Last Updated on 09/09/2023 by UPS_ Admin
Navigating the complexities of postal services can be daunting. This comprehensive guide delves into the intricacies of obtaining a P.O. Box with the USPS, including its costs, advantages, and the process of setup. Learn why a P.O. Box might be a valuable addition to your personal or professional life, offering enhanced mail security, prompt delivery, and unparalleled privacy. Whether you’re an avid traveler, a business owner, or someone simply seeking a consistent mailing address, this guide provides all the insights you need about USPS P.O. Boxes.
How Much Is A PO Box At USPS?
In 2023, the cost of a PO Box at the USPS varies based on the box’s size, rental period, and the specific post office location. Prices can be as low as $4.33 per month for some locations. On the other hand, an extra-small box can start from around $13, while an extra-large box might go up to $625.
In comparison, a UPS Business Mailbox tends to be more expensive, especially when you account for additional fees such as a Setup Fee ($20), Key fee ($5), and 24 Hour Access Fob ($25). If you’re on a budget, the USPS PO Box typically costs about 1/3-1/2 the price of a UPS Business Mailbox.
You can find a PO Box near you and even reserve one online using your existing or new USPS.com account. Before settling, it’s advisable to check the U.S. Postal Service website for a comprehensive overview of pricing or contact your local post office directly for availability and specific costs.
What Determines The Price Of A USPS PO Box?
The cost of renting a P.O. Box from the USPS is determined by three main factors: the length of the rental time, the size of the box, and its physical location.
Length of Rental Time:
You can choose to rent a P.O. Box for three, six, or 12-month periods depending on the post office. Some post offices offer only yearlong rental terms. Opting for a longer upfront rental, such as 6 or 12 months, usually offers better value compared to renewing for shorter periods. An annual rental typically provides the most savings, and some post offices might even have a promotion where you get an extra month free when reserving for 12 months. Most P.O. Boxes can be set to auto-renew, with fees charged to a credit card.
The Size of the Box:
The USPS typically offers five sizes of P.O. Boxes:
- Extra Small (XS – Size 1): Dimensions of 3″ X 5.5″. Holds 10-15 letters and 2-3 rolled magazines. Starting Price: $4.67/mo*.
- Small (S – Size 2): Dimensions of 5″ X 5.5″. Accommodates 15+ letters, 5 rolled magazines, or 1 Small Priority Mail Flat Rate® Box. Starting Price: $6.00/mo*.
- Medium (M – Size 3): Measures 5.5″ X 11″. Suitable for larger envelopes, magazines stacked flat, and 2 Small Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes. Starting Price: $9.00/mo*.
- Large (L – Size 4): Size of 11″ X 11″. Can hold a combination of Small and Medium Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes along with 10-15 letters. Starting Price: $13.33/mo*.
- Extra Large (XL – Size 5): Spacious dimensions of 12″ X 22.5″ allow for multiple packages. Starting Price: $23.67/mo*.
When mail exceeds the capacity of the box, it results in an overflow condition, requiring you to either upgrade to a larger box or utilize additional boxes.
The USPS classifies P.O. Box locations as either “competitive” or “market dominant.” Boxes in competitive locations typically charge higher fees. Larger cities and metropolitan areas usually have more expensive rates compared to rural areas. The prices can also be adjusted annually in regions where the postal service has a dominant market presence.
In summary, the average cost of a P.O. Box is influenced by its size, its location, and the chosen rental period. It’s advisable to check the official USPS website for the most accurate and updated pricing based on specific locations.
How Do You Get A PO Box With USPS?
Setting up a P.O. Box with the USPS (United States Postal Service) is a straightforward process, allowing for both online and in-person applications. The steps and important information you need to know are as follows:
- Select a Location: Even though you can get a P.O. Box at most USPS post office locations regardless of where your home or business is located, it’s typically more convenient to choose a location near you.
- Apply Online:
- Go to the USPS website and find a P.O. Box by entering your location or ZIP code.
- You can reserve and pay for the P.O. Box online.
- Different sizes are available, and the smallest one typically holds letters. Costs can vary based on size and duration. You can typically get discounts for longer rental periods.
- Pick Up Your Keys in Person:
- After reserving online, visit the post office where you’ve reserved your P.O. Box.
- You must bring two forms of identification:
- Primary Identification: Can be a government-issued ID, driver’s license, military ID, passport, etc.
- Secondary Identification: Can be a lease, mortgage, deed of trust, voter or vehicle registration card, home or vehicle insurance policy, utility bill, etc. Alternatively, an additional primary form of ID can be used.
- Your keys or access code will be provided once your ID has been verified.
- Retrieve Your Mail: With your keys or access code in hand, you can start receiving mail at your P.O. Box. The post office usually offers flexible hours, allowing you to check your P.O. Box at your convenience.
- Street Addressing: Some USPS locations offer a “real street address” for your P.O. Box, which can be beneficial for receiving packages from carriers that typically don’t deliver to P.O. Boxes.
- Signature on File: This service allows you to avoid going to the retail counter for certain signature-required items.
It’s important to note that if you fail to activate your P.O. Box (by visiting in person) within 30 days of reservation, it might be forfeited. So, ensure that you make your in-person visit promptly.
If privacy is crucial for you, especially if you’re sending out marketing emails or other communications, a P.O. Box is beneficial. It’s also great for those who move around often but need a consistent mailing address.
Overall, whether for business or personal use, having a P.O. Box can be an efficient way to manage your mail.
Why Should I Get a P.O. Box?
A P.O. Box, or Postal Office Box, is a uniquely addressable lockable box located on the premises of a post office station. Here’s a comprehensive look at the benefits it offers:
A P.O. Box offers heightened security as it’s located inside a post office, protected from external vulnerabilities.
It’s accessible only with the appropriate key or lock combination.
Many post offices provide extended business hours or even 24/7 lobby access, allowing you to retrieve mail at your convenience.
Unlike a traditional home mailbox, which may be easily tampered with, a P.O. Box ensures your mail stays secure until you retrieve it.
Being located within the post office means mail intended for a P.O. Box is delivered faster than to a home or business address.
Typically, mail in a P.O. Box is available before noon, eliminating the wait for postal delivery to your physical address.
A P.O. Box shields your actual residential address, ensuring privacy.
For example, landlords receiving rent payments can benefit from a P.O. Box to maintain a level of separation and privacy from tenants, especially in sensitive situations like evictions.
The rental fees for P.O. Boxes are generally affordable.
Costs can start as low as $10 for a six-month term, depending on the size and location of the box.
It’s essential to choose a size fitting your expected mail volume.
Permanent Mailing Address:
Especially beneficial for frequent travelers or those who relocate often.
Changing your address with every move can be tedious and risky, as missed updates can lead to lost mail or potential identity theft.
A P.O. Box provides a consistent mailing address, reducing the need to frequently update your contact details.
Renting a P.O. Box offers a blend of security, speed, privacy, affordability, and stability when it comes to managing your mail. Whether for business, travel, or personal reasons, it’s an option worth considering for anyone looking to optimize their mail handling processes.
In 2023, USPS PO Box prices vary by size, location, and rental duration, offering an affordable and secure mail solution. Factors influencing cost include rental length, box size, and location. Setting up is straightforward, allowing online reservations with in-person key pickups. A PO Box provides heightened mail security, faster delivery, address privacy, consistent mailing for frequent movers, and is typically cheaper than other mailbox services. For effective mail management, especially in terms of security and convenience, a USPS PO Box is a valuable option.