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What Are Freestanding Depot Enclosure Mailboxes, and How Do They Work?

If you have ever needed to provide mail delivery and/or outgoing mail slots for a set of businesses or a small apartment complex, you know that there are a few different choices out there and it can be difficult to determine which one works the best for your property. However, once you know what you need exactly, choosing the right mailboxes for your commercial tenants can be a far easier process.

Commercial properties range from retail buildings to warehouses to apartment complexes. But all of them, aside from the other aspects of managing them, require some form of mail delivery. The good news is that once mail delivery is set up properly, and it’s approved by the USPS, then it will be a “set and forget” deal most of the time.

Many commercial properties rely on multi-unit, curbside mailboxes or mail slots. But when you need security and a centralized place for tenants to receive their mail, and you’re looking for USPS delivery, then freestanding depot enclosure mailboxes may be the solution for you.

What Are Freestanding Depot Enclosure Mailboxes?

4C mailboxes are the newest lines of multi-tenant, centralized mail delivery units on the market today. Centralized mail delivery systems consist of multiple customer units inside one cabinet, and usually at least one parcel locker. All types of 4C mailboxes are designed to be installed singly or side by side as a customized setup. These boxes are designed to meet the needs of multiple tenants in one place. There are a few different types, but for the purposes of this blog, freestanding depot enclosure units will be the focus.

In 2006, the USPS issued new requirements for centralized mail delivery systems: all new centralized mailboxes installed must be of the 4C type and must also meet the Americans With Disabilities Act. The good news is that freestanding mailboxes are designed and built with these requirements in mind, and are already USPS-approved.

These mailboxes consist of one sturdy, freestanding metal cabinet that holds anywhere from one to dozens of tenant doors, and at least one parcel locker per every ten units. Freestanding depot mailboxes are meant to stand alone, indoors or outdoors. Most often, they are found outdoors, thanks to their durability, resistance to tampering, and resistance to weathering. These mailboxes are installed on a pad of concrete, and are usually found near parking lots or in other centralized areas with plenty of foot traffic.

Customer compartments are horizontal, being large enough to accept regular sized mail such as magazines and small packages. Each unit is locking, and each customer gets his or her own key to access their mail at their convenience.

As for parcel lockers, they work in much the same way. Parcel lockers are typically around fifteen inches tall, though other sizes can be ordered to add to an existing mail setup. The USPS will provide keys to tenants as needed once packages are delivered, and will retrieve them after tenants pick up their parcels.


There are a few convenient accessories that come with freestanding depot mailboxes. These accessories can add safety and help tenants save time. Safety and convenience are two factors that determine whether new tenants sign a new lease, or existing ones stay for another year or two.

Most freestanding depot units have outgoing mail slots which are capable of receiving regular-sized mail. This can save tenants a trip to the post office and save time. These units are locking as well, so that only the USPS can access these compartments.

Some units can come with oversize tenant doors as well, which are designed to handle larger volumes of business mail.

It is even possible to purchase freestanding depot enclosures with flaps for trash and recycling, to keep your centralized mail delivery area clean of discarded junk mail and other trash.

Requirements For The Property Manager

You may be wondering what your responsibilities are for these centralized mail delivery units as the property owner or manager. The good news is that your responsibilities are quite simple.

The property owner or manager is usually required to handle the installation for such units, though it is a good idea to check with the local postmaster before installing such mailboxes. Installation, when it occurs outdoors, consists of bolting freestanding mailboxes into an existing pad of concrete, or pouring a new pad beforehand.

Indoors, freestanding mailboxes can be installed directly on the floor and are typically leveled first.

Once installed properly, it is the manager’s responsibility to provide the compartment keys to each tenant. As for parcel lockers and the master lock, the USPS will need to be contacted to finish installation.

Property owners and managers are responsible for maintenance as well. This is typically an easy task, as freestanding depot mailboxes are very durable and resistant to damage. Locks on 4C mailboxes are also more secure than they were on older models. It is unlikely that repairs will be needed often, or at all.

One task the property manager must handle is keeping the area around the mailbox or mailboxes clear of obstructions and safe at all times. Installing such mailboxes in a clean lobby or mail kiosk can go a long way towards meeting this need. During the winter, ice and snow may need to be cleared around these boxes to allow for easy mail delivery and pickup.

Handle Your Mail Needs With Freestanding Depot Mailboxes Today

If security and centralized delivery is needed, then freestanding depot mailboxes may be the solution for your commercial or apartment tenants. They are durable, relatively easy to install, and easy to maintain. Better yet, they may last a lifetime and keep your tenants happy. Contact us today to get started.