Many different virtual office providers offer various products with the same name. What one provider calls a virtual office package may be different than what another provider offers. It is up to you to find out what each company that offers virtual offices is actually offering you – before you can start to compare prices.

A virtual office can mean a business mailing address service with mail forwarding, mail service and telephone answering, co-working access, discounted day-office rentals, discounted meeting room access or a combination of all these types of virtual-office solutions.

Knowing your virtual office needs and comparing them to the structured plans of service providers can often get confusing. Make a simple checklist with all of the virtual office needs of your small business – including the amount of meeting room time or day-office time that you truly believe is realistic. Present your list of needs to the virtual office providers you are considering, and ask them to give you a price based on your needs, rather than their existing structured packages.

Flexible business office centres that also provide virtual office solutions will work with you to find or customize a virtual office package that works best for your small business. They understand that a standard virtual office package with extra add-on features that you will likely never utilize is not helpful to you. It is like signing up for a gym membership package that includes some free personal training time, but never using it. Why pay for any product or service if you are not going to use it?

Another tip to finding the right virtual office provider is to visit its physical location as if you are intending to rent office space. This will allow you to see the day offices and meeting room spaces they offer, but it will also give you an idea of what your clients will see when you host a meeting there – as well as a sense of the atmosphere of the facility and friendliness of the people.

A further reason to take the full tour of the office business centre you are considering is that you may discover they have an office space solution (such as a shared or semi-private office) that will better suit your needs. Sometimes you may even find an office situation that can be less costly compared to a premium virtual office package at another provider.

Don’t forget to check out the building amenities of your virtual office provider, as well as those in the surrounding area. Sometimes a client may want to meet you at a restaurant or cafe near what they believe is your office, without having to physically come into your office. Just knowing that there are casual places to meet your clients near the building can help you decide on your virtual office provider.