How to Ship to a PO Box: Everything You Need to Know | Easyship Blog

key points:

  • Millions of people use PO Boxes for various reasons, so you’ll want to keep up with trends as an eCommerce merchant
  • the critical difference between shipping to a residential address versus a postal mail is that it will insert the PO box number instead of the normal street address
  • usps is the only postal service that ships to PO boxes, although fedex smartpost does offer box delivery service post office as USPS handles the final leg of the delivery

PO boxes, or post office boxes, are lockable boxes with a unique address available for rent at a local post office. people use post office boxes to receive mail away from home for reasons of privacy or convenience. meanwhile, post office boxes allow people without a fixed address to receive mail at a nearby post office (for example, van lifers).

someday you will have to send to one of the more than 21 million post office boxes in the us. uu. The thing is, only USPS ships to these locations (with one exception). Additionally, the small size of these safes limits the size of packages accepted. Customers will be frustrated if their package isn’t in their mailbox, so it’s important to know what happens in these circumstances.

With these challenges in mind, we’ll outline all the restrictions so you can send to a safe deposit box without any headaches.

the shipping restrictions to PO boxes

Shipping to PO boxes can be a hassle. USPS is the only carrier that can ship to PO Boxes. In addition, there are limitations to the size of the package that can be delivered.

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How to Ship to a PO Box: Everything You Need to Know | Easyship Blog

If your package doesn’t fit, USPS will hold your package aside. But – the hold only applies for ten business days. So if the package is unclaimed at the Post Office window after ten days, the parcel will be returned to the sender.

postal boxes come in five sizes, listed below:

If a customer enters their address as a postal box, you might reach out to them. Ask them for the size, and mention the 10-day pickup window if your package may not fit. This will also ensure customers claim their package at the counter rather than assuming it wasn’t delivered.

Challenges of Shipping to PO Boxes

usps is the only courier service that reliably ships to PO boxes. however, there are a couple of cases where fedex can deliver, so please be aware of these restrictions.

  • limited courier choice: other than usps, the only way to deliver to PO boxes is via fedex smartpost. this service actually uses usps for the final leg of delivery, making it possible to ship your order to your PO box
  • international shipping is a hassle: fedex express is Available to send PO Boxes to some international destinations and Puerto Rico. however, you will need to provide a valid phone number or fax number
  • complicated tracking: the shipment may stay in your PO box for a while, which means updates Tracking doesn’t update until the recipient picks it up. this issue can be frustrating for merchants looking to see if their customer received their items

Related post: fedex postal shipping: what you need to know

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steps to send to PO boxes

The key difference between shipping to a residential address and a PO Box is that you will insert the PO Box number instead of the normal address.

Let’s break the process down into several easy steps.

step 1. start in the center of the envelope

It is essential to write the name and address of the letter or package in a visible way. Failure to write the recipient’s address and name correctly can result in a mishandled letter or package. or you may experience more delays.

step 2. write the recipient’s first and last name on the first line

Be sure to write the recipient’s first and last name. although optional, you can add the recipient’s middle initial or first name to make sure the wrong recipient doesn’t intercept it.

If the recipient has a formal title (ie dr. jane doe), be sure to include it. Being as specific as possible is always the best way to ensure there will be no issues with shipping to a PO Box.

step 3. write down the company or organization (optional)

This step only applies if you are writing to a representative of an organization or company. the company or organization name goes directly below the recipient’s name.

At this point in the process, your address should look similar to the following:

dr. jane doe

acme innovations inc.

step 4. provide the PO Box number

The recipient’s PO Box number, and any PO Box in general, begins with the words “PO Box” followed by a 2-5 digit number.

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usps application senders omit all punctuation marks when sending a letter or package to a post office box. your address should be similar to the following:

dr. jane doe

acme innovations inc.

PO Box 12345

step 5. add the city, state and zip code on the last line

Finally, you’re at the last step of sending a letter or package to a PO Box. this section is where you will specify the city and state/province. be sure to separate the city and state with a comma.

The address should now look similar to the following:

dr. jane doe

acme innovations inc.

PO Box 12345

new york, ny 10001

how easyship can help

It’s essential to understand how to ship to PO boxes with e-commerce on the rise. Millions of people use PO Boxes for various reasons, so you’ll want to keep up with trends as an eCommerce merchant.

usps is the only postal service that ships to PO boxes, although fedex smartpost does offer delivery service to PO boxes as USPS handles the final leg of the delivery. so if you’re looking to use ups or other fedex shipping services, you’re out of luck.

Connect with a trusted shipping platform like easyship to save big when it comes to shipping. We offer up to 89% off discounted shipping rates, especially USPS.

Ready to ship to PO Boxes with easyship? Create a free account today and start shipping.

If you found this article informative, you might enjoy the following:

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  • your guide to shipping usps packages
  • your guide to shipping usps boxes

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