If you travel full-time, long-term, or even just find yourself moving a lot and hate changing your mailing address, you may benefit from using a virtual mailing service.
Updated For 2018: Latest rates and details below!
Virtual Mailing Service Basics
A virtual mailing service gives you a physical address, to which you can direct all your mail and set as your permanent address. In many cases there is even a physical person there who can sign for packages.
When you receive mail, the virtual mailing service will alert you to its arrival by emailing you a scan of the envelope. You can then direct them to do any of the following:
- Open the letter, scan the contents, and email them to you
- Forward the letter to your current address
- Recycle or shred the letter
Many virtual mailing services offer a series of extra perks (usually for extra fees), such as depositing cheques to your bank account, fax services, and more.
Why Use a Virtual Mailing Service?
If you’re living or traveling abroad and don’t want to burden a friend/family member to receive and sort your mail, or if said friend/family member moves too often for it to be convenient, a virtual mailing service might be your answer.
Even if you’re not abroad, but are running an online business and want to convey the appearance of having a physical office (with a prestigious address), you can find a virtual mailing service that also has full office services like dedicated phone numbers answered by a receptionist, meeting spaces, and more.
Virtual Mailing Service Fees
Fees for using a virtual mailing service vary greatly, dependent largely on the amount of mail you receive. In most cases there is a monthly fee, with additional charges to forward mail/packages, deposit cheques, and receive/scan letters above the monthly quota.
Finding a Virtual Mailing Service
There are a lot of virtual mailing services out there; more by the day. The best way to find the perfect one for you is to search for “virtual mailing service + [your country]”. Here is a selection of virtual mailing services that I found through the grapevine and with a few basic searches:
Earth Class Mail is arguably the industry leader in virtual mailing services, and their target clients are businesses, with a full suite of services. Most people I know who use them also complain about the cost.
Fees: From $10/month
This is the only virtual mailing service I found with no monthly fee; they simply charge you for what comes in and what you want to do with it. And the prices seem quite reasonable.
Fees: Pay-as-you-go – 60 GBP/month
Regus offers full virtual office services around the world, of which virtual mail handling is just one service.
Fees: From $37/month
These guys are taking over the world, slowly! As of the latest update of this post, they’re in nine countries.
Determining What You Need
Once you’ve window-shopped a few virtual mailing services, you’ll become familiar with the terminology and pricing options. With a large range of monthly packages, it’s now time to determine the best option.
Here are some questions to ask:
- How much mail do I receive on average monthly? (This will determine the package you choose; the less mail you get, the cheaper it is)
- Can I reduce the physical mail I get by signing up for online statements?
- How often do I need my mail forwarded to me?
- Do I get cheques that need depositing? (Not all virtual mailing services can do this).
- Can my address be a PO box? (Some virtual mailing services show your address as a PO box, which some organizations won’t accept or ship to).
Have you ever used a virtual mailing service? Which service was it, and how was your experience?