Sunday, August 23, 2009

Managing Your Mail Over the Web

Receiving your mail while on the road is one of the most challenging aspects of the RV lifestyle, and one that we've struggled with in the three years that we've been on the road. Once we left our house in California, we re-directed our mail to a friends house, but quickly found that that wasn't going to work for us. After that we tried the Escapees Mail Forwarding service which was better, but it was still too limiting. The process of manually having to call up someone and go through a description of our mail was just too hard, especially with the challenge of different time zones. Add to that the fact that we were not able to specify exactly what mail to junk, or to have UPS or FedEx deliveries. We needed a better solution.

About 18 months ago we found out about Earth Class Mail, and I tell you, I love it. LOVE IT, LOVE IT! To start with, you get to choose your physical address from their list of addresses. This means that you have the flexibility of deciding which state makes sense for your to officially reside in based on sales tax, income tax, medical insurance and domocile laws. For us, Oregon made sense as we were also using it to locate our business and so the zero sales tax made sense. You can have someone sign for your FedEx and UPS deliveries which is very useful if you order online.

Once you've got your address, you login and are presented with a user interface very much like your email system (see the top image). Clicking on your 'mail' shows you a scanned image of the envelope which is great for deciding what you want to do with it. You then have the options of Recycle, Shred, Scan or Ship. If you select Scan, after about a day they will have opened your mail and scanned the contents. You can then view the contents and download a PDF file onto your computer which is GREAT as it saves you having scan the mail yourself and filing it electronically. If you select Ship, you can define a Shipment and then periodically ship your mail to yourself by FedEx (they have great rates which work out very economical).

Their basic plan starts at $19.95, whereas the plan that makes most sense for us is the Value Plus at $39.95 which includes 100 mail pieces per month and 20 free scans. If you're interested, click on the following link - that should get you an introductory offer and give us a little something too!