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Recently, I ran into a major issue with my UPS mailbox.
Originally, setting up a P.O. box for my real estate business seemed like a great idea.
I regularly get angry responses to my direct mail campaigns, so putting some distance between where people see the mail coming from and my home office adds a bit of comfort.
Setting up my P.O. box only costs me $30 a month, and the nice thing about using UPS is that my mailing address doesn’t look like a traditional P.O. box. It looks like a legitimate business, with a suite number and everything:
484 E Carmel Drive, Suite 160
Carmel IN 46032
When I had first set up my mailbox with them, I had to drive down the street to the local UPS store and pick up my mail – it was a great system.
But then I moved to Chicago, where this system began to fall apart.
Chicago, Illinois is three hours away from Carmel, Indiana – so going to the UPS Store to pick up my mail wasn’t an efficient option.
The UPS Store didn’t allow a transfer, so I’d have to get a brand new P.O. box in Chicago at a higher price. Not to mention, this would change my business address to a Chicago location, and at the time, I was doing business in Indiana and wanted to “look” like I was located in the state. So my only option would be for them to forward my mail each week to my home address in Chicago.
The problem with this was this cost extra money each week, and sometimes the clerks would get busy and forget to forward my mail.
By default, there was a huge delay for important documents to arrive at my door (like signed purchase agreements and checks), and when they'd get busy and forget to forward my mail, it would prolong the delay even further.
My mail system wasn't working, and I needed to find a better solution.
Enter: Virtual Mailboxes
I started doing a lot of research for mail options that weren’t location-dependent.
My family and I have hopes of traveling a lot in the future, so I needed my mail system to work in Chicago, Indiana, Florida, or wherever.
In my research, I discovered a new world of virtual mailbox companies that are 100% based online.
The way they generally work is:
- Your mail comes into your mailbox at their office.
- They scan and email it to you.
If you receive packages of any kind, you simply provide them with a forwarding address, and they forward it.
It’s that simple!
Virtual mailboxes are pretty awesome, but the problem is that they can be expensive! My goal was to continue paying around $30 per month because that’s what I was accustomed to paying for my UPS mailbox.
So after many hours of comparing and contrasting options, I settled on an AMAZING solution: TravelingMailbox.
I’ve enjoyed working with Traveling Mailbox so much that I wanted to provide an in-depth overview of its features and benefits. Let's dive into it!
An Overview of Traveling Mailbox
As I mentioned above, using a virtual mailbox is pretty simple, and Traveling Mailbox is no exception. Getting set up with Traveling Mailbox can be done in four steps:
Step 1. Sign up
Here is our affiliate link to the Traveling Mailbox sign-up page:
Step 2. Complete the USPS 1583 Form
The USPS 1583 Form must be filled out and notarized by anyone using the Traveling Mailbox system. It legally permits the company receiving your mail to open it and scan it for the recipient.
Opening, intercepting or hiding someone else's mail is a felony crime UNLESS the recipient has given the person permission for a “middle man” to do so, and that's where this form comes into play.
Note: This form will need to be signed, notarized, and uploaded to your account with Traveling Mailbox.
Step 3. Issue a change of address with USPS.
Now that you have a new address, you must let all your senders know about it! One of the easiest ways to do that is by issuing a change of address through USPS.
Step 4. Start checking your Traveling Mailbox account for scanned images of your new mail!
You have several options on how you can set up your mail system. You will receive an email notification about any new mail that comes in. It will include a picture of the envelope, and you can choose to open and scan each piece individually, or if you want, you can set your account to scan everything in automatically.
Traveling Mailbox also has an app that works on Android and iOS devices to check your physical mail from your phone.
Traveling Mailbox then scans the mail into a PDF format, and you can access it through your dashboard on your account, or if you prefer, you can set it to scan and upload to a specified folder in Google Drive, Dropbox, EverNote, OneDrive, or Box.
One of the major benefits of Traveling Mailbox is affordability. As you can see in the image above, there are three tiers you can choose from.
I’m currently on the $25 per month option, providing all I need for my business.
Now in a moment, we will get into some of the additional services they provide, and these typically have a minimum service fee of $5 or less. I've found the cost is quite reasonable for the benefits they provide.
One of the coolest features of Traveling Mailbox is that you can choose from several states to have as your servicing center.
At the beginning of this year, I transitioned my land business from Indiana to Florida.
