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Apartment Postal 101: How Does a Cluster Box Mailbox Work?

The U.S. Postal service handles about 187.8 million pieces of mail each day. Many of these pieces of mail contain sensitive information that thieves could use to steal people’s identity.

For this reason, many people choose to have locking mailboxes.

This is something that your tenants will be looking for when they rent an apartment from you. By installing a cluster box mailbox in your building, you can give them peace of mind about their mail and show them that you are concerned for their well-being. Both of these make happy tenants which is a good thing for you.

But how does a cluster mailbox work? Let’s find out.

What Is a Cluster Box Mailbox?

No doubt you’ve seen one, though you may not have known what it was called. They are common to see in front of apartment buildings, condominiums, and anywhere else there is a high concentration of people in one building.

Each unit consists of several little compartments. Sizes vary a little but are usually around 3 inches tall by 12 7/8 inches wide — just big enough for a stack of mail or maybe a small package to fit inside.

Each individual compartment has its own key and you can provide each resident with a key that opens only one of the boxes.

Receiving Packages

You may be wondering how residents will receive packages in those slim little slots. With people receiving an average of 27 packages per year, it’s certainly a valid concern. Don’t worry, cluster box mailboxes typically come with one or more parcel compartments. These typically measure 10 inches by 13 inches.

When a resident receives a package, the delivery person will put the package in the parcel compartment. Then they’ll place the key to the parcel compartment in the small slot used by the resident who is receiving the package. The resident uses the key to retrieve their package and it remains stuck in the lock for the delivery person to retrieve the next day.

If a package is too large to fit in the parcel compartment, the delivery person will leave a note in the resident’s slot. Then the resident will need to go to the post office to pick up their package.

Mail Delivery

What if you have a large apartment complex? Say you have 50 units, each with their own slot and unique key. Does the delivery person need to have all those keys?

Of course not!

The delivery person will have one key that opens the entire face of the cluster mailbox. This allows them access to every slot in one fell swoop.

For security, the USPS does not allow any non-USPS personnel to have access to this key, also known as the “arrow key”. Even cluster mailbox manufacturers can’t install these locks. Once you’ve purchased your unit, you’ll have to call the USPS to come out and install the lock.

A Simple Security Solution

There you have it! Now that you understand how a cluster box mailbox works, you can see that they are a simple solution to keeping your tenant’s mail safe and sound.

Looking for a unit to install in your building? Check out our fantastic selection today. Have questions? Feel free to contact us, we’ll be happy to help!

Cluster Box Unit FAQs:

Comprehensive Cluster Box Units (CBUs) Buyer’s Guide