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What Are Vertical Collection Mailboxes and How Can I Use Them?

Collection Mailbox

You have likely seen the images of vertical mailboxes online, in movies, or in real life. The image of someone dropping mail into a box with a mail slot might come to mind, so that the post office can pick up that envelope later. These units are known as vertical collection mailboxes, and they are and do exactly what the name says.

Any type of “collection” mailbox is ideal for outgoing mail. Typically, these mailboxes:

  • Have a slot in which customers or tenants can drop outgoing, regular-sized mail.
  • Are made of sturdy aluminum to prevent tampering and resist damage.
  • Usually mount onto a wall or some other vertical surface.
  • Are similar to mail slots in that they accept regular-sized mail.
  • Have a lock that only the USPS can access and use.
  • Tend to be taller than they are wide.
  • Have a compartment to hold that outgoing mail until USPS pickup.
  • Can also be used for private (non-USPS) mail collection if such an arrangement is desired.

Vertical collection mailboxes are convenient and can help your property collect outgoing mail while keeping it all together and preventing mail loss or delays, which can be a big problem when dealing with higher mail volumes and theft. However, if you’re aiming for USPS service to your collection mailbox, you’ll need to make sure you’re using this vertical type only for specific circumstances.

For Use with Vertical Mailboxes

Freestanding Collection Mailboxes - USPS Approved Type & Private Delivery TypeMany apartment complexes and other commercial properties still use vertical mailboxes, which are square or rectangular customer mail compartments that are often taller than they are wide. These mail compartments are seated inside a metal cabinet, with two or more compartments per cabinet. Vertical mailboxes mount onto walls or recess into them, making them useful when providing mail delivery to a few people or tenants per building.

Vertical collection mailboxes are approved for USPS delivery when paired with these mailboxes. If you already have vertical mailboxes and want to add a vertical collection box, you may do so, but it’s a good idea to get approval from your local post office first.

These collection mailboxes are designed to be paired with vertical mailboxes, which don’t come with outgoing mail slots, as they’re outdated.

A Note About Vertical Mailboxes

If you don’t already have vertical mailboxes for USPS delivery, you won’t be able to purchase them as a new installation or remodel and still receive approval for USPS delivery. That’s because vertical mailboxes are only approved for replacing others of the same type, and only if no major remodeling projects are happening in that area of the property. Vertical mailboxes, or 4B mailboxes, are being phased out as new installations by the USPS.

However, you may still purchase and use vertical mailboxes (and collection mailboxes) for private delivery. If someone other than the USPS will be delivering to and picking up from vertical mailboxes, it is considered private delivery. Vertical mailboxes can be useful when serving a few tenants at a time, or if you’d prefer mailboxes to be scattered between multiple buildings of the same property.

Vertical collection mailboxes must be used with vertical mailboxes for USPS delivery. They cannot be paired with other mailbox types, such as the newer 4C models, or installed alone unless being used for private delivery. 4C mailboxes often have their own outgoing mail slots, and horizontal collection mailboxes can be purchased for these models.

Where to Place Vertical Collection Mailboxes?

Vertical collection mailboxes are best placed beside wherever you already have regular vertical mailboxes. This is for the convenience of the USPS, your delivery staff, and for your customers. Your mailboxes should be placed in a well-lit area, with protection from the weather, and must have no obstructions before the units. Mailboxes must be accessible at all times.

What Customizations are Available?

Vertical mailboxes come in a variety of colors, and a few engravings are available as well to make it clear what their purpose is. Customizations include:

  • A variety of colors such as steel, silver, black, white, tan, or green.
  • Engravings that help customers understand the use of the collection box. You can choose “letters” or you can choose a custom engraving for a slight additional cost.
  • At purchase, you can choose between USPS and private use. If you choose the USPS option, the post office will need to be notified, and will install the compartment lock for you. If choosing private delivery, a lock will come installed with the unit, and a key will be provided to you.

Caring For Your Collection Mailboxes

As the property owner or manager, you will be responsible for the upkeep of your vertical collection mailboxes, whether you are receiving USPS or private service. If a part breaks, or if the mailbox is damaged beyond repair, you will be responsible for replacing the damaged parts or the mailbox itself. To reduce the chance of damage or vandalism, install your mailboxes in a well-lit, well-traveled area. Monitoring the area with cameras also helps, and posting warnings around your mailboxes will help to deter vandals.

If the lock on a USPS-used collection mailbox is damaged, or if mail is stolen, report this incident to the post office right away, who will look into the matter. The USPS is in control of locks on units that they deliver to or receive mail from.

Some repairs are simple, such as covering graffiti, and you can order paint to hide this as well as paint chips. Keeping your mailboxes in pristine condition will also help to raise your property value.

National Mailboxes Is Here to Help

If you still have questions about whether vertical collection mailboxes are a good solution to your property’s outgoing mail needs, be sure to reach out to us. We’ll help you find the right way to handle outgoing mail from your property.