Send Your Snail Mail to the Cloud

The United States Postal Service is a remarkably efficient, albeit spectacularly unprofitable, piece of work. It is available to everyone, relatively cheap, accessible from a spectacularly wide variety of locations, and they bring the J. Crew catalog right to your house. However, there remain two incontrovertible downsides: First, you have to actually go to a post office to do many postal-y things. Second, you have to wade through a near-infinite amount of garbage to get to that letter from your grandmother. Fast Company rounded up several new-ish services that aim to turn your snail mail into bytes and pixels so you need never stand in line behind that weird lady who is sending 12 packages to Eastern Europe ever again.

Virtual Post Mail basically gives you a postal address and scans the outside of your mail for you. They upload it to a server so that you can sit around in the comfort of your own home and decide whether to give them the go-ahead to open it and scan the inside, send it to another address, or push it into the maw of a hungry paper shredder. They will deposit checks for you too. Earth Class Mail does does pretty much the same thing but also integrates with Dropbox and so you can use it for invoices and payments, which might be the best use case for a solosmall lawyer.

If most of the mail you receive is not mail you actually need in physical form—which is probably the case for many small firms once you figure out a way to get checks deposited and bills paid like Earth Class does—you might consider paying for your mail to be virtual. It isn’t terribly cheap yet, though. Earth Class will run you at least $99/month to start, and while Virtual Post is significantly cheaper, you lose some of the online services integration. So, unless dealing with your mail is really wrecking your life at this point, you might want to wait for more services to enter the fray and force the prices down.

Featured image: “Male hand typing on computer keyboard in virtual space.” from Shutterstock.


  1. Avatar Paul Spitz says:

    I like getting real mail, even junk. Makes me feel special. I used to have a picture framing business, and during the depths of the recent recession, things were so slow even the postman wouldn’t come in.

  2. Avatar Paul McGuire says:

    Both of those are a little more expensive than I would want for a service to really replace my need to check actual mail. I typically just check my mail once a week or less depending on what I am expecting. Rarely do you actually get time sensitive materials in the mail anyway. Often this coincides with a meeting or other reason to be at the office so I don’t lose much time dealing with it.

  3. Avatar Dave Vigna says:

    “So, unless dealing with your mail is really wrecking your life at this point, you might want to wait for more services to enter the fray and force the prices down.”

    I think I’ll wait. I’m a limited government guy, but I’ll admit the post office does a pretty darn good job of moving stuff around. I still marvel at the fact that a letter from the east coast can get to the recipient on the west coast in just a couple of days.

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