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What Are Parcel Lockers And How Do They Work?
Parcel lockers are, as the name implies, mail compartments meant to receive delivered packages that are too large to fit inside a standard mailbox or mail compartment.
The need for parcel lockers is growing since the public is ordering more packages online than they ever have. Residents in apartment complexes, other multifamily communities, universities, and even some businesses are finding themselves with a need for safe, secure, organized delivery of packages.
- Are typically square compartments that are at least 15 inches high to accommodate large packages. Sizes do vary, however, and larger and smaller sizes do exist.
- Are required when purchasing certain types of multi-family mailboxes. There must be at least one parcel locker that is at least 15 inches high included for every ten horizontal or cluster mail delivery units. Often, parcel lockers come with these units.
- Can be customized with engravings and numbers. They can also come in a variety of different colors.
- Always have some sort of lock. Manual and electronic locks are both available, serving a wide range of budgets.
- Can be mounted into a wall or put up as a standalone unit. They can be used indoors (often mounted into a wall as part of a 4C mailbox setup) or outdoors (as part of a cluster mailbox setup) due to their durable construction.
- Can only accept packages. They also can only accept packages from one customer at a time, enhancing security.
- Are front-loading, meaning that all packages are delivered and received through a front door.
Parcel lockers can receive deliveries from:
- The USPS. In this case, the USPS installs manual locks for parcel lockers themselves and keeps the keys. When making a delivery to a parcel locker, the mail carrier will deliver the package into the parcel locker and leave the key in the customer’s mailbox. The customer then uses the key to unlock the parcel locker and receive their delivery, and the key remains in the special lock, known as a captive lock, until the carrier removes it.
- Private delivery. Parcel lockers can be useful for some workplaces and universities and can serve as a means to reduce office clutter and labor time as no one will need to spend hours sorting and delivering packages to individual dorms and offices. In this case, each customer will have a key to access their own compartment.