Why virtual mailboxes enhance small businesses (+ 6 great options)

April 24, 2023
John Eletto

72% of all small business owners feel overwhelmed by trying to juggle all of their responsibilities. Many factors are to blame for this, including a lack of support and a lack of systems. 

Managing incoming mail is just one of the tedious tasks that small businesses can best address with solid systems in place — and that’s where virtual mailbox services come into play.

Mail management is time-consuming and can direct attention away from where it matters most. Virtual mailboxes are an innovative service that digitizes the process while enabling mail management online. 

Virtual mailboxes have transformative potential for today's small businesses, from automations that identify important mail to integrations with tools that support your daily workflow.

Below, we’ll break down the difference between virtual mailboxes and virtual addresses, the benefits of virtual mailboxes for small businesses, and recommend six leading virtual mailbox service providers. 

What is a virtual mailbox?

If you are running a small business out of your home, the last thing you want to do is spend valuable time sorting mail. Furthermore, using your private home address to receive mail can look unprofessional and is a potential security risk. 

Rather than dealing with the inherent limitations of relying on the physical post office, a virtual mailbox lets you receive mail and packages at a virtual business address at a location of your choosing. 

In addition to receiving mail and accepting shipments, some virtual mailbox services offer other functionalities, such as scanning mail and extracting key information, forwarding packages, depositing checks, and more. 

The best services offer software features that save time and labor, including convenient automations, search, notifications, tags, collaboration tools, and API and webhook integrations. 

Virtual mailbox vs. virtual address: What’s the difference?

A virtual address is a key component of a virtual mailbox system. Serving as a real and legal physical address for your business, it's ideal for businesses looking for a permanent address to use for correspondence with banks, the IRS, and other government entities for registration purposes. 

Virtual addresses are desirable in cases where a P.O. Box is not advantageous or cost-effective. It may also be necessary for certain states and situations) where P.O. Boxes are not accepted — such as your Google business profile

Virtual mailboxes offer a business address as well as other features to manage your mail remotely, such as digitization, forwarding services, and shredding. 

Why small businesses should use a virtual mailbox service

Small business owners often work with limited funds. In fact, lack of capital is the leading cause of small business failures. As such, you may be wondering whether a virtual mailbox service is a wise investment

Here are some reasons to consider switching to a virtual mailbox from a P.O. Box

Privacy and security 

Approximately 50% of small businesses start by operating from home. While this has advantages, privacy and security aren’t among them. A virtual address and/or mailbox service safeguards your home address, and some virtual mailboxes (like Stable) also protect your sensitive information with secure shredding services. 

If porch piracy is a problem in your area, a virtual mailbox service can also be a proactive defense. 

Professionalism and credibility

Credibility is one of the most important things to consumers, and professionalism builds credibility. Compared to a P.O. Box, a real physical street address appears more established, legitimate, and trustworthy. 

Another bonus for your socially conscious consumers: When you free your small business from junk mail, you contribute to a greener and more sustainable planet. 78% of U.S. consumers say that leading a sustainable lifestyle is important, and nearly 80% say they consider sustainability when making purchases. With numbers like this, a virtual mailbox can also be a compelling branding opportunity! 

However, the importance of credibility isn’t limited to consumers. It matters to search engines, too. In fact, as mentioned earlier, Google won’t even let you create a business profile with a P.O. Box address. 

Having a real physical address can also be invaluable for establishing partnerships with other businesses. In addition to boosting your professionalism and credibility, it can help localize your small business and make you more visible to nearby customers. 

Fewer restrictions and limitations

While P.O. boxes can be useful, they also have limitations. For starters, many entities — including FedEx, DHL, and UPS — do not deliver to P.O. boxes. If you need to be able to accept mail from all providers, this can be a major hassle.

Furthermore, you can’t incorporate a business in the U.S. with a P.O. Box address. A physical mail address is also required to file tax reports and to open up bank accounts in some states. 

Finally, P.O. Boxes can’t perform many of the functions of a virtual mailbox provider, including digitizing your mail, shredding and recycling it, and more. 

Benefits of a virtual mailbox

Now that we’ve established the potential drawbacks of P.O. Boxes, that brings us to the advantages of virtual mailboxes, including: 

Remote mail management

Imagine managing all of your physical mail online from the comfort of your home office — without dealing with all of the manual sorting and filing of physical paper mail.

Not only will you save time through digitization, but you’ll also be able to cut daily P.O. Box runs out of your daily schedule. 

Same-day processing 

Given the vast amount of junk mail received every day, mail management is often a task that gets avoided and delayed. However, this can mean that important mail gets overlooked. 

Virtual mailboxes allow for same-day opening and processing, and digitize mail to extract key information that helps you quickly and easily identify time-sensitive or business-critical mail. 

Some virtual mailbox services like Stable will also notify you when mail is received, scanned, and forwarded, so you know the exact state of your mail at all times. 

Digitized mail 

Virtual mailbox services include many powerful time-saving features, starting with opening, scanning, and extracting key information from postal mail. 

Additional automations like tags, notifications, search, collaboration tools, and API integrations can help you further optimize your workflow. 

Check depositing services

From increased operational efficiency to faster availability of funds, mobile remote check depositing has many benefits in general. When built into your virtual mailbox system, these advantages are amplified — especially for businesses that handle dozens (or hundreds) of checks every week.

Cost efficiency

Many virtual mailbox options are cheaper than what you’d pay for a physical P.O. Box. This can make a world of difference in a small business where every cent counts and ROI is critical. 

