Thursday, July 19, 2018

How To Choose The Right Commercial Mailbox

Finding the right mailbox for your commercial business or residential area can seem overwhelming. That’s why today we’re going to break down the 5 things you need to take into consideration when shopping for centralized mailboxes.

1. Keep Parcels In Mind

Amazon Prime sent 5 billion packages in 2017, and that’s only Amazon. With so much ecommerce business in the modern world, parcel delivery is something you have to consider when choosing CBUs.

You can choose to invest in CBUs with parcel lockers built in, or you can buy individual parcel lockers that are separate. Parcel lockers, whether built-in or not, are designed to hold most parcels easily and securely. These parcel lockers easily hold larger parcels, though oversized parcels will likely be unable to fit.

Adding one parcel locker per ten tenant compartments is now required for new construction, so keep that in mind.

2. Make Sure Mailboxes Have Security Features

Ensuring that all mail arrives to tenants safely needs to be your highest priority. Our CBUs are constructed from stainless steel and durable aluminum t0 prevent theft and vandalism.

You’ll want to invest in mailboxes that include lock cams, reduced pry points, wrapped hinges, security locks developed by the USPS, and closed master doors. All of these features will help prevent theft.

3. Consider Price

Cluster box units are a single secure unit. This makes them both easy and inexpensive to install compared to other mailbox options.

They also require less space than other types of mailboxes, because you are able to create one space along a wall or outside to have these units installed.

4. Buy For The Elements

Make sure the mailbox you choose is weather resistant. You’ll want a mailbox that is also resistant to corrosion and rust. Even if your mailboxes will be relatively protected from the elements, having these extra protections will make your mailbox last longer, saving you more money.

5. Getting Replacement Parts Is Easy

Tenants are going to lose their keys and there is no avoiding it, so make sure you invest in a CBU that makes replacing keys and locks easy.

For example, we provide 3 keys with our mailboxes making it very easy for you to replace them should a key be lost.

Friday, June 22, 2018

How To Easily Fix That Leaning Mailbox Post

There’s plenty of reasons your mailbox post may be leaning. It could be due to severe weather, age, or just improper installation. A leaning mailbox decreases curve appeal and is simply a pain to deal with. Luckily, fixing this problem isn’t too tough.

1.      Wedge Materials Next To Post

If you are positive that the post isn’t rotted or broken, you may be able to simply wedge materials such as rocks or sand around the hole of the post to help the post stand straight. This should help to straighten the post.

2.      Remove Leaning Post From Ground

Generally, we recommend removing the post from the ground to look for hidden damage. The problem may be something as simple as the initial hole not being dug deeply enough, but it’s better to check. If the post is packed using concrete, you’ll need to break the surface to get it out.

3.      Assess The Damage

You may need to invest in a new mailbox post if your current one is too damaged. Rotten wood and broken parts need to be replaced; simply burying the damaged mailbox post again will not solve the problem in the long run.

4.      Prepare Mailbox Post Hole

To make sure your mailbox stays standing straight for years to come, you have to ensure the hole you bury the post in is prepared correctly. The hole should be about two feet deep and roughly one foot in diameter. Add a layer of gravel to the bottom of the hole help keep the water damage to your mailbox post minimal.

5.      Place Post Into Ground

Place the post into the ground, using soil to keep the post in place. Make sure the post is level before you begin to pack the hole. Be sure to pack the soil tightly so your mailbox doesn’t move.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive

May 12th is the annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive! On May 12th letter carriers will do more than drop off and collect mail; they’ll be collecting food donations as well. All food donations will be delivered to Hunger Task Force or the local food bank in your area.

Today we want to answer some questions we’ve heard about this amazing event so you’re ready for the big day!

Are all locations participating?

While the majority of post offices and letter carriers will be accepting donations, this is a voluntary event so not all locations will be participating. You can always call your local post office to see if they are taking part in the event.

Where do I put the food?

Set your non-perishable food in a bag outside by your mailbox, and make sure to do so well before your mail is usually delivered. You can set it beside your mailbox, on your mailbox, or in front of your mailbox, just make sure it is visible.

What if it rains?

Your local letter carrier will be delivering the mail no matter the weather, so don’t worry about it. Plastic bags are better at repelling water than cloth bags, so you may want to consider using them in case of bad weather.

My friend got a postcard and food donation bag and I didn’t. Does that mean I can’t donate?

Not necessarily. Some post offices may work with local groups to create marketing materials for the food drive. We still recommend checking to see if your local area is taking donations.

What types of food need to be donated the most?

