Lets get the terms down first because there are a number of different places that accept mail for you. A PO Box, or Postal Office Box, is a mailbox located within a post office. This is diffrent from a mailbox rental at something like a UPS Store or a local private mailing center.
A PO Box is an alternative to receiving mail at a physical address, and can be a convenient option for businesses that need to receive mail but don’t have a physical location, or for those who don’t want their personal address listed on their business mail. However, setting up a PO Box can come with difficulties and can be tedius so before starting that process you need to be take that into consideration.
Thatch offers virtual mailboxes as an alternative to PO Boxes and Mailbox rentals. You can setup your address from your computer at a location that is a regular business address, so it can stand for your outward business appearance as well as a place to receive mail. The location is staffed with people that just scan, store and forward mail all day long. You just receive your mail as easy as you receive an email. Learn more about Virtual Mailboxes and the differences between PO Boxes and Virtual Mailboxes. Never miss an important piece of mail, and know when everything is received to you so there is no dispute on when you are notified for important matters.
Getting back to PO Boxes, one of the difficulties of setting up a PO Box is finding a location that has availability. PO Boxes are in high demand, and many post offices have a waitlist for their PO Boxes. It’s important to check with your local post office to see if they have any PO Boxes available, and if they do, to put your name on the waitlist as soon as possible.
Another difficulty is the cost associated with setting up a PO Box. The cost of a PO Box varies depending on the size and location, but on average, it can cost anywhere from $40 to $250 per year. Businesses need to factor in this cost when deciding whether a PO Box is the best option for their needs. You can't just factor in the cost, but how far the closest post office is from you as well as the time interacting with postal workers takes away from your business.
Once you have found a post office with available PO Boxes and have decided that a PO Box is the right option for your business, the next step is to complete the required forms. The United States Postal Service (USPS) requires the following sets of information to set up a PO Box:
The USPS requires a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license or passport, to set up a PO Box. Businesses need to provide a copy of their incorporation papers, tax ID number, or other business documentation.
The USPS requires payment upfront for the rental of a PO Box. The payment can be made in the form of a credit card, check, or money order.
Backup Physical Mailing Address
The USPS requires a physical mailing address, which can be the business’s place of business, the home address of the business owner, or a commercial mailbox service.
Authorized Users List
The USPS requires a list of authorized users who are allowed to pick up mail from the PO Box. This list can include employees, business partners, or authorized representatives of the business.
After You've Compiled your Documents
Once the required forms and payment have been submitted, the USPS will issue a key to the PO Box. The key must be kept secure and only given to authorized users.
In addition to the basic requirements for setting up a PO Box, there are additional services you will be offered to make the process even more convenient. For example, the USPS offers mail forwarding services, which allow businesses to have their mail forwarded to a different address, such as a home or business address. This service Thatch and mailbox rental companies offers. Usually you want to set that up on a weekly or bi-weekly basis since the USPS does not tell you if and when you receive mail like Thatch would provide.
Another useful service is the PO Box Plus service, which allows businesses to receive packages as well as mail. This service is especially useful for businesses that regularly receive packages, as it eliminates the need for a physical address and makes it easier to receive packages while on the go. Check the agreement before setting this up because you may be charged a storage fee if the package is left onsite. Also not all carriers will deliver to a PO Box. When you setup your account the postal worker should provide you with a real street address to accept packages. This does work for UPS and Fedex, but sometimes there are snags.
So there you go, setting up a PO Box can be a convenient option for businesses that don’t have a physical location or that don’t want their personal address listed on their business mail. However, it is important to consider if its worth your time and money in this day and age.
If you are open to a virtual solution, Thatch has locations in California and Texas and ones upcoming in Georgia, Nevada, New York, and Illinois. You can live anywhere in the US or the world to take advantage of removing mail paper headache from your life.