Last Updated on June 19, 2023 by Ewen Finser
Contrary to popular belief, there are some downsides to working remotely.
While it’s great in terms of the environment, saving time on the commute, and efficiency, it makes it way harder to separate your personal and work life. It’s also tricky to maintain a professional image if your HQ is actually your kitchen table!
I got to review Alliance Virtual Offices, which on the face of it, seems like the ideal solution: it gives you an office ‘base’ without having to pay rent full-time and offers meeting spaces for employees and clients on a ‘when you need it’ kind of basis.
Is it perfect? Well, no. But it’s pretty close, actually…
Keep reading this Alliance Virtual Offices Review & Guide to find out if virtual offices could work for your business, and more about the services Alliance has to offer.
The Bottom Line Up Front
I like Alliance Virtual Offices. Firstly, I am impressed by the sheer number of locations they offer: with 1200 spaces in 44 countries, it makes it very easy if you travel often and want a familiar process to book meeting spaces.
I also think that their other features, like the virtual receptionist, virtual phone, and the ability to have mail forwarded to your home are very useful if you’re running a small business.
What Is Alliance Virtual Offices?
Alliance Virtual Offices offers tools like virtual offices, flexible meeting rooms and workspaces, receptionists, a virtual phone, and coworking spaces.
It differs from mailbox address providers in that it offers mail and phone services and physical workspaces. I’d recommend it for entrepreneurs, small business owner professionals like lawyers, accountants, consultants, and small businesses.
Alliance Virtual Offices – the Main Features
Let’s check out the main features of Alliance Virtual Offices. I found some features particularly useful from a freelancer’s perspective, as well as some excellent tools for businesses and entrepreneurs.
The most useful thing to start with is the locations of the physical offices and meeting spaces. Alliance Virtual Offices has 1200+ locations globally in 44 countries: way too many for me to list here!
However, some big cities in the US include:
- New York
- Los Angeles
- San Francisco
They have excellent coverage in the States, which is great. For example, they have several offices in New York, so you should be able to find a central location for any Alliance Virtual Office.
In addition, the services work the same no matter where you are, so you can book a meeting room in another country for business trips, for example.
Let’s talk about what virtual offices are. Essentially, it gives your business a central location without paying rent all year round. This is especially important if you need an address to get an LLC.
There are two plans available for this: the Premium Plan and the Platinum Plus Plan. The only difference between the two virtual office service offerings is that the latter provides up to 16 hours of meeting room or private office time.
Both plans offer the following:
- A recognized business address
- Mail receipt and local pickup
- Mail forwarding (add-on, incurs extra charges)
- Access to meeting and private space
- Use for business licensing
- Use for opening a bank account
- Use on website & business cards
- Lobby receptionist to greet visitors
- Access to thousands of meeting rooms globally
- Online notary included for registration
Essentially, it gives you a home space for your business, rooting you in a physical space while allowing everyone to work from home. This protects your personal information (like your home address), and gives everyone a physical space to meet occasionally, allowing you to work effectively while staying connected with your team.
It’s worth noting that there is a package limit of 10 pounds for mail receipts and local pickup, and if you want your mail forwarded to your home address, there’s a separate charge for that.
The meeting rooms vary depending on the location.
The rooms go up in price depending on the capacity. For example, smaller rooms in New York come in at around $75 for 2-4 people.
Rooms may include:
- Food delivery options
- Light refreshments
- Writing wall or writing board
Some of these amenities may come at an extra charge.
I like how easy it is to book a meeting room: you can just input the date, set the start and end time, and they’ll match you with an available room.
As there are so many options, you should be able to find a room for your time slot. Checking out is similar to paying for anything online: you add the date to your cart, and then check out and pay once you’re ready.
The flexibility of this is really useful. If you run a business and you’re scattered all over one city, for example, you can arrange a monthly meeting to ‘check in’ without committing to paying for office space that will sit empty most of the time.
Rates go by the hour, half day, or full day. They also provide onsite staff to greet visitors and point them in the right direction. I also like the fact that you can have a tour of their offices before signing up, which is a nice bonus.
The other excellent thing about this is that booking offices is the same no matter where you are in the globe: if you work in New York but you’re going to meet a client in London, you can book a meeting room there in just a few steps. It just makes it so much easier if you work with customers or clients across the globe.
In terms of looks, the offices vary depending on which building you go for, but the amenities are consistent, and they all have comfortable chairs, which is important if you’re booking in a long meeting!
Freelancing or working from home can get lonely. Coworking spaces are popping up everywhere to combat this, and Alliance Virtual Offices offer modern spaces designed to allow you to focus.
The coworking spaces are pretty nice. Hot desks are reasonably priced (they vary depending on the city you’re working in), and they come with comfortable chairs, wifi, and complimentary coffee.
The admin staff are around if you need help, and they also have printing and copying facilities.
I like that you can book full-time desks or book a random session every now and then. When you work from home, it’s difficult to switch off; in my experience, physically traveling somewhere else helps me to focus and have a clear differentiation between work and relaxation time.
However, not all freelancers or remote workers can afford to book a full-time desk. Therefore, having the option to book flexibly is excellent.
It’s also nice to be around other people: you can connect with other freelancers and even make a new friend or two. Plus, the fact that they offer free coffee is a significant bonus as far as I’m concerned.
Booking is very simple: you can choose your location, date, and time and then checkout as you would for any online purchase.
