What is the difference between a mailing address and a physical address?

Posted on: 17th January 2024

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When running a business, having more than one address is not unusual. You might need a number of different addresses for a variety of reasons, including a physical address for meetings, a mailing address for post and deliveries, and a registered address for official public records.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the different types of addresses and the differences between them so you can ensure you choose the right addresses for your business.

What is the difference between a mailing address and a physical address?

The key difference between a mailing address and a physical address is that a physical address is where the physical company is situated, whereas a mailing address is where a business has post delivered but doesn’t necessarily operate from. These can be – but are not always – the same address.

Not all businesses will use both addresses, as there is not always a need for multiple addresses. For example, a corporate enterprise with a large commercial space wouldn’t necessarily need to have business mail delivered elsewhere because it would have plenty of space for a dedicated mailroom at the physical premises.

In contrast, a small enterprise operating as a home-based business might not want mail and packages sent there and would therefore benefit from a separate mailing address. By using a mailing address, small organisations will also benefit from having a more professional image for their business by choosing a mailing address in a sought after location.

For businesses that want a separate mailing address, there are a number of options available, from PO boxes and mailbox services to full virtual offices with a mailing service.

Is a mailing address the same as a street address?

It’s possible for a mailing address to be the same as a real street address if a business is happy for mail to be sent directly to its physical address - which is usually what a street address refers to. However, the mailing address and street address can also be different.

Some businesses receive a lot of mail and so it’s not always practical to have the street address and mailing address the same. This is especially true if your business or street address is a place where you can welcome clients or customers. This is also the case if you have multiple business addresses, for example, if you have a number of physical stores in several locations. It is far more practical in this circumstance to keep your mailing address separate.

The mailing address for some businesses can also refer to a virtual office location, which would not be the physical street address of the business. This instead, is a professional virtual address that can be used to improve the image of the organisation and keep correspondence separate.

Using a virtual office as a mailing address is great for businesses that operate from small premises or their home as they are usually located in central locations and offer professional meeting facilities, as well as mail forwarding services. 

What is the difference between a registered address and a business address?

Registered addresses and business addresses are different, but can also be the same. A registered address is an official address that is generally used for legal correspondence and a business address is a location a company uses for general mail – often the physical address.

Although the business address is usually the same as the physical address, some businesses choose to use a virtual office address as their business address. This helps to uphold the professional reputation of the organisation by using an address in an up-market or exclusive location.

A company may opt to use its physical address as its registered address and receive all correspondence there, or it may choose to register the business in a different location such as a home address, solicitors, or lawyer’s office.

A registered address is the official address of a business used for important correspondence and is legally required when setting up a company. In the United Kingdom, a registered address is what a business uses for tax purposes and is the address usually supplied to Companies House and HMRC.

Is a PO box a physical address?

A PO box, or Post Office box, is not a physical address. It’s a mailbox at a Post Office that business owners can rent to receive their mail if they don’t want to receive it at their business premises or home address.

The size of your postal box is up to you and depends on your requirement, with PO box sizes usually ranging from extra small to fit a few letters to extra large which is perfect for receiving deliveries.

Some PO box services offer different mail packages instead of limiting you by size. These include services where you collect your mail from your lockable mailbox or sorting office, and those where your mail is forwarded on to you. If you opt to collect your own mail, you will often be asked to bring along some forms of ID to ensure your mail doesn’t end up in the wrong hands.

Mail forwarding services are widely available nowadays, whether as a single business address that you use as your ‘business front’ or as part of a wider virtual office package. In addition to simply forwarding your mail, some virtual office services also offer mail screening or virtual assistants to help you manage your mail and weed out the post you’d rather not receive.

How to get a mailing address

How to get a mailing address for your business depends on how you want to receive your mail. There are several companies dedicated to helping you find a mailbox for your business, whether you’re looking for a PO box, physical address, or virtual business address with a mail forwarding service.

At Regus, our virtual office packages can be tailored to suit the needs of your business and your mailing address needs. We offer everything from a simple business address with a mail handling service to more premium packages with phone answering and the use of dedicated desk space.

Which address is right for you?

Now we’ve been through the different types of addresses available to your business and the differences between them, you should have a better idea of which address is right for you and your organisation.

Still unsure? We’re always on hand to help you find the right serviced office space, whether that’s a simple business address or virtual office.

Topics in this article

  • Work Trends
  • Productivity


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