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Should I Use a PO Box For My Home Business?

Posted by DJ Nelson on February 24th, 2009

You’ve just started your home office and you are ready to get to work. You’re excited about working from home but then it occurs to you that perhaps business and personal should be separate.

Will clients and customers think you are unprofessional if they know you have a home office? Will you have to fear that your privacy will be violated if you use your home address on your marketing materials?

Here is what some work at home professionals have to say.

Shari Frisinger of Cornerstone Strategies LLC said she definitely uses a Post Office Box. “I am very hesitant to give out my home address – when I am in the home office I usually don’t have make-up on and am in shorts, jeans , tshirts or some other non-professional attire. I don’t’ want unexpected visitors when I look like this. My clients do not come to see me and I prefer to keep my business separate from my home.”

But what about the downsides of using a Post Office Box? Does that automatically label you in a negative light?

Kelly Harmsen of Bjort & Company, Inc. doesn’t think so. “I don’t think there is anything wrong with having a PO Box and even if it does label me as working from home, most of my customers know that already,” she said.

Barry Maher of Barry Maher & Associates said, “Years ago there was a stigma to being a small, home office business and everyone tried to appear as large as possible. That stigma has long since vanished. If anything, nowadays larger companies are trying to appear smaller and more flexible. I make no bones about the fact that I work out of my home, and have even done interviews for the Today Show and NBC News clearly showing me working out of my office as well as in my living room and my garage.”

Still, some don’t mind using their home address.

“I use my home address on all business materials. I have customers all over the country and except for those who live in my city, no one knows if this is a residential or business.” Carrie Bell of MadCapz.

Sue Freeman of Footprint Press, Inc enjoys the convenience of receiving her mail at home.

“I don’t fret about privacy and use my home address and phone number for all my business needs. It just makes life simpler. For the first 10 years of my businesses, I lived up north and used a PO Box. It was more bother than it was worth - having to run to the [post office] quite often. And over time, I found many business contacts began using my home address anyway - it has a way of leaking out. So, when I moved south, I dropped the PO Box and have not regretted it,” she said.

Richard Oppenheim of the Oppenheim Group says that if someone wants his home address, they’ll find it anyway. “I do not believe anything is “private.” We need security of personal and business everything – papers, equipment, account data, client lists and so on. There will always be somebody doing bad stuff or thinking about bad stuff. “they” do not care who I am. No, I have not yet constructed a moat and drawbridge around my home. I do have passwords and security software on all computers and backup data frequently,” he said.

Of course, whatever you choose, there are pros and cons.

Kristine Tanzillo of Dux Public Relations explains why she stopped using her home address.

“We use to use our home address for our office address. We now use a PO Box for both business and personal usage. Not only is the PO Box more secure (don’t have to worry about someone stealing receivables), but it keeps unwanted solicitors from showing up at the door. We had a sales person stop by unannounced once when we didn’t return their call. They didn’t know we worked from home and drove out to pitch us on their latest products. They were rather surprised when I answered the door in shorts and a t-shirt…Now we only give out our office location if we know someone has an appointment or needs to make a FedEx or UPS delivery,” said Tanzillo.

On the other hand, Teri Hurley of Blue Moon Travel seems to have had the opposite experience.

“Over the years [having a PO Box] ended up being more of a pain in the neck than anything else. Making the drive to the post office turned out to be an added expense in time, rental cost as well as transportation costs plus I was already using my physical address for collateral shipments. Eventually I just gave in and canceled the PO box all together.”

Hurley also believes that having physical address gives clients more confidence in your business.

“One of my group cruises, a client that I was meeting face to face for the first time said he was originally worried that I wasn’t real. He contacted the cruise line to be sure I was a bona fide agent. Since listing the home address as my business address, I have not had this comment occur again,” Hurley stated.

Of course, PO Boxes aren’t the only option. There are mailbox services which give you the privacy of a PO Box with the benefit of having an actual street address. However, some may feel that this option is a bit pretentious in that you are giving off an image that is slightly unrealistic.

“I know a business consultant whose street address is impressive. Being the sleuth I am, I checked out her business phone number on White Pages and found that the phone is her home number. Then I did a search on live maps and found that the street address is actually a Mail Boxes company. Now in my mindset is that she’s not as big and powerful as she led me to believe. I’d rather that she use her home address for business. I’m not going there, so who cares where she gets her mail!,” said Vicki Lynne Morgan of Russmor Marketing Group

But not everyone uses mailboxes to put up a front. For some, it’s just easier.

“As a travel writer, I travel quite a bit, so it is easy for me to forward my mail to different places via the PO Box,” said Casey Wohl, Author of The Getaway Girl.

Others shared similar sentiments.

“For both privacy and travel reasons, I use a mail box service – not the post office…My job requires a decent amount of travel during the spring and summer, so this eliminates both the need for having someone pick up my mail, and the confusion between not being able to send to a PO Box if someone is shipping via fedex or a courier. And I really am not too excited about my home address being out on the internet with my contact info!” Lori Lenz Biscuit PR.

Should Home Based Businesses Use PO Box?

As you can see, there is no right or wrong answer. You have to do what makes the most sense for your business.

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Reader Comments

Type your comment here. Question. I have a P.O.Box.My business is from the home. I also have a home phone. Sometimes a person uses my home phone
to get directions, this would give them directions to my home not the P.O.Box. How can this be stopped.

Contact your phone company and ask for your number to be private or unlisted.

Thanks for the different viewpoints.

use ur in-laws address and phone number.

I would suggest to many small businesses to turn towards franking machines. They offer great deals and discounts and are the most cost effective and efficient methods of functioning. Since most small businesses are concerned about costs this can cut down a massive amount of expense dedicated to your postage.

Type your comment here.can’t get rid of form in order to read rest of article



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