Many people prefer to use a PO box, rather than their physical address when they order things online.
Ordering online can sometimes be a scary business, especially when you don’t want to give out your address or location to strangers on the internet.
And even though sites like Etsy are well trusted and work with millions of customers every year, shoppers still like the added security of a PO box when they shop.
Can Etsy sellers ship to PO boxes?
An Etsy.com seller can ship to any location you give them as a shipping address – provided it is a valid address, big enough for your package, and accessible by mail delivery. Make sure your information is up to date and that you provide exact information for your PO box when ordering online.
If you’re uncomfortable using your own physical address when ordering online, consider these tips we’ve listed below!
Can Buyers Use a PO Box for Etsy?
Buyers can absolutely use a PO box when they buy from Etsy.com!
A PO box is a lockable mailbox that is located in your local post office or post office station. They are traditionally used to get mail when you’re on vacation, not available to receive mail at home, or if you like a little added privacy when buying or shipping things to yourself.
Because they are so common and easy to use, many people prefer to use PO boxes instead of their personal addresses.
In fact, packages are even delivered safely and more quickly when sent to a PO box, because it is directly connected to the post office.
Instead of leaving your new clothes, jewelry, handcrafted item, or artwork outside on your porch, you can get it sent to your warm, dry PO box!
What’s the Easiest Way to get a PO Box?
Setting up a PO box is as easy as going to the post office and giving them your information, but there are a few things to consider first:
A lot of people forget that they will have to pay money every month to rent a PO box. While this may be worrisome, don’t worry, because their prices are very low.
In fact, you can rent a PO box for as little as $10/month!
Just make sure to factor that cost into your monthly budget.
Location, Location, Location!
Next, you want to make sure that you know which location you want your PO box to be located in. This should be your primary consideration before getting one.
You can get a PO box locally, in another town, or even in another state! However, this will make it harder for you to actually get your packages.
Many people like to get one close to their place of work, as it is further from their home and offers an added benefit of privacy. Plus you can get your stuff on the way home from work!
You need to make sure that your box is big enough for your influx of mail – otherwise, you may not get all the mail you need as quickly as you would like, especially if you’re ordering large packages!
PO boxes come in a variety of sizes:
- X Small – (3″x 5.5″) generally fits letter-sized envelopes or magazines.
- Small – (5″ x 5.5″) can fit more letters and magazines at once but isn’t good for packages.
- Medium – (11″ x 5.5″) wide enough for large envelopes and small packages.
- Large – (11″ x 11″ ) can stack two shoebox-sized packages and have room for 10-15 regular letter envelopes.
- X Large – (22.5″ x 12″) biggest option for flat-rate boxes and packages.
Signing Up for Your PO Box
Finally, you can sign up for your box!
You can do this in person, or go to PO Boxes Online for the United States Postal Service.
You then must reserve a location and PO box at that location, as well as provide two forms of Identification.
Then you must fill out “Form 1583”, and bring it to the physical location of your box. Once at the physical location, you can get a key from your local post office.
And with that, you’re good to go!
Shipping from Etsy to a PO Box
When listing your PO box as your shipping address on Etsy.com, make sure that all the information is up to date and available for the seller to use as a proper shipping label.
Once you input a shipping address into your Etsy profile and order from a seller, they are able to download the info into a printable shipping label to attach to your package, and then mail it to you as quickly as possible.
If your information is wrong, the package may not get there!
Furthermore, make sure that whatever you are ordering is small enough to fit in your PO box – if you buy a handcrafted sculpture, large painting, or large wooden crafts, you may not be able to fit them in your PO box.
If your item can’t fit in your PO box, the post office most likely will be unable to deliver it or will notify you of the issue.
The best way to handle that situation, though, would be to use your physical address for these items or to use a different method for ordering something larger.
Can Sellers Use a PO Box for Etsy?
Many sellers have wondered if they can use a PO box for their Etsy.com shops as a way to protect their identities and have a safe, easy alternative to their physical address.
Some sellers like to use their home addresses, while others prefer to use a PO box. Etsy.com doesn’t have a preference for their sellers, and in fact, other sellers encourage new Etsy shop owners to do whatever makes them feel most comfortable!
While it is okay to use a PO box for business purposes and to receive mail or invoices that way, keep in mind that any business must have a physical address of some kind to be considered a “business” in the United States.
This is mainly for tax purposes and most likely will not affect the way that you receive mail, but it is something to consider if you are selling as a full-time business.
Other than that, using a PO box is perfectly acceptable as an Etsy seller – though you need to make sure to set your PO box as your default address before printing shipping labels!
Should I Avoid Shipping to PO Boxes as an Etsy Seller?
Many Etsy sellers ship to customers’ PO boxes without issue.
Sometimes, sellers remind customers that their packages are going to be too big for a PO box before completing a custom design or sale. This is to prevent the package from being marked as “non-deliverable” and prevents a seller from getting a bad rating.
Furthermore, sellers are required to send to whatever shipping address the customer marks as their preferred location. Even if you’re unsure about someone’s PO box address, the shipping label will still be set for that address and must be completed.
Constant communication with the customer is key!
If you’re a shop that sells to hundreds of customers every month, it might be hard to keep up with one individual, but keeping in contact with them is the best way to make sure that the product was able to get to them safely.
Not to mention, the customer always appreciates a personal touch, and even if the package doesn’t get there, communicating with them and keeping open lines of contact will help prevent you from getting a bad star-rating.
Should I Get a PO Box for my Etsy Shop?
Getting a PO box for your Etsy shop is entirely up to you, but it has its advantages!
Sometimes customers can get a little too upset or obsessed with a product or design. Therefore, sellers find it safer and less stressful to use a PO box instead of their physical address for their business.
However, some sellers are to busy to go check their PO box every week – or even every day! If this is you, sometimes using your physical address (or the address you use as your business location) is faster and more convenient.
Whether you’re more concerned about privacy, consistency, or efficiency, both options will work for you!
What Shipping Companies does Etsy Use?
Etsy uses a variety of shipping companies to make sure that they can reach their customers all over the world!
The shipping companies that Esty.com currently uses at the time of this article are:
- United States Postal Service (USPS)
- Canada Post
- Royal Mail (United Kingdom)
- Australia Post
When using these services, Etsy sellers must comply with Etsy’s “House Rules,” and are responsible for getting shipping insurance, paying any fees or requirements, and shipping them in prompt, safe manners.
There is a catch to this system – some companies will not deliver to PO boxes.
For example, only FedEx SmartPost will deliver to USPS PO boxes domestically. No other FedEx service will deliver to PO boxes – check out our article here for more info!
This means that you will have to rely on the seller or FedEx to properly deliver your package depending on the rules of that country or state.
Make sure to speak to your local post office and find out what works best for you!