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Should I Replace or Upgrade My Old 4B Mailboxes?

Apartment Mailboxes

So, you have some old mailboxes in your apartment complex or business property. Commercial mailboxes have been popular for many years now, and these mailboxes typically have multiple customer compartments inside one cabinet. Different models have come onto the market in recent years, and along with those models have come updated USPS requirements.

Today, only the 4C-STD line of commercial mailboxes is approved for new installations and major property renovations. But before 2006, the 4B lines of mailboxes were more common. These mailboxes came in the form of vertical or square compartments set in a cabinet, and in many places, they are still found. Often, these older 4B units are showing their age, prompting property owners to debate whether to repair them or to upgrade to 4C mailboxes.

If you have older 4B mailboxes, here’s how to determine whether to simply fix or upgrade your mailboxes.

When to Fix Your Old Mailboxes. 4B mailboxes function much the same that their newer, 4C counterparts do, but tend to show wear such as worn paint. They also aren’t as strong or durable as the newer lines, and most often don’t come with parcel lockers, which can hold many larger packages. However, they may sometimes still work well, depending on your property’s situation.

You may be able to fix your 4B mailboxes when:

  • Only one or two parts are broken. If a single door or lock is broken, and your customers or residents aren’t having problems with vandalism or mail theft, you may be able to simply replace the broken part.
  • Repairs aren’t frequent. If you aren’t spending much time repairing your mailboxes, which can cost time and money, then you may be able to use them for a few more years.
  • You don’t have many customer units. If you have a few customer compartments for your property and no major mail issues, you may be able to repair your mailboxes as needed. This can apply for smaller apartment complexes that utilize a few vertical units, or for a small commercial property such as a strip mall.
  • You don’t get many packages, or your packages already have a secure drop-off. Packages are getting more frequent in recent years, and so is their theft. If you don’t get many packages at your property, you may be able to keep your 4B mailboxes repaired for the short-term future. The same goes if your larger package deliveries normally go to a central office or lobby, and you wish to keep your delivery that way.

When to Upgrade Your Old 4B Mailboxes. Nothing lasts forever, and that includes your mailboxes. Many property owners are nixing their 4B units and replacing them with improved, 4C models. 4C models are more durable, more resistant to vandalism, weather-resistant, and often accommodate packages from the USPS. They also can stand alone, recess into walls, and mount on vertical surfaces, just like 4B mailboxes. Here’s when it’s time to upgrade:

  • Mail theft is an issue. Mail theft can help drive tenant turnover, which is an expensive issue no property owner wants. It also costs residents and businesses a lot of money. If mail or package theft is taking place, or thieves are breaking into your old mailboxes, the time to upgrade is now. Consider adding more security measures like improved lighting as well.
  • Curb appeal needs to improve. If you’re doing major renovations to the mailbox area, or simply want to improve curb appeal, you’ll want to upgrade to a 4C mailbox setup. 4C mailboxes don’t weather the way that many old 4B mailboxes do, which will improve the appeal of your property.
  • Packages are piling up. No one wants their packages unsecured. If USPS packages have nowhere to go except for in front of doors or even in a busy, overflowing mail room, consider upgrading to 4C mailboxes if you haven’t already. They usually come with parcel lockers. And if you already have 4C mailboxes? You can add more parcel lockers if your package needs are growing.
  • Customers need more convenience. Listening to your residents or customers is a must. If you have several scattered 4B mailboxes (such as vertical mailboxes) around a complex, consider moving them all into one place by installing new 4C mailboxes. Your postal worker will also thank you.
  • Repairs are getting expensive. By this, we mean repairs that are taking up a lot of time and money, especially when the USPS urges good mailbox maintenance. If your 4B mailboxes are suffering from broken locks, hinges, doors, and other parts, and the repairs are getting more frequent, investing in 4C mailboxes will cut down on this issue greatly.

Still Not Sure? National Mailboxes is here to help you choose the right mailboxes for your commercial property. Simply reach out if you have questions about your mailbox repair and replacement needs.