A mail drop is a commercial mail receiving agency. It provides a secure address, which is recognized and registered by the U.S. Postal Service as a receiver of mail. It’s manned and is good for small businesses. Some advantages are: You can have your express packages signed for; you can work from home, give clients a street address and keep your actual home location private; you can travel and arrange for mail-drop services to forward your mail. Many mail-drops offer additional business services, such as fax receiving.

Choose your mail drop. Considerations might include convenient parking, proximity to your home and proximity to a place you regularly visit, like a grocery store. You can search for mail drops on the Web. Try the term “Private Mail Box.”

Visit your mail drop and make contact with the owner or manager. Many are privately owned because they are franchises, despite the appearance of a national chain.

Discuss your requirements and find out availability. The boxes themselves are quite expensive to install and a particularly popular mail drop may be full, so find out if there’s a waiting list for a box. The advantage of a box is that you can pick up your mail after hours in many cases.

Complete form PS1583. A link is in the References section of this article. It’s the application the Postal Service needs whereby you agree the mail drop can receive your mail. Read it carefully as it explains some onerous conditions, including that, if you move, the Postal Service won’t forward your mail once you’ve started using a mail drop. It also explains that the mail drop doesn’t provide full anonymity and that the Postal Service can disclose your real address under certain circumstances.


Recent regulation requires you to use the designator PMB or Private Mail Box and not Suite as was customary in the past. This is ostensibly to reduce fraud, as a sender can identify they are sending to a receiving agent. But some people argue that the Postal Service introduced this requirement to make mail drops less attractive and that it is an attempt to fend off competition.