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What type of commercial mailbox is right for me?
There are several different types of mailboxes to choose from, and thankfully, you can browse for mailboxes online. The first question to ask yourself is how many customer units you’ll need. Another question to ask is where you’d like these mailboxes to be located. A third question to ask yourself is whether you’re purchasing mailboxes for a new property or replacing old units. Finally, you’ll need to know who’s delivering mail to customers: the USPS or a private employee?
How many customers are you serving?
If you are serving many customers and need hundreds of units, horizontal mailboxes can meet your need. Cluster mailboxes can also provide dozens of compartments and several parcel lockers. Both types can be installed or mounted side by side, providing mail service to dozens or hundreds of customers or tenants.
If you are serving a small office or apartment building, or are looking to mount mailboxes inside each individual apartment building of a complex, vertical mailboxes typically have 5-10 units each and are designed with smaller numbers of customers in mind.
Where will your mailboxes call home?
If you need your mailboxes to be indoors, you’ll have different options than if you need to mount your mailboxes in a central, outdoor area.
- Indoor mailboxes can be either horizontal or vertical (if replacing old vertical units), with horizontal mailboxes generally serving more customers than vertical mailboxes. Indoor mailboxes can be mounted into a wall or mounted onto a wall.
- Cluster mailboxes are found outdoors, usually in a central location, and several can be mounted together in concrete. They also provide easy installation as they come with their own mounts. Horizontal mailboxes can also be installed outdoors in kiosks, such as in some private communities. Clubhouses and lobbies are also ideal locations for horizontal mailboxes.
Are you getting new units or replacing old ones?
- If you’re getting new units, and the USPS will be delivering, you’ll need to purchase USPS-approved 4C horizontal or 4C cluster units if the USPS.
- If you are renovating a wall or area that is housing old 4B USPS mailboxes, and replacing those mailboxes, you’ll also need to purchase new 4C units that meet current regulations.
- Vertical mailboxes and 4B horizontal mailboxes should only be purchased when replacing old units of the same type and if you are not renovating or moving them to a new location. This does not apply if you are purchasing units for private delivery.
- Neighborhood delivery cluster box units, an outdated model, cannot be replaced or installed due to new regulations and lack of security. If you are upgrading from these units, you will need to purchase new 4C cluster box units.
Who is delivering the mail?
If the USPS will be delivering mail directly to your customers:
- Stay on the lookout for commercial mailboxes that are USPS-approved. These boxes have been constructed with USPS regulations in mind and arrive already approved if you are purchasing 4C models, which follow the 2006 regulations.
- 4B models, which include vertical units and some older horizontal units, will need to be approved by the post office before delivery can begin, if you are installing for direct USPS delivery. They also can only be used to replace existing units of the same type, provided they are in the same location as the old units and in the same wall opening.
- If you’re looking for private delivery, say on a college campus where a non-USPS employee will be delivering mail, you do not have to worry about the 2006 regulations and will be in control of the locks and keys.