The Difference Between a PO Box and a Virtual Mail Service

The Difference Between a PO Box and a Virtual Mail Service

A PO Box might seem like the obvious solution when you need a mailing address that’s different from where you live. While PO Boxes are a safe, low-cost option, they don’t offer all the conveniences you may need for a growing business. Using a virtual mail service is another affordable way to protect your mail and establish a professional image for your business.

What is a PO Box?

A Post Office Box is a secure lockbox located inside a post office branch. Each box has a unique mailing address, and you must have a key to access it. You can choose from various box sizes, depending on the amount of mail you typically receive.

Many PO Boxes are set up to be accessible 24 hours a day, while some post office branches only offer extended hours. In both cases, you can pick up your mail whenever it’s convenient for you. However, you have to keep the size of your box in mind. If your volume of mail routinely exceeds the amount of space you have, the post office will require you to rent a larger box.

Can You Have Packages Delivered to a PO Box?

When you’re worried about theft or tampering, having a PO Box is a safe way to receive packages. Any small enough package to fit inside your allotted space is usually delivered straight to your PO Box. The post office also accepts larger packages and notifies you to pick them up within a specific time window.

What is a Virtual Mail Service?

A virtual mail service allows you to rent an address at a physical office building, even if you don’t work onsite. In most cases, the rental company provides physical office space and virtual business services that you can choose “a la carte” without a long-term, fixed lease or contract. Mail services are an idea for solopreneurs and people with home-based businesses because you can have a consistent business address even if your home address changes.

Unlike a PO Box, virtual mail services give you the option to have mail managed before you view it. For example, you can have the company toss out promotional content and prioritize anything that looks important, such as bills. With a professional reception staff on hand, you’ll have a lot more flexibility and options than a box and a key.

How Does a Virtual Mail Service Compare to a PO Box?

A PO Box is sufficient if you only need to have mail delivered to a secure location. However, if you occasionally need to meet with clients, you’ll have to find another location. Being forced to set up meetings in different locations can take away from the professional image of your business.

Virtual mail services are valuable because you can bundle them with other features in one location. Instead of renting an expensive office year-round, you can reserve a conference room and meet with clients at the same location that’s listed as your business address. The overall cost of virtual services is scalable to your current stage of business, which can help you save money in the long run.

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