There are many virtual office plans in Singapore ranging from $8 to over $150 per month.  For anyone looking to start a new business in Singapore and who wishes to keep all unnecessary overheads down to a minimum, a virtual office package makes for an excellent choice.

In this article, we will look at Singapore’s virtual office packages – what it typically entails? As well as compare the costs involved versus that of the next cheapest option – taking up a coworking space in one of the many coworking centres sprouting up all over Singapore’s Central Business District (CBD).

Table of Contents

1. Virtual Office In Singapore Vs Physical Office Rental In Singapore
1.1 What is a virtual office?
1.2 What are important considerations when choosing a virtual office service?
1.3 Comparison between virtual office and physical office
1.4 Cost differentials between virtual office and physical office
2. Different Types Of Virtual Office Packages In Singapore
2.1 Location
2.2 Types of services offered
2.3 General comparison
3. Summary


1.1 What is a virtual office?

A virtual office, as opposed to a physical rented office, is one where the tenant just “rent” the use of a business address or commercial mail box, without the need for a physical workstation or work space.  And in order to project a professional outlook, and since the relative costs of renting a business address is so much cheaper than a physical space, most would prefer a more prestigious business address in the heart of business districts in Singapore – Raffles Place or Tanjong Pagar, or within the CBD precinct which then includes Suntec City, Marina Bay, etc.

In reality, virtual office operators offer more than just the rental of a business address where all incoming mails received would be alerted to the tenant on a daily basis.  Various ancillary services would be offered along with primary service of business address:

  • Dedicated local land line number
  • Phone answering service – all incoming calls handled by a trained company “receptionist”
  • Mail scanning service
  • Mail forwarding service
  • Cheque-dropping service
  • Meeting room rental
  • Business services ranging from accounting, production of company stamps, preparation of financial statements, corporate secretarial, tax-filing to even logo design, website design, etc.

These services are usually add-ons with additional costs above the price for a virtual office package in Singapore.  Sometimes they could also be bundled in as a whole virtual office package at a higher cost.

1.2 What are important considerations when choosing a virtual office service?

As virtual office targets primarily startups or businesses at the very initial phase of their growth with few customers, and where the business owners typically work out of their homes or cafes, cost is a major consideration. Price becomes the overarching factor to most when choosing between the various virtual office packages in Singapore.

However, we think what is more important than monthly rental per se is – the overall value in a virtual office package.  After all, most would agree it would be penny wise pound foolish to lose any single customer due to inadequate corporate branding or office presence, or simply due to a lack of connectivity especially when one travels out of the country.

Below is a list of considerations that tenants ought to think through before committing to any particular business address service:

  1. How prestigious or “recognizable” is the address to target customers
  2. Proximity to train (MRT) stations (for ease of routine mails collection)
  3. Reliability of the operator in the long-run (prompt alerts of new mails, ease of collection, etc)
  4. Offering of dedicated local numbers
  5. Offering of phone answering concierge services
  6. Offering of mail scanning/forwarding service (more for overseas tenants)
  7. Availability of meeting rooms for rental

1.3 Comparison between virtual office and physical office

Virtual OfficePhysical Office
(Dedicated Desk)
CommitmentOffers the least commitment both in terms of absolute costs and the length of contract to be signed.  Think of it this way – even a 12-month contract on a virtual office (eg. $30x12mths = $360) is cheaper than the rent of a dedicated desk for a single month!Even the usual shortest lease of 3 months can set one back by $1,500 to $2,000. And businesses usually need more than 6 months to breakeven, most longer.Of course, some operators may offer day rate for use sporatically within the month but these usually do not come with business address service which is not the basis of our comparison.
Brand presenceThis is the biggest setback for virtual office where the business requires physical interaction with its clients in an office setting.A virtual office will not give any form of assurance of business continuity or instil confidence in prospects to do business with a new business.A physical office, especially one where it is “seen” as a proprietary whole-unit rental portrays the strongest brand presence to clients.Dedicated private rooms or desks will be the next cheaper option as the market has come to accept coworking space tenants as well-run businesses with a millennials-friendly work culture.
Meeting settingThose who provide meeting room for rental at reasonably good rate will offer a huge advantage over the rest.People-to-people meetings, whether clients or business partners, can make or break a business and some meetings just cannot take place outside the confines and privacy of a professional meeting room behind closed doors.Coworking centres offer meeting rooms for rental by the hour.Some operators also offer “breakout areas” where quick short meetings can be held without having to pay for meeting room rental, albeit this is akin to meeting in cafes where conversations are in the open.
Work productivityVirtual office means one does not have a dedicated desk for work, apart from home which is certainly not the most conducive of places with various temptations in the house.Still, for those who are disciplined enough, it still offers the cheapest form of work arrangement & correspondence as long as there is no need to have clients down at the office.Productivity usually goes up when one is bound to a desk for work rather than wasting time commuting places.Having a proper dedicated desk also means full access to all records, files, wifi, printers, etc. which ensures no time is wasted in getting back to clients quickly on their requests.For these reasons, a startup should consider upgrading to a physical work space in the shortest time possible and virtual office operators who offer competitive packages for dedicated desks rental will be a bonus.
Dedicated phone numberWithout physical work desk, the need for a dedicated phone line becomes even more important, instead of merely showing a mobile number on one’s website.Virtual office operators who are able to offer such dedicated local phone number bring the most value to new businesses, especially when it also offers call forwarding at reasonable rates.Most serviced office operators would offer dedicated phone lines which usually come at additional costs for both the lines as well as usage charges.This is usually not avaible to coworking tenants who still by and large rely on their mobiles for transacting businesses.
Networking and collaborationAs virtual office tenants are typically cost-conscious startups on one or two-person operations, there is usually lack of opportunity for interaction with other startups or businesses when there is no physical desk to be stationed at on a daily basis.On the contrary, serviced office and coworking tenants would have plenty of such opportunities when they come in to work in the office.  Even though the new business could be just a one or two-person team, there will be other “collegues” to have small talk or do lunch with on a regular basis.

