Trying to figure out if a PO Box makes a lot of sense for you? Hoping to find some information about the benefits (and drawbacks) of PO Box services as well as a bit of inside information about the kinds of prices you can expect to pay? You’ve come to the right place! In this detailed guide we are going to break down (almost) everything you need to know about PO Boxes, how much they cost, and whether or not they are worth the headache and hassle that they inevitably bring to the table. We are also going to highlight a PO Box alternative that’s definitely worth having a closer look at. Ready to jump right in? Let’s do this!
Thinking About Getting a PO Box?
It’s easy to see why so many people choose to take advantage of PO Box services every year, especially from the USPS. According to the USPS themselves, more than 21 million PO boxes are available at more than 31,000 post offices throughout the country – with more PO boxes being added all the time.
Available to businesses, individuals, and organizations that want a private and secure place to have their mail delivered – aside from their traditional street address – there’s a lot to like when it comes to these particular solutions. At the same time, there are definitely some downsides and drawbacks to moving forward with a USPS PO Box – many of them having to do with the kind of mailing address that you get stuck with when you go in this direction. We get deeper into both of those things (the pros and cons) of these services in just a moment.
At the end of the day, though, just know that there are lots of people that use PO Box services every day and most of them are generally pretty happy with the results. There are also some fantastic PO Box alternatives out there well worth a closer look, such as a virtual mailbox.
Benefits of PO Box Services
There have to be a lot of benefits to PO Box services or you wouldn’t get anywhere close to 21 million people using them each and every year. Let’s break down some of the most impactful benefits right now!
Right out of the gate, one of the biggest (if not THE biggest) benefits that PO boxes offer have to be the benefit of a permanent address. Unlike your street address that moves every time you do, forcing you to do a change of mailing address anytime you decide to get a new apartment, condo, or house, a PO Box keeps the same exact address no matter what. If you’re going to be staying in the same general area when you move (the same town or the same community) a PO Box is a game changer. Your street address changes but you never have to make any adjustments whatsoever to your mailing address – and that’s a lot of hassle and a lot of headache avoided altogether.
Another major benefit of PO Box services is the proceeds that you get with these mailbox solutions, a level of privacy that you just aren’t going to get when it comes to street addresses. For starters, every time you use your street address as your mailing address you are basically advertising to the entire world where you live – and you might not want everyone and anyone to have access to that kind of information. By using a PO Box, you eliminate the connection between your home address and your mailing address completely. This is especially useful if you want to use your mailing address for a business. Not everyone wants their customers to know where they live, especially today when customers can be particularly insistent about “after-hours” customer service.
Mail on Your Schedule
Being able to get the mail on your schedule rather than having to wait around until your mail carrier arrives is another big reason to consider PO Box services. The USPS does a pretty great job about getting people their mail on a regular basis, right around the same time every day, but those schedules are never going to be quite as consistent as a PO Box drop-off. For starters, your PO Box is going to be located directly inside of the post office itself. No mail carrier has to load up the truck, drive around town, and eventually find their way to your address. This means that bright and early in the morning your mail is going to be delivered, right around the same time that mail finds its way to everyone else’s box, too.
Secondly, because that mail is going to sit in your box until you arrive you have total control over when you actually get your hands on your mail, too: Want to grab your mail when you run out in the morning? Looking to grab your mail around lunch when you have a bit of time? Always interested in grabbing your mail last thing before you head home for the day? Want to do a different mail pickup schedule every day of the week to better fit your life schedule? All of those options are there!
Improved Delivery Rate
Through absolutely no fault of their own (most of the time) USPS mail pieces simply get lost in the shuffle somewhere along the way from the mail truck delivering them to the post office to them getting loaded into smaller delivery trucks or on the way to your address. With a PO Box, though, you cut out those extra steps completely. All a USPS piece of mail has to do to find its way into your PO Box is actually arrived that your post office itself. Nobody else has to pick it up, nobody else has to play with it, and nobody else has to move it from the main delivery truck to the route trucks and then hope that it never gets lost between the seats or behind a package along the way. Cutting out all of those extra steps increases your overall deliverability rate big time.
