Starting a business in your home? Recent data released by U.S. Census Bureau director Louis Kincannon reports that nearly half (49%) of U.S. businesses are operated from private residences.
Many expensive overhead costs can be greatly reduced by running your business out of your home but there are a few major risks such as higher audit rates from the IRS, business property insurance issues that go uncovered by your personal homeowner’s insurance, and the ever present challenge of juggling a family along with the demands of your business. However one risk that often goes unnoticed until a major incident occurs is package theft. While locking mailboxes and security mailboxes can protect incoming mail from the USPS, they do not guard adequately against package theft.
Indeed, software improvements have made managing the heavy increases in FedEx, UPS, USPS, and DHL deliveries and pickups simple, but the real challenge is how to make a secure handoff to or from the delivery person. Often, the biggest problem in home–based busineses is the lack of a receptionist or secure lobby.
Kincannon reports, “6–in–10 home–based business owners used their own money to start the business and three–fourths of these home–based businesses have no paid employees.” The lack of a receiving dock or lobby like you’d find in a larger business means that the owner must be present to ensure that every package is received and sent off securely. Being physically present to make the package handoffs creates a freedom issue for business owners.
And leaving the packages to sit idle and alone outside the front door is definitely a security issue. “In this challenging economy, the issue is not only petty thieves but jobless neighbors who see all those packages sitting on the doorstep. It’s a real temptation. And package theft from home–based businesses is a growing problem,” states Jesse Martinez, security consultant for the overnight carrier industry.
And the holiday season is a nightmare for package theft. “A big package in one of those expensive overnight boxes from any of the big four (UPS, DHL, FEDEX, and USPS) is like setting a Hershey’s bar in the middle of a first grade classroom – it’s going to disappear,” quips Martinez.
“Not having a secure solution for your package deliveries or pickups is far worse than not having a locking mailbox or security mailbox. That’s a basic need for these businesses. But fast–paced business owners are often tempted to just leave their packages for pickup right on the front porch. They’d never put their inventory on the porch,” notes Martinez.
For example, in Contra Costa County (California), police report thieves were following FedEx trucks and stealing packages left on doorsteps just minutes after they were delivered. For home–based businesses, 70% of which Kincannon reports are the sole source of income for their owner, even a single theft can damage both the bottom and client trust.
To solve the growing mail theft problem, many business owners are installing security mailboxes or locking mailboxes. But to thwart package delivery theft, business owners are skipping the locking mailbox solution and installing locking delivery vault mailboxes. These heavy–duty locking delivery vaults can be installed into the wall near any door or garage door wall. They also come in stand-alone units that can be mounted securely into the ground.
Christina Garabito, of The MailboxWorks in Naperville, Illinois, suggests, “Look for a package delivery vault mailbox that is constructed of heavy duty, 16 gauge steel. And if you are shopping for wall–mount delivery vault mailboxes, be sure you select a model that is designed to fit between wall studs so mounting near a door or garage can be done easily.”
Delivery vault mailboxes provide a safe and secure way for home–based business owners to receive their packages but they also allow for secure pickups since delivery persons can simply open the mailbox (without a key) to pick up packages without having to set valuable outgoing deliveries on the front step.
For home–based businesses with employees, Garabito suggests that shoppers look for a package mailbox vault with a locking rear access package hold so only authorized employees or owners can access the incoming mail and packages.
Such drop boxes are also available with a pedestal for installation nearly anywhere on the business–owner’s property. “It’s like having your own FedEx box anywhere you want it. No more rushing to the car to drop off packages at a receiving center or wondering if the package was really picked up off the front porch. You put the package in the drop box and you know it was picked up.”
Garabito notes that there are hundreds of styles of locking mailboxes and even payment drop boxes for businesses that collect payment from renters or clients. “Installing a security mailbox is one of those low cost investments that every home–based business should strongly consider,” notes Garabito, “It’s peace of mind.”
Written By Robert Urgo