Why you need a Virtual Mailbox
Many businesses no longer need to have a physical office location. Whether you like it or not, remote work is here to stay. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated this trend, forcing nearly two-thirds of Americans to work remotely. This has driven many organizations to reevaluate the use of offices moving forward. For example, Shopify, Twitter, and Facebook have all announced a permanent move of allowing remote workers, and many others have moved to remote-only.
So if you’re starting a company, you might not need an office in the first place.
But without a physical office location, what happens to your mail? You could use your home address for precious business documents, but that means sharing your personal information with Internet strangers. Many opt for a PO box, but PO boxes tie you down to a physical location. You want the freedom to run your business from anywhere.
That’s where virtual mailboxes come in. Virtual mailboxes allow you to have a business address without having to rent an office.
In this guide, we’ll go over how virtual mailboxes work, how to get one and share five of the top virtual mailbox services to pick from.
What is a virtual mailbox?
A virtual mailbox is a physical mailbox at a remote location that receives and stores your mail and packages. Virtual mailbox locations can be post offices, mailbox stores, or flexible co-working spaces in office buildings. The mail is uploaded and can be digitally accessed at any time.
How a virtual mailbox works
Through a virtual mailbox, you can digitize your mail operations. So instead of using your physical mailing address, you use a mailing address provided by a virtual mailbox service. Instead of having to open all the mail yourself and read through it, you can have it uploaded for you.
Read your mail from any device
Virtual mailbox services securely upload your mail and you can access it from any device. Whether it’s your phone, computer, or tablet, your mail is available to view 24/7.
Get a real US mailing address & physical location
Virtual mailboxes are real US street addresses. One of the benefits of having a virtual mailbox is that it also gives you a business address that you can use for documents, billing purposes, and general business inquiries. You can list the virtual business address on your website as well to make your business look more legitimate.
Manage your mail from any device
With a virtual mailbox, you can also choose what to do with your mail. For each piece of mail, you can decide whether to have it forwarded to your real address, shredded for security purposes, or archived for record-keeping purposes. Some virtual mailbox services even let you decide what to do with certain types of mail.
For example, loan offers can be annoying if your business has funding or doesn’t need extra capital anytime soon. You can choose to automatically shred all loan offers.
Who uses virtual mailboxes?
Virtual mailboxes are popular among startups, small businesses, and remote-first companies. Here’s how they’re used by specific types of businesses.
Startups & small businesses
If you’ve given up your physical office or coworking space membership, a virtual mailbox can handle all mail operations for you. This way, you and your employees can continue to work remotely while your mail is securely processed and made digitally available.
As more businesses embrace the remote-first culture, most functions of the office will be replaced with virtual, on-demand services. Mail is one of them. With a virtual mailbox, you can work anywhere in the world without having to worry about not being able to access your mail.
If you move around a lot, changing your address will be a nightmare. And having to set up mail forwarding for each new location is a hassle. With a virtual mailbox, you can have your mail sent to one permanent location while you access it from the comfort of your phone.
4 steps to get a virtual mailbox
Virtual mailboxes are easier to set up than you think. Getting started will take a few minutes.
1. Pick a virtual mailbox service
There are dozens of highly-rated virtual mailbox services available. In the next section, we’ll provide an overview of the top services to make your search easier.
2. Choose a service plan
Like with most subscription services, you’ll have a handful of monthly plans to choose from. Most services charge based on the number of mail items scanned. So choose accordingly. You can always upgrade or downgrade.
3. Select your permanent business address
Choose the address you want your mail sent to. It will be considered a “virtual business address” so you can post it on your website and use it on your documents.
4. Update your address
That’s it! Now you have to update the address used on file for any existing credit cards, applications, legal documents, and more.
5 Top Virtual Mailbox Services
Choosing the right virtual mailbox service can take some time. Lucky for you, we’ve listed out some of the best options on the market. Check them out and see which one is the best fit for you.
