Many smaller companies need to be mindful of every penny going out the door, and business premises are often among the highest expenses on the profit and loss account. It’s often relevant to question whether permanent dedicated premises are necessary for every instance. Trading without premises is entirely possible for many small operators, which can give you a better competitive edge when pricing your services. Here is our guide to trading without a dedicated business address.
Make Sure Customers Can Contact You
If there is no physical place where a customer can walk in and see you, then contact must be made easy for the prospective customer. You should have a contact page on your website and a prominent phone number. Customers will often use social media accounts to get in touch with businesses these days, so if you have Facebook and Twitter set up, be sure to regularly check posts and messages so that you may reply to them before you miss out on the business.
Have and Excellent Web Presence
It’s not just having your contact details on display through your online sites, and it’s using these to communicate to prospective customers and promote to them. A well-designed website should quickly tell a visitor who you are and what you offer, and it should be easy to navigate to the most wanted pieces of info such as pricing or services offered. Posts on social media should be visually engaging, and not too cluttered so that members of the public will be drawn in.
Storage & Workspace
Even if you are not going to the expense of having business premises, you may need some space, even temporarily. If you need to store equipment or tools, then maybe you’ll need something like a garage to rent. Or, if you work on a PC, you will at least need a workspace to sit at, and if there is not enough room at home, there are plenty of ‘hub’ offices that allow you to rent desk space on a pay as you go basis.
One area where not having a dedicated trading address can put you at a disadvantage is that Google now places significant importance on geography in many of its searches. This means that if you are not listed on Google Places, you may be downgraded in the search results. You could register your home address as a business location, but this runs the risk of people turning up at your door, which may not be ideal.
Be Clear about the Set-Up
For the reasons outlined above, if you have a business registered to your home address, it’s essential to make it clear to customers that it’s not a business place. If you offer an online-only service state this on your website, and likewise, if you provide a home visit service for your customers. Often you can legally register your business at your accountant or financial advisor’s business address to avoid such issues.
Interesting related article: “What is a Trader?”