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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What do you guys who don't have an office use as your address? I don't want to use my home address just in case I get a crazy customer. Also, I think it will look unprofessional when they see the address on google street view and see my very modest house as the business address. I can get a virtual office for about $15 a month, they scan and email mail to me and the address is closer to the area I am targeting work also, so when they see me on maps the people in that area will hopefully click me because I am closer. Or at least they think I am. No way I can afford a real office nor would it be useful to me. Thoughts ?
 

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Here are my notes. There really isn't a right answer -- But I'll tell you which side I lean toward at the end.

Option #1: Verify your home address
In all my years of doing this, I've never once heard of a crazy customer coming to your home. If you had an office, that person would come there as well; but this just isn't a thing to be worried about. I've also never seen a verified home address affecting the number of leads coming through. Maybe at a certain point, but not when you're first getting this going. Everybody starts somewhere.

Finally, Google prefers this over the virtual option. Still not ideal -- but acceptable.

If you verify with your home, I recommend putting a yard sign out front that just has your business name on it. Maybe a sign on the door. Google will likely want photo or video verification in lieu of the traditional postcard they used to send every time.

Option #2: Verifying a virtual office
This is just against Google's policies.

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You're free to do whatever you want and some people on here or at marketing agencies will tell you to do this because yes, you will rank better if you have a location verified closer to your primary target area.

Also, nobody cares how close you are to them. All they care about is that you can service their area. Only Google cares about this in terms of how you rank.

If your business listing is caught violating Google's policy, it can be completely removed from Google; and Google has been going after local service businesses a lot lately -- especially with their new spam update that targets location doorway pages (and a bunch of other stuff related to on-site spam) on site. If your site violates Google's policies, it can either be blacklisted from the search engine or deranked. In either case, it's easier to buy a new domain and start over.

Option #3: Rent a 24/7 private office
There are a lot of companies out there that sell private office space for $200-$500/mo on contract. You can put signage on the door and have mail delivered. It's essentially your office. It isn't a virtual office, because you have a contractual lease and only you have access to it. This is preferable to Google over the other two.

My Recommendation:
Option #3, but it requires some research and budget. Option #1 is what I would go with for you if you can't do Option #3. I would completely avoid Option #2. However, if you want to do Option #2 at the risk of your business listing being suspended, you totally can.
 

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OP -

I have operated out of my house for 9-10 years. Not one issue like you've described (I know, it only takes one. I am sure you're thinking about your family. Still....it hasn't been an issue). There are companies working in our town, who have an address on their trucks/trailers from south of the border, 45 minutes, to some being over an hour away. I think they drive up here, work all day, and return home.

Another fella I know used to drive a couple hours down into IL, where his shop and business was, to run the show. He'd leave on Sunday night and return home Friday night - staying in a hotel all the nights inbetween. I think he said he had something like 240 accounts/wk??? He's out of the game now.

All sorts of ways to peel and orange. I think if you do great work, are reliable and dependable, and your pricing is competitive, I do not see location as an issue for the customer. No idea if it'll be an issue for you, in terms of travel. How far away is the "target" area.

My water treatment people are from about 90 minutes away. I use them because they installed the Iron Curtain and water softener 17.5 years ago when my house was built. They charge me extra (trip charge) because of the distance they have to travel. I understand. But it does sort of irk me that they do, because they were happy to have the install 17 years ago. Whatever..... that's my issue lol!

Me? I like that I'm home, when I'm back at my "shop!" My shop is the third bay of the garage. Boat is in the middle, and Mrs. Derwood parks on the right. Mama comes out and has a glass of wine in the "shop" with me sometimes when I'm changing oil or blades. Love it! I might have a glass too, chit chat with her, etc! She's a "Trophy Wife" (of course) so any time with her is kicka$$! I know many like to get away. That's not me! She works full time and is a way a lot, as well. Also, being home means I can tend to issues at home, let out/feed the dog, or stir the crockpot, put something in the oven (me and mama eat VERY well).

All sorts of awesomeness to having your shop at home, imo. You have to be able to separate, or shut it down though, when you're home too. Some struggle with that. I do not. So it works for us!!

Just food for thought is all.

Good luck!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
@ Evergrow. I guess I was misinformed by the very limited search I did about using a virtual office. I was under the impression that is was ok. Also, I cannot for the life of me think of a nice name for my biz that hasn't been taken already. I have almost given up and thinking about using my last name. Hinson Lawn Care. Opinion?

