Have Independent Mailbox Stores Utilizing Multiple Delivery Companies Made USPS Obsolete?

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With mounting debt, declining mail delivery, and rumored store closings and service cutbacks some speculate that USPS may become obsolete in the future, Discount Retail Store Services reports.

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USPS had previously been solvent and self-sufficient since 1982 but in 2012 they have gone into default on required payments twice, for 5.5 billion dollars and again for 5.6 billion dollars. Over the last decade USPS has estimated that its total mail volume has decreased nearly 20% and firm class mail by nearly 25%. Currently USPS is scheduled to close or roll back operational hours for nearly 2,000 stores –statistics according to NPR and USPS. Reasons cited have included the decrease in traditional mail with more using electronic mail and an overall switch to paperless communications in banking and in other areas. Another reason being cited is a 2006 bill which requires that the United States Postal Service fully fund retirement for all employees over the next 50 years within 10 years, something not required of any other agency or private or public company in the world.

Regardless of the underlying reasons, the numbers are clear and USPS has a lot of obstacles to overcome. Some of the cutbacks may damage the reputation of USPS in the minds of businesses which rely on delivery for products, advertisements, and in other areas.

Linda Graham, a postmaster in Hope, Alaska, says she understands the Postal Service's financial dilemma. Her rural postal branch may see its hours reduced from eight to four hours a day. "I feel that right now the post office is really grasping to try to make things work. I mean, they're losing money," she said.

According to Theresa Whitley, General Manager of The Mail Box Stores, the largest independent mailbox store developer in the nation, regardless of the reasons for USPS’s recent decline it does leave an opening for even more independent mailbox stores, “Really, the mail industry is more than delivering packages today, and there is more than enough room for independently owned mailbox stores. It’s a false premise that there is no money in the actual delivery side though, that simply isn’t true. USPS has tremendous overhead, that’s where the problem is. When you’re delivering 40% of the world’s mail, you can make money (referring to USPS). By the same token a lot of franchisees, like those who own a UPS store, they have overhead too in the form of franchise fees instead of employee retirement in this case. Get rid of that overhead, offer a wide range of delivery options for customers including all of the big ones, UPS, USPS, FedEx, DHL, etc, then throw in all of the office supplies, packing and moving supplies, and services like key cutting customers have come to expect from a mailbox store, these stores are in a great position to make a whole lot of money.”

This may be even more the case for independent stores that don’t have the perceived negative press of USPS which may influence some to use other delivery options outside of USPS.

Discount Retail Store Services is a non-franchise independent business development company that helps entrepreneurs start a business by offering all of the essential functions needed for success including financing assistance, location assistance, lease negotiation, business training, store build-out, supply network, and ongoing support. They utilize six unique and proven business models including dollar stores, teen stores, clothing stores, fitness centers, mailbox stores, and party stores. Get recent news by visiting them on Facebook.

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David Heintzelman
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