PO Box – for the Virtual Entrepreneur
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PO Box – Pros and Cons
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There are both pros and cons in setting up a PO Box for a business. But if you’re just starting off a new business, the pros will generally outweigh the cons.

Some of the benefits of setting up a PO Box include:

  • Separate business address
    • This is the main reason to obtain a PO Box. You can now receive mail in the name of your business.
  • 24/7 accessibility most of the time
    • In many post offices, there is a separate area for PO boxes which is generally accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. However, some post offices do not allow 24/7 access. Make sure to ask your local post office for its accessibility hours.
  • Travel convenience
    • You can travel anywhere on short business trips knowing that your mail will be there when you get back.
  • Security
    • The U.S. Postal Service takes all reasonable precautions to make sure that your mail is secure.
  • Sizes for all
    • As previously mentioned, in the United States PO boxes generally come in 5 different sizes to suit your particular needs. For example, if you’ll be receiving lots of legal sized documents, you’ll likely want to purchase a bigger sized box.
  • Regular early morning delivery
    • Mail is usually delivered in the early morning (e.g. prior to 10 a.m.), which generally gives you the opportunity to take case of business early in the day.
NOTE: If you’ll be out of the country or traveling for an extended period of time, you’ll want to complete PS Form 8076, Authorization to Hold Mail, so the postmaster will collect and hold all your mail – without having to ask your neighbors (like everyone else).

Some of the drawbacks of setting up a PO Box include:

  • Distance from your house
    • The further away the post office the more time you’ll have to spend traveling to pick up your mail.
  • No brick and mortar address
    • This may be a stumbling block for certain types of industries where you may be expected to have a physical office. (We’ll explore this issue in more detail later.)
  • Residence location may be accessible to others for limited purposes
    • The U.S. Postal Service is authorized by law to obtain your resident address for your PO Box (which you’ll write down when you apply for the PO Box). Further, the U.S. Postal Service may also disclose your resident address to the following:
      • Persons authorized by law to serve judicial process (e.g. receiving a complaint)
      • In response to a court order or subpoena
      • To government agencies in the course of their duties
      • For other legal proceedings where the U.S. Postal Service may be involved
So, setting up a PO Box will not protect you from law enforcement officials that have a valid legal reason to locate your residency.

As you can see, there are both pros and cons to setting up a PO Box. The pros likely will outweigh the cons in the beginning of your new "virtual" business.

Next, we explore how to go "virtual" with your PO Box.