We Know: All About Virtual Offices

What is a virtual office?

A virtual office is a group of services that allows a small business or start up company to achieve a professional image without having to rent office space and the like. Essentially, when signing up for these services, you receive mail forwarding and message answering services along with a business address and phone number. This way, you can work from your home, but still have a corporate feel about your business.

How do virtual offices work?

Virtual offices work by giving your small business the look and feel of a much larger company minus the price tag. Rather than giving out your home address and telephone number, your business prospects can reach you through a "virtual" system that can sometimes afford you a receptionist, voice mail services and mail forwarding. Just be careful! If you decide to sign up for a P.O. Box address, please realize that packages cannot be delivered to these addresses. If you foresee the need to receive packages for your business, try signing up for a Commercial Mail Receiving Agency (CMRA) that receives all of your mail and gives you a suite number.

If you need to perform conference calls with clients or employees who also work from home or away from your office, there are many programs that allow you to call people through your computer. These services are cheap and given the right technology, can incorporate video conferencing as well. You may also wish to consider purchasing software that helps you organize and share files with fellow employees or clients such as AfterOffice and OfficeClip.

What sorts of services are available with a virtual office?

  • Meeting Rooms and Offices: Not everything about your virtual office has to involve telecommunication. In fact, if you wish to sit down face-to-face with your employees or clients, many virtual office services offer places and rooms for rent for such situations.
  • Virtual Assistants: If you need assistance in handling your messaging services or correspondence, many virtual office companies provide customers with live assistants who can handle your messages and such while you do concentrate on getting work done.
  • Business Address: If you don't want your home address lingering out there on the Internet, virtual office companies provide a forwarding address that helps your business look more corporate. Any mail received by the forwarding service will immediately be sent directly to your home, or you can pick up your mail if you wish.
  • Access to Office Equipment: If you either can't afford to purchase office equipment or like the idea of a centralized place to do work, virtual office companies provide office facilities with all of the equipment you need at any time you need it.

What are some companies that offer virtual office services?

  • Officescape
  • HQ Virtual Offices
  • AfterOffice
  • OfficeClip

How much does a virtual office cost?

Virtual office services can vary widely in pricing depending upon what services you require and the amount of assistance you require, for instance. If all you require is mail forwarding, it can cost around $50-$100 a month. However, if you require in depth answering services or physical office meeting space, the cost can be several thousand dollars per year.

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