How To Set Up A PO Box | [Step-By-Step Guide] Inside
Post office boxes are used for a variety of reasons. Home-based businesses often use them to protect the owner’s address, and residential customers use them to help protect their mail deliveries. Whatever your reason, a post office box can be a great solution to many mail issues that you might be facing. But, how do you get signed up for a PO Box, and how much do they cost? The process is quick and easy, and you can have a PO Box of your own within a matter of minutes. Keep reading as we give you step-by-step instructions on how to sign up for your PO Box.
What Is A PO Box?
A PO Box is essentially a locker for your mail that you can access 24/7. Your mail is sent to an address at the post office, and the mail is placed into your locked box. Only you and the postal workers can access your mailbox. When you sign up for your PO Box, you will be given a key that you can use to unlock your box and get your mail. Mail will be delivered to your box each day, just like if you have a mailbox at your home. Unlike a USPS dropbox, you receive mail at a PO Box instead of sending mail.
Different box sizes are available, depending on how much mail you think you will receive at your address. We will discuss the specific size options in a later section. Once the carrier places your mail into your post office box, it will remain there until you pick up the mail. If you have a package delivered to the box, it might not fit inside. In that case, the package will be held at your local post office. A card will be placed inside your PO Box informing you that you have a package waiting for pickup.
Some PO Boxes might come with a street address, while others may only list the PO Box number. For example, you might get an address like 123 Main Street, #100. Or, you could get the address of PO Box 100. It depends on your specific post office location and how they handle address assignments for their boxes. If you wonder how to open a PO Box, keep reading.
How To Get A Post Office Box
Many people wonder how to get a PO Box. Getting a PO Box is not difficult, and there is more than one way that you can do it. The postal service allows you to reserve a box online, or you can complete an application in person at your local post office. The steps are similar, although the specific requirements are a little different depending on which method you choose. Here are the detailed steps you need to take for each method.
If you want to apply in person, then you will need to complete and print the PO Box application PS Form 1093. This form lists the different sizes of postal boxes that are available. You will need to select the size that you wish to use and fill in all your personal information on the form. In addition to the completed application, you will need to bring along two forms of identification. Most of the time, this can be a photo ID like a driver’s license and a current lease or mortgage that shows your physical address. You may select a box rental period of three months, six months, nine months, or twelve months. If you apply in person, you will go ahead and pay the fees to have your service started immediately. You can use a credit card, debit card, or cash. You will receive your PO Box address and can start receiving mail in your new PO Box right away.
You might also choose to apply for a PO Box online. You will still need to complete the same application form through USPS.com. You will select your desired post office location along with the PO Box size that you need. You will be required to enter your payment information, and you will receive a reservation confirmation. Upon receiving the confirmation, the U.S. postal service still requires you to visit the post office in person to complete the process. Bring along your confirmation and two forms of ID. You should have a photo ID and a document that verifies your home address. This should be done within 30 days of your online confirmation, and you will receive the keys to your box at your visit to the post office. You will be given your PO Box mailing address at your in-person visit, and you can then start using your box to receive mail.
PO Box Size Options
There are five different size options available. You should select the one that best meets your needs based on the amount of mail that you expect to receive. If you are using your box as a business address and expect to receive bulky packages or lots of extra-large envelopes, then you should probably select one of the bigger sizes. However, if you are a residential customer who only receives a few letters, then the extra small box is probably a fine choice.
Remember that all sizes might not be available at your local post office. If every box in a certain size category is already rented, then you will have to select a different size. Applying for the box in person will even allow you to see the different size options to better select the appropriate size.
A size 1 box is the smallest, while a size 5 is the largest. The extra-small size 1 box measures 3″ by 5.5″. It can hold around 10 to 15 letters. The largest box available measures 12″ by 22.5″. It can hold multiple flat rate boxes or even a shoebox or two. You should use this size box when you expect to receive lots of mail or packages.
Cost Of Setting Up A PO Box
So, how much does a PO Box cost? If you’re wondering, “How much is a PO Box,” the answer depends on the size of the box, contract length, and location. That’s right — it is more expensive to rent a PO Box in some cities than in others. On average, a small box will run you about $10 to $12 per month on a three-month contract. The largest box can cost you $40 to $50 per month. The monthly price gets a little cheaper if you extend the contract period, although you must pay the amount in full at the beginning of the term. You can also establish a payment method and auto-renewal of the box so that you do not lose your address at the end of your contract period.
If you want to see the exact amount that you will need to pay for a specific box, then you can use the USPS postal box locator. This tool will show you exactly which types of boxes are available in your area and whether a particular post office offers premium PO Box services. These services may include a mail forwarding service. This means that you can choose a PO Box in another city and have the mail forwarded to the real street address where you are located. To do this, you will need to complete a change of address form.
In addition to the box fee itself, there are also some additional fees that you might have to pay. You’ll need to pay a key deposit of about $4 to help ensure that you return your key at the end of your contract. If you lose your key or need an extra, then a fee of $8 will apply. There is also a $23 fee for a late payment or lock replacement.
Advantages & Disadvantages Of Post Office Boxes
There are both advantages and disadvantages of using PO Boxes. One of the most significant advantages is a professional mailing address for your small business. In addition, it keeps your personal address private from potential business customers. You can also use your PO Box address to keep your business consistent. If you move to a new home, even in a different city, you can still keep your same PO Box address for your business. The other significant benefit of a PO Box is that your mail is safe and secure until you pick it up. Having packages delivered to your home can lead to theft and other security issues, but there is no need to worry about that with a PO Box.
There are a few drawbacks to PO Boxes, however. First, the PO Box location might not be convenient for you. If the location is not close to your home, then you might spend a lot of time driving back and forth to check your mail. In addition, not all post office locations offer 24/7 access to their PO Boxes. This could present a problem if you frequently pick up your mail after hours. Lastly, some package delivery services will not deliver packages to a PO Box. Providers like UPS and FedEx only deliver to residential street addresses, so USPS might be your only option if you need a package sent to your PO Box. Even then, large boxes might not fit inside your PO Box. Though the post office will hold your box temporarily, you will need to pick up your items frequently so that they do not get returned to the sender.
The Bottom Line
Setting up a PO Box is a quick process that can have many benefits for your mail needs. The cost depends on the location, size, and length of your contract. The prices can range from $10 to $50 per month, and you might choose to pay additional fees for extra services. You can apply for a box online or in-person, although you will still need to visit the post office to get your keys and provide your ID even if you apply online.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is getting a PO Box easy?
Yes, getting a PO Box is simple and easy. You can apply for a box online or in person. Either way, you will need to visit the post office to show your identification. Once approved, you will be assigned your box number and address. You can then start using your new address right away.
How do I find a PO Box near me?
The easiest way to find a PO Box near you is to use the USPS PO Box Locator tool. You can input your ZIP code, and the tool will return a list of locations near you that offer those services. It will also show you the sizes of boxes that are available at those locations, and you can apply for a box directly from the website.
How long does it take for a PO Box to be set up?
It does not take long to set up a PO Box. If you visit the post office in person, you can complete the entire process within a matter of minutes. Applying for a box online is quick and easy, although it still requires a trip to the post office. You must visit in person within 30 days of your online application, and your visit should not take long. Once your ID is confirmed, then you will be assigned a box and given your key.
What are the benefits of a PO Box?
One of the biggest benefits is a professional mailing address for your business. Another big benefit is security. Your mail will be locked inside your box, and only you can access it with your key. You will not have to worry about mail or packages being stolen from your box, as that can sometimes be an issue when you have mail delivered to your home.