The virtual mailbox industry has come a long way since it started in 1999. An increasing number of businesses have been popping up that either specialize in a particular segment of the industry (e.g business customers, expats etc) or focus on a particular segment that is priced on the lower end (e.g RVers.) Truth be told, finding the right fit for your needs – and your budget – is harder today than ever before even though there are more options to pick and choose from.
Regardless of the type of virtual mailbox customer you are, you want to be looking at the cheapest option out there that meets your needs. There isn’t a person on the planet that wants to spend any more money than necessary managing their mail, that’s for sure. At the same time however, the privacy and security needs of a company like Shell, are not the same as someone who is a full time RVer. The last thing you want to have to worry about is your mail – your personal, private correspondence, bills, and important legal documents (as well as everything else that filters through your mailbox) – ending up in the wrong hands. Therefore, added security measures that are installed, the in-house or outsourced mail processing that occurs, will determine pricing.
In this article, it is our intention to give you a full picture of the cheapest virtual mailbox, while considering 3 main industries and their cheapest price points:
- Expats/Frequent Travelers/RVers
- Business customers
- Every day domestic US customer
So sit back, relax, and let’s run through (almost) everything you need to know about finding the right virtual mailbox without cutting corners to cut costs!
Cheapest Virtual Mailbox
The company that can claim the cheapest virtual mailbox out there, is iPostal1. It used to be, that RV focused virtual mailbox companies had the lowest rates (up until recently.) But in reviewing companies like My RV Mail it seems like they have bumped up their pricing quite a bit with a full functioning virtual mailbox costing you north of $15/mo. Beyond the price itself however, if you are looking for a better functioning virtual mailbox with extra layers of security, picking one that exclusively focuses on RVers may not be a great idea.
Services built specifically for those that travel via RV aren’t going to be ideal for international travelers, backpackers, ex-pats checking out another country, or business travelers that are going to be leapfrogging around the globe all the time. The number of RV customers such companies have, are much lower compared to companies that focus on the entire virtual mailbox industry, catering to all industries and not just 1. This means that they have more money to re-invest in their IT infrastructure, thus granting you better security and a more functional virtual mailbox.
Remember, even though it’s a great idea to look for a virtual mailbox service that won’t break your bank account in monthly or annual fees it’s just as important to find a service you can trust. The last thing you want to do is turn all of your mail over to a fly-by-night operation running on a shoestring budget without the cash, capital, resources, or infrastructure to protect your privacy and your mail in general. Sometimes the least expensive virtual mailbox services end up being the most expensive because of the hassle, headache, and nightmares they put you through.
Outsourced VS In-House Mail Management
Companies like iPostal1 are good for the sake of price, but not good for the sake of communication (customer support,) and potential shipping or mail handling issues (mail operator.) iPostal1 outsources 100% of its mail to independent pack & ship stores (places like Postnett.) So iPostal1 is basically the marketing and technology behind the virtual mailbox, but the actual fulfillment of it, comes from these third party partners. That should send out some red flags.
It is by all means, not the end of the world, but everything from customer service to any issues that arise (and believe me, in managing hundreds of mail pieces per year, you will have an occasional issue you will want to call in about,) are handled by people who are not part of iPostal1. This complicates your mail processing experience. Not only that, but introducing another organization (or group of organizations, really) into your mailbox “stream” inevitably complicates things – and that’s when problems are going to start to pile up.
Pieces of mail (sometimes important ones) slip through the cracks. Mail that should be delivered on a timely schedule gets delayed, if it shows up at all. And tracking down the people responsible for these issues becomes next to impossible simply because there is another layer in between you and your actual mailbox! It doesn’t take long for that to become very (VERY) frustrating.
Outsourced mail handling has become the industry norm
Truth be told, most virtual mailbox providers outsource their customers. Such companies include iPostal1 & Anytime Mailbox. Outsourcing the “heavy lifting” of managing your mailbox is often the norm in this industry. And then there are companies like US Global Mail, Post Scan Mail & Physical Address, that manage the mail experience both in-house & through third party pack & ship stores.
Some of the main advantages with working with virtual mailbox companies that outsource, is the variety of locations that you can pick from. Usually, franchise companies like Postnett, will have partnerships will all companies that outsource, giving you hundreds (and in some cases,) thousands of locations to pick from. And in that hundreds or thousands number, you have the added complexity mentioned earlier.
US Global Mail recognizes just how many problems can pop up when you hand the keys to your mailbox off to a business you can trust, but they then turn around and hand your keys to someone else entirely – sometimes without even letting you know! Most of the the mail handling currently with US Global Mail, is conducted in-house from top to bottom. That means that your mail gets rerouted to the legitimate, physical address that they provide you with (not a PO Box), is received by US Global Mail employees, is processed by those same employees, and is scanned, uploaded, and forwarded on to you by US Global Mail, too. Not once does your mail slide outside of the US Global Mail “slipstream”. That’s a big part of why so many people choose this company for their virtual mailbox.
