How Much Is A PO Box? | 2022 [Price Guide]
There are many reasons you might decide to rent a PO Box from the post office. Perhaps you have a home-based business and want to keep your home address confidential. Or maybe you need a secure place to receive your mail. Whatever the reason, a PO Box can be a great option for those who need a safe and convenient way to get their mail. But, a PO Box comes with a price. Keep reading to find out how much it will cost you, plus the different factors that will impact the cost of your box rental.
How Much Does A USPS PO Box Cost?
If you are ready to head down to your local post office and rent a post office box, you probably want to have an idea of the cost beforehand to make sure it fits within your budget. So, how much is a PO Box going to cost you? That is a very open-ended question that is somewhat difficult to answer without additional details. The cost of a PO Box can range anywhere from $4 to $120 per month. In most cases, the postal service requires at least a 3-month contract to rent a box. You might decide to commit to an even longer period of time, and that will save you some money on the monthly rate.
There are many factors that will affect the cost of your rental, and those will be discussed more in the next section. To find out exactly how much the box you would like to rent costs, you can reserve a PO Box online through USPS.com.
Factors Affecting PO Box Cost
As we mentioned, there are many different factors that will affect the cost of your rental. We will highlight the top three factors here.
— PO Box Size
PO Boxes come in many different sizes, and the size of the box plays a big role in its cost. The larger the box is, the more money it will cost you. This is why it is important to select a box size based on your specific needs. You should determine the types of mail and items that you expect to receive in your PO Box. Purchasing a box that is larger than you need will simply waste money. You can find boxes available in extra small sizes all the way through extra-large. Not all box sizes are available at every post office. Extra small sizes are designed to hold several regular-sized envelopes, while the extra-large boxes will hold flat-rate shipping containers.
— Post Office Location
PO Box prices are also extremely dependent on where they are located. A PO Box in New York City is likely to cost much more than one in a small town in Nebraska. Just like with real estate, certain areas have higher costs than others. If you need a business address in the high-rent district of town, then you can expect to pay more for your PO Box rental. The U.S. Postal Service has a limited number of boxes available, so they are able to charge higher prices for areas in which there is a higher demand.
— Duration Of Contract
Similar to buying items in bulk, you can save money by committing to keeping your PO Box for a longer period of time. When you sign up for a PO Box, you enter into a contract with the United States Postal Service for a certain rental period. You get a better rate because it saves the post office a lot of hassle. If renters only kept their boxes for a short period of time, it would generate lots of additional paperwork and potential lock changes on the boxes. However, renting the boxes for a longer length of time saves the post office some headache. While the shortest contract available is usually three months, you can also rent for six months or twelve months. You will get a slightly better rate on the six-month contract and an even better rate on the twelve-month contract. You will need to pay for the entire period upfront, but it might make sense to go ahead and sign up for a year if you are planning to keep the box that long anyway.
Additional PO Box Fees
You might think that the rental fee is the only cost that will be associated with your PO Box. However, that is not the case. There are also some additional fees that you might have to pay, so you need to be aware of all the costs that you might incur when you rent a box. First, you will need to pay a key deposit. This helps to ensure that you will return your keys at the end of your rental term. Currently, the key deposit is $5 per key issued. Since the post office will usually give you two keys with your box, the deposit will cost you $10. However, this fee can be waived in some locations.
In addition to the deposit, there is a $9 fee for key duplication or replacement. So, if you need an extra key, it will cost you $9 if you have already been issued two keys. The fee also applies to replacing a lost key. Finally, there is a $25 lock replacement fee. This will typically apply if you do not return your keys at the end of your rental. In order to keep the boxes secure, then the lock would need to be replaced. Otherwise, someone else could still have a key to the box and be able to access the new renter’s mail. To avoid this situation, the post office must put a new lock on the box.
How To Get A Post Office Box
There are a couple of different ways to get a PO Box. First, you can head down to your local post office and apply in person. You will need to complete the application PS Form 1093. You may print the application online or obtain a copy at the post office. Once you have completed all the information on the form, you will also need to present two forms of ID to the postal worker who takes your application. One must be a photo ID like a driver’s license. The other must prove your physical address, like an insurance bill or mortgage statement. Once the worker verifies your identification, you can pay the fee and get your keys.
