Are you agonizing over providing safe, effective, and convenient mail delivery for a college campus, commercial property, military base, or other location where you’ll distribute mail yourself to each customer?
A mail room may be the perfect solution for your woes. Many locations use mail rooms to handle incoming mail and packages from the USPS or other carriers. From the mail room, employees hold mail for the customers who live onsite (often in dorms or barracks) until retrieval. In other cases, employees distribute mail to individual compartments for pickup, and place packages in special lockers.
Before Starting, Make Sure It’s Private Delivery.
There are two main types of mail delivery: USPS delivery, and private delivery. Before putting together your mail room, ensure that your system is private delivery.
USPS delivery occurs when the postal service delivers directly to each customer. Mailboxes must be accessible to the USPS, and to customers, every day during all hours. Mailboxes that receive USPS delivery must not be obstructed or behind a locked door at any time.
Mail rooms often are not open outside of certain hours, meaning that the USPS cannot enter the room to distribute mail to each individual customer. Rather, an employee will receive the mail in bulk, and then distribute the mail from there. This is known as private delivery, and is necessary when building a mail room.
Understand the Need for Convenience.
College students and military personnel are often busy, as are those using commercial properties. This means they may not always be available to visit a mail room during normal business hours. Take the normal schedules of customers into consideration.
If your mail room is only accessible during special hours, consider extending those hours to accommodate your customers, or consider expanding your mail room to include an area that is accessible twenty-four seven. Any areas that are always accessible to customers should have no loose or unsecured mail, as it may contain sensitive information. These areas tend to be hallways, lobbies, or outdoor plazas, and make use of locking compartments.
The lack of space is perhaps the biggest challenge facing mailrooms. No one wants to work in a cluttered mail room, and customers don’t want their mail and packages getting lost. You can clear space in your mail room by investing in some sort of centralized mailbox system to hold all those envelopes and small packages.
Centralized mailboxes are typically metal cabinets that contain several to dozens of customer compartments, all with locks. The good news is that with private delivery, your choices are more varied for these mailboxes than if your customers were getting direct USPS delivery. By going this route, an employee will distribute mail to each box by using a master lock, and parcels will be held safely outside of the mail room for pickup.
Such a system will allow employees to better handle and take care of incoming mail during each business day. It will also reduce time customers need to pick up mail, cutting down on lines and wait times.
Mail sorters are another great way to clear some space in your mail room and get everything organized. Mail sorters are less expensive than centralized mailboxes, though they are less secure, so they are best placed inside the mailroom itself or in another secure area. If such a system is used, only employees should have access to the area, and each cubby on the sorter should be clearly labeled to avoid delivering mail to the wrong customer.
Mail sorters are great on walls, on top of desks, or as standalone models on racks. Each cubby is small, and a dedicated room for sorting mail can handle a great volume.
For outgoing mail, products such as mail bags and bins can hold outgoing mail, and are great for giving to the USPS. Collection mailboxes are also available for private use, in which customers can deposit mail in a safe, secure location.
Packages are always a big part of the bulk in mail rooms, and they become more common as the years pass. Care packages and online shopping lead to plenty of boxes accumulating in a mail room. These are prone to theft and damage.
Parcel lockers are available when packages must be placed outside of a mail room to clear space. These lockers can be installed indoors or outdoors, and when a package gets delivered, the customer receives a lock to access their delivery. Keeping keys in a mail room saves far more space than keeping packages.
Of course, you’ll need a place for these lockers, if you choose to use them, and this can either be recessed into a wall outside the mail room, or somewhere nearby.
Don’t Forget Safety and Privacy.
It’s a felony to steal or tamper with someone else’s mail, and the postal service takes mail theft seriously, no matter where it happens. Thieves often target areas where large volumes of mail tend to gather, such as mail rooms. Stolen mail can include personal and financial information.
To avoid this danger, keep all loose mail in a secure location until pickup at all times. Most mail rooms simply keep mail behind glass and away from all but employees, but as we’ve seen, this can lead to clutter unless a system is put in place to manage the area.
Any mail sorters that aren’t locked should be kept in the mail room itself to avoid theft and protect privacy, and any lockers or customer compartments outside of the mail room should also have individual, customer locks.
Manage Your Mailroom Today.
Here at National Mailboxes, we have what you need to build the best mailroom you can, or to help you solve the woes that can come with managing such a space. If you have questions, be sure to reach out today. We’re here to help.