Mail forwarding solutions for home businesses


 Mail forwarding solutions for home businesses

If you're a home-based entrepreneur, it's not easy to answer the question "where do you work?" with even a general location. It's difficult to tell the bus driver or your dentist that you're on your way to your office, for example. So how do people in this situation get their mail?

Mail forwarding is one possible solution for those living in remote areas, as well as for those who travel frequently and have an established business but need an address that isn't their own residence. It's also helpful if someone is going through a separation or divorce and needs to maintain one mailing address. Mail forwarding can also be a good choice if that person is in his or her home office.

There are many options to choose from. It's important to understand what those options entail, and to consider what they could do for you before making a decision. Here are some of the most popular mail forwarding solutions.

How do I mail my package?
When signing up, pay close attention to how the company processes outgoing and incoming mail as well as packages. Some companies use a local U.S. Post Office box for deliveries, while others don't accept any packages except through ground delivery or over their own web site (and no, it won't pick up right at your door).

Both FedEx and UPS will pick up at your residence (as long as you live within a reasonable distance), but they don't deliver to Post Office boxes. If you need to send something via those courier services, you'll need to get a hold of that company directly and give them your mail forwarding information.

Time Warner Cable announced on Monday that it, too, would offer its customers the ability to set up mailboxes with forwarding addresses with a different address than their own name or their actual address. The service will be available from February 15.

What does it cost? 
The cost of any mail forwarding option varies depending on the location and the number of mail items received at the location. An Internet-based mail forwarding solution is usually the most cost-effective option.

Whether you're setting up a home office with or without a mail forwarding service, sign up for your local U.S. Postal Service online account and link it to your home business in order to get the appropriate address from them. You can also visit U.S. Post on-line and get the information on where their pick up boxes are located near you, as well as how much it costs to use them (and not all locations have a mailbox).

After that, purchase the postal scale you need to weigh your packages and the U.S. Post Office requirements for stamps if you're going to use any. You'll also want a sturdy mailbox (usually available through the post office) and a mailbox flag.

If you're going to be gone for longer than a few days, I recommend renting a post office box instead of using your own private mailbox or get locked out because no one has access to your mail without your permission. The boxes can usually be rented at the same place you rent a private box and they are usually behind the USPS counter for privacy reasons. When you leave the country or go into a long-term vacation, make sure to give your mail forwarding service at least two weeks advance notice.

If you don't have a choice for your business and need to keep your address private, you may need to use one or more mail forwarding services. You can register for these with the U.S. Postal Service online (just like with your own home box) and pay a monthly fee or buy stamps as neededm which they can deliver right to your mailbox, if it's located within a reasonable distance of their office.

What are the pros and cons?
There are four main advantages to using a mail forwarding service.
1. An easy route to receive your mail at any location in the world
2. Security of having someone else sort through and store your mail for you; protecting you from identity theft and the constant junk mail you may receive due to someone else having access to your home address.
3. Freedom of travel, since traveling with your own collection of mail is bulky and inconvenient, while forwarding only what you need lets you take care of business on the go without dragging around a lot of letters and packages (and this is particularly useful if you're going overseas).
4. An anonymous mailing address for official mail such as tax returns and bills you may not want to receive at your home or office.

However, there are also some issues to consider when using this service.
1. The cost of the service if you receive a lot of mail. 
2. Reliability of company services and customer support. 
3. The risk of identity theft since someone else has access to your mail; while customers are told their account is secure, they may miss important documents if they haven't been forwarded in time or notice that someone else could have had access to them if they had taken the time to check their account online or contact customer support about it. 
4. The risk of your mail and packages being lost through the service if you can't get in touch with the company. 
5. The risk that you'll lose access to your home or office mailboxes if you move or change locations while using a forwarding service; if this happens, it can be difficult to transfer your mail back over to where they belong (such as a post office box), especially without the help of the company behind it. 
6. You could end up spending more money on postage for outgoing mail than on what you would normally pay at another mailing address, such as a post office or local shipping store. 
7. Access to the forwarding service could be disabled by the company without you knowing it, and you may end up missing important packages because of it; this means that you need to check your forwarding address on a regular basis to keep up with what's been delivered or send a Notice of Change of Address form from the U.S. Postal Service to make sure that mail sent there is forwarded to your new location.

In other words, mail forwarding services are only as good as their customer support, which can be a hit or miss if they're not well-known for helping their customers and making sure they get what they pay for out of them (and if you don't like your service provider, it may be difficult to find another one).

Using a mail forwarding service is a convenient way to start or continue a home based business by giving you access to your mail at your own convenience—at the same time, you do have to weigh the pros and cons and keep up with your mail using the forwarding service or take more steps to make sure it gets where it needs to go when you're not around. In other words, don't just sign up for a mailing address with someone without telling them your concerns about using their service and being prepared for what may happen if there is an issue with it.

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