The other way to get a PO Box is to reserve one online. You can visit USPS.com and select your desired location to see their available box sizes. If the box size that you need is not available, you can sign up for a waiting list. You can go ahead and complete the application online and pay the reservation fee with a credit card. Once you complete that process, you will still need to visit the post office. Simply carry your confirmation along with your two forms of ID. The postal worker will verify your ID and issue your keys based on the online confirmation that you provide. Signing up online also allows you to go ahead and get a USPS.com account, and you can manage your account online to pay for things like premium PO Box services, regular postal box fees, or other items.
Whether you complete the entire process in person or perform your reservation online, you will be given your new PO Box address when you receive your keys. Some PO boxes come with a real street address, while others simply list the PO Box number. Either way, this is the mailing address that you will use when someone needs to send something to your box. You might decide to complete a change of address form at this time if you wish to have all your mail forwarded to your new address. However, this is not necessary if you want to keep the box separate from your regular mail delivery or home address.
Advantages & Disadvantages Of Using A PO Box
There are pros and cons to using a PO Box. One of the most significant advantages of a PO Box is that it provides secure mail delivery. Unlike your home mailbox, which almost anyone could open, your PO Box stays locked so that only you can access it. Likewise, if a package is delivered to your home, it may sit on your front porch and could be easily stolen. If you have a package delivered to your PO Box address, then the post office will hold it for pick up. This keeps all your mail and packages extremely secure. You can also use a box to obtain a professional mailing address for your business while keeping your home address confidential. You could even get an address in another city and have the mail forwarded to your house.
There are a few drawbacks to PO Boxes. The most obvious is cost. These boxes are not free, and some of the larger boxes can be pretty expensive. Next, getting your mail from the box can sometimes be a hassle, especially if the location is not nearby. You might find yourself spending lots of time in traffic to get your mail each day. Not all post office locations offer 24/7 access to their boxes. So, there could be situations where you cannot access your PO Box and get to your mail. Finally, not all carriers will deliver to a PO Box. UPS and FedEx only deliver to street addresses, so you might not be able to have your deliveries sent to your PO Box. Since Amazon uses USPS for a lot of their shipping, you should be okay with most Amazon orders.
The Bottom Line
A PO Box can be a great way to receive mail, but the cost can vary significantly. While you can find a small PO Box for as little as $4 per month, some large boxes cost as much as $120 per month. The area in which you rent your box plays a big role in the final cost, and there are also some additional fees that you should be aware of. You can reserve your box online or just head straight down to the post office to complete the application. Either way, you will get your new PO Box address, and the postal workers will hand over the keys. Now you are ready to start receiving mail at your new address.
Frequently Asked Questions
What type of mail service is a PO box?
A PO Box provides a regular mail delivery service. In addition, USPS will deliver boxes and packages to your box. If the item is too large to fit inside the box, then the post office will generally hold it for pickup. If you repeatedly receive items that are too large, then they might require you to purchase a larger box. You cannot send mail from your PO Box, but you can easily drop it in the outgoing mail while you are at the post office checking your box for mail.
What is the size of a PO box?
Post office boxes come in a variety of sizes. A size 1, or extra-small box, is designed to hold 10 to 15 regular-size letters. On the other end of the spectrum is the Size 5, or extra-large box. It will hold flat-rate boxes and other parcels. You can find sizes in between these two as well that will hold large envelopes or even shoe boxes. You should select the box size based on the types of items you expect to receive.
Which carriers will deliver to a PO box?
The only carrier that will deliver to a PO Box is USPS. The other major carriers, like UPS, FedEx, and DHL, do not deliver to PO Boxes. These carriers do not have access to your PO Box; therefore, they cannot leave mail or packages in your box. If you have a package delivered by USPS that is too large to fit into the box, they will typically leave a notification card in the box stating that you have a package held for pickup.