When we run home-based business websites from home, what do we do about our business address? Nothing adds credibility to a website better than showing the physical address of the business on the contact page or on the page footers. By ‘physical address’, I’m referring to the actual street address of the business versus a Post Office box.
But if you’re like me, you’re probably not comfortable posting your home address on the internet for everyone to see. Aside from compromising the safety and security of your home front, this can get you in hot water with your local zoning authorities as most residential neighborhoods are not zoned for conducting business (at least not in the strict ‘brick and mortal’ sense of business).
Some home-based businesses use US Postal Service Post Office boxes, but I prefer using an actual street address which can be accomplished with a Private Mailbox service. The UPS Store is one of the largest franchises of such private mailbox services. With a private mailbox, you can rent a box and obtain an address that is an actual street address. For example, if you use UPS Store #1389, you’ll get an address something like this:
9594 1st Avenue NE, #501, Seattle, 98115
501 is the box number, but it looks just like a street address doesn’t it? An address like this will overcome the credibility problem of having no address on your website, but at the same time, will preserve your home address privacy and security. You can receive your business mail there and you can also receive packages (something you can’t do with a PO Box). In addition, most of these Private Mailbox services also provide additional business support services such as copying, faxing, shipping, and supplies.
I avoid the private mailboxes that are already a Suite number. This situation occurs when the private mailbox business is located in a shared building with only one address. If you go with these, you’ll end up with a ‘messy’ address that looks something like this:
19410 Hwy 99, Suite C, PMB 244, Lynnwood, 98036
Now, do I have this setup to ‘fool’ customers into thinking our business has a physical location that customers can visit? Not at all. It is what it is — an address — and I don’t place misleading copy on our websites that leads people to believe they can stop in. There are no ‘store hours’ or MapQuest directions. On the rare occasions that customers call and want to pick up their items to save on shipping, we simply inform them that we are a web-based business, that we ship from various fulfillment centers, and that we’re not set up for walk in customers. We usually don’t get this business, but overall, the benefits gained by showing an actual street address on the website greatly outweigh any drawbacks.