How does CMRA mail forwarding work? A complete guide

February 8, 2024
Minh Mai

In today's fast-paced business world, managing mail effectively is crucial. That's where commercial mail-receiving agencies (CMRAs) come into play, offering a lifeline to businesses seeking efficient mail-handling solutions. 

With their ability to receive and forward mail on your behalf, CMRAs help businesses streamline their mail management — whether it's for establishing a presence in a specific state or region, or simply for better organization and accessibility of postal communications. 

This guide dives into how CMRA mail forwarding works, illustrates how they can help businesses simplify their mail management, and explores other helpful mail management services that build on the concept of CMRAs — like Stable.

What is a CMRA?

As private entities, CMRAs serve as intermediaries with the United States Postal Service (USPS). They deliver a suite of flexible mail- and package-handling services tailored for individuals and businesses seeking alternatives to traditional post office boxes. 

CMRAs typically offer:

  • Mail and package acceptance: CMRAs adeptly handle mail and package reception from the USPS, providing customers with a reliable physical address for their postal needs.
  • Private mailboxes (PMBs): Offering PMBs, CMRAs ensure customers have a secure spot to collect their mail.
  • Mail forwarding services: For added convenience, many CMRAs re-mail items to a customer's chosen address — an invaluable service for those working from multiple locations.

How does CMRA mail forwarding work?

CMRAs not only streamline mail operations but also transform how businesses engage with postal services. Let’s take a closer look at each phase of the process:

  1. Setting up an account: First, you need to set up an account with your chosen CMRA. This typically involves selecting a service plan that fits your business needs, providing necessary identification, and completing the required forms. 

This process is often straightforward, and you can usually do it online. Once set up, you're assigned a physical address to use for all your business mail and package deliveries.

  1. Receiving mail and packages: Once your account is active, your CMRA begins accepting mail and packages on your behalf. The CMRA receives items from various carriers — not just USPS — and stores your mail securely at their facility, awaiting your further instructions. 

This step is crucial for businesses without a permanent location or those wanting to maintain privacy and security for their correspondence.

  1. Forwarding, storage, or disposal: This is where the flexibility of a CMRA truly shines. At this stage, you instruct the CMRA on how to handle your mail, including:
  • Forwarding: At your request, the CMRA forwards your mail to any address you specify. This service is particularly useful for businesses with home or remote operations — or those frequently changing locations.
  • Storage: If you're not ready to receive your mail immediately, CMRAs can store it for you. This is ideal for when you're traveling or need to manage a high volume of mail.
  • Disposal: For unwanted mail, most CMRAs offer disposal services.

Benefits of using CMRA for mail receiving and forwarding

Now that you understand how CRMAs work, it's natural to ask, "Why should my business consider this?"

The advantages of using CMRA mail forwarding go beyond mere mail management. Let’s dive into some of the most significant benefits below.

Privacy and security

One of the chief concerns for businesses today is safeguarding their privacy. With a CMRA address, your real business or home address remains undisclosed, protecting it from unnecessary public exposure.

Further, these agencies have stringent measures to ensure your mail's safety and security, shielding it from theft or unauthorized access. Whether you're a startup or a well-established enterprise, you should never have to sacrifice security and privacy for convenience — and with a reliable CMRA, you won’t have to.

International mail solutions

For businesses that operate globally or have clientele overseas, a CMRA is a game-changer because it’s not restricted by geographical boundaries. International shipments are simple, ensuring that even if you're across the globe, your mail and packages can reach you promptly.

If you're considering expanding your business operations, a CMRA can be your trusted partner, facilitating smooth mail operations — regardless of your physical location.


For growing businesses, scalability is a critical factor in choosing operational solutions. CMRAs offer an excellent platform for scalable mail management in a few ways: 

  • Adaptable to changing business needs: CMRAs provide a flexible structure that can easily adapt to your changing business needs. As your business grows, your mail volume and handling requirements may increase. CMRAs offer various service levels that can adjust as your mail forwarding needs increase (or decrease).
  • Streamlined operations for multiple locations: For businesses operating in multiple locations, coordinating mail management can be a logistical challenge. CMRAs simplify this process by centralizing mail reception and distribution, regardless of where your offices or remote teams are located. This centralization is crucial for ensuring seamless communication and operations as your business grows.

Cost and pricing structures for CMRA

While the benefits of CMRA mail forwarding are clear, businesses want to know the bottom line: How much will it cost? 

