If you're closing your business for a vacation or otherwise won't have a safe way to get mail for a period of time, both the United States Postal Service and FedEx offer ways to put a hold on your mail. You can easily request mail holds online for free for both services and specify your start and stop dates. When the hold period expires, you'll usually get all your held business mail delivered at once, but picking it up in person at a local post office or FedEx location is also an option.

How Mail Holds Work

When you request a mail hold through USPS, you can choose a period between three and 30 days; if it is any longer than that, USPS requires that you put in a mail forwarding request so you can receive mail at another address. The mail hold will apply to anybody at the address specified and doesn't apply to PO Boxes since those give you a 30-day limit for picking up mail anyway. During the hold period, you can still go and get your mail at the post office, but this action will cancel your hold.

FedEx allows you to request a vacation hold of up to 14 days. However, this hold just applies to FedEx Ground and Express packages, so other services will still deliver to your location. Alternatively, you can request a FedEx "hold at location" at Walgreens, a FedEx Store or another authorized shipping center if you just need a specific package held for up to one week.

After your USPS or FedEx mail hold period ends, you'll start receiving your mail normally again. If you didn't opt to pick up items in person, you can expect to have all your missed items delivered at once.

Requesting a USPS Mail Hold

Putting in your mail hold request through the USPS website offers the easiest method, and you can find the option through the "Hold Mail" section in the site's "Quick Tools" menu. You'll need to log in to your USPS account and click the "Check Availability" button to ensure your location qualifies for this option. You can then put in your start and end dates for the mail hold, specify whether you want to pick up the mail or have it delivered in bulk and then fill in any additional instructions. The "Schedule Hold Mail" button will let you submit the hold request.

If you want to put in a stop mail request at your local post office, ask an employee at the counter for a paper copy of PS Form 8076, Authorization to Hold Mail. You'll fill in your contact information, start and end hold dates and specify how you'll get the mail once the period expires. You can then hand the form to the post office attendant to submit your request.

Calling the USPS customer service line at 1-800-275-8777 will also allow you to request a mail hold. Listen to the automated system's instructions, press "3" for mail options and then say "hold." You'll go through further prompts to get information and put in your mail hold request.

Requesting a FedEx Mail Hold

Requesting a FedEx mail hold requires signing up for a free FedEx Delivery Manager account through the shipping company's website. Once you've created one, you can log in and see a page with your contact information and delivery addresses. Select the "View/Edit" link beside your address to expand the options and click the link under "Vacation Hold." You can then set the begin and end dates and click "Save" to submit the hold request.

To have a specific FedEx package held for pickup somewhere, track the package as usual and look for a "Customize Delivery" button on the tracking page. If it's available for that shipment, you'll see an option to hold the item at a FedEx location you specify.