Getting a PO box is one of the most secure ways to receive and manage mail. The post office will allow you to get mail at a location other than your home, ensuring a safe receipt and avoiding any theft activity. However, there is one question that always comes to mind, “how much do PO boxes cost”. Luckily, you have come to the right place as we’re going to hand you everything you need to know when it comes to PO box rates.
But, before we do that, let’s look take a look at what a PO box actually is first.
What Is a PO Box?
A PO box is, essentially, a locked mailbox. Depending on which provider (and the PO box’s location) you go with, you might be given a key to get into it, or you will set a code. Normally, the boxes are all lined up next to each other in the lobby of a post office. It is there to hold mail you do not want to be delivered to your house.
Okay, now we are ready to get down to the nitty-gritty money details.
So, How Much for a PO Box?
When considering the price for a PO box, there are a few parameters that need to be taken into account. Here are the top 3 factors that will determine the cost of a PO Box.
- The amount of time (in months) that you intend on leasing the mailbox for.
- The size of the box (extra small, small, medium, large, extra large)
- The location of the post office you get a mailbox in
A PO box will cost anywhere from $19 for a small box in a 6 month contract and up to $75 in certain locations. The US Postal Service website has a thorough overview of the pricing.
Contract Lease Term
Depending on the terms of the contract, you can get a PO box that is from 6 to 12 months of a leasing period. Trying to lease for a shorter period of time and extending that lease, may turn out to be more expensive. So make sure you know before hand, how long you intend on leasing the box. If you choose to have the fees charged to a card, you can keep renewing automatically at the end of the contract.
When it comes to the size of the box you lease, there are 5 sizes that are available in several but not all locations. Smaller boxes tend to be less expensive.
Here is a list of box sizes available:
- Extra Small
- Extra large
Extra Small: These boxes come in dimensions of 3” x 5.5” with a capacity of 10-15 letters (or the equivalent of 2 rolled magazines.)
Small: These boxes have dimensions of 5” x 5.5” with a capacity of 10-15 letters (or the equivalent of 5 rolled magazines.)
Medium: These boxes have dimensions of 5.5” x 11” with a capacity that can have large envelopes and 10-15 letters.
Large: These boxes have dimensions of 11” x 11” and can usually fit two shoe boxes inside and still have space for 10 – 15 letters.
Extra Large: These boxes come in dimensions of 12” x 22.5″ and can hold multiple Flat Rate Boxes and parcels.
Add On Fees
Keep in mind that in addition to the factors above that contribute to the final price tag you can expect to pay for your mailbox, there are some one time flat fees. Those are a $3 deposit for the first 2 keys and $6 for additional keys. If you lose your keys or forget your code that will cost you another $20.
Location of PO Box Determines Cost
The Postal Service will always set rates based on the price available from other competitors in the market (namely UPS etc.) So depending on how much of the market they control and how much competition exists, the Post Office will change up their pricing. To get a comprehensive idea of how much a PO Box will run you in your location, check out the official pricing information listed on the USPS website. Or, you can take a sneak peek below.
USPS PO Boxes Cost
The cost of a PO box from USPS various pretty wildly because they offer a variety of different sizes. Obviously, since location plays a part, we are going to show you the range of prices you will expect to pay. The specific price for you may be somewhere in the middle, it just depends on where you live. With that in mind, let’s take a little look into which PO box sizes offer the best value for money.
Extra Small: These guys can cost up to $75 but we have known them to be as low as $12.
Small: These ones can be quite extortionate for what they are at a whopping $150 however, we have seen them go for around $16.
Medium: This PO box cost can be as high as $250, but also as low as $25.
Large: The large ones can cost you up to $400 but we have known them to go for around $60 in some areas.
Extra Large: This one is the largest size. It can cost you anywhere from $106 to a staggering $625.
The price varies so much usually because of the state or city you live in. Yes, it can be quite a bummer to find out you will need to pay the highest price but… when in Rome!
Top Reasons For Getting A PO Box
Getting a PO box comes with a series of benefits.
Mailbox Security: Because of the fact that the box is located inside within the building of the Post Office and only accessible using a key or combination, a PO Box will help keep your real address private.
