In our latest blog, we spoke in great detail of the differences between US Global Mail and other Virtual Mailbox & Mail Forwarding companies. The majority of these service providers simply outsource their work to the lowest bidder. It’s a technique well known among roofers and home improvement companies, which has proven time and time again that quality of work is hindered and does not do good for the customer. Putting profit over customers is a bad way to run any business anyway, not just a mail forwarding business.
Today, we will be covering extensively a particular mail forwarding company that fits perfectly the outsourcing profile; iPostal1.
As a reminder, our aim is not to tarnish the reputation of iPostal1 or any mail forwarding company for that matter. Simply put, our purpose is to lay out all the common areas & differences in the services that two mail forwarding companies provide.
We will present the data, and from there using your own judgement and due diligence, you will be equipped to make a decision that’s right for you.
So happy reading and happy picking!
Number of available virtual addresses
One main distinction between iPostal1 & US Global Mail are the number of available locations, for customers to get their mail sent to. At first glance, having several available locations looks like a good idea; “why wouldn’t I want to have my mail forwarded to a location of my choice? Flexibility is always good, right?”
If you can service that many locations though.
You see, what it really drills down to, is the fact that no mail forwarding company can operate 1000+ locations, simply because there is no mail forwarding company that is that large. So the only way for a company like iPostal1 to offer that many locations, is by outsourcing all that mail work to a third party local postal service.
But then you might ask: “Doesn’t it matter what location my mail arrives to?”
All mail, whether iPostal1 or US Global Mail service it, is uploaded onto the cloud and you get to view it from there (virtual mailbox.) In other words, what location your mail is initially sent to does not matter one bit. And the only reason a company would offer several locations to begin with, is to give you this idea of “variety and options.” The reality though is, that unless you intend on picking up mail in person (beats the purpose of having a virtual mailbox,) where your mail is sent to does not matter; it will all eventually end up in the cloud.
Multiple virtual addresses are a marketing strategy
When you think of cable companies & TV program providers, having hundreds of channels at first sounds like a great idea. You have options. But in reality, how many different channels do you switch through in a week? Probably just a handful. And with streaming services like Netflix (by the way, they are a customer of US Global Mail,) you can just pick what you see, on demand.
The reality is, no one ever watches through 500 channels, and it just sounds good in an advertisement, but that’s about it.
Well, it’s a similar but for the virtual mailbox industry. Sounds great for marketing purposes to have variety, but at the end of the day, your mail will only end up in one place. And that is your virtual mailbox (i.e phone or computer.)
Now, to put things in perspective, we are not suggesting that if you work with iPostal1, you will have a negative experience. But what we are saying is, that iPostal1 will not be the company servicing you. It will be some local postal service that is juggling between its virtual mailbox and physical mailbox customers. To be frank; iPostal1 is simply a middle man and they offer the virtual mailbox software but that is about it. They do not actually do any of the mail forwarding themselves. And they do not handle customer support either. So after you sign up with them, and depending on the local postal center your mail is outsourced to, you can have a positive or negative experience with not much control over it (aside from cancelling.)
And it gets worse when you consider that they do not work necessarily with the same provider across all 50 states. Which means that if you see a positive review someone posted of iPostal1, and that individual is located in Pennsylvania, you won’t necessarily get the same customer experience if you are located in California. Simply because those are not the same service providers filling & processing your mail.
Dangers of mail theft
Mail Theft is a big issue in this country, with identity theft being one of the most frequent ways criminals get access to your personal data, social security number, credit card numbers etc.
When you outsource a mail forwarding service to another company, someone will have to take a monetary hit in order to be able to compete and not increase the service rates. There are one of 3 parties that will foot the bill:
- The sales company (iPostal1)
- The subcontractor (whoever does the actual mail work)
- The customer
Since margins for iPostal1 are already thin and they do not want to increase the pricing for the customer, in order to remain competitive, the subcontractor is the one who ends up being squeezed. From surveys we have conducted, most of the third party postal centers, are not happy at all with the margins they get with companies like iPostal1. And we are not claiming that if US Global Mail were to use an outsourcing model like that, that we would do a better job at it.
What we are saying is, that this model does not seem to work, where all parties are happy. Which is why we have so far, decided against outsourcing mail.
In summary, these are some of the things that happen, when you outsource mail:
- Workforce is underpaid and thus less talented people are recruited
- IT infrastructure and protection against data breaches and mail theft will be poorer
- Incentives for everyone involved are removed from the picture which leads to poorer customer service.
