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An “out-of-office” message handles your work e-mail while you’re traveling. But what about the physical mail that piles up in the mailbox while you’re on a business trip or vacation? With a little advance notice, the U.S. Postal Service can help by temporarily putting a hold on mail delivery so packages and letters are securely stashed, and travelers don’t return home to overstuffed mailboxes.
How to Request Hold Mail Service
Before you request “hold mail” service, first check to make sure it’s available in your area. Check online at the U.S. Postal Service’s website to see if the service is available in your zip code. The postal service will hold all mail for the address, rather than just one individual’s mail.
An address can only have one “hold mail” service scheduled at a time.
To request a mail hold, call 1-800-ASK-USPS or complete a “hold mail” form at the post office. You can make the request up to 30 days in advance or as early as the next-scheduled delivery day.
The postal service will hold mail from three to 30 days. You can either pick up your mail from the post office or have it delivered to your home upon your return.
When to Forward Mail
The postal service only holds mail for 30 days, so if you’re going to be away for longer, have your mail forwarded to your temporary location. A “Premium Forwarding” service is offered that forwards all mail from a permanent address to a temporary address. The mail is forwarded on a weekly basis for a minimum of two weeks and a maximum of one year.
The post office charges for the Premium Forwarding service. As of 2018, the enrollment fee is $20.10 (or $18.45 if you do it online) and $20.10 for each week of service. The postal office holds mail, packages it, and then ships it each week via Priority Mail Service. This service can help snowbirds, college students and individuals with an extended family care situation.
Monitor Mail With Informed Delivery
If you’re traveling for a short period of time, keep track of your mail with the postal service’s “Informed Delivery” program. The free program allows subscribers to preview the mail and packages that are scheduled to arrive, which is helpful if you’re tracking a package or waiting for a specific piece of mail. Informed Delivery gives you a greyscale image of the exterior, address side of letters, and it also tracks packages. To sign up for the program, visit the U.S. Postal Service online to make sure it’s available in your zip code.
You can request that the United States Postal Service (USPS) put your mail on hold if you need to temporarily suspend mail delivery due to vacation, business travel, hospital stays or other absences from your residence. When you have the post office hold your mail, it is kept safe and no one will need to retrieve it from your mailbox while you are away. Different methods are available through the post office for you to submit your request to hold mail.
Decide when and for how long you want the post office to hold your mail.
The US post office will only hold mail for a minimum of 3 to a maximum of 30 days.
You must assign a starting and ending date to have mail held. Your mail carrier will not deliver mail on the starting date. Mail delivery will resume on the ending date.
Determine when to submit your hold mail request. You may not submit a request to hold mail more than 14 days in advance. If you submit your request over the phone or in person, the soonest date the request can take effect is 1 day in advance. Online requests submitted before 2 a.m. CST will take effect the same day.
Choose a method for requesting the USPS to hold your mail. You can submit your request to hold mail online, in person, or over the phone.
Submit your request online.
Go to the USPS website and select the option “Hold Mail” under the menu “Manage Your Mail.”
Enter your zip code into the designated field and click “Go.” Not all areas of the country have hold mail submission forms available online. If your area has access to the online form, the hold mail form webpage will load.
Fill in the empty fields with your personal information. You will need to provide your name, address, the beginning and ending dates for when you want the post office to hold your mail, and you will need to choose a method for receiving the accumulated mail.
Choose to have your carrier deliver the accumulated mail at the ending date if you do not want to pick up your mail from the post office.
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Check the box to pick up mail at the post office if you want to get your mail in person.
Submit the completed form.
Print out the confirmation page for your records. Note your confirmation number as you will need to enter it if you want to edit or cancel your hold mail request online or over the phone.
Make your hold mail request over the phone.
Call the USPS customer service number Monday through Saturday.
Provide your personal information, start and end date you want the post office to hold mail, and your preferred method for receiving the accumulated mail at the end date.
Record your confirmation number, and place it in a safe place in case you wish to change or cancel your request to hold your mail.
Complete a hold mail request in person.
Go to your local post office during business hours.
Fill out PS Form 8076.
Submit the completed form to the clerk at the front desk. Keep the confirmation number for your hold mail request.
Edit or cancel your hold mail request if needed.
