Smart Money

How Much Does A P.O. Box Cost?

August 1, 2019 by

The US Postal Services (USPS) offers P.O. Boxes to people who need a convenient mail solution or otherwise don’t have access to a regular mailbox. These tools are a rental for a space at a local post office to collect your mail and packages. One of the key advantages of a P.O. Box is its convenience, and USPS offers different box sizes and rental periods to suit any personal or business needs. Here is an overview of the process and reasons as to why an individual or small business may want to purchase a P.O. Box for their mailing solutions.

Why a P.O. Box

A P.O. Box is an individual box for people. There is typically a whole section of them in local post offices, and they are available for rental in order to establish a mailing address for a person or business. They are convenient and cheap solutions for when a mail collection or address is needed.

The application requires the PS Form 1093, once the online reservation is complete or you are ready to apply in-person. Take it to the Post Office with two acceptable forms of ID to show proof of address.

Convenience and Flexibility

The key factor for choosing a P.O. Box is convenience and flexibility. Rather than deal with the hassle of establishing a mailbox or a new address, a P.O. Box can be selected to receive mail and be sent to one location. And since it is right inside a post office, it can represent a one-stop trip to pickup and send mailings.

Length of Time

Another factor is the time period it will be used for. The rental can be only for a few months or for years at a time. A lesser rental period is desirable for someone who only needs a temporary solution for postal needs, such as in the middle of a move or setting up a new business.

Size of the Box

The size of the rented box makes a difference in the cost. The larger boxes are going to cost more, so be sure to analyze your anticipated usage needs when looking through the options. A smaller box is fine for just regular mail and small packages. For a business that specializes in product distribution, the larger size is more applicable.

Location

Location is also a consideration. The boxes are located at local post offices, so it is easy to find a rental nearby. This will allow you to pick up your mail as a quick daily or weekly errand. And for someone who possibly moves around frequently, having a P.O. Box establishes a sense of permanency for mail delivery without having to worry about letters or packages becoming lost or sent to an old address.

There are also safety issues to consider. For individuals who want to keep their address hidden, a P.O. Box allows that to happen. The same with a business that may be a sole proprietor or run out of a home. The boxes are also secure, with being inside a local office and opened with your individual key. Also packages can be delivered to the box or to the postal office itself, which has become an issue among the rash of package thefts from right off home patios.

Available Sizes (source)

Box Type Dimensions Capacity
Extra small 5″ x 5 1/2″ x 14 3/4″ 10-15 letters (or)
2 rolled magazines
Small 5 1/2″ x 11″ x 14 3/4″ 10-15 letters (or)
5 rolled magazines
Medium 5 1/2″ x 11″ x 14 3/4″ Stack large envelopes flat
Large 11″ x 11″ x 14 3/4″ 10-15 letters (and)
2 shoe boxes stacked flat
Extra large 12″ x 22 1/2″ x 14 3/4″ Flat-rate boxes and parcels

Cost Breakdown

The USPS lists the rental sizes in their offices, and it can also be found on their website. The extra small sizes are going to run much cheaper than the extra-large box sizes, even for the same rental period.

The price for renting a P.O. Box varies per region and city. It can be as little as $19 for a monthly rental of a small box in some areas, while in other locations the cost is $75 per month for the largest sizes.

Other charges aside from the rental fee also apply. The USPS will charge a three dollar deposit for the first two keys, and a six dollar fee for additional duplicate keys. Note, there may also be a late payment and lock replacement fee of $20 per occurrence; these apply only in cases where there is an issue so not everyone will need to pay them.

Another pricing factor is the length of the rental period. USPS offers discounts for paying in advance for a longer period, rather than automatic deductions for a shorter term.

The USPS sets the prices each year, so there may be annual fluctuations based on market share, availability, and

The rental for a monthly period can be done with autopay right through the portal, if you are looking for a convenient pay option aside from a check.

There also no-fee reservations available in certain circumstances if USPS does not deliver to an area. That makes a P. O. Box an option for families and businesses in more rural areas.

Wrap-Up

The cost of a P.O. Box can be averaged based on the size chosen. A box that is about the size of a regular mailbox in a major metropolitan area can be rented for $51 for a three-month period, plus the $3 key charge.

That represents an affordable price for small-to-large businesses which need a mailing solution. There are many benefits to a P.O. Box instead of delivery to a regular home or business address. Chief among it is convenience, and not having to worry about security for packages or deliveries.

And with everything done online on the USPS site, it is easier and more convenient than ever to manage your account or rent a P.O. Box.