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A guide to business mail redirection in the UK: advantages and alternatives

by | Sep 13, 2023

Thanks to the rise of virtual offices and hybrid working, it’s easier than ever for a company to operate remotely in the UK. But if you’re going to conduct your business affairs remotely, you might need to take out a business mail redirection service for your company. 

Lots of small businesses and entrepreneurs find that the quickest and safest way to do this is by setting up a virtual business address through a virtual office. A virtual office is a service that allows you to use their physical address as your registered business address. This allows you to make huge savings by getting a professional address in a renowned business hub, without having to spend money on renting a physical office space. In the UK, most virtual offices also include a Royal Mail redirection service, which means that they’ll receive your business mail and forward it onto you safely and securely. 

So what do you need to do to set up business mail forwarding? This handy guide featuring advantages, alternatives and advice will tell you everything you need to know. 

What is business mail redirection?

Business mail direction is a service that allows companies to redirect their incoming mail from one physical address to another. Simply put, it’s a service that receives your post at one location, relabels it with your alternative address, and pops it back in the post to be delivered to you there. It’s safe, secure, and ideal for streamlining your mail handling. 

This can be useful for lots of reasons – perhaps you’re moving offices, opening a new branch, or you’re simply looking to consolidate your mail handling. Businesses can set up mail redirection for a specific period, such as during a transition, or they can choose to make it a permanent arrangement.

The general concept of redirecting post has been around for decades, and as hybrid working becomes more common, more and more options are popping up for postal redirection. 

Why would I need to redirect by business mail?

There are a number of reasons why you might consider redirecting your business mail. 

1. You’ve set up a virtual office to get a professional business address

Lots of entrepreneurs and small business owners choose to use a virtual office to get a professional registered office address. This is a great alternative to using your home address to register your company in the UK. While it’s absolutely legal to use your home address to register your business, it’s worth remembering that your registered office address will be publicly accessible on the Companies House website. So for privacy, you might not want to use your home address after all!

When you use a virtual office, you can choose a business address in a prestigious business hub at a fraction of the cost of renting a physical office space in that district. As part of their offering, virtual offices usually include mail handling or mail forwarding services, which means that they’ll receive your mail and send it onto you – whether that’s relabelling it to post it onto you, or opening it and scanning it so that you can receive it immediately. 

2. You’re opening a new branch or office

It’s super exciting when your business grows to the point where you need to open a new branch or a new office – but it does come with a couple of logistical tasks to tick off your list. One of those is making sure that you never miss an important piece of post, and this is where mail forwarding can come in handy. It can be useful to receive all of your mail at the same address so that it’s all in one place. All you’d need to do is set up a Royal Mail redirect from your old office to your new office 

3. You’re consolidating your business operations 

As your business grows, it’s really important to stay on top of administrative tasks like sorting, opening and replying to your mail. For that reason, you might decide to consolidate your business operations so that it’s easier for you to keep track. That includes getting all your post delivered to the same place, so that you never miss an important piece of post. 

4. You’re making some temporary changes to your office

In certain temporary situations, such as office renovations, you may need to redirect mail for a short period to ensure uninterrupted communication. This is where Royal Mail redirection is super useful – you can set your mail to direct for a fixed amount of time, and it will automatically revert when that time period is up.

5. You don’t want to share your physical business address

The great thing about using a Virtual Office to redirect your mail is that the address you share with your clients and customers is not your physical business address. Instead, it’s the address of your virtual office, where all your mail is sorted and forwarded onto you for a reasonable price. It’s perfect for protecting your privacy – especially if you conduct the majority of your business operations at home. 

What are the benefits of business mail forwarding?

There are lots of benefits to getting your business mail forwarded. Here are the top five.

1. Mail continuity, meaning that you never miss a letter

In the early stages of running a business, it’s really common for businesses to go through a number of changes, including a change of address as you grow and scale. The great thing about business mail forwarding, is that it ensures your company continues to receive all important mail, including letters, packages, invoices, and contracts, even if you change your physical address. It’s the perfect way to reduce the disruption caused by relocations or renovations.

2. A professional and credible image for your company

Maintaining a consistent mailing address, even when your physical location changes, conveys professionalism and reliability to clients, customers, and partners. And if you use a virtual office, you can choose a registered business address in an impressive business hub, boosting your business with a prestigious postcode.

