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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Chicago, IL
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    Anyone Using a Virtual Office Company?

    I've been looking at some of the companies out there that offer virtual office services. Its quite intriguing as a stepping stone for growth.

    Many of these services include a business address, a business phone number with receptionist, conference rooms, allocated office hours, and some even come with memberships allowing use of offices in cities around the world.

    So to those of you using or have used them, are they worth it? What company are you using?

    Thanks,
    Steve

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Philadelphia
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    2,277
    Hi Steve -

    Although I have no direct experience with any of these providers, we looked at them some years ago but ended up going down a different route. May I ask why you're considering a virtual office as compared to a traditional office or working from home?

  3. #3
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    Nov 2007
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    Chicago, IL
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    Well, a couple things that intrigue me about this route over the traditional route are the costs. Costs for a traditional office space in my area are very high per sqft. Add in utilities on many of them and they just arent cost effective for my business model at this point in time.

    The virtual offices offer the utilities, a set number of hours/days a month of actual office use, conference room use, and many you can use their common areas every day. I would still work from home, but quiet, calm, and peace, are sometimes hard to come by in my household. Dog and a very active one year old. I also don't believe it to be very professional using a home address as a business address (especially as easy as it is to look up in google maps and CLEARLY see its a house) and for business credit building purposes(D&B specifically) a home phone number/cell number/VOIP number are just big no no's.

  4. #4
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    Apr 2002
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    Philadelphia
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    What type of business do you operate, do you mind me asking?

    Do you have frequent meetings with customers? How often will you actually use the conference facilities? Are there any other staff coming with or possible staffing additions in the coming months?

    I ask only because I had a colleague who went this route and it turned out that he rarely used any conference facilities, got bored of going to an office and working alone in his little room and so forth. After a few months he realized that working from home wasn't terrible and it gave him the motivation to secure a few more contracts and open up a traditional office.

    However, everyone has a different situation (eg. he had no children) and therefore I can definitely see these offices being perfect for some!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Chicago, IL
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    The business is related to webhosting. Its not in operation yet, im still in the business planning stages, financial planning to be exact, and looking at growth goal stages, developing stepping stones to becoming bigger and looking at costs in relation to what I need to be charging for services in order to avoid major price hikes in the future.

    I do not forsee the need to meet with clients on a regular basis. Nor do I for see having other staff in the area anytime before a traditional office would make sense.

    I guess the main positives for me are:
    -Respected business address
    -Business telephone number
    -Access to an office/conference room should I need it.

    The phone number and address are HUGE positives in my opinion, and something I'm looking into as a startup expense. The office/conference room use is something that I don't forsee needing on a regular basis for some time, but it is a more financially manageable step from home to virtual to traditional, than jumping straight from home to traditional.

    What route did you end up going phpcoder?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    New York
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    2,882
    We've looked in to it in the past but decided that it is not exactly worth it for this industry
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  7. #7
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    Apr 2002
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    Philadelphia
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    We worked from home while we first started out and eventually went the route of traditional office space as we continued to grow.

    Getting a phone number + fax these days is easy as 1-2-3 with a home office and there are a number of companies that provide address related services with regard to postal mail.

    Weigh the costs of everything together during your business planning. Is the access to a office/conference room (that you will use how many times) worth the increased cost of working from home and meeting at a coffee shop?

    Again, it all depends on what you're doing and it may be perfect for your needs. Just don't think that where you work from determines your success. It can help, but ultimately you will create your own success through your service offerings.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Chicago, IL
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    Quote Originally Posted by phpcoder View Post
    Again, it all depends on what you're doing and it may be perfect for your needs. Just don't think that where you work from determines your success. It can help, but ultimately you will create your own success through your service offerings.
    Oh I definitely agree with you php, I was more concerned with the actual business address and phone number than the office space at this point. I don't see it as making me successful or determining that i'm successful, I see it as putting forward a professional image.

    My fiance and I fully intend on working from home the majority of time, and should we need to meet with a client then theres a perfect opportunity for lunch, dinner, etc...

    And yes everything is being analyzed and broken down to a cost per year, semi annual, quarterly, monthly, and daily. Down to the MB.

    Thanks,
    Steve

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    917
    Steve, virtual office providers like Regus (www.regus.com) do provide a mailbox plan where you can use their locations as an address and they will collect mail on your behalf.

    For the number, simply get a PBX system either from ringcentral.com or virtualpbx.com and configure it, you should be LIVE in under 15 minutes.

    Good luck!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Chicago, IL
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    Hey Daryl, thanks for the information. Regus is one of the many companies I have looked at as well. Do you have any experience with them?
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  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Vancouver, Canada
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    I used a virtual office company for a while with a previous company that I owned. Was very handy and they were extremely professional, but they charged alot (I could rent a 1500 sq foot office for the rate they were charging for a 100sq foot office, but you get a receptionist with it technically).

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    917
    Quote Originally Posted by SHSSteve View Post
    Hey Daryl, thanks for the information. Regus is one of the many companies I have looked at as well. Do you have any experience with them?
    Steve, I don't have first hand experience with them but one of the company's I worked for in the past used to use many of their virtual centers as contact centers.

  13. #13
    I'm in the same position as you Steve. Can I know what have you decided and have you found good provider?

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