Own a business? You probably need to deal with lots of mail too. Streamline your mail management by having all packages & snail mail forwarded and managed online.
Running a small business is never an easy task; depending on what industry and customers you are catering to, you have to deal with complex operations, HR, state regulations (and the list goes on.) What is more, is that there are several administrative tasks that require the attention of an already very busy owner.
At the time of writing this blog, Covid-19 has set in as a new reality. Remote work places, social distancing and stay at home orders, have disrupted literally every business. The ones that were able to go online, were able to get through the storm and operate under new circumstances. Local businesses such as restaurants that were not heavily invested on digital alternatives, had no option but to shut down.
Being able to pick up the mail, became critical; with everyone working from home, who is going to visit the office just to pick up the mail? Very inconvenient and a great time killer.
What Is Mail Forwarding?
When you would normally receive mail at your business location, with mail forwarding, you are notifying the USPS to redirect the mail delivery and instead of sending to your former location, it forwards all mail to the new one. The best way to think of this, is if a business re-locates: what happens to all contacts who only know your former address? You would have to go through the list of all friends, business associates & customers, to inform them of the address (something not practical at all.)
With mail forwarding, all your mail gets redirected from your former location to your new location. All you need to do to get this process underway, is completed a change of address with the USPS. And within a few days, you’re all set to go.
How to Forward Business Mail
Now, before we get on to the best way to start forwarding business mail (i.e. by signing up with a virtual mailbox service), let us take a look at how to just use the United States Postal Service to change your business forwarding address.
The first option that the USPS offers is opening a PO box. So, without further ado, we are going to get right into the details.
USPS PO Boxes for Business
PO boxes are offered at many local post offices and can be used for both personal and business use. They are secure, accessible, and easy to open online. But, it is worth noting that you still have to visit the post office once or twice a week to collect everything that came in; for some, this is enough to put them off.
Before you make up your mind, we will have a look at the pros and cons of using a PO box as your mail forwarding for business service.
The Pros of PO Boxes
- It’s a secure way of receiving mail while you’re not in the office.
- You don’t have to worry about packages sitting on your doorstep.
- It is easy to keep confidential documents safe and private.
- You can travel to your PO box whenever is convenient for you.
- Some are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The Cons of PO Boxes
- You have no choice but to go to the physical box once, twice, or three times a week.
- It isn’t as secure as a virtual mailbox since it is right next to everybody else’s box.
- If your office moves far away, you will have to change your PO box as it won’t move with you.
USPS Business Mail Pickup
This option is for those of you who receive a lot of mail (or numerous parcels and packages that are too big for the largest PO box).
How Does It Work?
The post office will receive all of your business address mail forwardings once your office has moved or you have started working from home full time. Then, you arrange a time to collect all your letters, parcels, and packages, turn up, gather them up, and you’re all set!
How Do I Get Started?
If you’re interested (although we’d advise you to check out the pros and cons below before you settle), here is how to set up business mail pick up. It won’t take long, you will just need to supply two forms of ID and fill in a form.
- Find the PS Form 1093-C online.
- Print it out.
- Fill out the “Application for Post Office Caller Service” section.
- Take your completed form and two types of government-approved US identification. For your primary form, you can use one of the following (ensuring they are either federal, state, or tribal issued):
- State driver’s license
- Non-driver’s ID card
- Uniformed Service ID card
- US Armed Forces card
- Corporate identification
- US passport
- US passport card
- US university identification
- US permanent resident card
- Any ID card issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
- US certificate of naturalization or citizenship
- Tribal identification card
For your secondary ID document, you can bring one of the following:
- Lease agreement
- Mortgage agreement
- Deed of trust
- Voter registration card
- Home insurance policy
- Vehicle registration card
- Utility bill
- Form I-94
- Vehicle insurance policy
- Decide which service option you want. This could be 1 year or 6 months.
- Pay the fee. Make sure you do this at the post office where you’ll be using this service is located. You can pay with a credit or debit card, cash, check, or money order.
- Pick up your business mail whenever you need to.
The Pros of Business Mail Pick Up
- You can receive large items without worrying about whether they will fit in your PO box.
- If there aren’t any PO boxes available, this is your chance to get an even better service.
- You can pick up your mail whenever is convenient.
- Your business can easily scale up without fear that it won’t be able to cope with the influx of mail.
The Cons of Business Mail Pick Up
- You might not want to pay for a mail service that lasts a year or 6 months, especially if you are a start-up as it restricts you to one location.
