What's Better, PO Box or PMB? Need your Input

By
Real Estate Agent with California Coast & Country Homes, Inc. BRE 01895773

Hello fellow Real Estate Pros!  I am debating the benefits of receiving mail at a PO Box vs. a Private Mail Box.  The PO Boxes are at the U.S. Post Office and the PMBs are at private stores, such as PostNet, Mail Box etc. and The UPS Store.

Work-from-home professionals need a mailbox address to protect their privacy and security.  Did you know that ANYONE can find your Dept. of Real Estate mailing address online?!?  I certainly don't want everyone to know my home address with my family!

PO Boxes

Benefits:

  • 24-hour access
  • Inexpensive
  • Can easily get stamps & send out mail also
  • More anonymous than PMB store
  • Buy stamps at cost

Drawbacks:

  • Not a street address, may also need to give out your street
  • Limited services (see benefits of PMB

Private Mail Boxes

Benefits:

  • Can receive private shipping, such as FedEx & UPS
  • Can receive large packages without hassle
  • Can send out private shipping, such as FedEx & UPS
  • Can easily get stamps, send out mail, and do other services, such as: faxing, copying, purchasing office supplies
  • Staff will gladly pack your shipping boxes for you if needed (extra cost)
  • May be able to set up a monthly charge account, and pay for all services once per month
  • Small staff, get to know them well, they will do extra favors for you
  • You can call in and ask what's in your mailbox (before making the trip down to pick it up)
  • Staff can call you if you receive a fax, package, etc.
  • May be able to get mail early due to personalized service

Drawbacks:

  • May not offer 24-hour access (although most do)
  • PMB slightly more expensive than PO Box
  • Mailing services are more expensive
  • The owner may move or close their store, leaving you in limbo
  • Mail delivery in boxes may depend on staff workload (early AM or late PM)

What experiences have you had with either PO Boxes or PMBs?  Please share your thoughts, we'd love to hear from you!

Join my NEW group for professionals who work from their home office at http://activerain.com/groups/virtualoffice

Regina P. Brown
Allison James Estates & Homes
www.ReginaBrown.AllisonJamesInc.com

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Regina P. Brown
Broker, Realtor®, e-Pro
California DRE # 00983670
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Rainmaker
187,073
Marty Remo
RE/MAX Benchmark- Marty Remo-CDPE, E-Pro - Monroe, NY
HV Home Team

I really believe if they want you address they are going to find it anyway. I had a client show up at my house and my home address was not posted anywhere.

Nov 26, 2008 08:05 PM #1
Rainmaker
418,749
Regina P. Brown
California Coast & Country Homes, Inc. - San Luis Obispo, CA
e-Pro Realtor

Marty, I agree that privacy is a obsolete in our "technology" information age.  Anyone can find anything on the internet, with a little persistence.

Regina P. Brown
Allison James Estates & Homes
www.ReginaBrown.AllisonJamesInc.com

Nov 26, 2008 08:26 PM #2
Rainmaker
583,442
Susan Neal
RE/MAX Gold, Fair Oaks - Fair Oaks, CA
Fair Oaks CA & Sacramento Area Real Estate Broker

Hi Regina,  If you are working out of your home, eventually the very most industrious may find you, but most won't bother.  A PO Box or PMB will give you a large degree of privacy.  I personally prefer the private mailbox.  In most cases, that will give you an actual street and suite number address, which makes people feel more secure. 

Or if there are any executive suites in your area, that is an even better solution.  When I first was practicing law and couldn't afford a big swanky office of my own, I rented two rooms in an executive suite - one for me and one for my secretary.  They had a conference room, receptionist, and a gal who did typing and other clerical chores, and my neighbors in other rooms were in every kind of business imaginable.  It gave me a great office atmosphere at very low cost, and 24 hour access. 

At even lower cost were those people who didn't even rent rooms, but just got their mail there.  The receptionist sorted all incoming mail into cubbyholes at her desk, and some folks would simply come by daily and pick theirs up.  If they needed to meet with clients, they could use the conference room if it wasn't in use, and it didn't cost much more than a Mail Boxes, Etc.  If someone dropped in to meet with one of the mail drop folks, the receptionist would simply say "He's not in right now. May I take a message?"  This makes you seem more substantial and therefore more trustworthy to some people.

Jan 02, 2009 09:47 PM #3
Rainer
4,314
Mike Chouinard
DelMae Properties - Moreno Valley, CA

Another option is a mail forwarding service.  I found the one I use through by searching for a virutal office solution.  The mail forwarding service is more expensive that both the PO Box and the PMB solution.  I personally use all three for different reasons however the reality has previously been spoken which is that in our current age if someone wants to find you they will.

Best of Luck,

Mike Chouinard

http://www.delmaeproperties.com

 

Jan 03, 2009 12:20 AM #4
Rainmaker
418,749
Regina P. Brown
California Coast & Country Homes, Inc. - San Luis Obispo, CA
e-Pro Realtor

Susan, that is a lot of good insight, thank you for your comments.

Jan 03, 2009 02:34 AM #5
Rainmaker
418,749
Regina P. Brown
California Coast & Country Homes, Inc. - San Luis Obispo, CA
e-Pro Realtor

Mike, that solution sounds a little bit complicated, but it works for you!

Jan 03, 2009 02:35 AM #6
Rainmaker
208,893
Terrylynn Fisher
Dudum Real Estate Group - BuyStageSell.com - Walnut Creek, CA
HAFA Certified, EcoBroker, CRS, CEP Realtor, Etc.

Seriously, it's not hard to find you anywhere.  IF you own real estate your address is public record and that you own the property.  I just don't worry about people finding me, I'm helping buyers and sellers, not arresting criminals or anything like that.  Just believe that if they want to find you that bad, it's really easy.  They may not know if your address is a home or building situation if that concerns you then go with one of the choices.  Either works, perception wise, people know when it's a PO box that you probably have a home office.  Whatever you need to do is what you should do and don't worry.

Jan 03, 2009 03:01 AM #7
Rainmaker
418,749
Regina P. Brown
California Coast & Country Homes, Inc. - San Luis Obispo, CA
e-Pro Realtor

Terrylynn, thanks for the update.  As J.J. Luna says, privacy is the casualty of our information age!

Jan 03, 2009 03:03 AM #8
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Rainmaker
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Regina P. Brown

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