If you’re looking to distance your mailing address from your physical address, you may have considered renting a PO Box from the Post Office. It is also an option often sought after by USPS customers, as a way to keep up with their mail while away. Post Office boxes are stored in secure buildings, and with on-site personnel, making them ideal for receiving mail that you would want to protect from possible mail theft.
PO Boxes are also used in some cases, by businesses, that want to operate out of their home but need another address to distance their own home address.
Before we get into the details on how to get a PO Box, let’s first look at what it is and why you would possibly need one.
What Is A PO Box?
A PO Box is is a mailbox that usually comes with a key (lock) and a unique address. A self service feature of the USPS, post office boxes can be accessed during business hours at Post Office branches. There is no door to door delivery available for all mail items that are shipped to your PO Box.
The cost of a PO Box will vary depending on the location, size and length of that rental amount of time that you select. The rental period ranges from anything between 3 months and 12 months. An associated cost you will want to keep in mind, is that of a one time fee for your mailbox’s key. That $3 fee will cover you for 2 keys with a $6 fee for any additional key that you request.
Overall, PO Box prices range from $16 to $625 per each rental period. Renting for an extensive period of time may come in cheaper, compared to if you rented for just a 3 month period of time. So if you’re interested in maintaining a PO Box for the long run, make sure you sign up for the longest term possible.
Now, to the main topic of our article: How can you get a PO Box?
Renting a PO Box will have 2 steps associated with it, and those are the size and location of your box. So it is important to know what you are looking for, to take further action.
This is an important one you will need to figure out, due to the cost structure that is so tightly connected to the size of the box. Depending on the amount of mail that you receive or anticipate on receiving, you may select between 5 sizes for a PO Box. Below we will break down those sizes.
X Small. This box comes with a storage area of 3″ x 5 1/2″ x 14 3/4″. Typically, it you can expect to accommodate 10-15 letter sized envelopes or up to 2 rolled magazines.
Small. This boxes will come with dimensions of 5″ x 5 1/2″ x 14 3/4″, and can accommodate 10-15 letters or up to 5 rolled magazines.
Medium. The dimensions for this box will be 11″ x 5 1/2” x 14 3/4″. This should be wide enough to fit large envelopes and magazines that are stacked flat.
Large. With the large box, you will have a size with dimensions of 11″ x 11″ x 14 3/4″ which (to give you an idea of space,) could fit 2 shoe boxes with leftover room for a dozen letters.
X Large. This box will have dimensions of 22 1/2″ x 12″ x 14 3/4″, and is big enough to accommodate Flat Rate Boxes and parcels.
Typically, USPS customers will select a location that is nearer to where they reside or the location of their business. This is usually recommended, just for the sake of easier access, and faster access to your mail items (given that you will probably need to get to your PO Box, once or twice a week.) Having said that, there is no limit to the distance of your PO Box, from where you live. That means, that you do not necessarily need to stay within the same zip code, if that is not of interest to you.
How can you rent your box?
Rent a PO Box Online
The USPS has come a long way since it first started several hundred years ago. And with that, they have to terms with the fact that 21st century innovation is not going to wait for them any longer.
Registering your Box online, can be done easily within just a few clicks. Just head over to USPS.com and just let them know of the location you’re looking to rent in. They will be able to help you from there, with the available box sizes on site (not all locations have all box sizes available; this will vary depending on the free space of that center and the type of boxes they typically maintain.)
Once you have found the location you are looking to register a PO Box in, just click on “Reserve Now” and you will be directed to an online account with the USPS from there (if you don’t have one already.)
The minute your account is up and running, you will be given a PS Form 1093 which you can also download if you click here. Once you fill out all the information they require and include your billing info, you will be asked to read & agree to their terms of service.
If you intend on activating a PO Box that you have reserved online, you will be required to visit the Post Office branch of interest, in person. Before you get there, please ensure that you bring a copy of you completed application form along with 2 forms of ID.
Rent a PO Box In Person
Visit the location where you would like to rent your PO Box, and make an inquiry about the available sizes at the location and then pick a box that fits your needs. An employee at the Post Office will help you fill out the proper form to complete the application process (as with the case of applying for a PO Box online, you will need to make sure you have 2 forms of ID with you.)
When it comes to adding the name of the primary account holder, you will only be allowed to add just 1 account holder. That does not mean that you cannot have others with shared access to your box, but the main responsibility of the box will fall on just one person alone.
A Virtual Mailbox Alternative
Getting mail at your PO Box, although helps with distancing your home address and even taking advantage of the Informed Delivery feature, it still requires that you visit the location once every few days to empty it up. Especially if you have registered a smaller box to save on your monthly fee, you will need to ensure that the mailbox is being emptied frequently, to avoid it being overfilled and blocking additional mail from being added to it.
But… what if you could receive your snail mail online, the same way you would receive let’s say an e-mail? That means no more unnecessary trips to the post office, and very convenient access from your phone or computer at any time during the day. Also, this means that you would have unlimited storage available to you, and the ability to go back and look at mail that you received several months back.
US Global Mail is a pioneer in the space of digital mailboxes, and operational since 1999. You can still receive all packages & mail you would normally receive at the Post Office, including mail from carriers such as UPS, FedEx, DHL etc.
Additional features & perks, come with check deposits that can be completed online (a US Global Mail employee would deposit a bank check on your behalf at no additional cost,) as well as mail forwarding & shipping features that can save you up to 80% off of typical shipping rates.
For more information and to try a month free, click here.