After all, an investment, no matter how promising, must align with your budgetary constraints. With a CMRA, you'll find that the pricing structures cater to a diverse range of needs and can offer value that goes beyond the immediate costs.

On average, the monthly fee for CMRA services typically ranges from $10 to $50, depending on the chosen plan and provider. However, like most services, it's crucial to be aware of additional fees that may come into play:

Package handling

While receiving letters and envelopes might fall within your base fee, package handling can sometimes come with additional costs. These charges can vary depending on the package's size and weight.

Some providers offer a certain number of free packages per month and then charge for extras, while others might have a flat fee for each package received.

Overseas forwarding costs

For businesses operating internationally or those needing to forward mail overseas, there might be additional charges that can differ significantly based on the:

  • Destination
  • Weight of the mail or package
  • Delivery speed

It's also worth noting that customs duties or taxes may apply depending on the destination country.

When working with CMRAs, cost transparency is paramount. It's advisable to clarify all potential charges upfront and choose a plan that aligns most closely with your mail volume and business requirements.

How CMRAs comply with USPS regulations

Navigating the intricacies of business mail doesn't just involve understanding the benefits and costs. It’s equally important to ensure regulation compliance — especially those set by the United States Postal Service (USPS)

Central to this compliance is USPS Form 1583. This form acts as an authorization, allowing the CMRA to receive mail on your behalf. For businesses, this ensures a transparent and legitimate operation.

Completing this form involves providing accurate company and personal details. Along with the form, businesses also need to submit two acceptable forms of identification, one of which should have a photograph. Once the CMRA verifies and validates these forms of ID, the service activates, ensuring a smooth and compliant mail forwarding experience.

Stable: An alternative to traditional CMRAs

While traditional CMRA services can improve how businesses handle their mail, Stable builds on this concept by infusing digital solutions into the mix. 

This integration of technology with traditional mail services makes Stable an ideal choice for busy modern businesses looking for greater efficiency and convenience in their mail operations. 

With Stable, businesses can take advantage of all the standard CMRA offerings, plus several other services that give you more value and flexibility out of your mail management:

Digital mail scanning

Time is money in the business world. With digital mail scanning, you no longer need to sort through piles of mail manually — which can add up to hours of wasted time.

When Stable receives your mail, we swiftly scan it and upload a digital copy to your secure online account. This allows you to access, read, and manage your mail from anywhere in the world at any time, bringing a new level of flexibility to your mail operations.

Check depositing

One standout feature that sets Stable apart is our check depositing service — which can be a huge time-saver for businesses that receive payments via checks. Stable can automatically deposit checks on your behalf, streamlining your cash flow management and eliminating the need to visit a bank in person for manual deposits. Not only does this save time and hassle, it also keeps your financial operations running smoothly.

Mail shredding for security

Stable offers secure mail shredding, ensuring that no sensitive information gets into the wrong hands. This service is vital for businesses handling confidential documents, providing peace of mind and bolstering your data security measures.

Package forwarding and consolidation

Stable doesn’t just streamline your paper mail — we also help businesses with their packages via forwarding and consolidation services. Our process ensures that your packages are handled with care and delivered where and when you need them. 

We negotiate discounted shipping rates with multiple carriers and pass that savings along to our customers, so you can enjoy cheaper shipping costs even when forwarding packages in bulk.

This service is particularly beneficial for businesses that receive a high volume of packages or need to forward them to different locations. 

Change of address assistance

For businesses, moving can present a host of challenges. With so many clients, vendors, and government entities to notify, changing your address can feel like a huge hassle — but not with Stable. 

Stable provides guided change of address assistance, ensuring that none of your business mail slips through the cracks. We provide our customers with custom checklists that walk you through exactly which entities you need to contact and how to do so. Stable makes it easy to transition to a new address, ensuring that you don’t miss out on any important correspondence. 

Set up your virtual mailbox with Stable

CMRA mail forwarding is more than just a service — it's an opportunity to streamline, expand, and operate with enhanced efficiency and professionalism. 

For businesses, effective, efficient, and compliant mail operations are non-negotiable. Whether it's the promise of heightened security, the allure of a professional appearance, or the necessity of regulatory compliance, Stable stands as an unmatched solution. 

With Stable, you're not just getting a mail forwarding service; you're getting a complete digital mail-management solution. From digital mail management to secure document handling and efficient package services, Stable is an invaluable asset for businesses looking to establish a more efficient and secure mail management system.

Want to see how integrating technology with traditional mail services can transform your operations? Set up your virtual mailbox with Stable today.

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