If you have a USPS package, you may be wondering where you are supposed to take it and how to drop it off. It can be confusing trying to deal with mail, and you don’t want to waste time by taking it to the wrong place or trying to drop it off with the wrong carrier. There are so many mail carriers, this could easily happen.
There are multiple places that you can drop a package for USPS off, and these include USPS Mailboxes, Kiosks, Contract Postal Units, USPS Distribution Centers, and of course, US Post Offices. There are many tools available online to help you find the nearest location, so you can plan your delivery trip to maximize the efficiency and convenience.
USPS Mailboxes are often an easy option for people who want to send mail. They allow users to simply drop off parcels whenever it suits them to do so. There are multiple kinds of these boxes, and you may have come across some or all of them.
They are sometimes known as Collection Boxes, and they can vary in size and purpose. You should check out any limitations on the box that you plan to use, to make sure that your mail will be collected and handled by USPS. Some boxes are only intended for very specific purposes, so it’s important to get this right.
For an example of a collection box, the Snorkel Collection Box is a curbside collection box that is designed for use by motorists. It is usually found beside roads, and has a chute for motorists to drop mail into.
Another option is the Priority Mail Express Collection Box, which is a white collection box that is designed for members of the public to drop off express mail. You should only use this for priority shipping, not standard mail.
However, if you need to send standard packages, you can look for Standard Collection Box receptacles. These are usually painted blue and bear the USPS logo. Any mail dropped in these boxes will be processed and dealt with, although there are still limitations on what you can send using them.
For example, large mail (over half an inch thick or over 10 ounces) cannot be sent this way, and international mail that has not had an online customs form submitted will be rejected. There are a few other stipulations, so check your package against specific requirements and make sure you can send it using this method.
Local Collection Box receptacles are similar, but – unsurprisingly – are only intended for use with mail that is traveling locally, and not nationally or internationally. Other restrictions may apply.
A relatively recent service, there are also Package Drop Units, which have been designed to let businesses meet their shipping needs by utilizing prepaid postage options. Packages delivered here must meet certain requirements, and the postage needs to be paid in advance, but unlike the Standard Collection Box, this is designed to take larger packages.
You might also sometimes see chutes in the sides of buildings where customers can drop mail in. These vary a bit in size and purpose, but operate in a similar way to other mail delivery points. Check out their requirements before you use one to make sure your package will be accepted.
Most of these collection boxes require you to prepay for the postage online or via the USPS app, and then you can simply package and address the parcel, and drop it into one of these boxes (as long as it fits the requirements). This minimizes the need to get to postal locations around opening times, and can make it more convenient and faster to mail things.
They also reduce queues at actual postal locations, and make it faster for businesses to get their mail dispatched effectively. If you work full time, you may find the collection boxes are your best option.
Kiosks and Contract Postal Units
You can go to a self-service kiosk in many shopping malls (and even some post offices) if you have not got a prepaid label or you need to access printing services, but you don’t want to spend time waiting at the counter.
Here, you can buy stamps and labels, print them, and fix them to your parcels. This is more convenient for people who do not have printers at home, or may not be as familiar with the USPS prepaid labels.
Kiosks are often quicker than going to the main counter, and again help to reduce queues and help everyone get their mail in on time. If you have a local kiosk, try it out and see whether it meets your shipping needs.
Contract Postal Units
Contract Postal Units are those that are located in businesses that are contracted with USPS. They are effectively like postal units, and will allow you to purchase shipping labels and other USPS products in exactly the same way as you would at a post office.
It does not cost anything extra, so if one of your local businesses provides this service, it may be worth taking advantage of it to make posting easier and faster, especially if the business is more conveniently located for you.
Any business can provide this service, provided they are in partnership with USPS, so you should keep an eye out for local options, or check online to see whether any nearby businesses are contracted.
If nowhere local to you does it, consider asking some businesses whether they would be able to start offering this service. It might help to boost their customer footfall, and can be a major benefit to the area, especially if the post office has inconvenient hours or is difficult to get to.
Some businesses may not want to, but you might find one that has sufficient space and is willing to do a trial run.