Items that food banks usually are looking for the most include canned meat, pasta, rice, canned fruits, canned vegetables, soup, beans, oatmeal, and cereal. Try to donate healthier items when possible.

What should I not donate?

Any food that is perishable should not be donated such as fresh fruits and vegetables. Please don’t donate home-canned items as these cannot be accepted. Do not donate expired food or food that has damaged packaging, as it will not be allowed to be given away.

Can I donate if I have a CBU?

Yep, just leave your donation in front of your CBU like you would any other mailbox!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Since 2006, new construction and major renovations require STD-4C compliant mailbox systems. What this means is that 4C horizontal mailboxes and parcel lockers must be installed during new construction and major renovations, pending a discussion with your local Growth Manager. These mailboxes are flatter than previous models and incorporate stand-alone parcel locker options. At least one parcel locker must be present for every ten tenant compartments, but are not required for units containing less than ten tenant compartments.

While new construction requires the use of 4C units, mailboxes that are being replaced may be able to use 4B+ or vertical units. It’s best to check with your local postmaster before you complete a renovation project.

What is a Major Renovation?

A major renovation occurs anytime the wall is being modified where existing wall-mounted units are installed. In other words, if the rough opening of the wall is being changed, this would constitute as a major renovation.

If that rough opening will be remaining the same, you are not required to convert to STD-4C mailboxes.

STD-4C Requirements

There are certain mailbox specifications that must be met in order for you to comply with the USPS guidelines.

·        12”W x 15”D x 3”H is the minimum size requirement
·        1 parcel locker required for every 10 tenant compartments
·        ADA compliant
·        Increased security requirements
·        Improved tenant compartment lock design
·        Testing requirements to see if unit is suitable for indoor/outdoor use

You can find the full details on the USPS website.

Residential Applications

While the USPS prefers the most efficient mode of delivery, not all new residential developments must comply to the centralized delivery system standard. When building, connect with the local USPS Growth Manager to go over the specifics of your project.

Homes being built in more rural areas, for example, are not likely to be required to meet the CBU guidelines. There is no strict mandate when it comes to the size of the development property, so be sure to touch base with a Growth Manager.

The Postal Service will consider input from all parties involved in the planning process before issuing a final decision about mailboxes and mailbox placement.

Mailbox Approval

Email to identify your coordinator and get in contact them before you finalize any of your building plans.

The USPS will not start mail delivery until your coordinator has approved not only the mode of delivery but the location of the mailboxes. While they will work with you during all stages of development, we recommend speaking with them early in the process.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Care Package Ideas For Adults

Why should it only be kids away at camp and young adults at college who get care packages? Whether you want to send something to a friend going through a hard time, a stressed out family member, or your favorite co-worker, everyone will be surprised and excited to discover an unexpected care package at their door.

What types of things should you put in a care package? That’s going to depend entirely on the person you are sending a care package to. When deciding to send a care package, here are some things to keep in mind:

·        What hobbies do they have?
·        What type of items do they love?
·        What is their favorite color?
·        What season/holiday is their favorite?
·        What needs do they have that you can meet with a package?

Below you’ll find some of our favorite ideas for care packages that you can use and customize to meet your loved one’s specific needs.

For The Coffee Lover…

Choose a favorite brand of coffee or a local brand of coffee to share. Include disposable coffee cups and sleeves for a coffee shop feel. Add some coffee creamer, sugar packets, and some type of packaged treat like a muffin to go with the coffee.

For The Sick…

Send items that are going to help them fight off their illness or make them comfortable. Travel tissue packs, tasty cough drops, soothing tea, and soup are all really good options for this. You may consider sending a DVD so they have something new to watch while they lay around.

For The Fitness Minded…

Add some healthy, energizing snacks such as protein bars and nuts. An instant heat pack is great for sore muscles. Send along a pair of gym socks or a water bottle (or both). An athletic towel is another great item that will always be appreciated.

For The Movie Lover…

As you may guess, DVDs are the first thing we suggest for this one. Maybe it’s an old favorite, maybe it’s a new release, or maybe it’s genre-specific! No matter what kind of movies you choose, make sure you include some microwave popcorn, boxes of candy, and maybe even a free Redbox code!

For The Traveler…

Have a loved one who adores travel? As amazing as travel can be, the flights can be miserable. Include some fun gifts for the plane such as candy, an adult coloring book, and puzzle books. Ear plugs and eye masks are great for sleeping on a plane. Consider including a travel notebook/journal so they can chronicle their experiences!

For The Stressed…

Stress can come into our lives for tons of reasons, but the items to relieve that stress can remain the same. Send relaxing tea, bubble bath, chocolate, and maybe a gift card to a takeout restaurant so they can skip cooking for a day.