It’s hard to imagine mail being any more secure than sitting inside of a lockbox inside of a governmental building – especially when you contrast that with your mailbox down at the end of the driveway or up near your front door. If you need to be sure that your mail stays 100% safe and secure, and really can’t afford your mail simply to be “blowing in the wind” when you aren’t going to be home, it’s a good idea to take advantage of PO Box solutions.
Drawbacks of a PO Box
Of course, there are also some pretty serious downsides and drawbacks to moving forward with a PO Box, too.
You Have to Collect Your Mail
The biggest pain in the neck with a PO Box is that you actually have to go down to the post office (every single day) to retrieve your mail whether you feel like it or not. There’s something really pleasant about just being able to lift open your mailbox at the end of the driveway or your front door and get your mail for the day, rather than having to jump in your vehicle, zip down to the post office, pull out your key and open your box, and then reverse the process on to you get home.
Not All Boxes Have 24/7 Access
Not every PO Box has 24/7 access 365 days a year, either. Some PO boxes are going to let you get your mail outside of normal operating hours for the post office, but other PO boxes are going to be locked up and inaccessible the second that the postal workers shut down for the day. This happens on a case-by-case basis, but there’s nothing worse than having to stick to someone else’s schedule just to get your hands on your mail.
Box Overflow is a Real Challenge
The first time that your PO Box overflows you’re going to get a little notification inside of your box, letting you know that you have extra mail and gently imploring you not to let this happen again. The next time that it happens, though, it’s likely that the note is going to be a little less friendly – and if it keeps happening on a regular basis you can expect to get hit with extra fees and charges. Combine that with the fact that all your packages and parcels are going to have to be tossed into a communal locker that you’ll have a key to (just because there usually isn’t ever enough room to fit them in your box to begin with) gives people a little pause.
Can’t Receive Mail from Other Carries
Not being able to receive mail from other carriers – no FedEx, no UPS, no DHL, etc. – sometimes is a dealbreaker for people that use their PO Box as their main mailing address. From time to time the USPS may occasionally accept boxes on your behalf (especially if they are sent there accidentally), but this definitely isn’t the norm.
How Much Do PO Boxes Cost?
As far as how much your boxes actually cost, you’re going to be looking at a couple of different options to pick and choose from. As a general rule, expect a PO Box lease (short-term) to hit your wallet for anywhere between $19 and $40 or so – in large part dependent on the size of the box that you choose in the length of that short-term lease. Most people looking for a short-term PO Box lease are going to be happy with six months, but others might want to stretch that up to 12 months (the sweet spot).
If you want a larger box and a larger lease – a 12 month lease or longer – expect to spend $75 or more on that PO Box. Obviously, the longer your lease term and the larger your box the more you are going to pay. Also, if you live in particularly crowded areas with very limited PO Box space the proceeds will usually be significantly higher than they would be elsewhere. The most up-to-date information regarding PO Box pricing can be found directly on the official United States Postal Service website. You can also pop down to your local post office and asked them about local prices and lease terms, too.
US Global Mail – A Better PO Box Alternative
Of course, you can also avoid all of the downside to a traditional PO Box while getting all the benefits – and then some – by taking advantage of a virtual mailbox service like the one provided by US Global Mail. Anything but your traditional PO Box service, US Global Mail has been providing virtual mailbox services to customers for more than 20 years and establish themselves as the industry leader here in America.
Giving you an opportunity to have all of your packages, all of your parcels, and all of your mail sent to one address – a legitimate street address, not a PO Box number – that stays permanently with your account is a huge advantage. You get the privacy and security of a PO Box without the inconvenience of not being able to use that PO Box for UPS, FedEx, and DHL shipments.
There’s more, though! US Global Mail also provides a whole host of other virtual mailbox services that range from mail scanning and digital photography of all your packages and parcels, real-time notification about each piece that arrives at your new virtual mailbox on all your devices, and mail forwarding to get you your mail and packages on your terms.
Combine that with check depositing features, mail record features, and a bunch of other benefits and it’s not hard to see why so many people choose to use US Global Mail when they are looking for a more modern mailbox solution. If you’re interested in learning more about all that US Global Mail has to offer, visit their website for more details or reach out to their customer service directly for personalized information.