USPS Distribution Centers
Usually, distribution centers are not equipped to handle drop offs, but if you have a local one, it may be worth contacting them to ask whether they could offer this service to you. On the whole, the centers will say no, as they are only designed to sort and distribute mail, but a few may be able to take drop offs.
You will probably need to have prepacked and labeled your parcel before you take it to a distribution center, and it is always worth checking whether this is a viable option before you do it. You might get lucky, but often, you will need to find another solution.
Don’t just turn up at a distribution center, as these are generally not open to the public, and they won’t be able to help you without being warned in advance.
US Post Offices
Since USPS is the main postal service in the US, it won’t surprise you to learn that you can simply drop your mail off at any US Post Office. Again, you can locate post offices online and find out where your nearest one is.
At your post office, you can purchase stamps and shipping labels, buy insurance, and pay for tracking, and you can easily drop off USPS packages. You may even be able to simply leave prepaid and labeled parcels at the counter, without having to wait in the queue, but this will depend on the setup of the place.
You can also buy USPS international shipping, and access all of their domestic services from this point.
How Can You Simplify Dropping Off USPS Parcels?
There are a few things you can do to make dropping parcels off – wherever you choose to do so – much simpler. Firstly, you should make sure the parcel is well wrapped and secured with tape, so that it will easily fit through sorting machines and has no risk of being snagged or torn open.
Secondly, you should look at printing and filling in any customs forms in advance. You can then simply hand these in with the mail, and the staff can process them without having to wait for you to fill them out at the counter.
You should also consider buying your postage online. This will sometimes be a little cheaper than the at-the-counter services, and it will let you make use of drop off points, or speed up your visit to a post office.
You can purchase almost every kind of postage online, and this will ensure that your labels all get formatted correctly, speeding up the work for the postal service and making it more efficient for everyone. If your parcel is crossing any borders, this is particularly helpful.
You may also be able to sign up for an Easyship account, which can make selecting postage options simpler, and often offers you reduced rates on shipping. For small businesses that ship a lot of mail, this is particularly valuable.
What If I Can’t Access A Drop Off Point?
If none of the above options work in your circumstances, you might be wondering how to get your mail to USPS without going very much out of your way. It might be that your work hours clash with the hours of local businesses and post offices, and your parcel is not suitable for dropping off at a collection point.
If this occurs, you may want to organize a pickup service. This can be done through Easyship, and you can simply get a USPS worker to collect the parcel from your home and deliver it to USPS for you. You may need to pay an additional charge for this service, but it can save a lot of time and hassle.
You will still need to pack the shipment as normal and add a postage label in order to do this. The service simply delivers it to USPS for you, and does not handle other aspects of mailing the package.
How Do I Pack A Parcel To Mail With USPS?
It is important to package parcels well so that they do not get ripped, damaged, or misplaced while with USPS. It is always a good idea to include a secondary address label inside your parcel, as well as on the outside.
This ensures that if the outer label is damaged or lost for any reason, USPS can open up the package and find the intended address. This makes it far more likely that your parcel will reach its proper place, so you should try and do this for everything that you mail.
Other packaging tips include using a strong box for anything breakable. You should assume that your parcel will be tossed around and placed beneath many other boxes and parcels, and pack it accordingly. This will prevent problems with breakages.
You will also need to measure your package before you buy a label for it, as this will make it easier to purchase the correct label. Find out what size category it falls into, and don’t forget to weigh it.
It is important to do both of these things accurately, because USPS uses standard equipment to measure and weigh parcels, and improper shipping labels could lead to shipping delays and additional costs being charged.
Use strong two inch tape for shipping to ensure that parcels are securely wrapped and unlikely to accidentally get opened en route. When you are satisfied that the parcel is secure, fix an address label to the outside, along with a return address label, and take it to a drop off point, or order a pickup.
There are many options for dropping off a USPS package, and you should be able to find one that suits you. If there are no options available that work for you, you may want to try and organize a pickup from your house. This will ensure your parcel gets to USPS in an efficient manner, and minimizes the hassle.
A US Global Mail Virtual Mailbox is another great way to take the challenge out of mailing things. Simply sign up for the service online, and you will effectively always be in, even when you are out. For anyone who works long hours or is away from home, virtual mailboxes make all aspects of mailing easier, and cut down the hours associated with waiting for deliveries and pickups.