtual office spaces have seen a huge rise in popularity since the beginning of the pandemic.
With these types of services, you pay a monthly fee (the average rate seems to be around $50 per month, though there are some that are much more affordable) to “rent” a virtual office space/business address. It allows you to receive mail to a physical business address, which can either be forwarded to you or picked up in person, depending on the provider, and provides you with an official-looking address for LLC registration. Some providers also offer an “open and scan” option, which allows you to view your mail virtually.
The virtual office space is a good way to help your business look professional and established while safeguarding your personal information.
A quick Google search reveals a ton of options in the US with varying prices and service options—go take a look (after you finish reading this post, of course)!
3. Sign up for a mailbox at a coworking space
Even if you’re not interested in signing up to actually use a coworking space, some coworking businesses will allow you to rent a mailbox. The mailbox can either function similarly to a PO Box or, if the coworking business provides it, as a mail forwarding service.
The upside to this is that if you for some reason need to meet a customer or client, you’ll already know of a great coworking space in which to meet them that already matches your business address.
In addition, some coworking businesses will provide you with reception/front desk staff along with your mailbox rental. They may even offer other administrative services like check depositing. If a coworking mailbox seems like the best fit for you, do your research to make sure you’re getting the best deal (and the services that work best for your business).
The big BUT:
Some coworking spaces and virtual offices may have policies that forbid you from using their service/business address for your Registered Agent address when forming your LLC. You’ll have to make sure to read their policies and fine print carefully.
A Registered Agent is someone that your business designates to receive important documents related to your business, for example, state or government documents or documentation regarding legal proceedings (lawsuits).
If your LLC has more than one member, and another member has a physical address they feel comfortable using, you can appoint them to be your Registered Agent when forming your LLC. If your LLC is single member (just you), you also have the option of appointing a third party to be your Registered Agent. This can be a lawyer or even a business that provides Registered Agent services. This alternative is extremely safe, though it might be an expense that a new or small business owner may not want to take on.
To sum up
The first step is figuring out your comfort level with sharing your home address.
If you’re okay with sharing it for official purposes, then a PO Box is a great (and affordable) option while using your home address to register the LLC.
If you’re someone who is not comfortable at all with sharing your home address in any capacity, a virtual office/virtual mailbox or coworking mailbox might be a better fit, keeping in mind the caveat that some of these services do not permit you to use them as Registered Agents.
If none of the above is satisfactory, consider appointing a third party as a Registered Agent for your LLC address, though this is usually the most costly option.
Since the rules vary between states, be sure to check the rules in your state for what kinds of addresses are acceptable for registering your LLC.
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