The best way to forward mail in New York

April 24, 2023
Sarah Ahmad

Getting ready to relocate your New York-based business? Like any move, there will be a few challenges: hiring movers, signing lease paperwork, and slowing business down for a day or two during the transition. 

But what about your mail?

In the shuffle of moving your business, it’s easy to overlook what will happen to your mail. However, whether you’re moving to a new physical location or restructuring to a home-based business, setting up mail forwarding should be at the top of your to-do list. 

We’ve created this guide to walk you through how USPS mail forwarding works to ensure you don’t miss any business-critical communications. We’ll also cover various options you can use for permanent or temporary changes in address and more.

How to use USPS mail forwarding in New York

Let’s start with how USPS mail forwarding works. You’ll discover answers to the top frequently asked questions among business owners below.

Setting it up online or in-person

Traditionally, if you wanted to change your address, you had to go to your local post office to fill out the form and pay the fee. You can still do it that way — or you can use the Official USPS Change of Address website. Either way, you’ll need to pay a $1.10 fee to verify your identity, and you’ll need to complete a form with both your original address and the forwarding address.

How long does mail forwarding last?

Standard mail forwarding lasts for 12 months. If you’ve provided the USPS with your email, they’ll send you a reminder when you have one month of service left.

What mail cannot be forwarded with USPS?

The USPS will forward First Class, Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express, and First Class Packages for free. Media Mail and USPS Retail Ground can be forwarded — but you’ll need to pay extra to have them shipped from the original post office to the forwarding address.

The USPS does not forward Marketing Mail, and they do not forward packages sent via other shippers, like UPS or Fedex.

Can I extend mail forwarding services?

Yes — though you will need to pay extra for this service. It costs $19.95 to extend mail forwarding for six months, $29.95 for 12 months, and $39.95 for 18 months.

The only other fee for New York mail forwarding with the USPS is the $1.10 fee to verify your identity when you first file an official Change of Address form.

Disadvantages of using USPS for mail forwarding

The USPS provides a valuable and convenient service for businesses and individuals who need a permanent change of address or temporary mail forwarding services — but there are some disadvantages, including:

  • Time limitations: Mail forwarding time frame is limited; the initial service is 12 months, and you’ll need to remember to pay beyond that to extend it.
  • Vendor limitations: Package forwarding is limited, too, since USPS does not receive packages from shippers like UPS, FedEx, or DHL.
  • Additional steps may cause delays: Mail forwarding via USPS requires some extra steps — your old post office will receive it, then forward it to the new address, which increases security risks or the chances of the mail getting lost.
  • Security concerns: Some small businesses would rather not have their home address associated with their business address — but mail forwarding through the USPS does little to keep your old address or new address private.
  • Manual processes: When you need to update forwarding addresses or extend forwarding service, you’ll need to do it manually, either by visiting the post office or by going online to make changes.
  • Snail mail: USPS mail forwarding can be quite slow. Expect mail and packages to take at least a few extra days to get to you.

Virtual mailbox: The superior alternative for mail forwarding

If you need a better alternative to mail forwarding, a virtual mailbox is the way to go. Most virtual mailbox services start by giving you a permanent physical address where you can receive all of your regular mail and packages. From there, the mailbox service digitizes your mail, scanning envelopes so you can view it online.

Virtual mailbox providers usually also offer a host of other services to help you better manage postal mail — and you’ll discover those benefits below.

Benefits of a virtual mailbox for mail forwarding

Now that you’ve learned how USPS mail forwarding and virtual mailboxes work, let’s explore some of the biggest advantages of using a virtual mailbox for mail forwarding services.

Digitized mail

Digitized mail is one of the biggest benefits of a virtual mailbox service. When these services receive your mail, they scan the envelopes and upload them so you view them online. From there, you can choose what to do with it — open envelopes and scan the contents, deposit checks, forward the envelopes to another mailing address, or recycle them.

One of the great things about digitized mail for businesses? It means never having to dig through a drawer for important correspondence. Instead, you can keep them organized in a searchable digital mailbox.

Flexibility and convenience

Lots of people use virtual mailboxes or premium forwarding services for their flexibility and convenience. Because these services digitize mail for you, it makes it easy for business owners to keep tabs on mail while traveling, for example. Some services also offer local pickup — and mail scanning not only makes it easier to review mail, but means less paper cluttering your desk.

Security and privacy

Many business owners would rather keep their home addresses private, but a business address is a matter of public record. When you use a virtual mailbox service, that service gives you a permanent address that you can use for business mail, which helps you maintain separation between your personal life and your business.

Digitized mail also helps protect your data, both from people who might steal important information from physical documents, and from events like fires or floods that may damage documents.

Notifications and tracking

Expecting an important business document, or something essential from the IRS? Mail forwarding options from the United States Postal Service are a bit limited — and that makes tracking and notifications for incoming mail challenging.

Virtual mailbox services are the opposite in this regard. You get notifications as soon as the mail arrives, and if you choose to have first class mail or packages shipped to another address, you’ll be able to track those shipments easily. It makes staying on top of important documents much easier.

Bulk forwarding

Whether your business receives dozens of pieces of mail per day or just a couple, it’s often easier to handle it all in bulk rather than dealing with it on a daily basis. With a virtual mail service, you can do exactly that. It’s like having your own dedicated digital mailroom. Let mail accumulate in your virtual mailbox, and when you have enough to make it worthwhile to ship, your provider can pack it and ship it to an address of your choosing.

Cheaper shipping costs

Even if your business isn’t selling a physical product, it’s likely that you’ll still need to ship packages on occasion — and many virtual mailbox services negotiate deals with mail carriers. Look for a virtual mail service like Stable that offers discounts on shipping. It’s a great way to save for startups or other businesses that ship regularly.

Receive packages from any carrier

One thing you can’t do with USPS mail forwarding is receive packages from any carrier, which can be a problem for many businesses. Virtual mailboxes get around this problem easily. They’ll receive packages for you — from any carrier — and you can have those packages forwarded on to your home or wherever they need to go.

Don’t settle for complicated mail forwarding: Stable’s virtual mailbox makes it easy

Looking for a better way to handle mail? USPS mail forwarding is a useful service — but Stable’s virtual mailbox gives you so much more. Register to get a real, permanent physical address, and Stable will do all the heavy lifting for you. Scan mail, forward it, store it, shred it, deposit checks, and more — register here and learn how Stable can streamline your business's mail operations.

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