Choosing a virtual office is an effective way of securing a premium London business address without paying a premium price. Some key benefits of going for this type of service include:
- Having a virtual presence in a global city
- Being able to choose among various premium addresses without having to pay for prime real estate
- Having more time to focus on running your business
- Saving on the costs of software, office equipment, and staff
Virtual Offices in London: Services Included
Virtual offices provide a registered address that can be used with the Companies House and in company stationery, as well as mail reception and mail forwarding to UK addresses and in some cases abroad too. Mail can be also be scanned, faxed, or collected in person.
Another common service is personalised phone answering, message taking, and call forwarding. Remote access to voice mail may also be available.
If virtual offices are provided by business centre operators, access to hot desks and meeting rooms is usually part of the package. Where the service provider has an international presence, access to business lounges in other cities or countries and invitations to networking events may be included.
Other services include secretarial and admin support (e.g. transcription, translation, booking appointments, event management, making travel arrangements, etc.). These are often available on a pay-per-use basis.
Choosing a Virtual Office Address
When choosing a virtual office address, it’s important to bear in mind that certain industry sectors are clustered in specific parts of the city (e.g. creative and media in Clerkenwell and Shoreditch, finance and banking in the City, small IT operations around Great Titchfield Street, or logistics and distribution in West London).
Here’s a list of geographical areas popular with virtual office customers in London, along with their respective postcodes:
- The City, St Pauls, Blackfriars, Moorgate, Liverpool Street, London Bridge (EC1A, EC1V, EC2N, EC3A, EC4N, EC4Y, SE1)
- Fitzrovia, Charing Cross, Covent Garden, Marylebone, Paddington, Euston, King’s Cross (W1T, W1B, W1W, WC1B, W1H, WC1X, NW1, W2, WC2N)
- Soho, Mayfair, Kensington, Victoria (SE1, SW1Y, W1S, W8)
Zones 2 to 6
- East London (E14, IG11)
- West London (W4, W5, W6, W14, HA1, UB3, UB11, TW6)
- South London (TW1, CR9, BR1, SE10, SE13)
Since flexibility is a key aspect of the virtual office concept, it’s difficult to quote a specific figure regarding the cost of this service. The following are approximate prices for informational purposes:
– A basic registered address service can be purchased for as little as £10 / month, whereas high-end providers can charge up to £50 / month for their virtual office package in a landmark address or £150 for address and mail handling packages.
– Address and mail handling services (unlimited volume) average £65 / month in Zone 1. Outside of Zone 1, the norm is £50-£55 / month, although prices may be higher for contracts shorter than 24 months.
– Packages that include phone answering: some virtual office service providers charge different prices for diverting calls only, answering calls during business hours, answering calls round-the-clock, and answering calls, forwarding them, and / or taking messages. Prices for the most basic service (call diversion only) range between £10 and £20 / month and go up to £30 for the full call answering and message-taking package.
Lastly, virtual office services can be bought as standalone products. In this case, average costs are as follows:
- Call answering & forwarding £7-£9 / month
- Mail handling and forwarding £25 / month
- Mail handling, scanning and emailing £35-£45 / month
- Mail drop-off and pick-up only £10-£15 / month
As you can see, virtual offices are a cost-efficient solution that offers flexibility, lower overheads, and can support the growth of your business while helping you take full advantage of being (virtually) based in London.