Have your confirmation number available. Enter the number if editing your request online, or provide the confirmation number to a customer service representative if you are changing your request over the phone or in person.
Update any personal information that may be incorrect, the start and ending dates for hold mail service, and/or the method for receiving accumulated mail.
Chances are, besides the holidays, you don’t send too many cards or letters at once. But that changes when it comes time for wedding invitations.While you may be turning to Pinterest for planning or Facebook to organize your wedding party get-togethers, research shows most couples still send classic paper invitations. Wedding-etiquette blog The Knot, for example, always suggests sending paper invitations, despite the size or formality of the wedding, since it helps makes the event more special.We know a common problem soon-to-be-newlyweds face is determining how much postage is needed on their wedding mail. To help you budget properly (and avoid winding up at the Post Office with too much or too little postage) we have a quick guide to help you determine how much you need.
Remember: invites and save-the-date cards often weigh more than a typical 1-ounce piece of mail covered by a Forever stamp. Invitations and/or save-the-dates that use heavy card stock, or include RSVP envelopes, will often need extra postage.If you don’t have a scale to weigh your pieces yourself, you can always drop by a local Post Office with a sample to have it weighed.The chart above also details the dimensions of a “standard” envelope. However, if your mail pieces are square, or extra rigid (like a magnet), among some other factors, it may necessitate a 22-cent surcharge.There’s no need to worry, though. There are lots of options to cover the difference, including customized postage. One of the simplest choices is our 2-ounce stamp option for heavier or non-standard envelopes, specially designed with weddings in mind.This year, we released Vintage Rose and Tulip Forever stamps (which also come as a regular Forever stamp option for RSVPs and other mailing needs).There are many others to choose from, too!Most invitations sent using postage should arrive to your loved ones within a few days of sending. However, keep in mind non-standard pieces that can’t be processed on our machines may take a bit longer. Either way, it is best to make sure to build in enough time for your guests to receive and respond.Do you have other questions on mailing your wedding invitations and save the dates? Leave them in the comments below. Also, please feel free to share pictures of your wedding mail on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest using #USPSWeddingMail.
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Shipping and distribution can be one of the most challenging aspects of running a business for many entrepreneurs – and when it comes to international shipping, there can be even more variables ultimately post office hours affecting your business. That’s why it’s critical to make sure you have all the information you need to make an informed choice when it comes to selecting an international shipping partner.Shipping internationally can be an expensive part of your business. For example, international commercial shipments may be subject to special duties and taxes that will vary depending on the country receiving the shipment, the method of shipment, the cost of the product being shipped, and other factors. The good news is, most international shipping vendors have representatives who will meet with business owners to review needs and explain options.International Shipping TipsWhether you’re new to international shipping or already have a system in place, take a look at these five tips for maximizing your approach:1 – Expand Your Business Reach: Choose a vendor that can provide insight into growing international markets, which will help you expand your customer base, ship confidently and cultivate more sales. At the U.S. Postal Service, you can select four different international services when you print and ship, including Global Express Guaranteed®, Priority Mail Express International®, Priority Mail International® and First-Class Package International Service®—all of which offer delivery to about 180 countries.2 – Remove the Guessing: One of the biggest problems business owners face is predicting the size, weight and shipping costs of their merchandise. How do you know that you are getting the best shipping deal for you and your customers? Research the possibilities and acquaint yourself with shipping options to meet your business needs. Taking the time to understand what is out there in terms of shipping can be a money-saving opportunity.3 – Consider the Size: Take a step back and look at your shipping habits. Often, you’re able to actually reduce the physical size of your shipped merchandise or to select packaging that closely matches the size of the items being shipped. Measure exact dimensions of your product and then check which packaging materials will be most efficient.4 – Take Advantage of International Shipping Tools Offered: The U.S. Postal Service uses its USPS® Global Shipping Software, which guides you through the shipping process by helping you create mailing labels, customs forms, postage statements and much more. These tools may be your only connection to your goods once they leave your us postal service tracking number business and travel across the world.5 – Delivery Services & Business Growth: Make sure you choose a shipping company that can handle your business’ growth. Your company deserves to have all of the support it needs to flex with your ever-changing demands. Talk to a shipping representative to find out how you can quickly change your shipping options if demand increases or decreases. This will allow you to know your options.