Each hour in the United States, the postal service processes an astonishing 20.2 million pieces of mail. The majority of that mail is intended for business purposes, and it can become quite the hassle for some business owners!
Waiting for that mail often isn’t an option, and it can become very frustrating to have to wait. Organizing and sorting through it can also take hours.
This is one of the key reasons that so many businesses decide to invest in mail scanning. In this piece, we’ll take a closer look at what we mean by mail scanning before we explore its pros and cons.
If your business needs to take advantage of flexible, adaptable, and (maybe most importantly) controllable mail solutions, the odds are good that mail scanning is right for you.
At the same time, not every business is going to be ideally suited to mail scanning services – even the best options on the market today, like US Global Mail. We not only cover the benefits and advantages of using a service like this below, but we also dig a little deeper into the drawbacks of these kinds of services before you commit to any of them.
Let’s get right into it!
What Is Mail Scanning?
Mail scanning is a service where a business opens and scans mail on behalf of a client. A trusted mail scanning provider will work with a number of businesses to efficiently and safely deliver mail digitally.
Instead of having your mail simply pile up at the post office or at a mailbox service you are taking advantage of, the mail will instead be picked up by a mail service (or sent to a mail scanning service) to be digitally photographed or scanned – with those documents then sent to you immediately via email (or provided through a customer accessible portable online).
These kinds of services have been available to individuals and business owners for years and years now, but with the internet and digital scanning/photography solutions better than ever before they are a lot more innovative, a lot more controllable, and a lot more accessible (not to mention more affordable) than ever before, too.
The Pros of Mail Scanning
Now that we understand what mail scanning is, let’s dive right into the key benefits of this type of service.
Stop Waiting for Forwarded Mail
A number of delivery services offer mail forwarding, but this can extend the length of time that you have to wait for your mail. A number of important documents are sent via the mail, and this could mean that you’re left in the dark when you should be making important decisions.
If you decide to work with a trusted mail scanner, you’ll be able to access your mail much faster. This can give you the additional time that you need to start making the right decisions for your business.
Because you are alerted the moment that a new piece of mail is received and scanned you’ll know – in just a few moments – every time new mail pieces and packages hit your mailing address, but you’ll also know exactly what those mail pieces, packages, and parcels are.
You can forget forever about having to drive down to the post office just to see if any mail has come in that day.
Instead, you’ll have a much better idea of exactly what is waiting for you at the post office thanks to these digitally scanned documents. That lets you better plan your day and your mailbox visits, helping you to avoid wasting time, energy and gasoline driving out to a mailbox only to find that it’s empty or filled to the brim with nothing but “junk mail”.
Does USPS Scan Mail?
The USPS does not scan mail (interiorly.) They do however have a mail preview service called Informed Delivery. This will send you a daily e-mail, with an image of the outside of your envelope or package that is about to arrive.
Can USPS deliver without scanning?
No. In order for the USPS to be able to track your mail piece in the system, it needs to scan the barcode on it. If the barcode is not visible for the scanner to pick it up, they will add in the information manually.
Does USPS scan every piece of mail?
Yes. According to the USPS website, the carriers will scan every barcoded mail piece that enters the mailstream and track those packages up until they are delivered.
Do they scan packages in the mail?
The USPS will occasionally X-ray packages that go through, especially in larger cities for security reasons. However not all packages that go through the USPS system are scanned with an X-ray.
Organize Your Mail Digitally
We live in a digital world, but the power and popularity of physical mail still persists. This can be very frustrating for those business professionals who rely primarily on digital technologies. From that perspective, physical mail is very inconvenient.
Mail scanning is a great solution to this issue. A reliable mail scanning service means that fast-moving professionals can stay on top of their physical email using digital platforms. This helps people to stay on top of their work in one single location.
Imagine how much easier life will be when you have digital records of every piece of mail, every parcel, and every package that you have sent to a personal or business address.
Not only will this help your own personal record keeping (allowing you to keep better track of when and what packages were delivered to you), but you’ll also have these records permanently to refer to for any different number of reasons you may have to in the future.
Perhaps a company sent you the wrong package and you need to verify with them that this happened, or maybe a customer or client said that they sent you an important package but you don’t have a record of it arriving.
These kinds of records aren’t available when you’re using a traditional mailbox or USPS PO Box solution.
With US Global Mail, though, these record-keeping capabilities are standard across the board.
Are Virtual Mailboxes Safe?
Given that mail has the potential to be picked up by anybody at any time, it could pose a security risk. This is a big challenge that businesses need to manage appropriately – if not, those businesses might find themselves the victim of a data breach.
