Every once in a while the topic of P.O. Boxes being bad for business comes up. The reason for this is that consumers and businesses alike are often hesitant about dealing with a business that does not have an actual business address.

Business-to-business dealings are all about knowing where to find your vendor and seeing that the vendor has credibility. Some businesses that use smaller vendors, freelance consultants, or want to work with a start-ups understand that some businesses are home-based operations. When they see a company is using a P.O. Box, they often question the professionalism of that business.

When consumers are looking to do business, they are looking to find a company they can trust and be able to reach quickly. Often when dealing with businesses for higher-priced services or products, seeing the business address as a P.O. Box will create questions in the minds of consumers and possibly send up red flags. This is not saying there is a problem with businesses who use P.O. Boxes – it is the consumers perception and ability to trust that is important here.

Many small or home-based business address wishing to have prestige and be recognizable as a business address will choose to use a mail service of a virtual office provider. As a consumer you know that you like to deal with a business that has a prestigious address, so why does your business not have one? Having your business address at 1 Yonge Street tells your clients that you have a Toronto office space at a prime downtown address.

The big benefit of a mail service over a P.O. Box is that you can have it forwarded. As well, if you chose to pick up your mail, you can call your virtual mail service company and find out if you have any mail to pick up, thereby saving yourself a trip if there is none.

With P.O. Boxes, you have to physically go into the post office to sign up and pre-pay three months’ rental, which is difficult if you’re looking for an international mail service that allows your business to have an office address in Toronto that will have your mail forwarded to you.

When it comes time to rent a physical office, mail services at office business centres can rent you office space without changing your business address on all your promotional and stationery materials – and your clients will never know that you were not physically there before.