Read this before picking a virtual office in Berlin
We all have our reasons to be interested in virtual offices in Berlin. Some of us are in the process of establishing a company, or maybe it’s about trying to look a little more professional and little bigger than the business really is.
Whatever it is, Berlin is a great location to think about this and there are plenty of options to chose from. This post aims at giving you the best possible start so you can make a qualified decision when you pick yours in the German capital.
What you can get out of a virtual office in Berlin
Looking legitimate at a low cost.
Virtual offices are usually used to register a business in Germany, for meetings with vendors and clients, provide small businesses or freelancers with a prestigious address, and to connect remote staff members. You can find yourself a virtual office Berlin Mitte or Friedrichshain and in most other business areas. So even if you work from home or while on the road, you’ll get a cool looking, professional address – and at a fraction of what you’d pay to lease a full office. Even better, you won’t have to wait for everything to be set up and can get to work right away!
A wide sprectrum of services; from mail box to fancy-looking meeting rooms
You can choose between several different options in a typical range.
Need simplicity? a simple mailbox service and sometimes a local phone number and address. You can also go for the type of virtual office Berlin is more known for with a receptionist, conference rooms, internet, desks, printing/faxing, and address registration; or a flexible option that combines different amenities based on your needs.
Many places now offer to digitize and forward your mail, so you don’t even have to be in the same country. Freelancers, remote workers and companies that want satellite offices in various locations can benefit from these services without having to lease a full office space and hire local staff. Even better, they’ll be geared towards international customers and staff is usually multilingual as to translate letters you might have received.
Turn-in key solutions
Virtual offices in Berlin are used to service a broad range of client profiles. This is why services come into different packages, depending on your use case. They will basically know what your typical needs are. Some of them do offer assistance for company creation, if that’s where you are at at the moment.
KNOW THIS BEFORE BOOKING A VIRTUAL OFFICE IN BERLIN
There are some downsides to using a virtual office service. For one, local staff won’t know much about your company and might not represent you well over the phone with customers. Second, if your company grows quickly, you might not be able to rent more space at your virtual office. You’re also limited by the resources available and don’t have any say over technology providers, staff, or opening hours.
A virtual office, but a real address still
And finally, you run the risk of the local commerce and finance offices not accepting your business address. Why is that?
Germany, like most other countries, has its fair share of shell corporations. These “mailbox companies” are created to avoid taxes and hide illegal activities. This has led to some controversy and confusion around having a virtual address for international companies and remote staff. The Finanzamt (tax office) may have questions if you live in Barcelona but are registered at a virtual office Berlin Charlottenburg. Don’t lie to the authorities! Local authorities can visit your business unannounced to make sure everything checks out.
What distingues a legitimate address in the eyes of the tax authorities?
- The key is having a business address that actually exists, in a facility suited to business activities.
- You also need to be reachable, meaning that official mail sent to your business arrives in a timely fashion.
- It’s also recommended that there always be someone who may receive mail on your behalf during business hours and that you have your company logo displayed on-site.
In other words, a simple mailbox isn’t enough if you want to register your business with the government!
Be aware that your virtual office will be subject to V.A.T and corporate tax applicable in Germany, as for any other business. That is the case for any other business related tax you might have to pay depending on your case.
Important to criteria to consider
Apart for the ranges of services that interest you, these are the main criteria to take into account when comparing offers:
- Registration process: How hard is it? Sometimes you can fill out a simple registration form online, other times you’ll need to speak to a dedicated staff member.
- Billing cycle: How flexible are the billing periods? Can you rent per week/month/quarter/year? When can i cancel? Is there a minimum contract duration?
- Billing extras: is the price all inclusive or do you need to pay on top for some services?
- Address prestige: how important is it for your clients to be impressed by your legal address? An address at famous locations such asKurfürstendamm or Unten den Linden definitely impacts on the price.
- Residence status: does the service allow non-residents to register a business adress there?
SO WHERE DO I OPEN A VIRTUAL OFFICE IN BERLIN?
You are few different players you can go to:
International networks with locations in Berlin
Suited with the experience acquired internationally, various companies have been specializing in virtual offices. They build up on it and extend by opening more locations in popular business locations. This has the advantages of sometimes providing you insight in the intricacies of being a non-resident.
German players with locations in Berlin
Same as above, just German-wide, with locations elsewhere in Germany such as Munich or Frankfurt for example.
Local coworking spaces
Several coworking spaces in Berlin have started to offer a virtual office offering, on top of their traditional bottom line business. This sometimes doesn’t allow for prestigious locations or top of the line meetings room. However, if you want to be near a start-up flair and an actual place to drop by. It could be a good option.
Company formation experts
Some company formation companies include a virtual office offering in their package-deal. This aims at providing a one-stop shop for their clients.
Booking a virtual office in Berlin
Once you’ve received an offer, be ready to provide proof of identification and possibly undergo a background check. This is to avoid fraudulent businesses and shell companies. Some providers of a virtual office Berlin and elsewhere may also require that you have a personal address in Germany to register your business at their location.
If you’re not in Germany yet, it’s best to talk to someone over the phone or Skype before signing a contract to make sure you’re not paying for a fake service. If you can, go in person to tour the facilities. In terms of logistics, provide key business information and your contact details so local staff can reach you when necessary. Now all that’s left is registering your business address and adding it to your company website!
I hope this helped you wrap your head around the topic before picking a virtual office in Berlin. Don’t hesitate to ask questions in the comments.