Mail Forwarding is a service that is offered by the post office or by a private service provider, but even though the name stays the same, Mail Forwarding means two completely different things depending on which provider you go to.
In short, in the case of the post office, when you change your address, you need to go to the local post office and fill out a change of address form. Once they finish processing your form, you’ll receive an official confirmation letter to your new address which will include your Confirmation number. You should receive this letter within 1-2 weeks of submitting your request.
Keep this number somewhere where it’s safe, as you’ll need it in case you want to edit or cancel your mail forwarding request in the future. Of course, during this period of processing your change of address request, the post office will hold your mail. This will take about 10-12 business days after which they will forward the mail to your new address.
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After that, your mail will be forwarded to your new address for 12 months until most or all of your senders get your new address and can send their mail to this address instead of the old one. They get the new address via a notification of a new address who have the "address correction requested" endorsement on the envelope.
It’s important to note here that while your friends and family will get the new address, some (or all) of the businesses you care about will not change the address until you do it. That’s why it’s vital that you take the time to update your accounts and records with the businesses that you care about, such as your bank and alumni associations so that they can send your mail to your new address.
What’s a Mail Forwarding Service?
A Mail Forwarding service, however, is a service provided by a private business that provides businesses with a prestigious address that you can use and have your mail sent to. According to your instructions, this mail will be collected and sent to your office or house, or they will scan it and email it to you.
This is also known as a virtual office box service, and it is what we will be discussing in this article.
Why use a Mail Forwarding Service?
You see, running a business, even a small business, isn’t easy, nor is it cheap. There are a lot of small things and hidden costs that you don’t expect when you start a business. One problem that small business owners often face is business mail and packages.
According to some studies, more than 52% of small businesses in the U.S are home-based, which means that they are run and operated from the homes of their owners. This is for a perfect reason: Offices cost money, a lot of money.
A simple and cheap alternative is to run your business from your own home, which means you save the money that would’ve been spent on office space and office equipment, but it also comes with some drawbacks, such as not having your business and work address separated, which is neither ideal or professional.
What does a Mail Forwarding Service Offers?
Mail Forwarding service providers play the middleman role between your business and your clients, customers, and investors. The service will give you a physical, commercial address that you use as your business office address.
When your investors, partners, or customers send you mail on this address, the service provider will receive it and notify you that you have mail. The service provider has more than enough space to store your mail and packages, and they can keep them for a certain amount of time.
You are given a couple of choices on how to handle your mail. You can have the mail sent to you, or you can have them scan it, mail it to you, and shred it if you don't want your office to have piles of papers lying around.
They also give you the option to set filters so you can avoid getting junk mail and only get the vital mail forwarded to you.
Why Use a Business Mail Forwarding Service?
1- It looks more professional
Whether we like it or not, maintaining a professional appearance can help build a professional reputation. Customers love the businesses they deal with to be reliable and businesses with an office address certainly look more professional than those with a home address.
Fortunately, with a Mail Forwarding Service, you can get this business home address without needing to buy or rent office space.
2- Protect your privacy
Even though you are not Tony Stark and your home probably won’t get blown to rubble if everyone knows it, it’s still a better idea to keep your home address private.
With a Mail Forwarding service, you can keep the privacy of your home address by having a commercial business office address that your customers and investors can use.
3- Protect the environment
Let’s face it: Planet earth needs all the help it can get right now, and every small act matters. However, you don’t always remember or have the time to recycle all your paper mail.
Thankfully, you don't need to feel guilty anymore, because you can ask your mail forwarding service provider to scan all your mail and email it to you, and then take care of the paper in an environment-friendly way.
4- Work in a paperless environment
Not only does your wife hate all this paper lying around, but your employees also do, too! A paperless environment is much better for productivity.
You will also have more storage space for more important things, and you will be able to search your emails in a second, instead of going through piles of mail looking for that one envelope that has incredibly important information that you need right now and is probably going to spend hours looking for.
A paperless environment is better for everyone involved.
5- Convenience and security
Some businesses require the shipments and delivery of important documents that it can become a an inconvenience, especially when being tied down to a delivery date as you will need to free up time to go to the nearest USPS post office, which is like, an hour drive away from you and not near at all, and for some strange, unknown reason, is always super crowded when you go in to pick your mail.
In worse scenarios, your package will be delivered to your doorstep and wait for you to come home, which is not even near safe. Of course, leaving your mail unattended at your door can lead to theft, and your identity can even be compromised. This can take weeks or months, and -sometimes- a lot of money, to handle.
These are the kind of problems and issues you will not have to think about or face when using a mail forwarding service.
In rare occasions, your mail can be sent to the wrong address, take a minute to learn what to do if your package was forwarded to the wrong address here.
6- Save money
By using a mail forwarding service, you can save your business some cash. Yes, you will be paying to the service, but you will be saving the money spent on gas for the weekly drives to the postal office, on shipping fees, postal fees, stamps, etc.
You will also save the money you would otherwise have spent on a scanner, printer, and a shredder in case you wanted to have a mailroom in your house.
A Digital Mailbox may come at a monthly fee, but it can save you a ton of cash that those hidden costs would’ve swallowed.
7- Faster Response Times
Because you now handle your mail in a digital form, you can access it anywhere and at any time. You will always be on top of things, and you will be able to reply to read and respond to important mail from investors, partners, and customers.
A faster customer response time means a better customer service which leads to a better reputation for the business.
You can learn more about the benefits of Mail Forwarding for Small Business here.
I hope this has been helpful if it has, feel free to share it with a friend or a colleague who might find it useful as well. If you have a question or comment, feel free to leave your thoughts in a comment below and, we will get, back to you as soon as possible.