Are you planning on becoming a full time rv’er, possibly moving to another country or embarking on an extended vacation? Whatever the rhyme or reason, you just want to get your mail. The ‘how’ is the easy part, working with a mail and parcel forwarding company. The difficult part is choosing which company and pinpointing why you want to go with the chosen company. What questions should you be asking when researching a mail forwarding company?

Before we go into details of what are the 10 questions to ask, here is a brief infographic for you to review:

How to choose a mail forwarding company

  1. What is the cost of mail forwarding? 
    • What is your budget? How much are you willing to spend for this service? Figure out your budget for the month. See where you can fit in mail forwarding and what/if you need to rearrange some things. Research the base rates, compare shipping costs, customs charges, fuel surcharges, the lists goes on.
  2. What is important to me?
    • Do you just want your mail automatically shipped on a regular basis? Would you prefer to hold the mail until you want to ship?  Would you prefer to have your individual letters scanned to read so you don’t have to pay for shipping? Take time to think about the MANY services forwarding companies offer and figure out what applies to you.
  3. Is the company reliable?
    • Read up on the various companies. Google their name as many ways as you can think of. ex: Company customer reviews, company customer service reviews, company security, company complaints, company hidden fees, company facebook etc. Research is your best friend when making decisions like these.
  4. What can and cannot be sent internationally?
    • Moving to another country? Find out what can’t be shipped internationally. It’s so easy to get up and purchase whatever you’re used to back home, however what is deemed “normal” where you’re from, may not even be allowed into the destination country. Don’t accidentally pay for shipping and declarations only to have to either abandon the package or pay again to have it returned!
  5. What is the exchange rate?
    • If you are moving internationally, you may find that your dollar goes a lot further where you are now, freeing up some room in your budget. Now you may have more options on the company you want to work with.
  6. What will you be forwarding?
    • Does the thought of sending sensitive tax documents overseas make you a bit uneasy? Understandable. Do you receive checks through the mail? Credit cards? Back to the research, how successful is the company’s delivery rate? Are they trustworthy? Do they have any hidden fees that will pop up at time of shipping? Could you trust the company to NOT tamper with items of that nature?
  7. Will the service allow you to use their address for billing?
    • Though you may be moving, your bills still need to be sent to a US address. Does the forwarding company provide PO boxes or real street addresses? You can have your bills sent to a street address, not a PO box. Is that important to you?
  8. How is their customer service?
    • If an issue arises, will it be resolved immediately, in a timely manner, or at the company’s leisure? If you send an email, will it be answered? If you need immediate assistance, do they offer live chat, and is it with a person or a robot? Research! Check the company’s website, test out their email and chat services. See how quickly you get a response.
  9. What does the service require from me?
    • Find out what documents you need to submit. What is the purpose of the requirements? Why isn’t a simple change of address through USPS enough? If you need all of this information from me, how do I know my identity is private and secured in your system? Ask as many questions as you can think of. All the why’s, what’s, where’s, when’s, what if’s, and maybe’s! Ultimately this is a very important decision to be made, don’t make it in haste!
  10. Why is a 1583 form necessary for a mail forwarding company?
    • Essentially the 1583 form is for your protection. Legally, a mail forwarding company can not release your mail without the form. USPS will NOT allow them to if they don’t have your “permission”. The form must be notarized as well. Another security measure that protects your identity. Think about it, your mail can be sent anywhere!!! However, not just ANYBODY can pick it up. One less potential headache avoided.

When researching a mail forwarding company, don’t hesitate to voice your questions and concerns. What works for one person might not work for you. What one company offers as part of their package pricing may not apply to you. There are so many options out there for mail forwarding services. Choosing which one is the right one for you won’t be an easy task. Compare and contrast the companies and figure out which one suits you best!

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