The internet has transformed the way Americans do business, both for large corporations and for small businesses. In fact, surveys show that Americans now do the majority of their shopping online.
For this reason, many small businesses conduct commerce entirely online with no brick and mortar location. While this can be a profitable way to do business, the truth is that even online companies need a physical mailing address.
You may assume that a PO box is the best way to get an address for your business. But in reality, a mailbox is a much more effective solution. Let’s take a closer look at why a mailbox is the way to go.
Why Does Your Business Need an Address?
Before we get into the differences between PO boxes and mailboxes, let’s step back and discuss why your business needs an address.
Operating entirely online is a great way to reduce overhead costs associated with a physical location. If your business consists mostly of client-based work with online communication, you may not feel like you need an address. Or perhaps you operate your business out of your house and just plan on using your home address.
Even in these situations, however, there are good reasons to give your business a dedicated address. For one, it provides your business with a more professional image. If your address is just a PO box or a residential location, it may look too casual to some customers.
Also, no matter how much of your business is conducted online, you will still receive mail. Bills, invoices, and supplies will all need an address to be delivered to.
For these reasons, it is good to give your business a dedicated address so that you can keep professional and personal items separate. This way, you will not have a problem where another member of your household misplaces important mail. And, if you move to a new home, you will be able to keep your business address the same.
What is the Difference Between a PO Box and a Mailbox?
So what is a PO box anyway? PO box stands for post office box, and it is a lockable box that you can access at your local post office.
By contrast, a commercial mailbox is typically hosted by a private service, rather than a government office. For this reason, a mailbox service usually has more customer-service oriented features.
Benefits of a Mailbox over a PO Box
So now that we have discussed why you need an address and what the differences are between Post office boxes and mailboxes, let’s look at why a private box is the right choice for you.
Get a Real Address
When you choose post office box, your mail will just get sent to a PO box number. By contrast, a private box provides your business with an actual street address. This makes your address look more legitimate to potential customers.
Having a legitimate address will also help your business in search engine rankings. This can be especially important if your business has local ties, since having an address will improve your local SEO for customers in your area.
Protect Your Privacy
In order to sign up for a PO box, you will need to share your residential address. Since a PO box is provided by a government service, the post office may be required to share your residential address under certain circumstances.
For instance, this may include those seeking a subpoena, government agencies, or law enforcement. So, before getting a post office box, you will want to consider whether you want these individuals to have access to your address.
Receive Mail from Multiple Carriers
Typically, post office boxes can only receive mail from the United States Postal service (USPS). This can be limiting if your business needs to receive mail from private carriers. With a private box, you will be able to receive mail from both private carriers like UPS and FEDEX as well as USPS.
Also, if you receive larger items or packages, a private service will have a receptionist who will sign for those items. This will give you a secure place to send important items to.
By contrast, if items are too big to fit into a post office box, carriers may just leave them unsecured in the lobby. Additionally, most post offices will not allow you to send any mail to your post office box that requires a signature.
Get Consistent Access
Another problem with using a post office box is being restricted by the hours that government offices keep. For instance, post offices are usually only open from 9-5, and are closed on Sundays and government holidays.
By contrast, private services usually give their customers 24-hour access to their box. This way, you will be able to receive your deliveries, even if you cannot get there until late at night or on a weekend.
Another benefit of working with a private service is having access to convenient technologies. For instance, many mail services have apps that give customers instant notifications when they receive mail. This way, you will not have to physically visit the post office to find out if you got the mail.
Set Up Mail Forwarding
One of the benefits of operating a business online or out of your home is not being tied down to a specific location. So, if you want to travel and still check in on your business, you can do that.
Unfortunately, if you have a post office box, you will not be able to get access to your mail if you are away from home. With a private box, however, you can set up mail forwarding so that you can receive your mail on the road.
Getting a Mailbox for Your Business
With these benefits in mind, it is clear that a mailbox is the best choice for a small business.
Are you ready to make the switch to a mailbox? Contact us to request a quote to get started.