Top 5 Considerations for a Virtual Office

A Virtual Office is a low cost set of services which include a business mailing address, mail handling, access to meeting rooms, day desks and phone answering services. It’s a great way to start a business while you keeping overheads low but present a professional image to your customers and clients.

A Virtual Office is not for everyone so before deciding to sign up for a plan, you should consider these top 5 issues:

Decide if A Virtual Office is Right for your Business

Not all businesses can operate remotely.  A good virtual office plan will provide for this by providing access to meeting rooms and day desks but for some businesses this may not be enough. Consider the circumstances under which you / your team are most productive. Do they need frequent collaboration in order to complete tasks? Are frequent face to face meetings required? Is remote working difficult due to space restrictions or poor wifi? If so then you might want to consider renting a private office space

Consider what the Location Signals to Your Customers

Consider whether the address reflects what you do. For example, certain areas of Dublin city are associated with financial services and others are more creative locations.  Consider what your virtual office signals to your customers about you and your business. Assess also whether the chosen address works for you and your future team. For example, if you want to use a meeting room or a day desk, is the address close by and accessible with public transport.

The last thing you want is for the serviced office provider to close, forcing you to re-establish your address in a new location from scratch

Choose an Established Virtual Office Provider

When you sign up for a virtual office you are registering your business at that address and publishing the address on all your marketing material, business cards and so on. You need to ensure that your virtual office provider is up to the task as the last thing you want is for the provider close, forcing you to re-establish your address in a new location from scratch. Having to reprint and edit marketing material can become costly if you need to change your business address when unplanned.  So it’s important to know that your provider is going to be in business for the long haul so find out how long they have been operating. You could even ask whether they lease or own the building that they operate from.

Make sure the Virtual Office Provider is Authorised

Not all virtual office providers are the same. In Ireland for example, Virtual Office providers must be licensed by the Department of Justice and Equality. To obtain this licence, virtual office providers must submit a detailed application to the Department and then undergo an extensive vetting process. The Department will also audit the provider to ensure compliance with the rules. So in the first instance, be sure that the Dublin Virtual Office provider is licensed and if necessary ask to see a copy of the licence.

Are the Available Services Sufficient

Ensure you know what other services the Virtual Office provides and that all your office requirements are met. Does it have a mail system, a phone service, meeting rooms, coworking space or shared office space to rent if you expand your team in the future? You may not need these add-ons just yet but if business goes well you will likely need them later. Checking now will save yourself the hassle of having to re-establish from the start with a new address.

Get A Dublin Virtual Office From €18 /month

Questions to Ask Your Virtual Office Provider Before You Sign Up

Next, do some homework on the Virtual Office provider to make sure that they provide an efficient service. Ask questions like

  • How long has the provider been in business ?
  • How many customers do they have?
  • Have they ever failed a Department of Justice audit?
  • How long does it take to open and scan a piece of post and send it?
  • Is the post received and managed at the actual address?
  • How many staff are available to manage the post and how are they trained?
  • How do you ensure confidentiality of customers?
  • How do you manage disputes ?

Examine the Details of your Virtual Office Plan

Not all Dublin Virtual Office Plans are the same so do some due diligence before signing up.

  • Firstly, the address should be a real building that houses real commercial tenants. This will inspire confidence in potential customers and demonstrates that your address isn’t just a PO box.
  • Second, the location of the building should reflect the image you are trying to present to your own clients. Look at the profile of the neighbours. Are you close to well known landmarks or prestigious areas?
  • Third, look closely at the contract you are agreeing to. For example, ask how long is the term of the contract and whether there are automatic renewals. If so, put a note in your diary to remind you in advance of these upcoming dates
  • Ask what is and what isn’t included in the virtual office plan. For example, do you need to pay extra for mail forwarding? If so, what is the cost and are items bulked together to keep fees low?
  • How many customers do they have?
  • Have they ever failed a Department of Justice audit?
  • How long does it take to open and scan a piece of post and send it?
  • Is the post received and managed at the actual address?
  • How many staff are available to manage the post and how are they trained?
  • How do you ensure confidentiality of customers?
  • How do you manage disputes ?

Once you’re decided that a Virtual Office is right for your business the next step is getting it up in the right way so that you have a strong platform for growth and everything runs smoothly.