How Much Does a PO Box Cost?

Advice For Homeowners

How Much Does a PO Box Cost?

March 7, 2022

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Having a PO Box can be very beneficial in some cases. For example, if you are changing your address or if you seek a more secure way of getting mail. However, there are questions and concerns that you probably have about using PO Boxes like how much does a PO box cost? How does a PO box work and what are the various sizes of post office boxes? 

We’ll answer both of these questions and more in this blog post, but first, what exactly is a PO Box?


What is a PO Box?

A post office box (often referred to as a Postal box or a PO box) is a mailbox at a Post Office that someone can rent as their own to receive mail securely. They are mostly used if you reside in a place where mail is not typically shipped straight to your door. However, there are many reasons PO boxes are worth having.

A PO Box allows you to utilize a mailing address that isn’t your house, which can protect you by keeping your house address private. A PO box is also a useful solution if you need it for personal or business correspondence.

Freelancers in particular may need a secure mailbox as they travel for different jobs. Maybe you need a safe new address when relocating? Anyone who wants a secure mailbox for any purpose can use the USPS PO Box facilities.

The PO Box is usually found at the entrance of a Post Office building. Whenever you wish to obtain your mail, most secured mailboxes may be opened using a card, password, or key.


How Much Does a PO Box Cost?

The price of a PO Box is determined by 5 factors. The size, location, the duration it will be rented, and any more additional fees like extra keys. On the lower end of the scale, a PO Box can cost $13/month and on the higher end, a PO Box can cost as much as $500. 

Here is a breakdown of the determinants:


The Sizes of the PO Box

Size is the most important factor when it comes to pricing the PO Boxes. The Post Office usually provides five different sizes, each of them has a length of around 14 inches.

  • Extra Small: For those who don’t anticipate receiving a lot of mail can hold at least ten letters or a handful of rolled magazines.
  • Small: 5 by 5.5 inches mailbox and holds fifteen letters or five rolled-up magazines. If you don’t get a lot of messages, small boxes too are a great option.
  • Medium: 5.5 by 11-inch mailbox that holds a lot of mail and large envelopes.
  • Large: 11 by 11-inch mailbox can hold plenty of letters and some shoeboxes.
  • Extra-large: the biggest PO Box would be approximately 12 by 22.5 inches in size. If you plan to get a lot of mail or parcels, this is a smart alternative.

Depending on how much mail you expect to get every day, having a PO Box can be an inexpensive or a very costly experience.


How Location Affects The Cost of PO Boxes

Location is also a determinant for the price of a PO Box.

There are two types of PO boxes: competitive and market dominant. A market dominant box means the Post Office has PO boxes in an area where private boxes are less prominent.

A PO box in a competitive market has private PO boxes in the area and therefore has to raise its prices to compensate. In exchange for a higher price, the Post Office outlets also provide more features like notifications of mail, greater accessibility, etc.


Additional Postal Service Fees

You will not be charged for your initial two keys if you go to a Post Office that is in a competitive region. However, if the Post Office is classified as being in a market-dominating region, a deposit of $4 per key is usually required. If you want more keys, you will be charged $8 per key.

Along with these fees, it costs $23 to change the locks if you do not remember the code or misplace your keys to open the box.


PO Box Rates Improve with a Longer Rental Period

If you need your PO Box for a longer period, you’ll probably obtain better monthly pricing. They usually rent for three, six, or even twelve months in some cases.

When renting for a longer period, such as half-year or a year, you are more likely to receive a lower monthly cost. The Post Office may even offer a free month if you rent a mailbox for a year.


The 4 Advantages of Renting a Post Office Box

Now that we’ve broken down how the cost of PO boxes is set up. Let’s go through the main benefits of having a PO box.

1. Privacy

If you’re operating a home-based business and don’t want to reveal your mailing address PO boxes are a safe alternative. They would keep your mailing address hidden from the public view while yet allowing you to receive mail. It also helps to keep your business and personal mail separated.

2. Security

If you’ve had difficulties with mail disappearing in the past, the security of lock and key provided by a PO Box would help you avoid those same problems in the future. Rather than leaving mail outside your house the whole day, it’s instead in a locked mailbox inside the USPS facility.

3. Access

This can either be a positive or negative. A PO box will never be as close or as accessible as the mailbox outside your house, but many Post Offices provide access to PO boxes whether they are open or closed. On the negative side, many Post Offices only allow access to PO boxes while they are open.

4. Speed

Mail typically arrives faster in a PO box than it would to your home address because it doesn’t have to travel as far to be delivered. PO boxes can get your mail at a much faster rate. 


Summing It All Up

There are many stories about mail being taken outside of mailboxes and sometimes even directly from the front door of a residence. PO boxes can be of great help to people who need extra security and privacy. Of course, the final decision to rent a PO box will be based on your circumstances but we hope this guide provided you with enough detail to get started with the process. Here’s a link to the USPS website to get more info on the cost and process of renting a PO Box.


Photo by Brian Wangenheim on Unsplash