The future is here. But instead of flying cars and time machines, we’ve got smaller revolutions, like changes to our mail.
One of those changes is the introduction of cluster box units or CBUs. These multi-unit mailboxes provide elegant solutions to a multitude of postal problems.
So how do you enter the future with a CBU equipped with the features you need for the challenges that come with shipping and receiving packages in 2018?
With this handy guide to the top cluster box units of the year, you’ll find a plethora of options, each with unique features that fit your needs.
Let’s start with a rundown of some of the problems CBUs solve.
Problem #1: With the current multitude of a private letter and parcel delivery options, we all know about the decline in revenue the Postal Service faces. The United States’ Postmaster General’s office estimates annual per-address delivery charges of $353 for door-to-door service, $224 for curbside delivery, and $160 for cluster box units.
Solution: Move toward centralized delivery. The end of door-to-door delivery has yet to materialize, but clearly, transitioning more postal customers to cluster box delivery saves the USPS money. It may be unfeasible to convert current door-to-door customers to cluster boxes, but that is the direction in which new developments are heading.
Problem #2: Door-to-door delivery can be hazardous for mail carriers. Additional physical labor, dog bites, and insect stings are only a few of the dangers a postal worker may face on any given day.
Solution: CBUs eliminate many of these hazards thanks to their easier access from the road and distance from customers’ homes.
Problem #3: Individual mailboxes are often insecure.
Solution: Cluster box units provide sturdy construction and the protection that comes with putting your mail under lock and key.
Problem #4: Going to the post office is a hassle. Whether you’re picking up a large package or shipping one out, it’s tempting to bypass the USPS entirely for a more convenient option.
Solution: Cluster mailboxes can accommodate packages of various sizes, so shipping and receiving from the confines of your usual mailbox becomes that much simpler.
But not all units are created equal. Even high-quality cluster box units have different features that range from the subtle and aesthetic to fundamental differences in construction, size, capacity, and the type of security offered.
Standard Style Units
Let’s start with the most basic cluster mailboxes, designed to meet the needs of a broad cross-section of customers without sacrificing the security and centrality that come with a high-quality CBU.
Standard style CBUs are postal certified and comply with USPS regulations, so there is no need to worry about a carrier refusing to deliver mail because the unit does not meet Postal Service specifications. These units feature construction with high-quality materials: stainless steel and heavy-duty aluminum. These materials are weather resistant, corrosion resistant, and rust proof, which means they can handle your mail for years since they’re built to last.
The new standard style CBUs are part of the F-Series. The F-Series was built with security in mind, and these units meet or exceed USPS Security Standards.
Despite their emphasis on substance, these units still put the “style” in “standard style.” Sandstone is the standard color, and other color options are black, dark bronze, postal grey, forest green, and white (forest green and white options come with an upcharge).
These mailboxes come equipped with everything a property manager needs to get them up and running. That means a pedestal to elevate the unit to a convenient height, self-adhesive aluminum number plates for door identification, and a set of tenant locks and three keys with each lock.
Standard style CBUs are easy to use for mail carriers and residents alike. Mail carriers appreciate that they can load the units from the front with a master key, and residents will find the inclusion of parcel locker and outgoing mail compartments especially convenient.
The number of tenant doors and parcel lockers varies depending on the unit. Units are available for as few as four and as many as 16 tenants.
Decorative Style Units
In addition to their functionality, one of the benefits of cluster box units is their ability to complement the real estate developments they serve, whether those are apartment buildings, townhomes, or multi-unit complexes. The aesthetic elements you’ll find in decorative style CBUs–crown molding, glossy finishes, pillar and column pedestals–add extra levels of customization to the features available in standard style CBUs.
There are two decorative styles.
The first is classic decorative style. Each unit in this category comes with crown molding and a pillar base that gives a classy look to the mailbox. These units also come with all of the features found in the standard style CBUs.
For a more vintage look, try a unit in the traditional decorative style. These CBUs feature column pedestals and decorative tops that give units the appearance of hanging from them. Just like the classic decorative style units, they are available in the same colors and with the same features as the standard style units.
You can find the 12-tenant-door traditional decorative style cluster box units on sale now.
Decorative Stucco Column Enclosure Style Units
If you’re looking for a CBU with a maximal decorative finish and an added layer of safety, the most elaborate option available is the decorative stucco column enclosure style CBU.
Since these units are columns from top to bottom, they do not need pedestals. The prefabricated columns are durable and much safer than the steel stud and cinder block mailbox columns of the past. Their safety comes from their foam cores, which prevent injuries from collisions with the units by collapsing upon high impact.
Decorative stucco column enclosure style cluster box units are available in all of the same colors as the other cluster mailbox styles. But when it comes to the stucco column itself, customers have the choice of sandstone, burnt Tuscan, slate grey, and unpainted.
Cluster Box Unit Accessories
As complete as these cluster box units are, it never hurts to have replacement parts on hand. Replacements are available for aesthetic parts, functional parts, and security-related parts.
In the aesthetic category, we have pedestal covers, crown molding caps, and replacement pedestals. Functional replacement parts include doors, mounting kits, and labeling components. And on the security front, we have key blanks and replacement locks available.
If you’re most concerned about your needs in the realm of large packages, there are standalone parcel lockers available in units of two or four. They’re made for use both indoors and outdoors and come with preparation for a mail carrier access master lock and a secure two-key system for package retrieval.
We’re offering a free shipping promotion this month, and you can find out more information about that offer as well as any of our products by contacting the National Mailboxes Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-800-676-5161.