Receptionist (Answering Service)
Live receptionists are another key feature of Alliance Virtual Offices. The pricing starts from $95 a month, saving you from answering every call yourself!
The live receptionists will give friendly advice to callers, divert queries to the right people, and save you from dealing with time wasters.
I like the fact that virtual receptionists can arrange callbacks: many clients or customers enjoy speaking to a real person, even if they can’t get the solution they want immediately.
It adds a friendly, welcoming touch to your business and protects you from having to hand out your own personal phone number.
As a customer, I prefer to speak to a real person, as opposed to going through a customer service chatbot or similar; if you want to capture leads and make sure your potential customers or clients feel welcomed from the beginning, it’s worth paying for a live receptionist.
Further Read: Best Virtual Receptionist Services.
Linked to this is the Virtual Phone system. I feel wary of handing out my phone number to just anyone: but when you’re running a small business or working remotely, it’s hard to avoid doing this.
The Virtual Phone gives you a dedicated business number for $30 per month. Calls to this number will divert to your phone, and this protects your privacy while still allowing clients or customers to contact you.
This means you can add your phone number to posters, directories, and advertisements without worrying about having to release your personal phone number.
I think the pricing is pretty reasonable for this, and if you have potential clients who prefer to talk over the phone, it could be a vital tool to protect your privacy but maintain an open, approachable ethos for your business.
You can also take phone calls even if you’re in a different country, although this does incur extra charges.
Alliance Virtual Offices – Support
Alliance Virtual Offices offers support via phone or email. You can also speak to their on-site admin staff if you’re already using one of their workspaces.
It has good reviews here: many users praise the swift response to their queries and the professionalism and friendliness of their on-site team, which is great. You can also trust the on-site receptionists to greet your clients or customers with warmth and helpfulness.
Alliance Virtual Offices – Pricing
Let’s talk pricing! It’s difficult for me to lay out the full pricing list for Alliance Virtual Offices. It depends on the location, how long you need physical office space for, and any extra charges involved.
You will typically have to pay around $150-200 for an initial setup fee for their virtual office plans and around $50-$100 monthly for the basic plan. This will vary, though, and you can find out more on their pricing page.
The downside is that with the virtual office plan, you’ll need to sign up for either a six or twelve-month package.
This is a big investment, so you must be 100% sure you want to use their facilities before you sign up. I’d recommend taking a tour of their offices beforehand just to make sure you feel happy with it!
Alliance Virtual Offices – Pros and Cons
Here’s what I liked the most about Alliance Virtual Offices, as well as some features that you might want to be aware of:
- Flexible workspaces for entrepreneurs and employees
- Private meeting rooms are well-equipped
- Tons of locations globally, making it easy to meet anywhere
- The booking system is very simple
- Virtual phone and post receipt services make it easier to protect privacy
- Friendly, helpful staff provide excellent support
- Weight limit of 10 pounds for packages
- Minimum six-month contract for virtual offices
Alliance Virtual Offices – Alternatives to Try
There are some alternatives to try if you’re interested in virtual offices:
- Regus – Regus offers flexible workspaces for businesses, remote work teams, and freelancers. They have over 4,000 locations worldwide.
- iPostal1 – this is a simple service that offers a digital mailbox, giving your business a fixed address for mail. It doesn’t have office space but does have virtual phone capabilities too.
- Opus Virtual Offices – very similar to Alliance Virtual Offices, Opus Virtual Office has over 650 locations across the US and offers virtual office services as well as live receptionist services and call transfers.
- Stark Office Suites – this offers virtual office services in some of the most prestigious locations in New York, with stylish, well-equipped offices and meeting rooms.
- Davinci Virtual Office Solutions
You can read more suggestions in our guide to the Best Virtual Address Services for LLCs.
Question: Do I Really Need a Virtual Office?
Answer: I’d say there are several benefits to having a virtual office. First, it’s a nice way of separating work from home, especially if you’re running a small business or you’re an entrepreneur.
Secondly, it gives you an address and phone number you can use on marketing materials. Plus, having a central address for accounting and legal purposes can be very useful. You don’t ‘need’ a virtual office to run a small business, but it does set a professional tone.
Question: If I Take a Phone Call Internationally using Alliance Virtual Offices, will I be Charged Extra?
Answer: Yes, you’ll be charged an international fee per minute, depending on the country you’re in at the time of the phone call.
Question: Can I Have My Mail Forwarded using Alliance Virtual Offices?
Answer: Yes, you can! You can have mail forwarded on a daily, weeky, bi-weekly, or monthly basis. Prices for this start from $10 per month, plus postage/courier fees.
Question: Can I Register an LLC Using a Service Like Alliance Virtual Offices?
Answer: Yes, you can. Just ensure that you’re following the guidelines for your particular state. You may also find our guide to the Best Registered Agent Services helpful if you’re looking to set up an LLC.
Alliance Virtual Offices Review & Guide: To Sum Up…
I think that Alliance Virtual Offices is absolutely worth a try. I like that it contains everything you might want in virtual offices: receptionists, a mailing address, a business phone number, and the opportunity to meet up with your team in a central location.
It’s excellent if you work globally, too; their locations are dotted across the globe, and booking a meeting room works the same no matter where you are, which is super convenient.
While the pricing is a little unclear (by necessity, as prices are largely dictated by location), I think it has a lot of tools that small businesses will find helpful, and I think the rates for coworking spaces are pretty reasonable!