3. Increased privacy and security. 

Business mail forwarding can enhance privacy and security by not disclosing your actual physical address to all mail senders. This can be especially valuable if you work from home, are frequently on the move, or need to protect sensitive information. Remember, all registered business addresses are public information freely accessible on the Companies House website. So it’s a good idea to use an address that isn’t your home address!

4. Ideal geographic flexibility

For businesses with multiple locations or remote employees, mail forwarding offers ideal geographic flexibility. It allows you to operate from a broad range of geographic locations, while making sure that all your mail is sent to one place to be sorted, read and answered. It’s the perfect way to make sure you never miss an important piece of mail. 

5. Time and resource savings

Managing incoming mail, especially for larger companies, can be time-consuming and resource-intensive. Business mail forwarding services often include mail sorting and handling, saving you the effort and resources required to process incoming mail internally. This frees up your staff to focus on core business activities.

In addition to these benefits, business mail redirection services like Impact Brixton offer features such as mail scanning and digital delivery, for added convenience. That means that all of your mail is sent directly to your inbox on the day it’s received, for maximum efficiency.

What are the alternatives to business mail forwarding? 

If your business is operating from one physical space and you’re happy for the address of that physical space to be shared, then you probably don’t need to set up business mail forwarding. 

However, if you’re thinking that you need your business mail redirected, but you’re not sure that traditional mail forwarding is right for you, there are a number of alternatives. 

1. A professional virtual office address

A virtual office not only provides business mail redirecting, it also comes with a ton of other great benefits. Some virtual office provide virtual assistant services. Others, like Impact Brixton operate as a coworking space, meaning that you can use their meeting rooms and hotdesking facilities on days where you need a physical office. It’s the perfect solution to hybrid working, and a useful alternative to traditional business mail forwarding. 

2. Mail scanning and digital delivery

If you don’t want to wait for your mail to be forwarded, mail scanning is the ideal solution. A virtual mailbox service provides you with a physical mailing address where your mail is received and then scanned and either uploaded to a secure online platform, or emailed to you directly. It’s immediate and convenient. Check out Impact Brixton’s affordable mail scanning service!

3. PO box mail storage and delivery

If you prefer to stick to traditional providers like Royal Mail, then a PO box is a great option. You can rent a PO Box from your local Post Office or through the Royal Mail’s website. You’ll need to choose the size of the box and the rental duration. People can then send your business mail to this address, for you to pick up at your convenience. 

How do I set up postal redirection for my business in the UK?

There are lots of modern and flexible ways to get your post redirected for your business, including using a virtual office or mail scanning service. However, if you’re looking to set up traditional postal redirection using Royal Mail, here’s what you need to do. 

  1. Visit the Royal Mail Website

Go to the Royal Mail’s official website (www.royalmail.com). You’ll find a dedicated section for the redirection service.

  1. Choose the Type of Redirection

The Royal Mail offers options for individuals and businesses. In this case, it’s for your business, so make sure you choose the right service. 

  1. Provide Business Information

You’ll need to provide information about your business, including the old address (the one where mail is currently being sent) and the new address (where you want the mail to be redirected).

  1. Select the Duration

Choose the duration for the redirection service. There are a number of options available, including a 3-month, 6-month, or 12-month service.

  1. Pay the Fee

There is a fee associated with the redirection service, so be prepared to make the payment online during the setup process. The fee varies depending on the duration and type of redirection.

  1. Verify Your Identity

The Royal Mail may require you to verify your identity to prevent fraud. This can typically be done online by providing information and documentation as requested.

  1. Confirmation and Updates

Once your redirection is set up and payment is confirmed, you’ll receive a confirmation email or letter from the Royal Mail. They will also send updates and notifications to both your old and new addresses to confirm that the redirection is in effect.

  1. Monitor and Update as Needed

Keep an eye on your redirected mail to make sure it’s arriving at the new address as expected! You can log in to your Royal Mail account to make changes or extend the redirection duration if needed.

Don’t forget that the Royal Mail’s redirection service is designed to redirect mail sent to your old address but does not cover redirection of mail from third-party couriers or delivery services. You may need to notify your contacts and service providers individually of your new address to ensure all mail reaches you at the correct location.

What address should I use for my business mail redirection?

