A virtual office is a workspace solution, including a physical mailing address, that you can rent to help make your startup or small business appear larger and more established. It also offers additional features, such as a local phone number, receptionist, or physical office space and/or meeting and conference rooms that you can rent by the hour and use to create a positive impression on your clients.
In this guide, we will discuss the benefits of a virtual office space, what features to look for in one, and how it compares to other office space solutions for small businesses.
What is a Virtual Office?
“A virtual office is a total business solution; providing the same benefits as traditional office space, but at a fraction of the cost. The main difference is the access to the office is on an on-demand basis.”
— Karina Childs, Virtual Office Sales Manager – USA, Servcorp
The concept of virtual office space was pioneered by Servcorp about 40 years ago. By providing a physical mailing address, it allowed startups, small businesses, and entrepreneurs to have access to the advantages of an established office space. These can include a prestigious address in your own city or elsewhere, local phone numbers, and administrative support without committing to dedicated office space.
Some of the features and services you can expect to receive from a virtual office include:
- A professional business address and/or phone number
- Mail receipt and forwarding
- Call answering by a live receptionist and call forwarding
- Access to physical office space, including private offices and conference rooms
- Essential business services at the physical office space, including:
- High-speed WiFi
- Audio/visual presentation hardware
- Basic catering, such as coffee, tea, and light snacks
- Access to other office locations in the provider’s network
- Occasional networking and social events
How a Virtual Office Can Help Your Business
The primary and most obvious benefit of a virtual office space is that it helps your business to appear larger and more established, as well as give you access to the amenities of a dedicated office space. This makes it easier for you to create a favorable impression on your clients, both current and prospective, while you and your team can work from home or another office space that’s more convenient.
A virtual office can also help your business to minimize the costs that are associated with a traditional and permanent office space. Administrative, infrastructure, and technical costs are shared between the other clients of the space, which eases the burden of upfront capital and ongoing maintenance costs. For example, Servcorp has invested over $100 million in IT and telecommunications systems to deliver the best and most current services possible to their clients. And best of all, Servcorp offers the flexibility of a month-to-month agreement with no long-term commitment.
Many entrepreneurs and small business owners use their personal mobile phones as the primary point of contact for their business. A virtual office often includes a local landline number, which is answered by a professional receptionist during business hours who can take a message or forward the call. This gives your business a more professional face as well as decreases the chances of missed calls or opportunities.
Finally, a virtual office from Servcorp gives you access to their worldwide network of over 160 locations in 54 cities. If you’re traveling or visiting a client in another city, you can still take advantage of Servcorp’s facilities — often for no additional charge.
Who Can Benefit from a Virtual Office
Any startup, small business, or solo entrepreneur can benefit from the features and flexibility of a virtual office, but here are some specific use cases:
- Professionals who don’t want to disclose their personal address or mobile phone number on their business documents or marketing materials
- Freelancers who work out of their clients’ offices but still want to maintain an independent marketing identity and presence
- Businesses expanding into new territories, but that haven’t established a permanent presence yet
- Businesses pitching new clients that want to work with a local presence
- Small businesses that want the professionalism of a receptionist and support staff, but without the cost and time of recruiting their own
- Sales teams that travel between prospective clients, but that want office space to use between meetings
- Digital nomads who need physical space to conduct meetings, even remotely
- Small businesses in image-driven industries that would benefit from a more prestigious address than they can otherwise afford
Cost of a Virtual Office
The exact cost of a virtual office will vary depending on factors like its location and the facilities and services you take advantage of. For example, Servcorp’s virtual offices in Chicago start at $109/month where in New York City they start at $199/month.
Servcorp offers four plans in each office:
- The Address Package – includes the use of an address, mail and courier management service, and some access to physical office space
- The Communications Package – includes a local telephone number, a human receptionist, and access to additional call features
- The Membership – access boardrooms, private offices, and coworking space at member rates
- The Virtual Office Package – which is a combination of the three plans above, plus:
- 16 hours/month of private office or conference room at the home location
- Three hours/day of coworking space at any location
- Three days/month of private office outside of home city
Servcorp also includes access to the Servcorp Community in all of their plans. The Community is an online private business network connecting over 35,000 Servcorp clients across the globe for collaboration and networking opportunities.
For this discussion, let’s look at several Servcorp office locations in some major US cities:
|1 International Place|
|444 W Lake Street|
|1 World Trade Center|
New York, NY
|101 California Street|
San Francisco, CA
|1717 Pennsylvania Ave|
Bottom Line on Virtual Office Space
Virtual office spaces help your business to appear larger or more prestigious than it may yet be as well as the flexibility to base it elsewhere while you work in a more convenient location. Virtual office providers offer a range of services from receiving and forwarding your mail to professional receptionists, physical office space you can use as needed, and meeting hosting services.