Office Space Options: Virtual Office Services

The following is the fifth in our series focusing on providing information on the various types of office space available, from business parks to hot desking and project space, business incubators, conventional office accommodation, managed offices to shared co-working options.

For a business in need a prestigious office address and presence without an office lease, virtual office options are a great solution.

What is a Virtual Office?
A virtual office is a most effective solution to the dilemma faced by small businesses and entrepreneurs. Virtual offices provide an address, usually in a recognized business district, and other amenities that allow users to maintain a professional image without having to maintain a high cost conventional office space.

Why have a Virtual Office?
A virtual office allows work from home entrepreneurs more economic efficiency. Having a virtual office helps retain the image of a traditional business, with a professional office address, without the expense of renting an office in the business district. Virtual office users have the benefit of being able to flexibly match expenses with incomes increasing or decreasing the services as their revenue fluctuates.

Virtual offices can help reduce overhead while maintaining a high level of professionalism. They provide you with both communication services and physical space services, based on your need and determined by you.

What is included?
Generally, a virtual provider offers a business address and mail handling services, at the least. At the most, programs will include physical offices, dedicated phone lines with receptionist service, and meeting spaces. Virtual office services offer a variety of packages that include some or all of these amenities. Some services allow you to customize a package to suit your particular needs.

The typical virtual office basic package includes a business address, mail and package reception, and mail forwarding service. These basic packages tend to cost in the area of $50 US per month. A more complete virtual office package typically includes several hours a month of office and meeting space use, telephone answering, and a dedicated phone number. A top of the line package costs around $250-$300 US per month.

Who provides Virtual Office Space?
Very few office rental companies operate exclusively as virtual office services. Most business centers that offer virtual office services also provide co-working spaces, hot desks, serviced offices, and traditional office leases. Many of these provide the virtual office service as an incentive for businesses to transition to full time office occupancy in their building.

Who benefits from a Virtual Office?
Whether your business is a small start-up or is established and expanding, a virtual office is an ideal solution for entrepreneurs who want to have a professional physical address but do not need, or are not ready for, a long term lease or a full time physical office.