Registered business address, your options explained

Why using your home address as your business address might not be the right decision

September 20, 2016  /  Amber Elliott
registered address

Don’t overlook how important a registered office address is for your company, says Amber Elliot, Operations Manager at business support provider boffix. Aside from being a legal requirement, it can have a huge impact on your credibility and brand image.

Great, you’ve decided to go it alone! Here’s a few things you need to think about…

Why do I need a ‘registered office’?
When you’re setting up a new business it’s worth investing a little time upfront to decide on a suitable address. For starters, a registered office address is vital for limited companies or limited liability partnerships (LLPs) so you can trade legally here in the UK. Basically, it’s to provide Companies House and HMRC with an official address for delivering statutory company mail and legal notices.

What type of address can I have?
Firstly, it must be a full, physical postal address (not a PO Box) in the same part of the UK in which your company is registered, ie England and Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland.
Also, remember the address is publicly available. And don’t forget that legally, it must appear on your company correspondence and website.

So how do you decide on a suitable address?
If you’re selling products or services in a specific area, you could choose that location as your registered office address. In fact, the registered address doesn’t have to be where your business carries out its main activities so you could ask your accountant or solicitor to act as your official office address.

Should I opt for a residential or non-residential address?
Even though both are allowed, like many people, you may prefer to keep your home address private. Why’s that? Well, there are some disadvantages in using your home address:

• It’s on public record at Companies House – in other words this information is available to anyone

• It doesn’t always give the best impression (whereas a professional registered address can seem more credible)

• It can affect the rateable value of your property

• It may go against the terms of your mortgage agreement

• Your landlord may not agree to it being a registered office address, potentially invalidating your house insurance

• Your business life and private life won’t feel separate

• You’ll receive lots of extra junk mail (very irritating!)

• Creditors and disgruntled customers know exactly where you live

With this in mind and, as there are many providers of registered office addresses at very affordable prices, you need to ask yourself whether it’s really worth the risk for such a small price.

What are my next steps?

After choosing where and who will act, contact the provider and agree terms. Then, once set up, you’ll also need to advise Companies House.
If you’re a new company, you simply record the address when your register your business. You’ll need to complete an AD01 form if changing your address though. You can download this here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/change-a-registered-office-address-ad01

In a nutshell, many companies overlook how important the address is. Yet, depending on the nature of your business it can have a huge impact on your credibility or brand image.
In the end, only you can decide whether to choose your home over a non-residential address, weighing up convenience with the benefits of privacy and the potential boost to brand credibility.

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