Maintenance is a normal fact of life when it comes to managing properties, especially larger rental properties. Sometimes, things break, or parts of a property need to be replaced or repaired. In fact, an average of 1-4% of yearly real estate costs are due to maintenance tasks.
Mailboxes are a vital part of any residential or commercial property, whether it be a single-family home, an entire community, or a business complex. Therefore, they require maintenance as well, though how often will vary depending on several factors.
No one wants to spend too much time or money on maintenance. Here are some helpful tips property managers can take to avoid maintenance headaches in the future.
Tip #1: Pick the Right Location
Location is one of the first things property managers consider when purchasing mailboxes for their properties. After all, convenience for the USPS, private delivery personnel, and recipients is important, and choosing the right spot for your mailboxes (or centralized delivery system) is vital.
Did you know that choosing the right location will factor into how much maintenance a set of mailboxes will need? Here, maintenance includes not just repairs, but keeping the area around a mailbox free of obstructions.
Outdoor mailboxes of all types may require more maintenance than indoor ones, due to reasons ranging from weather, vandalism, and accidents. Curbside mailboxes are the most prone mailbox type to damage, due to their proximity near curbs and roadsides, and this applies to single and multi-unit curbside mailboxes. While they are typically cheaper than the centralized 4C mailboxes that serve multiple customers each, they require more installation time.
Indoor mailboxes can be monitored more easily than outdoor ones but must be accessible to tenants at all times.
Tip #2: Consider the Number of Mailboxes
How many customers who need mail delivery on your property will factor into how much mailbox maintenance you’ll require. Keep this in mind when choosing the right mailbox system for your property or community. When dealing with many mailboxes, maintenance costs can be cut by combining them into one area as much as possible.
A popular solution for serving multiple customers is 4C, centralized mailboxes which consist of one sturdy cabinet that holds a few to over a dozen customer compartments. These mailboxes are the least prone to damage, and though they have a higher upfront cost, they usually cost less in the long term in maintenance costs. They work well in apartment complexes and larger business properties, and also work in some communities.
For larger properties such as condo communities, curbside mailboxes are popular thanks to their curb appeal. However, having one mailbox per condo is often cost-prohibitive and adds too many maintenance costs, so multi-unit curbside mailboxes are popular, as they combine and lower maintenance costs.
Tip #3: Think of Safety First
Safety is the most important consideration when it comes to maintenance, for both mail and customers.
Mailboxes are subject to vandalism and damage, making mail subject to theft, so investing in sturdier 4C mailboxes and locking mailboxes will help cut repair costs for property managers. This applies to mailboxes and to parcel lockers.
Adding lighting around outdoor mailboxes will help to reduce vandalism and the associated repair costs and will help to keep customers safe as well.
One maintenance issue often overlooked is clearing snow and ice from around mailboxes, and from the parking spaces leading up to them. Slip and falls are dangerous, and as many as one million people in the US suffer from slip and falls every year. A good number are due to ice. In climates that suffer from ice and snow, it’s important to keep the area around mailboxes ice free.
This maintenance task is easiest around centralized mailboxes, as it cuts the clearing time, and adding an overhang or roof over these mailboxes will keep the area clear as well. Indoor mailboxes will not have weather issues.
Tip #4: Invest in Durability
Some mailboxes can last for longer than others. A well-built mailbox may last for decades or even a lifetime and are worth the upfront cost. Other mailboxes are lower in cost, such as wall-mounted mailboxes, but may require more maintenance or even replacement much sooner than other models.
Of course, other factors such as location and local weather will factor into how long any mailbox will last.
The new 4C mailboxes are more durable than their older 4B counterparts, which tend to show weathering with their older finishes along with other wear and tear. If you have these older mailboxes, you may want to upgrade to the newer 4C models, as they’re more durable.
Even curbside mailboxes have different models, with some models being made of aluminum to better resist wear and damage.
Tip #5: Factor Everything into Overall Cost
Finally, the last thing to consider when it comes to mailbox maintenance is cost.
Cost doesn’t only refer to money, but to time, and often the two concepts are interchangeable. Maintenance often means hiring someone to make repairs around rental properties.
The number of mailboxes, the type, and the location all factor into the ultimate cost of maintenance. Centralized mailbox systems are more expensive, especially when building the site from scratch, but should incur minimal maintenance costs over time, especially when located indoors. They may be a good idea when enough money is available to make the investment.
Curbside and wall-mounted mailboxes are fairly inexpensive, but like cars, will face more repair costs over time as they wear out, get damaged, or become outdated. They will also require property managers to clear snow and ice from around them, and to ensure they remain free of other obstructions. Multiple mailboxes in different locations may ultimately cost more than a single centralized system.
Find the Right Mailbox System Today
Finding the best fit mailbox for your property’s situation can reduce maintenance costs over time or help determine what maintenance costs may crop up in the future. If you’re still unsure which mailbox type will help you keep maintenance costs down, be sure to contact us today. We’re here to help you make the right investment.