For The Spa Lover…

Give your loved one a day at the spa without leaving home! Send along some tea lights, bath salts, sugar scrubs, and facemasks! Adding in some fluffy towels or slippers makes this care package even more special. You could also get extra fancy and send along a manicure or pedicure kit.

For The Loved One Fighting Cancer…

While a less happy occasion, a care package to a loved one suffering from cancer will be greatly appreciated. Some of our suggestions are warm socks/blankets, lip balm, lotion (unscented), nausea-fighting candy, a journal, magazines, and gas cards.

Friday, February 2, 2018

CBU Maintenance

CBUs are common in apartments, condos, subdivisions, and more. But how do you maintain these mailboxes, and who is responsible for maintaining them?

Unfortunately the answer isn’t a simple one. Landlords will state it is the responsibility of the US Postal Service, but the Post Office will say it is the responsibility of the customer. But who is the customer? Is it the tenants? The landlord?

Speaking to the landlord of the building is usually your best bet, so until you’re sure you have to pay to repair it, don’t do it. According to the USPS rulebook it is the customer that is responsible for all mailbox maintenance. This means if something is wrong with a CBU, the USPS will stop delivering mail until the problem has been fixed.

But if you do need to take some responsibility for CBUs, how do you do it?

First off, mailboxes need to be kept clean. All you need to keep a CBU clean is a soft cloth and a mild detergent. All you have to do is wipe down the CBU to clean off dirt, grass, and more. Rinse it off after and let it dry, so avoid doing this when it is damp outside.

But at the same time be sure to avoid using abrasive cleaners. These cleaners can cause damage to the surface of the CBU. You also want to make sure to not clean the CBU during extreme temperatures, particularly when it’s very cold. You’ll end up with a CBU covered in ice, so we don’t advise it.

CBUs that are installed in climates that see winter weather need additional maintenance. The area around the CBU needs to be cleared of snow. If the locks freeze on the CBU a de-icer will need to be used.

If your CBU is in a costal climate that brings another host of concerns. It can be very damp on the coast leading to large buildups of dirt and mineral salts on your cluster box unit. This does mean you will have to clean your CBUs on a more regular basis.

What if your CBU is tagged with graffiti? Use a petroleum-based solvent to clean it up. Please make sure you test the cleaner first before you apply it to the entire CBU. You also don’t want to leave these stronger chemicals on your CBU for very long. Once you’ve cleaned off graffiti rinse off the residue with a more mild cleaner and then rinse everything off with water.

One downside of CBUs is that there can sometimes be a buildup of trash surrounding CBUs. People may toss junk mail aside or drop garbage while getting their mail. Consider setting up a garbage can and recycling bin to prevent this from happening.

If a key to a tenant or parcel door is lost, do not attempt to pry open the door. This is illegal and Postal workers will not deliver mail to a mailbox that is not secure. Arrange for a replacement.

Overall the maintenance required for a CBU is very low. These are durable units designed to withstand the wear and tear of daily use outdoors. Giving them minor maintenance as needed will help them to last even longer.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Keep Mailboxes Clear

As annoying as snow can be for you, it is much more annoying for letter carriers, who have to work in the snow day after day. Whether you have a residential mailbox or a CBU, it’s important you keep your mailbox clear of snow and ice so it is safe for mail delivery. Mailboxes that are covered in snow are also at a higher risk of being damaged by snowplows. Save yourself and your local USPS workers some headaches by keeping your mailbox clear.

·        Clear the area around your mailbox so your letter carrier has plenty of room to get to it.
·        If you have a curbside mailbox, clear the road directly in front of your mailbox. Make sure your mailbox is visible.
·        If letter carriers must climb a porch to get to your mailbox, keep your porch clear of snow. If your porch is painted it may be extra slippery, so be sure to salt it or put down mats to make it less hazardous.
·        Keep a light on outside of your house in the evening so letter carriers can see potential hazards on your property.
·        Take turns with your neighbors clearing the area around CBUs if you have one.
·        Keep a can of deicer on hand in case the locks of your CBU freeze.
·        Keep walkways to your mailbox shoveled and salted so letter carriers don’t need to walk through the snow to get to your mailbox.
·        If there is a blue collection box near or on your property, shovel it as well.
·        Do not shovel the snow from around your mailbox into the road, as this creates hazardous conditions.
·        If you park on the street, keep your vehicle parked far enough away from mailboxes so they’re out of the way of the Postal workers.

·        Attach a flag or some other type of item to your mailbox so it is easier for letter carriers and snow plows to see.