Managing your physical mail and choosing your address is an important part of any new business.
In fact, even in the LLC formation stages, it is vital that you register an address that will be the face of your business.
This could be your home, or if your enterprise is large enough a commercial building.
However, there are two other options available to you; a P.O Box or a virtual mailbox address.
Today, we will look at which one is best for your small business.
First, though, let’s clarify what they are.
What is a P.O Box?
A P.O Box is an address normally associated with a post office building. The P.O Box number corresponds to a physical box that you have been allocated upon signing up.
Your mail is delivered to this box and you retrieve it, by visiting the post office or P.O Box building and opening the box with your key.
What are virtual mailbox addresses and services?
A virtual mailbox is a service provider that offers addresses that you can use as a location for your physical mail.
Once you have signed up to a service and chosen your virtual address, you can arrange for your mail to be sent there.
The service will scan the envelopes of the mail upon arrival. These scans are then sent to you via email and via a phone app (should the provider offer one).
You can then choose what you want to be done with that mail Options include, opening and scanning, forwarding, safely shredding, and physical storage.
Why you might use a P.O Box
There are a few reasons you might want to use a P.O Box. These include:
- Offers more privacy than using your home address
- Increased security – items are held under lock and key within secure premises.
- Offers a centralized address if you are situated in more than one location
A P.O Box does have disadvantages, however. Some services will not deliver items to a P.O Box. Furthermore, you may have some issues in that states such as California are increasingly refusing to allow the formation of businesses that utilize P.O Box numbers.
Why you should use a virtual mailbox instead
First and foremost, states will form your LLC if you use a virtual address offered by a virtual mailbox service.
However, the list of advantages over P.O Boxes is far greater than that:
The trustworthiness of P.O Boxes addresses is disputed these days. They have been leveraged for ill gain by too many scammers over the years.
2. Premium Address
A virtual mailbox service such as Earth Class Mail can offer premium addresses located in the commercial districts of large US cities.
This means that you can use a real office address that makes your business seem a lot more legitimate and professional.
3. Manage your mail remotely
If you use a P.O Box you will have to be physically near it in order tp retrieve your mail, (or at least have someone that can do it for you).
This is not an issue with virtual mailbox services. Your mail can be accessed via email or phone app wherever you are based in the world.
4. Secure mail handling
Good virtual mailbox services have strict security protocols, (when it comes to both the electronic storage of your mail and the physical handling).
While a P.O Box can be considered safe, you do not have the flexibility that you have with a virtual mailbox service.
5. Cloud Storage
Having all your mail securely stored in the cloud makes it possible to access it on the move. It is also scanned using technology that makes archiving and retrieval simple and efficient.
This is not part of a P.O Box service.
Comparatively, for business purposes, a PO Box cannot come close to offering such benefits.
So there you have it, some pretty convincing reasons why your business should opt for a virtual mailbox service over a traditional (and somewhat outdated) P.O Box address.
To find out more on some of the best options available, head here.
I’m a 25 year veteran of USPS. I’m retired now, but as the editor of Mailbox Master, I can’t quite remove myself from the carrier industry just yet. 🙂