What’s unique about it:
- Change of Address. Stable is the only solution on the market that guides you through switching your business address compliantly with all your vendors, partners, government agencies like IRS, etc. As someone who still has a running checklist from our last office move, I can attest this is incredibly helpful.
- Integrations. Stable integrates with Slack, email, Dropbox, Google Drive, etc. so you can get your mail right in the tools you already use. It also offers search with optical character recognition, allowing you to easily search through all your mail.
- 24/7 Support. When it comes to your mail, you want to have a peace of mind that you can always talk to a human when something comes up.
Pricing is $30-50/month. There’s also custom pricing for unlimited usage.
VirtualPostMail (VPM) is one of the popular virtual mailbox services for small businesses and professionals. They are a fully managed mail service offering a range of services from mail processing, package forwarding, and check deposits.
What’s unique about it:
- Don’t pay extra for a Registered Agent. If you’re a California-based corporation, LLC or LP, you can use VirtualPostMail as your Registered Agent, for free and save ~ $100/year.
- Get a physical address to open a US bank account. The US federal banking regulations require all bank accounts to have a registered real physical address. This can make it difficult for international founders to set up banking in the US. VirtualPostMail offers a way for customers to obtain a true physical address that complies with regulations.
- Pre-route your mail. VirtualPostMail offers Smart Address tags for faster processing times. Very handy if you’re getting a ton of mail.
Pricing is $20-90/month.
Earth Class Mail
Earth Class Mail is another great option for businesses that need a virtual mailbox. With customers like Lyft, Zapier, and Expensify, Earth Class Mail has definitely proven to scale with businesses as they grow.
What’s unique about it:
- Automated check deposit service. Earth Class Mail will automatically deposit your cheques so you get paid faster.
- Integrations with accounting software. Earth Class Mail can integrate with accounting apps like QuickBooks and Xero to make check processing easier.
- Developer API and Zapier integration. If you want to connect your mail with other tools you use and create custom workflows for your team, Earth Class Mail has an API as well as a Zapier integration.
Pricing ranges from $19/month to $229/month. Enterprise pricing for high volume customers is available.
PostScan Mail is a virtual mailbox service that’s been around since 2012. They’re a dependable service and they have most of the features other top services provide.
What’s unique about it:
- Local package pickup. PostScan lets you pick up your packages in person, at a location closest to you.
- Wide range of addresses across the US. PostScan has locations across the US if you’re looking for a virtual address in a specific city or state.
Pricing is $9.95 – $24.95/month.
Anytime Mailbox is a virtual mailbox service that operates in the US, Canada, and internationally. They offer the key features you expect and allow you to get an address in your desired location around the world.
What’s unique about it:
- Ability to get an international address. If you’re based outside of the US and want an international address, Anytime Mailbox is your best bet.
Pricing varies based on the location. For locations in the US starts at $9.99/month.
Running a remote business? Use OpenPhone – the best virtual phone system for modern businesses
Now that you have a virtual mailbox, you also need a phone solution that’s designed to adapt to your needs. That’s where OpenPhone comes in.
OpenPhone is the business phone system for startups.
It adds a dedicated business phone number to your existing devices to help you communicate easily, no matter where you are.
It comes with powerful calling, messaging and a dedicated business address book to help you stay on top of your relationships. Whether it’s a direct phone number for your sales representative or a shared line for your support team, OpenPhone enhances the way you and your team communicate at work.
It comes with all the features you need including:
- Local and toll-free numbers in the US and Canada
- Calling and messaging (SMS & MMS)
- Ability to share responsibility for a phone number, like an inbox
- Auto-attendant and call routing
- Call recording
- Slack & email integrations
More importantly, we have thousands of happy customers (check out our 5-star reviews!), and we’re constantly implementing user feedback into the product. Check out our changelog to see what we’re up to.
Ready to try it out? Get started with a free trial of OpenPhone.