A Cheap Virtual Office New York Arrangement May Not Be Worth Your Time

By Law Firm Suites - June 26, 2015
A Cheap Virtual Office New York Arrangement May Not Be Worth Your Time

Using a cheap virtual office New York may sound good at first, but will soon make you realize you get what you pay for in the end.

Virtual offices are a resource that can be found very quickly AND cheaply. If you do a Google search, you may find some as low as $24.95 a month!

It sounds like a great deal, right?

Sometimes a deal is far too good to be true and a cheap virtual office New York is commonly one of those things. A low fee is often a marketing tactic to excite potential buyers, however, a low fee is often indicative of other costs that will be made up elsewhere.

A quick lesson on virtual offices.

A virtual office rental is a financial agreement. Instead of jumping right into a shared space agreement, attorneys can pay a low monthly rent and use the commercial address and the amenities provided by the shared space on an as-needed basis. Virtual offices are one of the most frequently used office arrangements for solo attorneys and small firms, especially if it is an at-home or out-of-state situation, because of the need to have a commercial address in New York City,

Cheap vs. full-service.

Think of a full service virtual office rental as a traditional office rental, just without the commitment. You get all the amenities without the huge overhead a traditional office rental would constitute.

In New York City, full-service virtual office packages start at about $99 per month.  This covers use of the address, mail services and buys you access to the additional services, usually at discounted rates.

Cheap virtual offices in reality are just addresses. Think of it as an expensive mail drop box. Also, buying cheap typically means your access to the office amenities is either limited or non-existent. This means conference room time may not be accessible or very difficult to attain.

You may think conference rooms are offered, but soon realize they are not.

Lawyers work in a fashion that client interaction is necessary to conduct business. That is just how any legal profession works. A cheap virtual office arrangement may hinder your practice rather than help it.

Law in practice needs time for consultation, arbitration, depositions, and so forth. These matters are often very sensitive and require in-person meeting to ensure accurate information is received. Most of the time this is done sitting across a conference room table.

Imagine if you had to meet your client in a location other than your presumed office address and he or she asks why you cannot meet at that address. Wouldn’t that be entirely embarrassing [for you]? Your chances of making a good first impression are out the window and it is often impossible to recover once confusion has set in. This can even have a direct impact on what you can charge for your consultation.

“Cheap” virtual office providers upcharge on just about every service.

Mail fees are where most inexpensive virtual office providers earn their money.

Mail is often one of the contingencies in the lawyer profession. Sometimes an attorney will stay at the office all day to receive an expected package. So much mail can be received in one day and depending on the type of lawyer, mail can come in tenfold.

Most cheap virtual office operators charge a flat fee of $1.00 per piece of mail they receive. Then they will charge you a $2.00 to $5.00 “envelope charge” to physically place your mail into an envelope. Then they will charge you a “postage fee”, which is typically 2x to 3x the cost of the actual postage required to forward your mail.

Assume you receive eight pieces of mail in your cheap virtual office. Those 8 pieces will cost approximately $15.00 to receive! Even if your mail volume averages 4 pieces a day, you will still be spending over $125.00 per month just on mail.

By comparison, with a full-service operator, your account is generally not charged for each piece of mail received, instead, a small handling fee is charged to package all your mail for forwarding and postage is billed at cost.  At Law Firm Suites, this fee is currently $2.00.

Additionally, many “cheaper” virtual office providers will not let you pick up your mail to avoid mail forwarding fees. Those that do often charge a $10.00 pick-up fee and have limits as to how frequently you can pick up mail in person.  One vendor we spoke with permitted mail pickup only twice a month.

You’ll get set back financially in some other way.

Several cheap virtual office set limits for how many packages you can receive; sometimes these arrangements can be as little as five packages .

A common definition for a “package” is any item not delivered during the one daily USPS mail delivery. Anything that is messengered, shipped via FedEx or UPS, or even something that is overnighted is considered a package. No matter what it is or how small, it would constitute the package definition be attributed toward your limit.

When this package limit is reached, a cheap virtual office provider will typically charge a fee for every package received after that limit. This is in addition to envelope charges and marked up postage fees just to send it to you and you do not have time that.

With most full-service virtual office plans, there is no fee to receive package, nor is there a limit to the number of packages received. Our clients typically pick up their packages, or we forward them to clients using their UPS or FedEx account.  No additional handling fees are charged.

Having a cheap virtual office New York might pose ethical restrictions.

Many jurisdictions have restrictions about what constitutes a bona fide office. In some cases, a cheap virtual office that is little more than a post office address cannot be used as an office address for a law practice.

Regulators often require that your office address be a place where clients can meet with you or find a representative of your firm.

A full-service virtual office arrangement frequently meets these ethical requirements. In most cases, you are getting everything that comes with a traditional office rental, just at an unbundled rate.

Before you make the decision, do your research.

Sometimes, a cheap virtual office New York may be the right fit for you, especially if you are unclear and need to try it out. Since most virtual offices are month-to-month, the commitment is thrown out the window and testing it out can a good starting point.
If you are not expecting a lot of mail or packages or very little conference room time, such an arrangement might be great for you.

However, remember that changing an address is expensive so do a cost-benefit analysis to make sure you won’t be hurting in the future.

You may find that, overall, it may cost much less to go with more of a full-service provider from the beginning.

About Law Firm Suites

Law Firm Suites is the leading NYC shared office space for solo attorneys and small law firms. At Law Firm Suites, attorneys get headache free sublet office space, virtual office rentals and litigation hotel services. Law Firm Suites has two locations in Manhattan, one in White Plains NY, and one in Annapolis MD. Law Firm Suites' community of self-employed lawyers are eager to help colleagues succeed, and routinely exchange over $2.5 million in legal business every year in each LFS business center. Connect with Law Firm Suites on Twitter and .

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