6 top virtual mailbox options for small businesses

Wondering which virtual mailbox service is right for you? Here’s a roundup of six of the best virtual mailbox options for small businesses.

1. Stable

Stable offers a wide range of virtual mailbox services, including options for receiving mail and packages, opening and scanning, forwarding, storing, shredding, and recycling junk mail, and virtual business addresses in five prestigious metropolitan cities across the U.S. (San Francisco, CA; New York City, NY; Dover, DE; Austin, TX; and Miami, FL). 

As one of the only virtual mailbox services that offers registered agent services in all 50 states and U.S. territories, Stable can help your small business achieve (and maintain) compliance with ease. With registered agent services, you are notified immediately if you need to take action with a government agency — which you can do right from Stable's intuitive online dashboard.

All of Stable's plans include free unlimited envelope and mail content scans, unlimited mail reception, and unlimited recipients. With Stable, small business owners can also leverage automations (like automatic check depositing) to save valuable time and resources.

Key features and benefits

  • Guided change of address assistance
  • Can accept shipments from any carrier (including USPS, FedEx, UPS)
  • Mail receipt and opening with high-quality automated scanning, forwarding, and check deposits
  • Notifications and tagging for tracking mail and packages
  • Collaborative tools for sharing, viewing, and handling
  • Registered agent services in all 50 states
  • Central platform containing all digitized (and encrypted) documents 
  • Hands-on onboarding, including pre-filling the requisite USPS 1583 form on file to ensure compliance 
  • Transparent pricing with no additional or hidden fees
  • Speedy turnaround times (typically within a single business day) 

2. VirtualPostMail (VPM)

Rather than dealing with the inconvenience of a P.O. Box or depending on family and friends to keep up with your mail, VirtualPostMail puts mail management at your fingertips — from wherever you are in the world.

However, with limited locations in California, Nevada, and Delaware, VirtualPostMail lacks the location variety of many other virtual mailbox services.

Key features and benefits

  • Mail scanning and uploading to online mailbox for easy remote mail monitoring and management
  • Check depositing services for fast access to incoming funds
  • Deleting and mail shredding for optimal security
  • Scalable pricing options

3. iPostal1

Suitable for viewing and managing personal or business mail remotely, iPostal1 is a standard digital mailbox service for receiving, forwarding, local pickup, and discarding mail and packages.

With iPostal1, you’ll receive a PDF scan of the exterior of every mail item you receive. Depending on the plan you choose, additional features and functionalities are included. One especially handy feature lets you compare real-time shipping rates and times from a variety of carriers to find the option that works best for you.

Key features and benefits

  • Choose of more than 2,500 real physical addresses/mailbox locations in 50 states as well as internationally
  • Forward mail and packages to ANY address that you choose
  • High-quality document scanning, mail and package forwarding, as well as package consolidation
  • Decide from a range subsequent actions after viewing each scanned item
  • Virtual Office plans include business phone number + fax option
  • Contacts Manager with unlimited address book entries

4. Anytime Mailbox

Offering services at more than 1,900 real street address/physical locations (including most major cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York), this cloud-based platform lets you access your mail anytime from anywhere on any device.

While Anytime Mailbox is one of the most bare-bones mail forwarding services, it’s also one of the most affordable making it a decent choice for small businesses on tight budgets.

Key features and benefits

  • Choose from a global network of addresses in the city/state of your choice
  • Opening and scanning mail as high-quality PDF files
  • Mail and package forwarding to your chosen address
  • Check deposit services available at select locations for some price plans
  • Free unlimited online storage grows with your business

5. US Global Mail

A popular choice with expats and others living abroad, this affordable mail forwarding and virtual mailbox solution lets you scan, shred, print, and ship mail — all from your virtual mailbox.   

Unlike many other services offering plans on a monthly basis, US Global Mail is limited to 45 free days of physical mail storage and 90 days of free digital mail storage. Additionally, only one name can be included with an account.

Key features and benefits

  • Quickly and easily read scanned mail online
  • Save mail to the cloud, or opt to print and/or ship it to your chosen location
  • Instant real-time access with industry-leading security
  • Flexible plans at variety of price points
  • 100 percent guarantee to ensure your satisfaction

6. Earth Class Mail

Earth Class Mail automates labor intensive processes (while still retaining complete control over your mail and packages) like sorting, opening, scanning, and check deposit with their virtual MailBox and MailRoom services. 

Their U.S.-based customer support is quick to resolve issues and easy to get in touch with, and with 80 virtual address locations, Earth Class Mail offers plenty of flexibility for businesses and individuals nationwide. 

Key features and benefits

  • Secure shredding to protect personal, private, and sensitive information
  • In addition to basic scanning and forwarding, Earth Class also lets you schedule and/or delay forwarding for an additional level of control and convenience
  • Save money by consolidating multiple mail and packages into one shipment, including the ability to add new items to pending shipments
  • Integrations including, Google Drive, Dropbox, Quickbooks, and others
  • Accept mail and packages from all carriers, including USPS, UPS, and FedEx
  • Mobile app

Experience the convenience of managing your business mail with Stable's virtual mailbox

Trusted by more than 1,300 small businesses, startups, and other modern companies, Stable is not just one of the best mail forwarding services — it has all the features and functionalities you need to put the power of a digital mailbox to work for your small business.

When it comes to simplifying operations and focusing your efforts where they matter most, Stable can’t be beat. 

Save your small business time, money, and energy with Stable: Open your virtual mailbox today.

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