Companies trading in the UK require a registered address in order to operate. Many small businesses choose to give their home address, but this can become a privacy issue, as the address appears on public records. Furthermore, if you are renting your property you may not be allowed to list it as your office.
The danger of using your home address is that your registered office address must legally appear on your company website. This makes your personal life very visible to customers and other members of the public. Your creditors and customers will know where you live. You may receive deliveries of supplies to your home and, worse still, you may receive aggravated callers on your doorstep.
Your company name and address is also recorded at Companies House and will be available for the public to view.
In addition to these problems, your registered office says a great deal about the reputation and image of your business. You want your company to project an air of professionalism and to instil confidence in your clients.
Your registered address cannot be a P.O. Box number, it must have a full postal address. A service is offered in the UK whereby you can register using a top London address and your mail is forwarded on to your home address. There is a fee charged for this, depending on the location of the office. Online searches will give you a selection of address providers.
Many accountants offer their clients a registered office service, so that your accountant’s office is the same as yours. Some accountants prefer this anyway, to enable them to deal with correspondence sent from Companies House immediately. However, if your accountant works from home, they probably won’t offer you this service because their own privacy would be in jeopardy.
Although you cannot use a PO Box for your registered address, you can use it for your general correspondence and choose another address for the registered office.
Your registered office may or may not be the same as your trading address. A trading address means the location where your business activities are carried out. You should bear in mind that customers looking for you would expect to find you at your company’s trading address.
However, you might want to give your customers the idea that your trading address is different to your registered address, leaving them with the impression of your company operating at multiple locations.
You need to consider carefully where you want your official business post to be sent, as you will be receiving mail from HM Revenue and Customs and Companies House. You have to be able to deal promptly with business documents to avoid any delays.
Your registered address must be in the same country as the one your business is registered in, for example in England or Wales.
A registered office is your opportunity to show your customers how professional your company is. Take the time to make the right impression.