US Global Mail as of recently, opened a second in-house location in California and partnered with third party pack & ship stores to make more addresses available. Customers who want a specific address in a specific state can select one of those addresses. In-house mail processing however is still an option.
Most Expensive Virtual Mailbox
There is one company out there that has the priciest virtual mailbox, and that is because of the business segment they focus on exclusively; Earth Class Mail. According to their website, companies like Lyft have worked with them and as you can understand, a multi billion dollar company has different security needs than an individual who is RVing through the US.
If you are a business, but you do not want to pay hundreds of dollars per month just for someone to manage your mail, rest assured that any other virtual mailbox company out there, has a business plan with more than enough security to cover your needs. As an example, US Global Mail, which is not an exclusively business focused virtual mailbox, has business customers like Shell and Netflix. The odds are pretty good that if companies like Shell and Netflix can trust their corporate mail with US Global Mail that you are going to be able to trust this company to handle your virtual mailbox, too. Obviously, you’ll want to do a little more research and due diligence – but don’t be surprised if you uncover a lot of glowingly positive reviews over the last 20+ years that shine a light on how trusted US Global Mail is in this industry.
Why Making A Good Choice Once, Matters
There are many things in life, in which you get one shot. Marriage (50% of the times) would be a good example. All kidding aside, when you select a virtual mailbox company, you need to make sure you are working with one you do not intend to change in the future. That is because, from the minute you complete a permanent change of address with the USPS, you will not be able to change that address to another one in the future. In a sense, once you have completed your change of address, and all mail starts going to your virtual mailbox company, you are stuck with them for life.
Which is why we would highly encourage you to factor in pricing, but most importantly, factor in quality. After all, it is a relationship you will have to maintain for a good chunk of your life. So if you can’t get along with the company you select 10 years from now, you will be in constant battle with their customer support team. US Global Mail has had customers that signed up 15 years ago, and are still going strong. Whoever you decide to go with, make sure you can see working with them for 15+ years. If you are not sure, and want to test the waters, one thing you could do, is fill out a temporary change of address form (instead of a permanent,) and this way you have 6 months to test it out. If you’re happy with the work they do and they are reliable, you can from there extend your plan and complete a permanent change of address.
Virtual Mailbox Fees Beyond The Membership Fee
Another thing that is important to keep in mind, is that some virtual mailbox companies will lure you in with a lower membership fee, only to nickel and dime you in storage fees, or mail scanning fees etc. Make sure to read through the FAQ section of their website and the additional fees that they charge. If you cannot find it clearly stated on the website, reach out to their support team, and ask for a transparent price breakdown.
When you pick your virtual mailbox company, make sure you look at their qualities/attributes and what they bring to the table, collectively. If you just look at the lowest priced option, you will probably end up with a bad experience. The virtual mailbox industry is quite competitively priced, with general pricing being about the same across the board. Any cheaper membership plans, will have hidden fees that make up that difference for you.
There are companies like Earth Class Mail, which as mentioned, are clearly a lot more expensive. But every other company on this list, is pretty much at a similar price point.
Since you are on a US Global Mail blog, we feel obligated to give you some of the top reasons why you would want to consider us:
- We do not outsource your mail to third party mail processing operators, unless you want an address in a specific state/city where we do not have an in-house location. With the exception of Physical Mail and My RV Mail every other company mentioned in this article, has thousands of stores they are partnered with who will manage your mail.
- Our pricing for a fully functional virtual mailbox, is at $9.95/mo when you select the annual plan. That is only $1 more than the iPostal1 annual plan and you have the certainty of 1 company dealing with your mail
- We were the pioneers of the virtual mailbox industry, starting in 1999. Since then, companies like Shell and Netflix have been trusting us with their mail.
We are proud of the fact that major corporations like these two trust us with handling their mail, but we are even prouder of the fact that so many individuals (regular Americans all over the world) trust us with their mail, too.
The reputation that we have built (and are continuing to build every day) is something we take very seriously. Everything we do – every single day – revolves around making sure that people know they can trust US Global Mail to modernize their mailbox and make their lives a whole lot easier along the way. If we can help you with your decision making process in any way or if you have any additional questions about US Global Mail, feel free to reach out to our (in-house) support team. We are here, day and night, ready to answer all of your questions and walk you through the ins and outs of your new modern mailbox here with US Global Mail. We wish you the best, in your hunt for a reliable and cheap virtual mailbox company.