1.4 Cost differentials between virtual office and physical office

Physical Office
(with Dedicated Desk)
Virtual Office
Business address
Use of desk, wifi, utilities & pantry
Local Dedicated Phone Number
Self-managed (with line/phone set)
Phone usage chargesORConcierge answering service
$40-50Not applicable
Other Costs
Meeting room use
(meet at cafes ~$12)
Total Monthly Cost
(on self-managed phone & 2-hr meeting/wk)
($710 + 4x$40)
(Midpoint $80 + $45 + 4x$12)

*assume 10 days out of 22 working days in a month where one works out of a café with wifi connection and with order of 1 drink at $6, ie. $6×10 = $60.  The rest of the time one works from home which is free.

A virtual office package could possibly cost only one-fifth that of a dedicated desk. For startups and new businesses, the savings here could certainly be put into much better use like advertising budget to get more leads or pay per click.  Even if we compare the costs with that of a coworking desk (non-dedicated open desk), which can be half the costs of a dedicated desk, virtual office would still save quite a few hundred per month.


2.1 Location

Is location important at all for virtual office address?  What may seem as trivial could actually play a part in one’s business success in two ways.

First, targeting a specific country or city requires a brand prescence and more often than not, potential new customers often seek out the location of a new business to ascertain how well-established is the firm.  So having a well-known address will help to give a good impression.  Next, having an address in a central location especially in the business district will help motivate new entreprenuers to network more during lunch time when they also swing by to pick up their mails.  This is important to prevent new entreprenuers from being holed up at one corner of Singapore and working in silos.  Running a new business can be a lonely venture at times.

2.2 Type of services offered

As highlighted earlier, most virtual office operators do bundle up or offer a menu of add-on services for customers with the most common listed below:

Phone answering & concierge service
This usually adds quite a bit of fixed cost to a virtual office package but is necessary if one’s business requires a putting on a full façade of frontdesk receptionist with fairly sizeable team in backroom operations. Be prepared to add $100-150 per month for having a “dedicated receptionist” that greets all callers by your brand.

Dedicated phone line
In order to print a direct line or DID number on one’s namecard, this requires subscribing for a dedicated phone line with the operator.  This usually will add another $30-100 per month charged by most operators and does not include the cost of call forwarding or having all calls routed to one’s mobile when not in the office.

Call forwarding service (with call forward charges)
Do not overlook this as it is important for new businesses not to miss any call or lead especially if the dedicated phone number is used as a sales hotline on the company’s website in order to look more professional and not some fly-by-night operations.  Depending on the phone system used by various operators, be prepared to pay for usage charges including call forward charges.

Mail scanning and forwarding service
For virtual office customers based outside of Singapore, and who does not fly in every month to pick up all their mails and cheques, this becomes a key add-on service for obvious reasons.

Meeting room for rental
For some businesses, conducting professional and confidential discussions behind four walls cannot be substituted with meetings in cafes.  As one can never anticipate when there is such a need for proper meeting with a very important VIP client or business partner, choosing a virtual office operator with easy access to such meeting venue is paramount.

2.3 General Comparison

The virtual office packages in Singapore are highly fragmented with price ranging from $8 to few hundred dollars depending on the location, prestige and type of add-on services offered or bundled in.

We have provided a list of important considerations to mull over in section 1.2 earlier and we believe operators who could provide satisfactory solutions to these seven factors and at a reasonably price ought to be shortlisted.


In this article we have introduced you to the various types of services offered alongside a typical virtual office package in Singapore. Most operators would break them down into an “à la carte” menu with the business address and mails management as core or basic service in the virtual office package. This basic service alone commands a wide range of prices from $8 to $150 depending on the location, prestige, and the type (mass-market versus premium brands) or scale of operators.

We hope the information provided here will be of great relevance to your search process.  As this article is essentially an opinion-piece from an existing virtual office operator, we ask you to validate the figures and statements presented though every effort has been taken by us to ensure its accuracy and objectivity. Please also do read our disclaimer clauses at the end of the article.

Speak to us today to find out more about our office solutions (dedicated desk and serviced office only) and to arrange for an obligation-free viewing of premises.  We look forward to welcoming you to the StartWise family.

Though every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of our writing and analysis, we do not warrant that our research findings will be 100% true and unbiased as we are also in the business of operating a co-location office in Singapore ourselves.  We stand corrected and welcome any such feedback to

Through our blog, we aim to summarize useful information on office rental market in Singapore and to bring you coverage on interesting developments in the industry.  We also express our opinions in our writing which must not be taken as facts without validation or further checks.  Our sources of information will be limied to those from the authorities, and whatever that is published in the public domain as well as insights gathered from our day-to-day marketing and operations in our business.  You should not base any decision on any representations given in any of our blog articles without fully verifying the said information with the relevant parties concerned and we cannot be made liable for any losses suffered as a result.

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