To be fair, there are cases in which having a multi location service can be a positive thing. For example, if you want to have an office in Manhattan because that is where you do business in and want a prestigious location, then that would be a case where you would potentially want to compromise with who’s handling your mail, in exchange for a prestigious location.
We spoke of the enormous consequences outsourcing your mail to other companies has. Someone may argue however that getting that prestigious New York location is a worthy advantage.
But what about pricing?
iPostal1 generally states that their mail forwarding services start at $8.25/mo for an annual plan. However in the example of locations such as New York the plans range from $19.99 to $39.99! That is double what you see in a typical ad they post. So if you are looking to sign up for a premium location, prepare to pay a premium price for it.
At US Global Mail, you know upfront the cost for all our plans. Our plans start at $9.95/mo for an annual plan and up to $24.99 for an annual business plan. Not only is the pricing more favorable, but it also comes with five added advantages, above and beyond of the fact that the work is completed in-house:
- Unlimited Business Name Registrations
- Unlimited Personal Names
- Permanent US Street Address
- Unlimited Incoming Mail
- Free Check Deposit
At this point you may ask yourself, “how is it possible for a company like US Global Mail, that handles all of its work in-house and that offers all these free perks, to still be a cheaper alternative to iPostal1?”
The answer to that can be broken down to the following 2 reasons:
- When a company decides to outsource, no matter how low of a wage the subcontractor pays its workers, it still needs to meet certain legal standards. In other words, the margin to outsource versus the margin to complete the work in house is a lot smaller. Therefore, and in order to keep up with the costs of doing business, they need to increase the rate for each mail forwarding plan. Some could say they took the “idle” way out by pushing the envelope (literally!) off to another company.
- Economies at scale US Global Mail is a larger company that has been in business since the 90’s with over 80,000 happy customers under their belt. A company at that size, has the flexibility to offer lower rates and to be able to compete.
So with US Global Mail you get both outstanding in-house mail forwarding, and a price no one else can beat.
What else could you ask for?
The main issue we are trying to address with this review and what needs to be pointed out when considering to sign up with iPostal1, is whether you want the outsourced mail experience or not. And to be fair, Ipostal1 does have some pretty good reviews out there and has been a company that lead the effort to bring processing of mail to a local level.
At the same time, this outsourced model is in no way one that will give you a cheaper virtual mailbox or a better experience. If anything, you are going to probably pay a similar rate, whether you sign up with iPostal1 or US Global Mail. However, we are certain, that you will have a much better experience when working with us, because we have control over our in-house operation; both when it comes to the processing of mail and our customer service team (both in the same facility and just a few feet away.)
A final thing to consider; when completing a change of address (a requirement to sign up for a virtual mailbox company,) and if that change of address is permanent, you cannot change your provider in the future. Which is why it is very important, that the choice you make, is the right one right at the beginning.
US Global Mail; A More Reliable Alternative
This is the part of the review, where we get to tout our own horn for a bit. We have already covered some of the reasons why the outsourcing model has some serious flaws that affect your experience as a customer.
In addition to that, US Global Mail has been working with expat employees of Netflix, Chubb & Shell for several years. For large corporations like that, to entrust the oldest mail forwarding & virtual mailbox company in existence (1999!) we think means a lot.
US Global Mail started off as a mail forwarding company in 1999, for professionals who were located abroad and still needed to access mail from the US. Over the course of years, it started developing its virtual mailbox software, to provide a more digital experience for its customers. Up until a few years ago, US Global Mail focused almost exclusively on expat customers.
In recent years however, it has been investing a lot of resources into creating a customer experience and technology that is meant for domestic customers. One thing that our management team is proud of, is our customer service team. Objectively, US Global Mail has the greatest reviews than any other mail forwarding and virtual mailbox company out there.
Managing expat mail, is more demanding and has more things that can go wrong (shipping, delays etc.) That meant that early on, management had to take certain steps to ensure that not only are its customers happy with our work, but most importantly, problems are solved. In our industry, and with millions of mail pieces being processed, error is inevitable. So you need a team that is dedicated to solving such issues for the customer. That is something that you will not get from a local small business owner, who is already over-stressed with managing its existing physical mailbox customers.
To learn more about our virtual mailbox and mail forwarding options, feel free to check out our website.