Receiving your mail is kind of like having insurance: You never think much about it, until there’s a problem. Between missing correspondence, soaking-wet packages and letters that look like they’ve been put through the shredder, getting your mail can be a real headache sometimes.
Luckily, your business isn’t limited to receiving your mail in just one place. There are several different solutions that you can consider when you’re deciding where you want to pick up your letters, postcards and packages. Let’s take a look at some solid choices that may very well prevent your next mailing mishap
Post Office Box ( P.O. Box )
Post office boxes, commonly known as P.O. boxes, are available through the United States Postal Service. Located inside of your local post office, post office boxes make it convenient to handle all of your mailing needs in just one place: You can pick up your mail, drop off your packages, and purchase stationary and mailing supplies (some of which is actually free), all under the same roof.
Post office boxes are also perfect for business owners on the move. Over the last several years, economic conditions have forced many business owners to make tough decisions, like relocating their offices to more affordable locations. With a post office box, you won’t have to worry about notifying your customers of your new mailing address, regardless of where you decide to set up shop.
Renting out a post office box is pretty easy on your wallet, too. Most post offices give customers the option of paying for their P.O. box on a monthly, semiannual, or annual basis, with discounts being offered by paying for longer rental periods upfront. Post office boxes are also substantially cheaper than comparable boxes available at The UPS Store, so it’s a great option for anyone on a budget. You can search for and find post office box rates near you by clicking here.
Although post office boxes can save you money when compared to other options, there are some notable disadvantages that you should consider. For example, some states won’t allow you to use your P.O. box address on certain government forms, like when you’re applying for a business license. In these cases, you’ll have to provide a physical address for your business, or employ a registered agent service (if your state allows it). To learn more about what a registered agent is, and how they can provide a buffer between government correspondence and a post office box address, click here.
There’s also the fact that if you want to receive packages from carriers like FedEx and UPS, then you’ll have to sign up for your post office’s premier service. The rates for this new service vary, so contact your local post office to find out more. (You can locate a post office near you by clicking here.)
The UPS Store
Another option for you to consider when deciding which mailing solution is right for your business are the services that your local UPS Store can provide. Most UPS Stores offer mailbox services that are similar to those offered by the United States Postal Service, while providing clients with several benefits that are unique to their stores.
Most notably, The UPS Store offers clients mailbox services that provide a physical address for their business or personal needs – no “P.O. Box” in the address line of your correspondence here. Instead, The UPS Store applies their own physical street address to current box holders, so your letters and packages give the people you exchange mail with a sense of a professional brick-and-mortar location that isn’t going anywhere.
Wondering what your business address would look like with an address provided by your local UPS Store? Check out the example below:
PMB 101 or #101
200 Any Street
Any City, Any State Any Zip
PMB is The UPS Store’s designation for “private mailbox,” or your address may be assigned by box number only (#101). In either case, this style of mailing address gives your business an established appearance, thus avoiding the negative sentiments that still linger from the multitude of post office box scams from years past.
The UPS Store also offers mailing services like Call-in MailCheck, so checking to see if you’ve got mail is as easy as making a quick phone call. Many UPS locations also offer 24-hour access, so customers can pick up their mail at their earliest convenience, day or night. (To find out more about the various services that The UPS Store offers to business owners both large and small, click here.)
All good things must come with at least a drawback or two, and for The UPS Store mailbox services, one of them has to be their price. While prices vary widely throughout the United States, they almost always remain about double the cost of their postal service rivals. (To find rates specific to your area, search for and contact your local UPS Store by clicking here.)
If you’re going to go with a UPS Store mailbox for your business needs, then you should probably be in it for the long haul, too. That’s because while the post office offers a change of address form for customers that are moving and/or changing their mailing address, UPS Store boxes come with no such form. This means that should you decide that a UPS Store mailbox isn’t for you, then you’ll have to notify everyone that has your address individually. It’s definitely something to consider when you’re trying to determine the right mailing service for your business.
There’s no place like home, and for some people (especially those running a home business) receiving packages and letters at home is the best way to go. A home address gives your customers peace of mind when they’re mailing letters and packages to you, because they know that their mail is going to be delivered to your personal property, whether in your mailbox or at the front door.
There is no cost incurred when using your own home address for your mailing needs, although you do have to make sure that your mailbox complies with USPS regulations. If your mailman can’t reach your box, then odds are that he or she is just going to hold your mail at the post office for you to come pick up. (For more information on USPS mailbox guidelines, click here.)
Unfortunately, there can be complications when relying on home delivery service. You won’t have any trouble from FedEx and UPS when it comes to the two carriers dropping off your packages, but potential problems can occur from having a package left out in the elements, or a sneaky neighbor signing off on your correspondence.
That’s why a utilizing a home address for your business is best when you’re actually working from home during normal delivery hours. That way you’ll be right there to conveniently intercept all of your packages and letters, keeping them out of the dubious hands of thieves as well as Mother Nature.
Choosing The Solution That’s Right For You
Deciding which mailing service is best for your business is really just a matter of your specific business needs. Are you a business owner that works out of a home office that is on a tight budget? Are you also looking to separate your personal correspondence from your home address? Then maybe a post office box provided by the United States Postal Service is the solution for you.
If you would rather hand a customer a business card with a physical street address for them to mail any inquiries to, then perhaps renting a box at your local UPS Store is the way to go.
Of course, there’s always the home delivery option. Regardless of what your business needs may be, just remember that you’ve got more than one route to choose from.
For more information on mail service solutions, check out the resources below:
The UPS Store: Mailbox and Postal Services
United States Postal Service: Reserve or Renew a PO Box
FedEx.com – Missed a Package Delivery? Our New Door Tag Shows You Easy Pickup Options
USPS: Find a Location Near You