Mail scanning is a great solution to the problem of security, given that the mail is handled by a group of trained and trusted professionals. Those letters are then sent securely via a digital platform, making sure that they are seen only by the right eyes.
A number of mail scanning providers will also take care of the disposal of mail, too, adding an extra layer of security.
The most important thing you can do when signing up for a virtual mailbox service that provides mail scanning solutions is to really research the company you are considering from top to bottom.
Not only is it a good idea to contact their customer service line directly and ask them any questions you might have, but it’s also a good idea to really read all the reviews about that company online (good and bad) to get a more complete picture of their reputation in the industry.
It’s not a bad idea to ask a virtual mailbox and mail scanning service for a list of top clients that you can call yourself, either. This will give you the kind of inside information you never would have been able to access otherwise straight from real customers that are in your same or similar situation – individuals that will let you know how safe and secure they find services to be.
Access Direct Mail on Mobile
Business travel is more prevalent than ever before, meaning that there are a number of professionals who find themselves on the road on a regular basis. Direct mail is inconvenient for those people, who will often need to make key decisions in response to that mail.
Mail scanning services are great for those professionals who need to stay updated while they’re on the move. The best mail scanning providers are able to send messages incredibly quickly or upload mail to a platform. It’s very simple for business people to access those platforms on mobile while traveling.
So much of the way that we run our businesses is conducted online through our phones, and there’s no reason that you shouldn’t be able to do the exact same thing when it comes to managing your mail.
The fact that you can always keep an eye on your mailbox through your phone is like a superpower, giving you the ability to schedule mail pickups with your staff or team anywhere on the planet as long as you have an online connection and your phone handy.
Free Online Storage
Direct mail can be quite frustrating because it takes up physical space. This can become a burden within office environments and it can distract team members – countless studies have demonstrated how clutter can be a big drain on productivity.
Storing and maintaining that mail can also become difficult – it’s often a complete job in itself! Mail scanning services are very convenient, given that they empower businesses to digitize their messages and store them in the cloud.
The best mail scanning providers will offer secure digital platforms, too, with ample amounts of storage. This platform means that businesses have immediate access to their mail exactly when they need it, without the headaches that come with physical direct mail.
If you’ve been in business for any amount of time you’ve likely heard horror stories about someone losing important mail documents, important packages, and important contracts just because of the physical nature of those items getting lost in the shuffle somewhere.
You have a digital document you not only have the opportunity to secure that safely on a variety of different platforms, but you also have the ability to create a near infinite amount of copies (as many as you like) without having to worry about cluttering up your home or your office at the same time.
The Cons of Mail Scanning
Now that we’ve taken a look at the benefits of mail scanning, let’s take a closer look at some of the perceived downsides.
It’s worth noting that these downsides will only apply in very particular cases – more often than not, mail scanning can help businesses to operate more efficiently than ever before.
These downsides are likely not going to be deal breakers for the overwhelming majority of individuals or business owners out there right now looking to take advantage of these kinds of services, but they are important to bring up all the same.
Concerns About Privacy
Some security-conscious businesses might be concerned about having a third party handle their mail. Particular industries will be more sensitive to this than others, and it could even breach compliance rules.
It’s worth noting, though, that the best mail scanning providers have proven track records. They are trusted by a large number of businesses throughout the United States and they deliver a consistent level of service. This is why it’s so important to do your homework before you choose a mail scanning service provider.
Again, you should never sign on the dotted line and agreed to move forward with any mail scanning service until you’ve done all your research and due diligence.
You really want to know exactly who you are working with, exactly who you are trusting with something as important as your mail, and whether or not you’re going to be protected as a client going forward as far as your privacy is concerned.
An Additional Expense
Some businesses – particularly nascent ones – are often reluctant to assume new expenses. It can be intimidating to forge new contracts, and that’s why some of those businesses are reluctant to pay for a mail scanning service.
Taking a big picture view, though, mail scanning is often a worthwhile and profitable investment. It can save a great deal of time and ensure that businesses stay on top of important activity via direct mail.
A quick cost benefit analysis on these kinds of services (services that are almost always super affordable) will show most entrepreneurs that you actually make – or at the very least save – quite a bit of money by outsourcing these kinds of services in the first place.
Start Scanning Your Mail Today
We hope that this piece has given you a clearer idea about mail scanning and why it may or may not be right for you.
As with any other business decision, it’s critical that you carefully weigh the pros and cons to guarantee you make the right decision. You’ll also want to find the right provider: be sure to learn more about US Global Mail today and how we might be the right fit for your business.
US Global Mail as a top-tier reputation in the mail scanning industry these days, a reputation that you’ll be able to independently verify – and a reputation you can trust to give you top-tier services that protect your privacy and your security, too.