Is it legal to use a virtual office?

Virtual Office

Yes, virtual office addresses are completely legal. Under UK law, there is no obligation to work from your registered address.

In fact, before virtual offices became commonplace, many companies would use their accountant’s office as their registered address. Clearly, this practice has been popular for decades.

What are the features of a virtual office?

The basic feature of a virtual office address is that it gives you a professional address where you can receive post. Most virtual offices allow you to either collect your post in person, or they will forward it periodically for a fee.

Some virtual offices provide additional services, such as call handling (or virtual phone numbers) and meeting spaces.

What are the disadvantages of a virtual office?

This is tricky to answer, because there aren’t any obvious flaws in the virtual office service concept.

Providing you choose your virtual office carefully, and select an appropriate location, then you should get all the expected benefits.

You may reach a point where, instead of having a virtual office in London (for example), you need a have a physical office in London, but it’s easy enough to cancel a virtual office address service and update your registered company address. More about Virtual Office

However, in that example you might prefer to maintain the virtual office address for your official correspondence like bank statements and tax paperwork, particularly if you are likely to change your physical office address any time soon (e.g. because you outgrow the space or need a different location).

Is a virtual office address right for you?

To summarise, virtual office addresses are ideal for anyone starting a company because they reduce the amount of paperwork you might have to do if you move. With a virtual office address you can have a single fixed point of contact wherever life takes you.

Most virtual office address agreements are rolling 1-month contracts, so you can usually cancel at any time if you get a new office or want to wind up the business.

With virtual offices, the commitment is small but the impact is big.

Meeting room

Many virtual assistants, for example, work from a spare bedroom or kitchen table and might prefer to keep their domestic situation separate from business.

In the early episodes of the drama, the struggling attorney meets clients in local diners with the canned explanation, “Sorry to meet with you here, my offices are being painted.”

The truth of the situation is that McGill’s actual “office” is a dingy backroom storage area of a nail salon because he cannot justify the expense of a full serviced office.

Jimmy McGill Nail Salon Office

James Caan, former BBC Dragon’s Den investor, started his recruitment company Alexander Mann in a tiny windowless office on the prestigious Pall Mall in Westminster.

The office was so small, it wasn’t fit for purpose. It only really served as a pretext to use the words “Pall Mall” as the address on his business card.

Caan would meet clients outside the building and say, “So sorry, all our meeting rooms are full. Can we go and get a coffee somewhere and we’ll talk?”

Tip: Use the Nearest Major City

Do some research and see if there are any providers in the nearest town or city.

I am from a small town called Ilkeston and there is only one provider of virtual office space here. However, if I go to Nottingham, 9 miles away, there are dozens of providers that I can use, and pricing is competitive.

You might get better leads because large cities usually have a better economy and attract investment.


Bootstrappers and budget start ups can squeeze many benefits from a relatively cheap virtual address.

Lend your outward image some razzle-dazzle in addition to the technical and logistical advantages.

Remote working is so common these days, that some companies do not have a fixed location whatsoever. Many of us now work in the cloud, online and alongside virtual assistants.

Yet potential customers still appreciate the idea your business can be physically pinned down to good old fashioned bricks and mortar. Being next to all the other service providers is somehow reassuring.



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