“Where does your mail go?” part 1: The Cloud Option

snail mailOne of the first questions people usually ask me when I say “I Live on the Cloud” is about snail mail. What happens when people send me stuff?  The postal service may not require you to have an address, but the government sure wants to know where to tax* you, and they don’t do clouds!

My solution is Earth Class Mail, and I’ve been using them for 5-years now to do the following:

  • email me a picture of everything anybody sends me
  • scan the contents of selected mail and give it to me as a PDF file
  • send the physical mail I need to get (checks*, gifts, ID, etc.) to wherever I am in the world (or where ever else I want*)
  • pick up my mail at one of their physical offices
  • recycle all my junk mail*
  • shred any personally identifiable mail

Here’s how it works:

  1. sign up for an account (referral discounts available)
  2. select an address (or multiple addresses*) from their roster of street addresses* and PO Boxes all over the USA
  3. sign some notarized papers granting Earth Class Mail (ECM) the authority to handle your mail
  4. give a change of address form to your post office, changing your current postal address to your new ECM one
  5. update everyone you know on your new ECM address

For example, my ECM address is:

Sam Rogers
PO Box 7775 #39822
San Francisco, CA 94120

…And that’s where I receive almost* all my mail. In part two of this post I’ll explore what happens to the other few pieces of mail per year and why.

There are a few other competitive services around now, but I’m pretty sure ECM was the first. Five years ago, I was one of their first customers and though have been a bit disgruntled with them at times for the times they raised their prices (currently $20/month, plus usage fees and a one time $25 setup charge), they have never mishandled any of my mail, and — I do not say this lightly — their customer service is exemplary! Plus they consoled me a bit last year with their blog post about why they changed their pricing.

ECM logoCheck them out, and if you’re interested in signing up, shoot me an email first and I’ll give you a referral discount for a free month. Just so you know, when you do that I get $15 off my next bill if you stay a member for 3+ months. But, whatever. I’ve been recommending them since way before they gave me any bonus for doing so.

Oh, and when you check them out, keep in mind that their promotional efforts are geared toward businesses, not people living on the cloud. I figure that’s only because it’s where the money is at for them. Trust me, it all works for people as well as corporations*.

* In future posts I’ll explore the asterisks…