In today’s digital economy and ecommerce-centric world, efficient and secure mail and package handling are essential. Two common options for receiving mail and packages are private mailboxes and P.O. Boxes. We’d like to take a closer look at the differences between these two viable options, along with examining the high surcharges imposed by shipping giants like FedEx and UPS for residential deliveries. As an independent agent of FedEx, UPS and USPS,  we are able to provide an unbiased opinion about each of them so that our clients can decide which to use and how to avoid higher fees when shipping or receiving packages.

Private Mailbox vs. P.O. Box

One of the most significant advantages of a private mailbox is the enhanced privacy and security it offers. Private mailboxes are typically located at third-party mailing centers, where your mail is received and held securely until you retrieve it. In contrast, P.O. Boxes are located within a post office.

Private mailboxes often provide extended access hours, allowing you to retrieve your mail and packages at your convenience. Some locations offer 24/7 access, making it easier for those with busy schedules. P.O. Box access is usually limited to post office hours, unless there is 24/7 availability to access your P.O. Box like on Grand Island. 

Private mailboxes provide you with a street address, rather than a P.O. Box number. This is advantageous for businesses, as it conveys a more professional image. It’s also beneficial for receiving packages from courier services that do not deliver to P.O. Boxes., like FedEx, UPS and DHL.

Many private mailbox providers offer mail and package forwarding services. This is invaluable for travelers, digital nomads or individuals who frequently move, as it ensures that your mail and packages are always accessible, regardless of your location.

FedEx and UPS Surcharges for Residential Deliveries

Both FedEx and UPS impose surcharges for residential deliveries, which can add significantly to the cost of shipping. Here are some key points to consider:

Both FedEx and UPS charge additional fees for delivering packages to residential addresses. These surcharges can range from a few dollars to over $15 per package, depending on the service level, weight, size and location.

The classification of a residential address can be subjective. Businesses operating from home or in a residential area may still incur these surcharges, increasing the cost of shipping. P.O Boxes are also classified as “residential” addresses.

During peak shipping seasons, such as the holidays, FedEx and UPS often increase their surcharges. This can result in even higher costs for residential deliveries during these times. Please note that if you have a P.O. Box and you receive packages via FedEx or UPS, there are extra surcharges imposed on the sender for those deliveries, since FedEx or UPS normally do not deliver to P.O. Boxes. 

To mitigate residential surcharges, consider using alternative delivery options like private mailboxes or business addresses. These locations are often classified as commercial addresses and may not incur the same surcharges. These locations also have someone to sign for package deliveries, allowing for safekeeping of your goods. For example, at Island Ship Center, we receive packages for many of our guests, especially during the holiday season, so that they can pick up their packages after getting home from work and not worry about theft, damage or loss. Unfortunately, porch piracy is a real thing and it’s worse if you live in apartment buildings. The sad truth is that delivery drivers have more packages to deliver than they have time in the day and so, they have to leave packages in the safest place possible and move on to their next destination. [As a side note, we would also encourage you to install cameras on your front doors if you haven’t done so already to at least alleviate some stress of package theft.]


Private mailboxes offer numerous advantages over traditional P.O. Boxes, providing enhanced security, convenience, and the flexibility of a street address. They are especially useful for businesses and individuals seeking a more professional image. It’s essential to be aware of the high surcharges imposed by FedEx and UPS for residential deliveries. Utilizing alternative delivery options, such as private mailboxes or commercial addresses, can help reduce these additional costs, ensuring a more cost-effective and efficient shipping experience.

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