One of the enduring headaches for digital nomads is the receiving of mail as you move around the world’s tropical locales. Unfortunately, there is still a need to, occasionally, receive physical letters as some companies have not yet caught up with the shift towards email as a form of legal service. Thankfully, there are plenty of good options for mail management services for digital nomads available.
Personally, I have always attempted to avoid receiving physical mail as I would much rather someone actually email their documents. Regardless, there are times that I have no choice but to receive contracts or client documents and this can be problematic when I’m based in the Caribbean or Asia. Subsequently, I utilize the services of a reliable mail management service to receive and scan my important documents.
In this article, I will explain how I handle physical mail and how you can also do the same!
What is a Mail Management Service?
The traditional mail forwarding service was simply that…they collected mail on your behalf and forwarded it to you. In many cases, there was no ability to discard or screen mail, and you would regularly receive loads of junk mail which ended up costing significant amounts to have forwarded to you around the world. Additionally, mail often took weeks and weeks to be received and was often lost in the process.
The ”old” mail management service definitely solved the problem of having an actual address to have mail forwarded to. However, it was frustrating and costly, to say the least, and was highly inefficient. Subsequently, I quickly grew out of using such services and moved to more of a bespoke option for mail handling.
Modern Mail Scanning Services
In contrast, modern mail handling services all offer opening and scanning of mail which is then available for you to view online and, potentially, mark for destruction if it is unwanted. Subsequently, the inefficient forwarding of irrelevant and time-sensitive mail has largely ceased. I am now in a position where I can view my mail online whilst also choosing which to have forwarded to me and what to discard.
The reality is that less than 5% of the mail sent to me actually requires me to retain a physical copy of the document. From my experience, it has really only been contracts and client deeds that I have needed to retain physical copies of. The move towards a modern mail scanning service has definitely saved me significant time and money and is well worth investigating for any digital nomad.
Here is a comprehensive list of Mail Management Services that you may choose to utilise:
Panamail provides great scanning and mail handling services and allows you to access both a physical and Post Office box address. This means that you can handle mail of all types, including packages, with a professional address. The company will charge you around $250 a year for the privilege and will scan up to 10 pages of mail per month for that price. Additionally, Panamail can also offer you telephone answering services for an additional fee.
Panamail are a reliable Mail Management Service and if you are operating in the Panama region you should definitely considering using their services.
Travelling Mailbox has multiple addresses available throughout most of the continental United States and they have the added advantage of also not counting junk mail as part of your monthly allowance. Their costs of a virtual mailbox address start at around US$15 a month and typically includes up to 40 mail items a month including scanning.
However, do note that they are unable to offer actual Post Office Box services due to postal service regulations. Please also be aware that being US based means that they will likely request a significant amount of compliance and identity documents from you to open the account.
Regardless, for bang for buck they are an excellent option and provide reliable mail services in my personal experience.
Private Box is based in New Zealand and has physical presences in over 5 regional cities across the nation. They are a full serviced mail handler and also provide virtual reception and registered office services. As per the previous services, they will handle and scan mail for your perusal and their business plan starts at approximately NZ$49 a month.
Overall, Private Box provides a great service but is more expensive than many of the other options around the world. Opening an account is easy but you will need to provide identity documents and complete a compliance form.
The French Office provides a range of mail management services including both parcel handling and logistics. In short, they are a one stop shop for those looking to have both a business presence and the ability to receive both physical mail and packages within France.
As a customer, you will have the full ability to choose a Post Office Box and physical address in major metropolitan areas of France. The French Office provide scanning as well as forwarding services and automatically discard any advertising mail you might receive. Their basic plan starts at around 22.90 Euro a month and scales from there.
My Germany provides, what can almost be considered, bespoke mail services and can offer you almost anything you are looking for. They have a range of addresses available and also provide warehousing space for package receipt and storage if required. They are a full-service mail provider, and their prices start around the 30 Euro’s a month mark for basic mail receipt services.
The fabulous UK Postbox service provides you a full online post office service at very reasonable prices. They are able to offer a range of addresses and PO Box’s throughout the United Kingdom and provide the full range of mail management options. They will even let you send letters online that will be printed locally and mailed on your behalf. Prices start at around the GBP12.00 a month and increase from their depending on what you are specifically looking for.
Summary – Mail Management Services for Nomads
Ultimately, there is a myriad of services to choose from depending on what your specific needs are. However, today it is common for the full range of mail management services to be available for fairly limited costs depending on your jurisdiction of choice. It really depends on where you are operating your business from and the image that you wish to portray to the online world. Regardless, you will find some of the above options excellent alternatives for when you are ready to strike out and move towards becoming a nomad.
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