There are a variety of mailboxes out there to suit the needs of homeowners, renters, apartment dwellers, small businesses, and large commercial complexes. College campuses, military bases, and office buildings also make use of mailboxes in some cases.
Some mailboxes are newer than others, and there are differences between some of the newer and older mailbox types out there. Some older mailboxes can pose issues such as a higher risk of vandalism, damage, weathering, and hazards to vehicles. Replacing these mailboxes with newer models that are USPS-approved may be recommended when seeking USPS delivery.
Replacing Curbside Mailboxes
While curbside mailboxes have stayed more or less the same over the past several decades, there are cases where it may be a good idea to replace the mailbox, or parts of the mailbox. Curbside mailboxes are not being phased out, but they do have some requirements for installation and there are some cases where they should get an upgrade.
Curbside mailboxes generally serve homes and small businesses and come as single or multi-family or multi-business units. Both types can experience wear and tear, and of course can fall victim to vehicles, vandals, and thieves.
Curbside mailboxes should be replaced if they become damaged to the point where USPS delivery stops. A USPS driver cannot deliver to a heavily damaged or destroyed mailbox. Usually, the property owner is responsible for replacing the mailbox. In some jurisdictions, however, city and highway authorities may be responsible if the mailbox was struck by a snowplow. It may be worth checking with your local area.
It is important to note that no curbside mailbox may be mounted inside a hazardous support such as a concrete-filled jug that may do excessive damage to vehicles when struck. Such dangerous setups will need to be replaced.
Upgrading Curbside Mailboxes
Sometimes, upgrading curbside mailboxes to multi-family units may help to save money and maintenance time. Condo communities may benefit from such a setup as well as small commercial properties.
Having several multi-family mailboxes versus one mailbox per condo will save greatly on cost and maintenance in the long run. Since there will be fewer mailboxes to keep clear of obstructions as well as snow and ice, making the upgrade will also save on time.
Sometimes, old curbside mailboxes can enhance a property’s curb appeal when upgrading to a more attractive model. Doing so can enhance a property’s value and help to attract buyers or renters.
A Primer on Commercial Mailboxes
Here, commercial mailboxes refer to any type of centralized mail system, where a single metal cabinet holds several to dozens of tenant compartments each. These systems are generally found on commercial properties with multiple businesses, in apartment clubhouses, in some lobbies, and in mail kiosks. They may also be found standing alone on concrete or mounted in a row beside others of the same type.
These mailboxes may or may not include parcel lockers. Newer models typically have at least one parcel locker per ten customer units, which helps to keep customer mail locked and safe until retrieval. This has been a requirement for new installations since 2006, and more recently, one parcel locker per five customer compartments is required for new installations for apartment complexes. This is due to increasing package delivery in the USPS.
Phasing Out: 4B Commercial Mailboxes
There are some older, centralized mail delivery models that are no longer approved for new installations or renovations. The 4B series of mailboxes may still be found in front of some apartment complexes, mounted to walls, or near commercial complexes or plazas. These older mailboxes typically did not include parcel lockers for packages. Usually, they consisted of square compartments inside one cabinet and can be found on pedestals, mounted on walls, or recessed into them.
4B mailboxes also came as vertical models that mounted to walls and could be found in some apartment buildings and commercial properties. These units, however, can be easy to damage and may not resist tampering well. While they may work well for private (non-USPS) delivery, these are also being phased out for USPS delivery.
4B mailboxes are not as durable or as secure as the newer 4C series of mailboxes. Many are heavily weathered and damaged, and these mailboxes can only be purchased to retrofit older models of the exact same type, provided that the installation will take place in the same location as the old model. In addition, the locks on these mailboxes are not as secure as those on their newer counterparts.
The New 4C Mailboxes
In many cases, a community or commercial property will benefit from the new 4C series of centralized mailboxes. Like 4B mailboxes, they come as freestanding models, recess into walls, or simply mount to vertical surfaces.
In 2020, 43% of customers suffered from package theft. 4C mailboxes include parcel lockers, which lock and allow customers to retrieve valuable packages at their convenience. With 4C mailboxes, package theft can be reduced for residents and businesses when they choose USPS delivery.
All customer compartments in 4C mailboxes have more durable locks than their 4C counterparts, making damage and replacement less likely. Improved finishes resist weathering, keeping 4C mailboxes looking better than their 4B counterparts for many years. However, replacement parts are available for these mailboxes should something break.
4C mailboxes can also mount side by side, no matter what the type, giving a property manager the ability to add more units as needed. Parcel lockers of varying sizes can also be added to such a setup. 4B mailboxes lack this functionality, as they are not approved by the USPS for any type of new installation.
Getting Started Today
If you have an older mailbox or centralized delivery system that needs phasing out, we are here to help. We can help you to choose the right type of mailbox for your unique situation and ensure that all USPS requirements are met. Contact us today with any questions and to get started.