CALCURATES BLOG

Why and How to Restrict Shipping to P.O. Boxes

September 2021
restrict shipping to p.o. boxes
Nikolay Pasholok
Product Owner, Calcurates

How to Get Around not Shipping to P.O. boxes for Your E-commerce?

In the US and Canada, many carriers do not ship to p.o. boxes. The reason is that only USPS is allowed to ship to p.o. boxes. The rest of the carriers need to use USPS for the final stage of delivery or are restricted from shipping to p.o. boxes. It is important for e-commerce businesses not to allow their customers to choose shipping to p.o. boxes as a shipping option at the checkout.

Let's have a look at how to restrict shipping to post office boxes with Calcurates, shipping software for e-commerce stores. Once you log in to Calcurates, navigate to the shipping segment and choose your preferred address options HCR, RFD, P.O.B, Box, PO., P.O, and Route.

What are P.O. Boxes?

P.o. box is basically a lockable box at the post office where you can receive your mail. Each p.o. box has its unique number. You can rent p.o. box for your business if you do not want to receive mail at your home address. These postal boxes are available at all post offices and are accessible 24/7. The p.o. box can be of the size of the small drawer up to something larger where possibly a bigger package could be stored in.

How do P.O. Boxes Work?

P.O. boxes work in a very easy and simple way. First, choose a location nearby you or your work. And, then register this new address with the National Change of Address Program operated by the USPS. Your mail should be redirected to this address within a week or two. There are some p.o. box rules and regulations and those are that any person renting a p.o. box must be over 18 years old.

USPS does not limit you in terms of frequency or the size of the package, if the package you receive does not fit in the mailbox, USPS will simply place a key in your post office box which will grant you access to a bigger post office box at the office.

How Much Is P.O. Box?

The cost of the p.o. box depends on the size and the location where you rent your p.o. box in. When you apply for the p.o box you will have an option to select a 3, 6, and 12-month payment period. You will have to pay a rental fee and deposit. The payment will be tied to your credit or debit card, for international billing you can't use your credit card.

Let's compare USPS p.o. box rentals. The Market Dominant Box Size and fee for a 6-month period can range from $22.00 to $58.00. Competitive Box Size and fee for a 6-month period can be from $47.00 to $150.00. Have a look here for detailed USPS P.O. box pricing.
Calcurates Related Features
What Are the Benefits of a P.O. Box?
There are certain p.o. box benefits to renting one directly at the post office. Delivering mail to p.o. boxes provide speed, security, convenience, and anonymity.
  • Location
    Receive mail at any suitable location you choose.
  • Easy to Renew
    It is very easy to renew a p.o. box either online, in person, or by mail with a check attached.
  • Faster Delivery
    Usually, faster delivery as all the mails are distributed from the post office.
  • Business Expansion
    The perfect alternative to a physical address for businesses expanding to different areas.

What Are the P.O. Box Rules and Regulations?

Only USPS is allowed to ship p.o. boxes. Private shipping companies and carriers like FedEx, and UPS are prohibited from shipping to p.o. Boxes. However, some carriers might cooperate on the final delivery with the USPS carrier. Additionally, a person renting a p.o. box needs to be over 18 years old.

Shipping to P.O. Boxes Based on Carriers

All the major carriers need your physical address to ship mail and packages to you. Only USPS is allowed to ship to p.o. boxes. There are some exceptions though.

Can You Ship FedEx To a P.O. Box?

If you want to ship to p.o. boxes with FedEx, you will have to select FedEx SmartPost. This service by FedEx uses the USPS for the final stage of delivery. However, for international shipping to some countries outside of the US, you can use FedEx Express.

Does UPS Deliver To P.O. Box?

UPS doesn't deliver to p.o. boxes. If the shipper selects UPS delivery to p.o. box, there must be a valid telephone number of the recipient included on the package. The package will not be sent by any UPS service and will require a change of address to a physical one.

Does USPS Deliver To P.O. Box?

Yes, USPS is the main provider for shipping to p.o. boxes in the US. You can even send Priority Mail Express to p.o. box. Packages that are too big for the size of your rented p.o. box will be stored elsewhere at the post office for no additional charge.

How to Restrict P.O. Boxes As Shipping Addresses?

You can restrict shipping to p.o. boxes with Calcurates shipping software. Calcurates provides you with a preset Shipping Segment with conditions for address lines 1 and 2 that contain a set of regular expressions for p.o. boxes commonly used in the US and Canada: HCR, RFD, P.O.B, Box, PO., P.O, and Route. This Shipping Segment can be used as a condition for the Shipping Rule that restricts shipping to p.o. boxes.

If any of these restrictions are activated and the customer enters any of those conditions in address lines 1 or 2, the shipping method will not be available at the checkout and the explanatory message can be displayed to inform the customer about the P.O. box shipping restriction.

You can install Calcurates multi-carrier shipping extension for Magento, Shopify, or WooCommerce.
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