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Business Address vs Shipping Address: Key Differences

    What is a business address?

    A business address is a general contact address that you can provide to any customer or client who uses your business. Such as suppliers, service providers, manufacturers, banks, shareholders, investors and members of the public. Your business address also functions as your invoice and billing address.

    Your business address can be any type of address in any country. When choosing your address you have plenty of options:

    • The registered address of your company
    • A private residence
    • Your shipping address
    • The service address of a company director, secretary, or LLP member
    • Your business’ operating address
    • A virtual office address
    • The contact address of the company secretary
    • A PO Box
    • Your Home Address (although this isn’t recommended)

    When picking your business address, you should use a location that is occupied as much as possible throughout the day. Often businesses choose to use an address where the main processes are handled, for some companies this is their registered address too.

    When choosing your business address, there are several tricks your business can use to make itself seem more professional:

    Firstly, not using your home address will create a better impression for both clients and customers of your business’s legitimacy and professionalism. It re-emphasises that the business is its own entity and that the person running it has kept their personal and professional life separate.

    Secondly, using a separate address from your home address, in a worst-case scenario, can protect you from a disgruntled client, creditor or supplier from turning up at your home address.

    Thirdly, having your business address located in a city makes the business’ address accessible to more people.

    How many Business Addresses can I have?

    In short, you can have as many business addresses as you want. For example, if you own a chain of restaurants, each restaurant location can be a new business address.

    Can I have a Business Address Abroad?

    Continuing with the restaurant chain example, if you have a restaurant abroad, you can use the foreign address as your business address, even if you’re a UK enterprise.

    In fact, creating a national presence further strengthens your brand image. It allows contacts and clients abroad to easily reach your business. Having global customers and clients will entice more investors from around the world, giving your business an even greater edge in its market.

    You can set up your business address abroad even without any operations in that country. Doing so can often help you establish a presence in the area. This is also the reasoning behind establishing your business address in a city; you will have a presence among a greater population of people. Furthermore, customers are more likely to buy goods or services from a company that they believe is based in their city/country.

    HMRC Legislation around Business Addresses

    You do not need to provide your business address to either HMRC or Companies House. HMRC only requires your trading address for contact purposes.

    Similarly, Companies House only needs your registered office and director’s service address for contact purposes.

    In all these cases, a single address can have multiple purposes – i.e. a business address and a registered office.

    What is a shipping address?

    Your shipping address is where your business decides to receive deliveries. Such as:

    • customer product returns
    • delivery of products from manufacturers
    • goods
    • office supplies and equipment
    • courier pick-ups
    • return of undelivered parcels

    Often enterprises that don’t receive any large items or don’t sell products have no shipping address. Here, only a registered address is required in order to receive mail.

    You will need a shipping address if you sell physical items to customers. This address is crucial to allowing the customer to return or exchange goods by post. On the other side, you will need an address to receive the materials, equipment and manufactured products which are necessary to produce and sell your goods.

    Using your trading location as your shipping address can often make the most financial and practical sense for your business. If you have any type of site where you produce, store or sell your products, then combining your trading and shipping address is often the best solution for your business.

    Should I use the same Business and Shipping Address?

    As with most forms of address for your business, there is legislation against having the same business and shipping address. However, you can only combine the two if your business address can receive large deliveries. If you have a PO box or a virtual address as your business address, then you will not be able to combine your business and shipping address.

    However, some business address providers also offer shipping address services. Finding a provider that suits your business’ needs will allow you to do both.

    What is the Difference Between a Shipping Address and a Customer Returns Address?

    A shipping address and a customer returns address are essentially the same thing.

    Your shipping address is where customers will return products back to your business. If you sell products online, by phone or via email, you have a legal obligation to accept returns and give refunds and, as a consequence, provide a shipping address for the product to be returned to.

    Depending on how your business operates, you may want a separate address for customer returns and another address for receiving deliveries.

    How many Shipping Addresses can I have?

    Similarly to a business address, you can have as many shipping addresses as you want. Having multiple shipping addresses can often cut costs over time, especially if you ship your products abroad and have addresses there. 

    From a customer perspective, there will be a reduced waiting time if their product is being dispatched from a closer address or they want to return a product. From a client perspective, you will be able to receive deliveries from suppliers and manufacturers at different locations, again cutting the time it takes for them to deliver the items.

    Did you find this helpful? If so, check out our other blogs designed to help small business owners like you get the upper hand in a competitive marketplace. Below you may find some blogs that you like.

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