When you set up business mail redirection, you need to give them the old address (the one where mail is currently being sent). You’ll also need to give them your new address (the location where you want to receive your mail), so that they can send your mail there. 

It’s a good idea to use an address that will give your company a professional and reliable image. A virtual office allows you to rent an address in a prestigious business district for a fraction of the cost of renting a physical office space. For example, if you sign up to Impact Brixton’s virtual office, you’ll be able to use our address in Brixton (SW12 9LA), which is right in the heart of Brixton Village – a renowned destination for small businesses. 

How much does it cost to redirect my business mail in the UK?

The cost of redirecting business mail in the UK varies according to how long you want to redirect your mail for, and which provider you choose. The cost may also vary based on any specific services or options you choose, such as redirection for different types of mail (e.g., standard mail, parcels, or international mail).

At Impact Brixton, you can redirect your mail from as little as 0.41p per day – and that includes access to our coworking space, where you can book meeting rooms and more. 

What’s the difference between traditional mail forwarding and a virtual office service?

Traditional mail forwarding and virtual office services serve similar purposes in that they both help manage business mail. However, they do so in different ways and come with distinct features, so it’s important to choose the one that’s right for you. Here are the key differences

1. Mail Forwarding Options

A traditional business mail forwarding service will receive your mail at a specific physical address (e.g., a PO Box or a forwarding address) and then physically forwarded to your chosen destination. Some virtual offices provide this service too, but lots of them will also scan your mail and email it to you directly for a faster and more efficient service. Check out Impact Brixton’s mail redirection service to find out more.

2. Privacy and Professional Image 

A traditional business mail forwarding service can provide a level of privacy by keeping your actual business address confidential, but it may not convey a modern, digital image. A virtual office offers both privacy and a professional image, as you can have a prestigious business address in a prominent location, and the digital aspect aligns with modern business practices.

3. Additional Services 

With traditional mail forwarding, typically, the primary service is mail forwarding. Some providers may offer additional services like package handling or mail holding. But with a virtual office service, you get much more. Along with mail management, virtual office services often include benefits such as call handling, meeting room access, and administrative support, making it a more comprehensive solution for businesses.

Cost

With a traditional mail forwarding service, costs may vary based on the volume of mail and the frequency of forwarding. Costs may vary based on the volume of mail and the frequency of forwarding.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can business post be redirected? 

Yes, business post can be redirected using mail forwarding or redirection services provided by postal authorities or private companies. This is a great way to protect your privacy and streamline your mail services. And if you use a virtual office service, you can choose a prestigious address in a renowned business district to boost your brand with a professional and reliable image. Virtual offices usually include extra services, too – whether that’s call handling, mail scanning or access to a physical workspace. Check out Impact Brixton’s hybrid working options, which include virtual office services and access to meeting rooms and hotdesking! 

Can I get my business post redirected for free in the UK?

Yes! You can use the code IMPACT30 to get your first month free of any of our virtual office packages. After that, our services start at just 0.41p per day – one of the cheapest virtual office or mail redirection services around. 

What mail cannot be redirected in the UK?

It’s important to check with the postal service or mail redirection provider for specific details and restrictions on what can and cannot be redirected. 

Typically mail that cannot be redirected includes things like registered or recorded mail, so mail that requires a signature upon delivery. This will usually need to be signed for by the person to whom the letter is addressed, so a postal redirection service will not be able to accept it on your behalf. 

Certain financial institutions may have policies against redirecting financial statements, checks, or credit cards to prevent fraud, and some private organizations may specify in their terms and conditions that their mail should not be redirected. But this will vary depending on your provider, so make sure you read the small print! 

How long can you redirect business mail?

There’s no limit to how long you can redirect your business mail in the UK. Royal Mail typically offers a standard service for up to 12 months, though you can reach out to them to discuss your individual requirements. A virtual office is much more flexible, with options to cancel at any time. 

Thinking about setting up a Virtual Office? 

We think ours is the best (naturally). But we know that every business is different, so that’s why we put together this handy guide for what to look for when considering virtual office providers. Check it out!

There are lots of options out there for business mail redirection, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. As with any decision you make for your business, make sure you’re taking your individual needs for consideration. There’ll be a provider out there for you! And if you need a hand setting up a virtual office business address, you can check out our step by step guide here.

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