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Full-Service vs Limited-Service Mailboxes: What's the Difference?

Thursday October 03, 2019

When choosing curbside mailboxes to use in your neighborhood or residential community, one of the decisions you'll have to make is whether to use full-service or limited-service mailboxes. The United States Postal Service (USPS) allows for both types of mailboxes. You can find full-service and limited-service mailboxes available in contemporary and traditional designs. So, what's the difference between these two types of mailboxes?

What Is a Full-Service Mailbox?

A full-service mailbox is a mailbox that's characterized by the presence of a carrier signal flag. Based on this definition, most mailboxes used in neighborhoods and residential communities throughout the United States are full service. They have a rigid flag located on either the left or right side that the tenant or homeowner can raise to alert mail couriers of outgoing mail. When the mail courier sees the raised carrier signal flag, he or she will know that the tenant or homeowner has outgoing mail to send. Mailboxes featuring a carrier signal flag such as this are considered full service because they allow for both incoming and outgoing mail.

What Is a Limited-Service Mailbox

A limited-service mailbox, on the other hand, is a mailbox that does not have a carrier signal flag. As a result, tenants and homeowners who have a limited-service mailbox can't send mail by leaving it in their mailbox. The USPS explains that limited-service mailboxes are intended only for tenants and homeowners who don't want mail couriers to pick up their outgoing mail. If a mail courier doesn't have incoming mail for the tenant or homeowner, they won't stop at the limited-service mailbox. And even if the tenant or homeowner leaves outgoing mail in the limited-service mailbox, the mail courier won't collect it.

Choosing Between Full-Service and Limited-Service Mailboxes

Considering the unparalleled level of convenience they offer, it shouldn't come as a surprise to learn that full-service mailboxes are the most popular type. With a full-service mailbox, the tenant or homeowner doesn't have to make a special trip to the local post office to send mail. Rather, he or she can leave it in their mailbox.

Only full-service mailboxes have a carrier signal flag. The USPS allows full-service mailboxes to use any color for the carrier signal flag except green, brown, white, yellow, blue and shades thereof. Regardless of color, though, the mail courier will stop at full-service mailboxes to collect any outgoing mail when the carrier signal flag is raised.


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Forsite can provide all of your signage needs for your Master Planned Community or  Residential Development. We help our customers to create a uniform, upscale appearance and increase property values by "bundling" themed packages of decorative street signage, mailboxes, post and wall mounted lighting, and wayfinding signage

You can count on the experts at Forsite to help improve the quality of your community today. Contact us today to get started by talking to one of our experienced team members at 855-537-0200.