A while back I wrote about the reasons that I didn’t hide that I work from home. However, something has gradually changed my mind the past few months: the desire for privacy.
As my business grew, so did the distribution of my business card, which contained my home phone number and address. I grew uncomfortable with the wide distribution of my personal contact information. I was surprised at how exposed this made me feel, especially my personal address being on the footer of my new newsletter that is now distributed to 1,000 people each week.
I decided to reclaim my personal privacy by moving my business’s location out of my home.
For my business, the perfect solution was the “business location service” offered by my coworking facility. Similar services are offered by many coworking operations. The service provides my company use of the facility’s mailing address, and also a dedicated toll-free number answered by the facility’s receptionist. Now callers will be greeted by the ever-cheerful Lateesha, instead of probably getting my personal answering machine.
Since I didn’t physically move locations, there were no boxes to pack. But as I have been discovering, even moving a business on paper is an involved process that has financial costs.
Just like when you move your home, there are many places to notify of your new address. Instead of their driver’s license, business owners have to change their business license. A business may have multiple licenses: state, county and city. You’ll need to check with each to find out how to change your address, and there may be fees involved. For instance, it cost me $25 to file my change with the State of Florida. To notify the U.S. Internal Revenue Service of your change of address, fill out form 8822 and mail it in.
Next up, you’ll need to change the address on your bank accounts, credit accounts, merchant accounts, and payment services such as Paypal or Square. Changing these addresses will cause some expense because you’ll need to re-order any supplies such as checks and deposit slips that have the address on them. Avoid using your bank to purchase these supplies, and use an outside printing service instead, such as Checks Unlimited, to save money. I saved 75 percent on my new banking supplies doing this. Make sure you change the addresses on the accounts before ordering the new supplies as the printer may verify the information with the bank.
After updating your financial accounts, you’ll need to change the billing address on any place where you are using that account (such as for auto-billing).
Two other groups will need to be notified of your “move”: vendors and clients. How you do this will depend on how many you have, and how you usually communicate with them. You can mail postcards (another expense), send emails, or attach notices to payments bills you send. (If you use accounting software, don’t forget to update it to print your new address on forms.) Since your old address will continue to work, this can be done gradually.
Where else is your address hiding? It could be in your email signature, at your domain registrar, on your website, or in social media profiles. It’s likely on your business cards (and letterhead, if you use it), which is another expense. Inevitably, the address will pop up somewhere you’ve missed. It’s a big project, but I expect the result to be increased privacy and professionalism.
Do you use a business location service? Why?
Related GigaOM Pro content (sub. req.): Enabling the Web Work Revolution