Privacy: Depending on what you do for a living, you might not want your home address shared publicly. For example, if you are beauty blogger, receiving samples from companies is a huge deal. However, you probably do not want everybody knowing exactly where you live. So, you can get a PO box to protect your mail and your house address.
Accessibility: Your PO box will more than likely be in the lobby of a post office. So, whenever the post office’s lobby is open, you have complete access to your mail during these hours. In fact, a lot of locations let you access their lobby 24 hours a day, 7 days. Or, they offer extended hours on a certain days. This makes going to grab your mail a breeze.
Reliability: If you are a frequent traveler or someone that just needs to know their mail is taken care of while they are away, getting a PO box will help you ensure you receive mail regardless of where you are in the world.
Quicker Mail Delivery: Because the USPS does not need to come out to your address in order to deliver the mail but can actually deliver it to its own post office branch, you are ensured to get your mail faster than if it were delivered to your home.
How to Get a PO Box
By now you might be itching to get your hands on a PO box. So, we thought we should show you how you can go about this.
Don’t worry, the process is incredibly easy. You can apply online or you can visit your local post office if you would rather speak to someone in person. Depending on the method you choose, the steps you take to acquire your PO box are slightly different. Regardless, just remember that you are the only primary key holder. You can give other people access (like your partner, for example) if this is necessary, but there is only one named owner per box.
Anyway, let’s get into the specifics.
Getting a PO Box Online: The Full How To
The first step is to go to the PO box page on the United States Postal Service website (just click here to take you there). Then you will need to enter one of two things — either your whole address or just your zip code. Once you hit “Enter”, the site will load up a map of all the PO boxes near you. Make sure to select the one that is most convenient for you.
Upon selection, you will be shown the sizes that they have. Helpfully, directions and the access hours will also pop-up.
Point and click on the PO box size you would like. Immediately after this, you will be asked whether you want to reserve the box or join the waiting list. If you’re lucky, the box you have selected will be available! Should this be the case, you need to select your payment period. You will get a choice of 3 months, 6 months, or 12 months — it’s up to you!
Once this is all complete, the rest is really easy. You need to fill out the application form online (it’s called the PS Form 1093). Make sure you input all your correct contact and billing information; if you make a mistake, acquiring a PO box will be much harder than necessary.
Then, tap the submit button!
USPS gives you 30 days to go into the post office and confirm your identity and pick up the keys to your new best friend. You will have to take two valid forms of identification and print your form out. Do it now before you forget and your 30-day limit runs out!
Oh, one more thing. If you’re wondering what classes as valid forms of ID, have a gander at this list below:
- ID card given to you by a federally/state recognized tribal nation
- US citizenship certificate
- US naturalization certificate
- Uniformed Service ID
- US Armed Forces card
- Driver’s license
- Non-driver’s card
- Corporate ID
- US university ID
You will also need to bring an acceptable secondary form of ID too. All of the following are valid:
- Home insurance policy
- Car insurance policy
- Deed of trust
- Utility bill
- Vehicle registration card
- Voter card
- Form I-94
Getting a PO Box at The Post Office: The Full How To
Going into the post office to get your hands on a PO box is also super easy.
You do still need to fill out the PS Form 1093, which you can either print out yourself or pick up one from the post office. You can hand this in to any post office, it doesn’t have to be the one that holds your PO box. Just ensure it has a window service feature.
Again, make sure you have two forms of acceptable ID on you otherwise you’ll slow the process down considerably.
A Cheaper Alternative
More and more homeowners and businesses have been trying to go virtual due to a series of events that have disrupted our everyday lives. Getting everything done online, whether mail or bank statements or a bill, is a more preferred way for millions of Americans and hundreds of millions of people around the world.
When it comes to mail, this is an industry that has not been as much disrupted from virtual technologies and the Internet, until recently. There are several virtual mailbox companies, that will receive mail on your behalf (just like the Post Office or UPS would) but then scan it and upload it online into your account.
This is a more preferred way of getting mail for many since it avoids unnecessary trips to the post office and allows for a more manageable way to keep up with mail.
Additionally, the cost of a virtual mailbox is a lot cheaper than a physical mailbox because all your mail is stored in the cloud. There are also no limits on the amount of mail or the size of the packages you can receive.
For a full list of perks, check out US Global Mail.
Got questions? Reach out to us here.