5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Virtual Office in Singapore

Have you finally decided to start your own business or expand your business to Singapore? One of the ways in which you can minimise your overhead cost is to start your business with a virtual office. It allows you to work remotely and at the same time, provide a registered business address.

Entrepreneurs usually look for a virtual office that gives them the best value for money. However, this very much depends on the priorities of the business – is cost the main factor, or would you require a full suite of services? To help you get organised, here are 5 things to consider when selecting a virtual office provider.

1. Business Address

Your address says a lot about you as a company. By choosing a virtual office in a great location, you can benefit from having a prestigious office address printed on your business card and marketing material. Ideally, the address should be sited within or near a business district. This connection instantly conveys the impression that you are a thriving business plugged into established business networks, with access to a wide range of resources. A convenient, central location also makes it easy for your partners and clients to reach you.

In Singapore, preferred corporate addresses include Robinson Road, Shenton Way, Raffles Quay, Battery Road, Clarke Quay, and North Bridge Road.

2. Call Answering or Forwarding Services

Though many small business owners are turning to Skype or their mobile phones to take their business calls, nothing adds to your credibility like a business landline. Not only does it reassure new customers, it also shows them you are local. As an add-on, you can get a local landline number ringing straight to your mobile phone – and you can still work from anywhere you like.

Alternatively, if you would like someone to handle your incoming calls, be sure to ring the virtual office yourself. Chances are, the person answering your call will be the same person answering your company’s incoming calls. You may want someone whose professionalism is up to your expectations, as this will form the first impression for your prospective customers.

Be sure to also check if your virtual office contract comes with a limit on the number of calls it handles on your behalf. If you are anticipating a high call volume, you may want to select a package with unlimited call handling.

3. Mail Forwarding

Instead of self-collecting your mail, you may want to have your mail forwarded to your home or remote working address. This is especially useful if you are based overseas.

While most virtual offices conduct mail-forwarding on a weekly basis, some provide mail-forwarding on an ad-hoc or “as-and-when” basis. There are also virtual offices such as Hawksford Singapore that provide mail scanning services which enables you to view the content of your mail online.

4. Working and Meeting Spaces

While working remotely has its advantages, there are days you may want to be a little more productive. It therefore helps if your virtual office provider has rentable desks or office spaces with conducive work environments. Additionally, a good virtual office would be fully equipped with state-of-the-art technology so that you can start working right away. This may include a high-speed internet connection, printing services, a phone line, and virtual assistant services.

If your virtual office provider has meeting rooms, you can also invite clients to meet you at “your office”. Be sure to take a peek at these spaces before you commit to the virtual office and ensure they are up to your expectations.

5. Price

Once you have shortlisted 3 or 4 suitable virtual office providers based on your requirements, compare the prices and take heed of what is included in the contract, and which services come at an extra charge. During your evaluation, it is also helpful to budget for additional costs, such as paper surcharges for use of the printer.

A pay-per-use arrangement should suffice if you are just starting out, while a comprehensive suite of services could be more cost-effective for fast-growing businesses.

While the above pointers form the core attributes of a virtual office, there are other qualities that you may need to actively look out for. Before embarking on your search, it is a good practice to outline your requirements clearly. For instance, is location your top priority, or would you rather have large conference rooms available for rent?

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