@ Derwood. My target area isn't that far, 20 mins maybe. My shop will be at my home also. I was just wondering about any security issues or how the customers will perceive the business if they see its not a proper shop/office.
But, assuming Evergrow is correct, I am not gonna mess with the virtual office, Ive had Businesses in the past and I know not to mess around/piss off Google.
 

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@ Evergrow. I guess I was misinformed by the very limited search I did about using a virtual office. I was under the impression that is was ok. Also, I cannot for the life of me think of a nice name for my biz that hasn't been taken already. I have almost given up and thinking about using my last name. Hinson Lawn Care. Opinion?
There is a lot of misinformation out there about SEO. Usually by other marketers who get their information regurgitated by other SEO people vs just going directly to Google or from guys in the industry who have done very limited research.

The cool thing about being in the lawn care industry is you don't have to worry about your business name if you decide to sell. Most people buy accounts and assets, not your business name. In my industry, whoever buys us out in the future, will likely keep the "Evergrow Marketing" name because of the history we have built with that name. Which is why I didn't do "Hundley Marketing".

Hinson Lawn Care is fine. The only thing I would suggest is make sure you're not putting yourself in a lawn care corner if you want to do landscaping as well. I had a client that lost a multi-million dollar commercial landscaping job because his business name had "lawn care" in it. The college didn't want a "lawn care company doing landscaping".

The other thing I would do is make sure you can get a .com domain that's the same as your business name before you decide on it.

Finally, check your state's business name registry to see if someone has already filed an LLC under the business name you want AND check the US trademarks for your business name. If one of those already exists, don't take it.

You can... you can operate as a DBA under whatever name you want. It's just going to give you a headache in the future when you can't market because you have a trademarked name or someone else has already filed an LLC with your name in your state. You'll have to do a rebrand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
There is a lot of misinformation out there about SEO. Usually by other marketers who get their information regurgitated by other SEO people vs just going directly to Google or from guys in the industry who have done very limited research.

The cool thing about being in the lawn care industry is you don't have to worry about your business name if you decide to sell. Most people buy accounts and assets, not your business name. In my industry, whoever buys us out in the future, will likely keep the "Evergrow Marketing" name because of the history we have built with that name. Which is why I didn't do "Hundley Marketing".

Hinson Lawn Care is fine. The only thing I would suggest is make sure you're not putting yourself in a lawn care corner if you want to do landscaping as well. I had a client that lost a multi-million dollar commercial landscaping job because his business name had "lawn care" in it. The college didn't want a "lawn care company doing landscaping".

The other thing I would do is make sure you can get a .com domain that's the same as your business name before you decide on it.

Finally, check your state's business name registry to see if someone has already filed an LLC under the business name you want AND check the US trademarks for your business name. If one of those already exists, don't take it.

You can... you can operate as a DBA under whatever name you want. It's just going to give you a headache in the future when you can't market because you have a trademarked name or someone else has already filed an LLC with your name in your state. You'll have to do a rebrand.
So, I just checked My states office online. There is a Hinson's Lawn Care, LLC registered. Mine was gonna be Hinson Lawn Care, LLC. do you think this will fly? They are on the other side of the state.
 

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So, I just checked My states office online. There is a Hinson's Lawn Care, LLC registered. Mine was gonna be Hinson Lawn Care, LLC. do you think this will fly? They are on the other side of the state.
I wish I could give you a definitive answer, but I'm not a lawyer. It may be too close in naming, but it may not matter. You might have to check with a lawyer or call yourself something similar like, "Hinson Lawns" or "Hinson Lawn Maintenance"
 

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@ Evergrow. I guess I was misinformed by the very limited search I did about using a virtual office. I was under the impression that is was ok. Also, I cannot for the life of me think of a nice name for my biz that hasn't been taken already. I have almost given up and thinking about using my last name. Hinson Lawn Care. Opinion?

@ Derwood. My target area isn't that far, 20 mins maybe. My shop will be at my home also. I was just wondering about any security issues or how the customers will perceive the business if they see its not a proper shop/office.
But, assuming Evergrow is correct, I am not gonna mess with the virtual office, Ive had Businesses in the past and I know not to mess around/piss off Google.
For the name part, you could put the city you service and the services you provide. Such as: Highville Landscaping, or Tri-State Tree Service. It’s just an example, but I think it looks professional
 
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