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.)