PO Boxes Now Offer Real Street Addresses, Accept UPS and FedEx Packages

For a few years, I had a UPS store private mailbox for my small business address instead of a Post Office box because of a couple of factors:

  • Private carriers like UPS and FedEx didn’t deliver to PO Boxes.
  • PO Boxes were not “real” street addresses, and thus I had to provide alternate addresses anyway with credit cards and other business accounts.

I recently discovered that both of these issues had been fixed some time in 2012 for many PO Boxes (but not all) with the introduction of “Street Addressing”. Taken directly from a USPS.gov webpage:

[…] with Street Addressing, a customer’s mailing address may be either the street address for the Post Office where their PO Box is located, followed by # and the box number, or PO Box followed by the box number. Some merchants do not allow shipping to a PO Box address. The Street Addressing option enables customers to receive packages and deliveries from private carriers who require a street address for delivery, such as UPS and FedEx.

Using their examples, instead of:

PO Box 3094
Collierville TN 38027

You can ask for mail to be sent to:

131 S Center St #3094
Collierville TN 38027

PO Box customers are supposed to opt-in to this (free) feature by completing this customer agreement form [pdf]. In particular, you must agree not to use “Suite” or “Apt.” before your box number. If addressed this way, the mail may be returned. Also, you may not use the street address option as your physical residence or place of business in legal documents.

This street-style addressing option isn’t available at all post offices, I’d visit the one you’d like to use and ask them directly. Supposedly, if you can find your post office’s address in this long text file (use Ctrl-F or Command-F to search), they are eligible.

PO Boxes are cheaper than UPS private mailboxes and may be located in more convenient locations, so I see this as a positive development for people who want an alternate address for themselves or a new small business venture. Many post offices offer 24 access and have lockers so you can pick up larger packages outside of business hours. I’m glad to see the post office trying to be competitive. (I didn’t see this special offer advertised, but during the PO Box sign-up process I was also offered 1 free month’s rental with a 12-month contract.)

Comments

  1. That is convenient for consumers.

  2. That has been going on for years at least in NJ. Also you dont need the biggest box, all post offices will hold on to your bigger packages on the counter

  3. Quick side note. You have the USPS website listed as a .gov website. Because the USPS is only quasi-governmental, they have a .com website instead.

  4. @jose – I think it started in 2012.

    @Erik – The url that I linked to specifically has a USPS.gov domain, I think they use both domains for different purposes.

  5. Great post. Since 2012? I didn’t know this existed but I plan to use it.

  6. David McDevitt says:

    One question. On that form to be filled out to opt-in, it doesn’t say anything about where to send it. Am I supposed to bring it into the Post Office?

  7. Great article. I love tools like this that make my business run more smoothly. I also like the Real Mail notices: I get an email if there’s something new in my PO box, so I never make a trip to the post office only to find that my box is empty.

    I just ordered a new cell phone and I sure don’t want that sitting in the hallway outside my office! I used the street address for my PO box: we’ll see how it works.

  8. I’m thinking of using this to buy an Apple iphone 5S from applestore and deliver it to my PO Box, do you think it will work?

  9. Wilmer: I just did exactly that a couple weeks ago. It worked like a charm. The USPS clerk even asked for my ID before he gave me the package, which I really appreciated!

    This is one of my favorite features of a PO BOX, but another one is the Real Mail Notifications that tell me whether or not I actually have mail in the box. It saves me from wasting a trip to the post office to find it’s empty!

  10. My PO Box is in Norwalk, CA and it just offered this feature in Jan 2014.

  11. Can you use a pobox# with the address of the post office for social security and medicare information? If the person don’t have a permanent address at the moment?

  12. Is it possible for 3rd parties to offer small businesses the use of a physical address, if they require specific documentation from them?

  13. This service didn’t work for me. The post office refused two packages from UPS. This was after telling me they supported street addressing. They claimed that UPS needed to pay postage for them to deliver the package. That isn’t how the service is described. Be careful if you try this service since it appears that they are either omitting this aspect from their site or the people at my post office don’t know what they’re doing. I think it’s probably the latter since they didn’t have me fill out any forms.

  14. So sad. My post office has absolutely no clue about this. I showed the post office a letter that I received directly from the post office regarding this service and NO employees at my PO Box location knew anything about the service. They said that they have not been trained in it so that was the end of the discussion. I can’t use the service. It’s 2015 and they still haven’t heard of this service that they supposedly offer. Guess I’ll have to get a UPS box.

  15. Can you rent a UPS box and receive fedex and USPS packages to it? Or only UPS packages?

  16. Suzanne Hawkins says:

    Thank you for this information. I am super excited that I don’t have to pay the ridiculous price at UPS.

  17. Thanks for this info! I am price shopping for a PO box right now and was close to going with UPS before I found this post. My local post office’s address does show on the long text file. Hopefully the postal employees are aware of this! Thanks bunches!!

  18. I just set up my street addressing option of PO Box today with USPS! I went to the first one by my house and they had no clue what I was talking about. I went to a second one nearby and they knew immediately and were very friendly and helpful. $80 for the year for a small box with street addressing AND signature on file (which means if something needs signature, they can take it)! This is compared to $300/year. No brainer if you can do it.

  19. When the USPS says a person cannot use the Street Addressing address as their place of business in legal documents, I figured that meant legal documents where a court is involved. Just to make sure what that meant, I spent a considerable amount of time contacting the USPS trying to ensure that a person who is a Sole Proprietor using a “doing business as” or an assumed name could in fact use a PO box with Street Addressing while also using the PO Box address when filing paperwork with their state. I was hoping they would allow someone to list their Street Addressing PO Box address when filing with their state as a Sole Proprietor.

    Here is what the USPS Consumer Affairs replied with after talking to their Legal team:

    “A customer may NOT use the Street Addressing for their post office box as their place of business for purposes of registering their business. You would not be operating your business at that address; you would merely be receiving business and/or personal mail at that address. The United States Postal Service (USPS) operates their business at that address.”

    Perhaps this caveat is clear to everyone else already, but for my purposes I won’t be able to use the USPS as I’d have to register my business elsewhere first. I only want one address.

    Perhaps others have gotten the green light from their local branches.

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