When it comes to installing mailboxes for your commercial property or community, you may have a lot of questions about how to do so in the cheapest and most effective manner. After all, cutting costs is a part of managing any business, including your property.
There are plenty of guides about how to install each type of commercial mailbox, and each type of centralized mailbox will have instructions that will be included with your purchase. Wall-mounted mailboxes, for example, will come with hardware for installation and instructions on how to place your cabinet on a flat, vertical surface. Freestanding or pedestal mailboxes will come with instructions that cover the mounting process to a concrete slab, and recessed mailboxes will have instructions on how to cut the proper hole into a wall and mount the units.
No matter which type of commercial mailbox system you choose, there are some don’ts that come with mailbox installation, and aren’t worth the temporary cutting of costs and time. In other words, these don’ts will likely make your installation more expensive in the long run. Here is a list of pitfalls to avoid.
1: Not checking with your local post office first. If you’re a developer or property manager, and you’re installing new mailboxes as part of a renovation or new project, you’ll waste time if you don’t run your plans past the USPS first. Note that this only applies if you’re looking for direct USPS delivery to your mailboxes. If opting for private delivery, you can skip this step.
What happens if you don’t check with the USPS first? If you proceed to install centralized mailboxes without this check, the USPS may refuse to deliver to your mailboxes, as they may be installed incorrectly and without the USPS centralized standards in mind. This could result in you having to uninstall your centralized mailboxes and reinstall them elsewhere on your property.
2: Installing in an obscure area. Centralized mailboxes should be just that: centralized, or forward-facing. This means that all centralized mailboxes should be in some easy to find location that is always accessible to residents of a community or tenants of a commercial property. Good locations include clubhouses, front parking lots, lobbies, and central hallways. Bad locations include the backs of properties, inside buildings that aren’t always open, rear corridors, and the upper floors of buildings.
This is especially true for mailboxes receiving USPS delivery. The delivery person must be able to easily find all mailboxes on a commercial property or community for fast, safe, and efficient delivery.
What happens if your mailboxes are hard to find? The USPS may refuse to deliver your mail if mailboxes are hard to reach, such as on the top floor of a building or behind closed gates. And it’s not just an issue of delivery. Residents of communities may have mobility issues, preventing them from easily getting mail and packages. Others may feel unsafe traveling a long distance to get their mail, or to the back of a property.
3: Installing in an area with obstructions. This pitfall may be harder to avoid than the others, as obstructions can sometimes be unpredictable, and some won’t be present at all during installation, such as snow and ice. An obstruction is anything that makes getting to mailboxes difficult or impossible, and can include anything from badly parked vehicles, bad lighting, flooding, and winter weather.
That’s why it’s important to consider any possible future obstructions before installing centralized mailboxes. If installing near a parking lot, be sure to allow enough room to avoid having vehicles park in front of the mailboxes, blocking them. When installing outdoors in a colder climate, consider installing under an overhang such as a kiosk to prevent the buildup of snow and ice. Placing mailboxes on high ground can also prevent flooding. Having a dedicated, sheltered mail room is also a great idea. And don’t install in areas with poor lighting, as this will make retrieving mail difficult at night. Bad lighting can also lead to falling and injury, especially if the ground is uneven or wet.
What happens if obstructions block my mailboxes? Slipping and falling is a common injury, but can be prevented by removing obstructions from around your mailboxes or installing where obstructions will be absent or minimal. Bad lighting and hazardous conditions can lead to increased tenant turnover for all types of properties.
4: Not accommodating package delivery. If you’re seeking package delivery, parcel lockers are a great way to keep packages safe for residents until pickup. This is especially true in apartment complexes, where package theft is common. Both USPS and private delivery mailboxes can have parcel lockers added to them if needed.
What happens if no parcel lockers are available? Unless a designated, secure area for package delivery exists, such as a community office or commercial lobby, package theft may occur, leading to the loss of packages and an increase in tenant turnover.
5: Not following ADA guidelines. When installing mailboxes for USPS delivery, you are required to follow the Americans with Disabilities Act. This is to allow wheelchair users and customers with other mobility aids easy access to their centralized mailboxes. For example, all centralized mailboxes need three feet of clearance before them, and there must be at least one customer compartment lower than 42 inches from the ground. No mailbox or parcel locker floor can be lower than 15 inches from the ground, to allow wheelchair users to reach these compartments.
What happens if you ignore the ADA? Customers can file a complaint with ADA.gov if the requirements aren’t met for USPS-delivery mailboxes. Like other mailbox problems, this can lead to you needing to make expensive changes to your mailbox setup, as well as losing tenants of any type. This is especially true for businesses.
If you have questions, be sure to contact us at National Mailboxes today. We’re here to help you install your centralized mailboxes correctly, and to help keep your tenants happy for many years to come.