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How does physical mail become virtual mail?

Sara Yonker

September 8, 2021

We work hard to make things easy for our customers. When you sign up for a virtual mailbox, you don’t have to wonder what’s inside that stack of envelopes. 

But many of our new customers wonder “how does virtual mail work?” How do we transfer mail from all over the country and then the scans appear in your dashboard or app? Let’s take a peek behind the scenes to see how we get your mail scanned and sorted so that you can check your mail from anywhere.

Where does my mail go?

Earth Class Mail operates as a commercial mail receiving agency. That gives us a special relationship with the United States Postal Office that gives us priority forwarding services. When you pick out from our network of 80+ real street addresses, your postal mail doesn’t always go to that physical location. Instead, the postal service reroutes it through their network and it goes to our centralized, secure operations center in Beaverton, Oregon. 

Is my mail safe?

We monitor our  facility 24/7 with video surveillance and restrict entry so only our HIPAA-certified mail technicians can access your personal documents. 

We also give every piece of mail a unique barcode when we receive it, so you can also track it at any point. We start processing mail by sorting it and scanning the exterior envelope. That’s when you’ll first see your mail online in your account. 

What happens when you receive my mail?

Many of our accounts have automatic scanning rules set up within the account management system on the user dashboard, so we know you want us to automatically open and scan all of your mail. 

Your mail gets placed back inside its original envelope and secured while we wait on instructions on what to do with it. Once you view your mail, you tell us whether to shred it, ship it, or store it. By default, we store items. Storage is free for 30 days, but afterwards, storage fees can incur, so we recommend checking your storage once a month and shredding items you don’t want to keep long term. 

We also created a way you can have your mail automatically shredded so you never accumulate storage fees. To do this, you set up rules in your account to automatically scan and then shred documents, so you don’t worry about those fees. That also ensures that mail gets recycled. 

How much mail comes to Earth Class Mail each week?

Mail volumes fluctuate. We get more mail around the holidays as shopping seasons pick up. In general, we receive about 40,000 items a week at our Beaverton center. That doesn’t include some of the junk mail that we automatically sort out, shred, and recycle for you. 

Once we receive your mail and digitize it, you can view and manage your mail in your online mailbox. 

Do you get mail only once a day or do you get several deliveries?

The deliveries are nonstop in Beaverton. In addition to regular USPS deliveries, we receive DHL, UPS, and FedEx deliveries around the clock. We track every delivery and strive to keep our processing times low so that you can see your mail as soon as possible. 

What is it like inside the operations center? 

Our operations center includes mail operators who specialize in tasks such as the mail sorting, scanning, shipping out the original documents and packaging, and overseeing our check deposit function.  Our inventory specialists keep our facility organized, so when you request a shipment of your item, we can locate it quickly and send it out by the next business day.  

Have we always had the same mail operations center?

Earth Class Mail has always operated out of Beaverton, Oregon, although its primary operations center now is about four miles from the first center we used back in 2004. In 2021, we completed an expansion of our operations center, which added nearly 50 percent more square footage. 

Ready to digitize your mail? Find out which of our plan works best for your needs here


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