- You still have to travel to a specific location to receive your mail.
- Could be quite time consuming depending on travel time.
Okay, now that you are familiar with the mail forwarding business address services that the USPS offers, it is time to show you where you should really put your money!
Why Does Your Small Business Need Mail Forwarding?
There are plenty of reasons why your small business needs mail forwarding! We are about to go through each one in turn but, if you haven’t got much time, just scoot down to the end of this section where you will find a quick-glance list.
So, if you are still with us, let’s jump straight into all the benefits you’ll reap once you set up a virtual mail forwarding service.
When a package is shipped to you, and requires you to be around to pick it up, it can be problematic if you happen to be out of the office, visiting a job site or simply too busy to receive your parcel. What business owners end up doing, is signing up for a PO box to receive all packages and mail. That gives birth to a new problem; you need to allocate a certain day of the week to drive to your local post office location, stand in line, and get your mail. But what if you had someone sign for your package only with your authorization, and at the fraction of the cost of having your secretary do so? What if you could request that package is shipped on demand to your location, for up to 80% off typical shipping rates? The time saving and shipping costs advantage to this is pretty obvious.
When you get mail at your location, it can usually be accessed by pretty much anyone who wants to get their hand on it. From ID theft, to mail theft and everything in between, having mail sit at a location without supervision or while you’re away, is probably not the best idea. When you have your mail outsourced, all packages are stored in a warehouse with 24/7 surveillance systems, and on-site security personnel. There is no safer place to store your snail mail, than at a mail forwarding facility.
As a company, there is nothing worse than looking unprofessional, right? Well, if you are an online business, or have simply decided to register it under a PO Box or your home address, that comes with a number of issues.
Not only are there added security concerns that you need to consider (angry customers knowing your place of residence etc,) but your business does not look professional at all. A business registered with a post office box, surely does not look as good as a business registered under a real physical address.
We already touched on this a bit, but when you decide you want to use your home address for business mail, you are exposing that address to literally every ill-intentioned person online. Angry customers, employees or investors, can know of yours and your family’s whereabouts with a simple Google search. Registering your business with a real physical address that is not your home address, keeps your privacy and family protected.
What happens if you decide to move the location of your business? You need to keep updating all your contact info, informing customers of a move, and completing change of address forms with the USPS. When you register for a virtual address, this address is yours for life, regardless of where you are physically located. Think of it; do you change your phone number whenever you move? Why would you therefore need to change your mailing address when you do so?
Streamlined Mail Management
When you sign up for a virtual business address, all employees are able to digitally manage incoming mail. There is no requirement of someone being on site, and virtually, from the comfort of their own office or home, they can make a few clicks and handle mail online.
The Quick Glance Pros and Cons
For all of you busy bunnies who don’t have time right now for our fully-fledged conversation, here is a speedy summary of everything we talked about above.
Ready? Let’s go!
The Quick Glance Pros
- Convenience — you don’t need to be around to pick up your important document or package, an expert mail handler will do it for you.
- Mail security — all your mail will be held in a secure facility complete with 24-hour video surveillance and more. You won’t find anywhere safer than this!
- Look sharp — having your home address as your business address does not look very professional. With a virtual mailbox, this problem is solved.
- Home privacy — using your home address for business can get messy. Angry customers, unhappy investors, and raging employees will be able to find you and your loved ones incredibly
- Permanent — you will never have to go through the hassle of changing your mailing address every time you switch offices!
- Streamlined mail management — all your employees can access your office’s mail from a smartphone app or their computer. No one needs to be onsite.
Okay, so what are the cons here then? Everything has a downside, right?
Well, yes, but the advantages of signing up for a virtual mail forwarding service drastically outweigh the potential disadvantages. Regardless, we will chat briefly about the things that aren’t so good about a virtual mailbox system. (Hint: when we said “things” we meant “thing” as there is only one potential downside)!
The Quick Glance Con
- Extra cost — this especially applies to start-ups. We have found that many new companies do not want to incur the extra cost that business address forwarding proposes. However, it is important to remember that a virtual mailbox will bring you a huge return on your investment (looking at the advantages above will tell you that!).
The Bottom Line
To summarize; using a virtual mailing solution for your small business can be a big time and money saver. The convenience, security and savings it provides you with makes all the sense in the world to test out — yes, even if you are a start-up company.
If you need to reach out with any questions about business mail forwarding or get a proposal, contact us here.