Commercial Mailboxes Difference, Mail Storage Advice

How Are Commercial Mailboxes Different from Residential Ones?

June 29 2020

How Are Commercial Mailboxes Different from Residential Ones?

You’ve probably seen places selling both commercial and residential mailboxes, but did you ever stop to think “what’s actually the difference between the two?”. Although it seems like these are identical mailboxes plopped into different places, there are actually many significant differences between residential and commercial mailboxes.

First things first, there are strict regulations that the commercial mailboxes need to meet:

Regulations for Commercial Mailboxes in the US

First of all, the United States Postal Service (USPS) regulates the use of commercial mailboxes and strictly controls how they are used. USPS has the power to oversee all the details of commercial mailbox manufacturing and installation. They can also dictate how the commercial mailboxes are used.

Normally, a mailbox for commercial use, like these commercial mailboxes, will be purchased by a property manager or a developer who needs to organize mail for a large group of people in a systematic and organized manner. They will know the needs of the building/company they’re working with and seek to get a commercial mailbox that solves those needs.

To comply with the needs of these property managers and their respective buildings, the USPS ensures that commercial mailboxes are secure, durable, and ergonomic, making them as accessible as possible for everyone. This includes things like making commercial mailboxes wheelchair-friendly.

Commercial mailboxes properly approved by USPS must meet the following criteria below.

Installation Guidelines

Property developers need mailboxes which can serve a variety of uses, from collecting paper mail to delivering packages and important documents, so it’s essential to mount them in a place which is sensible, makes sense for the delivery people, and makes it easy for the users of the mailbox to retrieve their mail while retaining security and privacy.

Commercial mailboxes can be mounted in the following areas according to USPS:

  • On a pedestal or post outside
  • At an outdoor enclosure or a mail stand
  • Mounted on a wall for rear access by postal carrier
  • Mounted on a wall for front access by postal carrier

There are other options too, depending on the type of building, but these are the most common installation and mounting requirements for commercial mailboxes.

Small Package Lockers

A lot of commercial mailboxes are built with parcel lockers so small parcels can be left securely until the tenant is able to retrieve them. The key for the locker is placed in the tenant’s separate mailbox by the postal carrier so that only the tenant can retrieve the item from the locker.

Some larger commercial mailboxes are able to store large packages as well, but the security of larger packages is more difficult to ensure. Nonetheless, small lockers are common and provide an easy way for tenants to access larger items of mail in their building.

Extra Durable Construction

Although all mailboxes should be fairly durable and strong, commercial mailboxes must ensure that they are heavy duty and able to withstand damage. This is both a security and a durability concern. Yes, the packages need to stay safe, but it’s also worth remembering that a mailbox used by several dozen people will naturally encounter more wear and tear.

Commercial mailboxes are especially vulnerable to vandalism, so it’s essential that they be built with anti-vandal measures in place such as wrap-around steel hinges and extra heavy-duty metal construction.

The Bottom Line

Commercial mailboxes are a great way for large groups of people to come together in one space when they’re retrieving their mail. They can act as great icebreakers to help introduce people to one another and become better acquainted with people in the same building/area.

With these additional features, they are able to stay safe, secure, and private for everyone using them.

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Design: OMA / Reinier de Graaf
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photograph : Laurian Ghinitoiu, Courtesy of OMA
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