So, when you are ready to sign up for a mail forwarding service, after you do all the diligence on rates, plans, shipping prices, trustworthiness etc, do you look for a service that lets you keep your address in the state you are moving out of?
Don’t. Your mail forwarding address should be state agnostic.
Here’s why: once you fill out a change of address form with the USPS, it will forward your mail to that address, irrespective of where in the US it is. And US laws don’t make you liable for taxes in any state without living there. Just having an address in the state does not mean you become a resident of that state.
Fancy/Premium addresses: mail forwarding companies or commercial mail receiving agencies (CMRA’s) sometimes will offer a choice of several states and addresses to you. Your personal mail box number could potentially be in New York, Florida, Texas, California, the possibilities are endless! However, these fancy or “premium” addresses can come at a steep price- often a discreet +14.99 hidden somewhere! Watch out. And don’t pay for something you absolutely will get no additional value out of. Instead choose the service that works best for your needs, not for the address.
When is having an address in a particular state important?
If you have a business and you are based in Florida and you need to bill your customers, it makes total sense to have a billing address in the city or at least the state you operate from. From a customer standpoint, it looks less suspicious. They won’t have to question the authenticity of who they are sending their money to. Certain health care providers require you to reside in the state you are covered in to maintain your insurance rates. The rates for insurance coverage can vary state-to-state. If you like the plan you currently have, it would be very important to maintain an address in your current residency state. If you are trying to be discreet about moving or traveling abroad, then you do have the anonymity of maintaining your residency state address. Other than those few areas, it’s really not an issue to have an address in a different state, usually just a preference. Which if it is your preference, those options are certainly available to you!
Vanity Addresses: are they really worth it?
So, you’ve researched a few mail forwarding companies, one company offers a single real street address in Nevada. Another company offers 3 street addresses, one in Wisconsin, one in Texas, and one in New York. Let’s say the Wisconsin address is their standard address. The Texas and NY addresses are premium, premium meaning they cost more. Standard mailbox prices are usually “free”, or, included in the price of membership. The prices for a premium address can range anywhere from an extra $4.95 per month and all the way up to $12.95 per month. Now the real question is what is the value in these “premium” addresses? Is it just the address itself? The location? Convenience? Why would you want to pay extra for a mailing address?
Example: you want a personal mailing address to give out to your friends and family and you want a separate address for your bills and taxes, all on the same account of course:
- Standard mailing address on an individual plan, $25/mo
- Premium mailing address on an individual plan $25 + $4.95/mo
- Separate 1583 forms for the addresses which need to be notarized
- One forwarding request (you can only have one open at a time via USPS), then reach out to everyone who needs your change of address
A lot of the premium address locations are UPS storefronts…? Not a private office or warehouse that deals specifically with commercial mail and package forwarding, a UPS store. Which is why these addresses are not equipped to handle all incoming mail and packages. They literally are not built for it! On top of that, each location will handle mail differently, since the UPS stores are not owned or managed by the CMRA, the possibility of errors occurring increases dramatically.
Mounting Hidden Fees: what you need to know
CMRA’s that offer different addresses have lots of “small fees”. These fees can add up VERY quickly.The finest of fine print states, if packages are sent to the premium address, they will be redirected to the standard address AND there will be a fee of no less than $10 for packages and $4.95 plus postage for letters, to then forward it to the final destination. The fine print written in invisible ink states, the fee is determined and assessed by the package. If you receive 3 boxes at the same time at the premium address, it could be $10. However, if one is received in the morning and shipped, that’s $10. Another is received midday and redirected, $10. And yet another package is received at the end of the night and held until the next morning, $10. That could potentially be $30 worth of fees that don’t go towards getting your package in your hands! What is the point of paying more for an address that is going to charge you EXTRA to be able to receive your mail and packages? Especially if that is what the company specializes in…a commercial MAIL RECEIVING agency. It’s quite puzzling. Plus, it can take an extra 24-48 hours for the “final” delivery of your parcel. What if you chose an expedited shipping method like Next Day Air? All the extra money you spent for a speedy shipment? Down the drain!
Is Your Mail Safe: this is a big concern
With all the handling and redirecting of your mail and packages, is it reliable? Safe? The risk of mail being lost, damaged, or tampered with is quite high. First it is packed and shipped by the seller(purchased), then picked up by the carrier(shipping fee), and depending on the shipping method, it could be transferred at least twice. Once it is received at the premium address it is sorted to be shipped(fee) to the standard address. Next, you forward it to the intended destination(final shipping fee), and if it gets to you safely and securely, bravo! That is a lot of touches for one package and you are paying extra for handling charges!
Unfortunately, this information isn’t going to be found in the FAQ’s. It was acquired via the chat and email interfaces within the companies. And even then, the agents were reluctant to give up the real details about this vicious cycle. Unless it’s really necessary, it is highly recommended to stick with a standard address. If not for the monthly savings, then for reliability, safety, preventing mishandling, loss, damage, delayed shipments, etc. We could dissect this all day. Do your research. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Know all the factors and risks you could be diving into. Get to know the mail forwarding company you are interested in! Make them uncomfortable with all your inquiries. Come up with ‘what-if’ scenarios, no matter how unlikely, just to ensure your peace of mind. It is your mail and packages that you don’t want just anybody messing with. Just like time, nobody wants their hard-earned money wasted. Especially not on frivolous fees like redirecting?!