A PO box is a perfect option if you have the basic need for a mailbox that will ease your mailing affairs, protect your privacy and provide you with an address you’ll use for mailing address purposes.
It is also a secure way to receive postal mail and packages that aren’t limited to your residential or business address. So whether you’re an individual, a business owner, or live in a remote location, a PO box has a lot to offer you.
Before we look at the benefits of a PO box, let’s look at what a PO box is, its different sizes and prices, how to rent one, and the better alternative.
What is a PO Box?
A Postal box, also known as a Post office or PO box, is a rented lockable mailbox at the post office.
Traditionally, PO boxes are used to receive mail when you reside in areas where mail isn’t delivered directly to your homes.
There are over 30,0000 post offices in the United States. Many people rent PO boxes because they live in remote areas where mail isn’t delivered, travel a lot, or want privacy.
Another reason why people rent PO boxes is that they’re running a home-based business, and they don’t want to be receiving mail and packages at their residential address for security reasons.
You can rent a PO box for 3, 6, or 12 months. You’ll be given access to the box 24/7. There’s also a wide range of options in the size you choose to rent; the XS size accommodates a small number of letters to the XL size is spacious enough for packages.
How do PO Boxes work?
Renting a Post office box is a simple and quick process that can be done online or in the post office in three easy steps.
You’ll need to verify your identity using a Photo ID and put your residential address in the second form for both cases.
Step #1: Pick your Post Office:
First, you need to pick a post office. Then, you’ll rent a PO box in. After that, you can easily check the USPS website and search your address or zip code to find the nearest post office from your location.
Make sure you choose a Post office near your home or workplace so that you can regularly stop by and check if you’ve new mails. You check your PO box at least once a week so that mail doesn’t pile up.
Step #2: Pick your PO Box size & payment plan:
There are 5 different post office box sizes to choose from. There are XS, S, M, L, and XL.
❖ Size 1 – XS: 3” x 5.5”: This is the smallest PO box size. It can hold 10 to 15 letters or the 3 rolled magazines. The price is about $58 per 6 months.
❖ Size 2 – S: 5” x 5.5”: This small PO box can hold up to 10 – 15 bulky letters, or 5 rolled magazines. The price is about 88.00 dollars per 6 months.
❖ Size 3 – M:5” x 11”: This is a medium-sized PO box that can hold larger envelopes and magazines. Its price is about 156 dollars per 6 months.
❖ Size 4 – L: 11” x 11”: This larger PO box can hold up to 2 shoe boxes and 10 – 15 letters. It costs 319 dollars per 6 months.
❖ Size 5 – XL: 12” x 22.5”: This is the largest sized PO box that’s spacious enough for flat rate boxes and packages. It costs about 513.00 dollars per 6 months.
More details check How to get a po box.
A small PO box is okay if you get a lot of mail only; however, consider going for a larger PO box if you love to shop online and receive packages.
You should also note that not all post offices have the sizes mentioned above. Therefore you’ve to contact your post office and confirm if they have the size of your choice.
As for the payment plan, you can get a PO box for 3, 6, or 12 months. You can extend a 6 months to a year if the need arises.
For the 6-month plan, you can choose to cancel it within the first 3 months and get refunded for the last 3 months. However, you won’t be refunded if you cancel it after the first 3 months.
Many people prefer the 6 months or a year plan because it costs less. For example, you could be paying $30 for a 3 months plan, that’s $10 per month, while a 6 months plan will cost $54, which is $9 per month.
Also, the price of PO boxes varies from one location to another. For example, in some places, a small PO box costs $19 per 6 months, while a large one costs $200. All these depend on the price, location, and size of the PO box.
Step #3: Change of Address:
After filling in your PO box details, you’ll fill out a rental form and go to the post office (if you’re filling it out online) to receive your PO box keys. There are two sets of keys, and you’ll be required to pay a deposit of $3 for them.
However, you’ll get the keys for free if you’re a premium account. Once your PO box is set, the next thing is to apply for a USPS change of address to start receiving emails through the PO box. You can do this at the post office or online.
A PO box is a good option for locals experiencing mail theft. In addition, individuals that want to keep their emails private and business people who travel a lot can also use the PO box.
However, a PO box has a drawback, you have to go to the post office before you can pick up your mails, but with a PostScan Virtual Mailbox, you’ll be able to view your mails online by simply logging in to your account.
You can even request handlings like opening mail, forwarding packages, shredding, or recycling mail.
You can log in to your virtual mailbox wherever you are at any time using your mobile phone or computer.
What are the Reasons to Get PO Box?
The benefits of a PO box are many. It eases the receive of mail and ensures the privacy and safety of your mail and packages. Below are some of the reasons to get a PO box:
Mail Package and Security:
All your postal mail will be conserved safely in the post office with a PO box. There will be no packages waiting at your doorsteps, decreasing the chances of loss. Even if you receive a package too big for your PO box, the post office will keep it safely in their lockers.
A Permanent Mailing Address:
Whether you’re moving to a new address or traveling, you’ll always have a stable mailing address to receive your post office mail.
Privacy of your home address:
If you’re running a home business, using a PO box will keep your residential address protected from intruders since you only receive emails through the Post office
Faster mail delivery:
You’ll be able to get your mail and packages delivered faster since the post office is working under USPS.
What are the disadvantages of a PO Box?
Anything with an advantage has a disadvantage, and the PO box isn’t an exception. So here are some drawbacks of using a PO box:
If you’re using your PO Box address for business it wouldn’t look professional, especially when handing out to clients or when advertising your business. You also can’t use this address for business registration.unlike a virtual mailbox that will give you a real street address that you can use to register a business.
Only receive mail through USPS:
Using a PO box, you can only receive emails through USPS and not other mail carriers like UPS, FedEx, or DHL. This can be a restriction if you shop online or receive big packages.
It Needs to Be Checked Regularly:
You can’t let your PO box overflow. USPS will send you a notification to empty your PO box so that it keeps flowing. Therefore you’ve to be picking up your mails regularly. This is in contrast to a virtual mailbox that you can spend days without checking, and it won’t overflow
You Need to Pick up your Mail Physically:
It’s very expensive to forward your mail. Therefore you’ve to be picking up your mail regularly at the post office. This can be an inconvenience if you have a busy schedule or stay far away from the post office.
Why is it Important to Rent a PO Box?
With Mail theft becoming rampant in the US, especially during the holidays, a PO box is a great solution for locals experiencing this problem and business owners who travel a lot.
You can check out here for more details on renting a PO box.
However, if you’re too busy picking up the mail every time from the post office, you can consider getting a PostScan Virtual Mailbox that allows you to manage your mail online from the comfort of your room.
A virtual PO box is as important as a physical PO box, but it’s better.