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?

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