When I switched to Traveling Mailbox, I wanted my business address to be in Florida, and the setup was extremely easy. When you sign up, there is a dropdown of all the markets they're in, and you simply select which one you want. That's it!
I still have a professional-looking address (that doesn't look like a P.O. box), and it’s specific to the state I’m doing business in.
The one drawback I noticed is that my address has an additional number sequence, but I got around that by just calling it a “Room” number:
501 Riverside Ave Suite 700, Room #92143, Jacksonville, FL 32202
It’s worked out great!
One of the major questions I had when looking into Traveling Mailbox was,
“What happens if I receive packages from title companies, Amazon.com, etc.?
It’s actually not much of an issue. Wherever I am in the world, all they need is a forwarding address and they’ll send it my way, wherever I am.
It’s really that simple!
Automatic Scans & Integrations
I briefly mentioned this earlier, but it’s a great feature worth mentioning again. You can set all of your mail that comes in to automatically scan and upload to a designated folder in a number of different file storage providers, like Google Drive, Dropbox and so on.
What’s so powerful about this is that if you want to have your mail integrate with a CRM software like Podio, for example, you can easily do it through these third-party apps.
Now I will tell you, for me, setting my account to automatically scan and upload everything has caused me to exceed my allotted scans per month, which costs A LOT of money!
I send out a lot of blind offers, and a majority of the mail that comes back to my mailbox is simply unopened, returned mail.
It’s obviously pretty wasteful to pay Traveling Mailbox to scan and upload these, so I ended up shutting off the option to automatically scan and upload everything.
So when I receive mail now, I get notified via email, and then I can decide what will get opened based on the envelope picture I receive. Fortunately, all the returned mail has a yellow sticker on it, so it's easy to identify.
Once it’s scanned, I have everything ready to upload to a Google Drive Folder.
I despise sending traditional mail! Maybe it’s because I’m a millennial and rarely do it – but when I have to print out a letter, address it properly, stamp it and drop it in the mail, I find it inconvenient.
One of the best things about Traveling Mailbox is that I can just provide them a PDF version of my letter and they’ll mail it out for me!
I LOVE this because it saves me the trouble of doing it myself.
Another great feature Traveling Mailbox provides is that you can sync your business account to send and receive checks.
When sending checks, the process is extremely easy to use and saves you a trip to the bank. All you do is put in your recipient's name and address, the amount for the check, and Traveling Mailbox, which takes care of the rest. There is a minimal processing fee between $2.55 and $5.00 per check sent, but the convenience makes it worth it for me.
If you receive a check, all you do is submit a request to issue a check deposit, and Traveling Mailbox will send the check to your bank endorsed as “For Deposit Only”. Once the check arrives at the bank, it normally takes 24 hours for the funds to be available.
This was one of the BIG selling points that Traveling Mailbox has compared to their competitors.
They have a shared fax number with the subscription at no additional cost! When a fax comes in, they upload it to my account and treat it just like a piece of mail.
Previously, I used RingCentral as a designated fax line because they are one of the few companies that will let you receive faxes and calls on the same phone number.
This is a great service, but I had some issues with RingCentral when it came to integrating with my CRM software.
Because of Traveling Mailbox, I can move away from RingCentral without paying for an additional fax line. It’s pretty awesome!
The ScanPAK Service
Another amazing service Traveling Mailbox provides is something called a “ScanPAK”.
A ScanPAK is a USPS Priority Flat Rate Envelope that they will mail directly to you (in case you want to scan and upload loose documents, receipts, invoices and so on to your Traveling Mailbox account).
If you want to virtually store closing documents, receipts, tax returns, and the like, instead of having to scan and upload them yourself (which can take a lot of time) or go to a store to do it, they’ll send an envelope to provide the documents and handle it all for you.
Another great feature of Traveling Mailbox is its level of security. They say on their website that all their mail processing facilities are under 24/7 surveillance, which adds a huge layer of protection compared to having mail come directly to your house or office.
With Traveling Mailbox, the subscription plan I’m on is cheaper than what I was spending at the UPS store and has a lot of added perks.
Many of these perks have additional processing fees, but they’re minimal and save me so much time and hassle that I find them extremely worth it.
All I need is an internet connection, and I can handle my mail from anywhere in the world. It's incredible!
If setting up an account with Traveling Mailbox is something you’d like to do, feel free to sign up through our affiliate link here:
Are you using Traveling Mailbox (or any other virtual mailbox service) in your business? Let us know about your experience in the forum!