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Operators of small businesses rely on retail mailbox rental businesses to supply delivery addresses for commercial mail, and individuals often use mail service companies to maintain privacy. Additionally, professionals and entrepreneurs also use the mail service business for office support functions such as copy services, digital printing, and packing and shipping services. This is a low maintenance start-up business that requires a small amount of commercial storefront space to operate and provides valuable services to a cross section within a community.
Create a business plan as an operational blueprint. Here, identify viable market locations for the business and start assessing the competition. This will also be where the necessary equipment and supplies will be identified and initial start-up costs are calculated. Alternatively, consider opening a franchise such as Mail Boxes Etc. where all of this start-up information is provided in the franchise costs.
Complete preliminary start-up tasks such as identifying a business name that is not currently registered to another entity, identifying permit and license requirements from local and state government agencies, and estimating the type of business liability insurance that will be necessary.
Conduct market research on the potential location for the business. The storefront where the business is set up will be of great importance to the company's viability. Information about the demographics of the local population as well as the ability to generate foot traffic is important. Fortunately, this type of business requires a small amount of space to operate. Six hundred square feet will be sufficient.
Establish pricing, deposits and rental duration periods for mailboxes. Establish policies for 24-hour access to mailboxes, notice regarding special deliveries and large parcels, and mail forwarding. Obtain rights to become a site for drop-off and pickup for mail couriers such as UPS, DHL and FedEx.
Secure the mail service equipment and supplies. This will include individual locking mailboxes in small, medium and large sizes for customer use. Commercial mailboxes can be obtained from product providers such as Mailboxes or National Mailboxes. Business support services can be provided by obtaining office equipment such as a copier, computer, printer, fax, scanner and postal scales. Consider having an on-staff notary available for customers. Sell supplies such as stationery, envelopes and other office supplies.
Vanessa Cross has practiced law in Tennessee and lectured as an adjunct professor on law and business topics. She has also contributed as a business writer to news publications such as the "Chicago Tribune" and published in peer-reviewed academic journals. Cross holds a B.A. in journalism, a Juris Doctor and an LL.M. in international business law.