Mailboxes have been the cornerstone of postage since the 1850s.
As mail demand increases and grows over time, mailbox guidelines and receptacles change. Different sizes of parcels and letters need a larger and more secure mailbox. Because of this development, another option other than the traditional mailbox was needed.
Today, businesses and people have a choice; commercial or residential mailboxes.
Background knowledge of the ins and outs of commercial mailboxes seems simple. Have you ever wondered what separates commercial and residential mailboxes? There are dozens of important and enforced guidelines when handling mail.
We’re going to take the time to dive into mailbox guidelines and everything you need to know about your current option. This is your guide to understanding commercial mailboxes.
1. What are Commercial Mailboxes?
Not only do residential and commercial mailboxes look different, but they also serve different purposes.
Commercial mailboxes are often seen in apartment complexes. Due to mail safety precautions, commercial mailboxes focus on resisting against tampering and theft.
These boxes generally have multiple compartments for various living spaces. Manufacturers are smart to design commercial mailboxes around metal components to provide security. Foot traffic is much higher when it comes to commercial mailboxes than residential.
2. Is Residential Different?
A residential mailbox is what you would think of as a standard or traditional mailbox.
This is usually a stand-alone unit and serves a single-family or location. These mailboxes could be plastic, wood, stone, you name it. Residential mailboxes are usually creative in appearance and a personalized eye-catcher for some homes.
Since they experience less foot traffic, residential mailboxes are less tampered with. However, they don’t offer the same safety commercial mailboxes do. This risk isn’t as evident with residential mailboxes because of their usual location.
If both these mailboxes serve different purposes, do they also have specific guidelines?
3. What’re Commercial Mailbox Guidelines?
According to USPS mailbox requirements, commercial mailboxes should abide by Standard 4C Mailbox Specifications.
This means any USPS commercial mailboxes need to have the following:
- Size requirement of a minimum 12” width x 15” depth x 3” height
- Parcel lockers need to exist at a 1:10 parcel to customer compartment ratio
- Updated and improved security for the receptacle
- Standardized compartment lock design to prevent theft
- No one key accessibility for different mailboxes
- Individual mailboxes need an access panel for easy USPS access without group mailbox access
- Testing requirements for indoor/outdoor use
- Abides by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations
These guidelines are all necessary requirements for mail receptacles in a commercial setting.
4. Increased Parcel Locker Security
If you’re in a complex with tenants, parcel lockers are a good idea. Commercial mailboxes equipped with parcel lockers help organization and security.
These larger and separate mailbox compartments are accessible only by a separate key. This key is placed and locked in an individual’s locker by a postal carrier. Once a tenant has retrieved the package, the keys are usually left in the key slot for the postal carrier to collect at a later date.
Parcel lockers provide a security measure for larger mail that won’t fit into a smaller commercial mailbox. In some cases, residential mailboxes might be large enough to protect and accommodate various package sizes. Most residential mailboxes struggle to support a package that a USPS-approved commercial mailbox can.
Knowing this, parcel lockers are better equipped to manage packages that aren’t delivered to your front door.
5. What’s Regulation Height?
Commercial 4C mailboxes should also abide by certain height requirements.
The vertical location if the mailbox needs to align with the requirements of ADA Standards for Accessible Design. This states that “where a forward reach is unobstructed, the high forward shall be 48 inches maximum and low forward shall be 15 inches minimum above the ground”.
Wheelchair accessible mailboxes are important to service all individuals.
For taller mailboxes (six through three high door units), standard ADA compliant regulations should be consistent. These limits shouldn’t change based on the structure of any commercial mailbox.
6. How to Install a Commercial Mailbox?
Commercial and residential mailboxes need specific installation and mounting requirements.
You can mount commercial mailboxes:
- On a post or pedestal outdoors
- Under/in an outdoor enclosure or mail stand
- Wall-mounted for the rear and front access
Residential mailboxes are best in four mounting variations:
- Mail slots for office or residential doors
- Curbside post with a mounted mailbox
- Column mounted
7. What Are My Mailbox Choices?
Choosing between residential and commercial mailboxes isn’t an either-or situation.
In most cases, the environment or situation will provide enough information about what kind of mailbox is necessary. Buildings with various apartments and tenants will need a commercial mailbox.
A single-family will find residential mailboxes to be the most effective for their needs.
Regardless of your choice, mailbox guidelines should follow USPS requirements. This provides an individual with a sense of security when it comes to important documents and packages they’re receiving.
Your questions about mailboxes are warranted. At National Mailboxes, we pride ourselves as a leading Wisconsin-based manufacturer and supplier of both commercial and residential mailboxes.
Now that you know all the ins and outs of mailbox guidelines, where do you begin? Make sure when you’re buying a mailbox you’re considering the USPS mailbox requirements.
We have decades of experience in the industry helping you make the right decision every time. Your mailbox will be distributed in a timely and proper manner.
Take some time to look over our comprehensive website and choose a mailbox that’s right for you. Give us a call today and make your mailbox choice with confidence.