What is a post office box?
A post office box can be located at a U.S. Postal Service office or at a commercial rental center. Some rural residences are provided free services from the USPS because of their physical location; otherwise, the USPS provides rental of mailboxes, as do the commercial services. Instead of having mail sent to an actual physical address, it is sent to the rental address, where the mailbox owner then goes to pick it up; mail is not delivered to the mailbox owner’s home.
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There are several good reasons for a home-based business owner to use a post office box.
Security. The address of the business needs to be identified in correspondence, billing, banking and many other important aspects of owning and running a business. Some of these, such as a business license, are public record, available to anyone who cares to look it up; others may be published on the internet Being able to provide a mailbox number instead of a physical address provides much greater security and privacy for a mailbox owner. You wouldn’t want someone just showing up at your house, especially if you are there alone much of the time.
Convenience. Receiving parcel delivery is much easier with a post office box. Whether your mailbox is at the USPS or a commercial service, staff at the location is available to receive parcel delivery during business hours, which the mailbox owner can then pick up whenever it’s convenient to do so.
Credibility. With the accessibility of online maps and other tools, it’s very easy for someone to research a business, including the actual location of the business. A business has much more credibility if the business location is shown to be in an actual business center, or post office, rather than a residential or rural area. Commercial mailboxes give the appearance of an office address because they use a street address and a box number that is similar in appearance to a suite number. A post office box gives a business a more professional presentation.
How to rent a post office box
Renting a mailbox is as easy as visiting or calling your local USPS and asking if they have boxes available, or looking in the directory to find the commercial mailbox service close to your home office location. Mailbox prices depend on the size of the box, ranging from $7 per month up to $32 or more per month. Some commercial mailbox service locations offer discounts on box rentals that are paid 12 months in advance.