Is Uncertainty About USPS Fiscal Future Sending the Wrong Message to the Mail Industry?
USPS has been covered from the angle of its recent planned decline in services and 5.6 billion dollar default in September 2012. Industry insider calls it a smoke screen clouding true opportunity.
According to USPS numbers, the decline in overall mail volume has been significant, nearly 20% over the last decade. The reasons are assumed to be factors like the internet, email, direct deposit and other electronic alternatives to traditional mail. Other statistics include a recent 5.6 billion dollar default in September 2012, which follows USPS’ first default since 1982, 5.5 billion in August 2012.
Mail is Still Booming
“We feel that the problem with the way these numbers have been presented is that it makes it look like the business of mail isn’t doing so great. This is not the case at all; the problems of USPS are utterly disconnected from the overall mailbox industry,” according to Theresa Whitley, General Manager of The Mail Box Stores. The Mail Box Stores is the nation’s largest developer on independently owned mail box stores. She goes on to point out that the closing or reduced hours of nearly 2,000 USPS locations through 2014 does offer plenty of opportunity for independent mailbox stores to fill those gaps.
Private Mail Making a Huge Dent
Factors like increased population and additional services offered by independent mailbox stores have allowed them to thrive even as USPS locations are closing Whitley states, “The ability to use multiple delivery services and provide a wide range of office and mailbox services and merchandise is the key to running a more successful mailbox store. While a franchise like UPS Stores will force owners into only delivering UPS items and charge steep franchise fees and other overhead at the same time, an independent owner can use whichever delivery service their customer likes and isn’t held back by steep franchise costs. In a sense, the same is happening to USPS, obviously not in terms of franchise fees, but in terms of forced funding for retirees for the next 50 years. It’s ‘overhead’ that an independent owner isn’t saddled with. That’s why they have such great opportunity to succeed.” The Mail Box Stores along with its parent company which includes six distinct business models has opened nearly 3,000 successful businesses over the last decade.
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