Contact your homeowner's association or landlord, read your lease and contact your local government to find out if there are any rules that prohibit you from operating a registered business out of your home. If there are no such restrictions, you can use your home address as your business address, if that's what you want to do. Depending on the type of business you run and for practical purposes, however, it may be advisable to look for mail services near your home.
Privacy and Professional Appearance
Say you're an attorney or a private investigator legally running your business out of your home. Publicizing your home address to clients isn't the best thing for your personal safety and that of your family. And, regardless of your business type, your business address plays a role in your professional appearance, explains Karen E. Spaeder in Entrepreneur. Potential customers and clients may be less skeptical about dealing with someone with a professional-sounding business address, say "120 Gem Highway, Suite 555" than "120 Gem Lane, Apt. 555." If your neighborhood is strictly zoned for residential, you may find yourself in hot water if you operate a business at your home address that involves a large amount of customer foot traffic or heavy car traffic.
Depending on the type of business you run, you may find your business address publicized without your permission, which you may not mind if the address points to a business location such as a mailbox service or a virtual office.
You can claim your home office and related expenses, like electricity, when you file your taxes, but using your home address as your official business address may reduce some of the perks you get as a homeowner, according to an article by Kay Bell in Bankrate's 2010 Tax Guide. For example, the IRS doesn't offer business owners tax exemption on a portion of the profits from the sale of business real estate like it does on a portion of a residential home's sale profits. So, if you claim home office depreciation on your taxes routinely -- which is wear and tear as a result of doing business -- should you sell your home, it might look like you've made more profit than you actually made -- on which you may have to pay more taxes -- because on paper, you've reduced part of the home's value. Talk to an accountant or tax attorney to discuss the tax implications of using your home and its address for your business.
Business Address Alternatives
Getting a business address near your home office keeps a buffer zone between you and your clients. Having a business address that's not your home address also gives you the option to decide if you're going to claim depreciation on your home office -- which you can, but you don't have to. Places that offer business addresses include:
- Virtual offices: These provide you with a business street address, as well as mail and package handling.
- Co-working spaces: Often, but not always, these places provide you with a business street address as part of their service, and they may offer mail and package handling, as well as desk space rental, meeting facilities and printing services.
- Mailbox services, such as the UPS Store and PakMail, provide you with a business street address and specialized mail and package handling and printing services.
You can also rent a business mailbox at your nearest post office, depending on your mail and package needs. For example, if you operate your business offsite, such as food preparation at a rented commercial kitchen, you can ensure your privacy and professionalism with a rented post office box address, rather than your home address. Your business P.O. Box address may have some limitations, especially if you receive certain types of deliveries regularly, such as UPS and FedEx packages.
Maya Black has been covering business, food, travel, cultural topics and decorating since 1992. She has bachelor's degree in art and a master's degree in cultural studies from University of Texas, a culinary arts certificate and a real estate license. Her articles appear in magazines such as Virginia Living and Albemarle.