On June 8, 2020, Earth Class Mail introduced their new pricing plans. On first impression, the pricing is fairly simple and easy to understand. However, once you delve into their detailed pricing, you’ll need a PhD in marketing to figure it all out.
Fear not! I’m here to clear up the confusion and put some clarity into their pricing so you can better understand what you’re getting and what to look out for.
Due to the complexity of the pricing, the article will focus on the pricing plans, mail scanning, basic shipping, and check deposit services.
Pricing plans are divided into two categories. The MailBox plans are primarily marketed for individuals and small businesses.
All 3 MailBox Plans include the same pricing features for the following:
- 50 pieces of mail per month - this includes the receiving and content scanning of the mail (up to 20 pages per mail item). Additional mail items over 50 are billed $2 / item. Additional per page fees for mail item content over 20 pages are $0.15 for color and $0.10 for black & white.
- Free shredding - shredding of your mail is included.
- 30 days physical mail storage - here, we assume that your mail will be stored for 30 days free. However, there are conflicting information about this, which is noted at the end of this article.
The primary differences between the plans are:
- Location address - Personal and Shared plans can only use one address tied to their Oregon location (9450 SW Gemini Dr, Beaverton, OR 97008). To choose a different address (ie. in another state), you will need to be on the Premium Plan. The Premium Plan also allows you to get more addresses for an extra $30 / month / address.
- Recipients - recipient means the name you will be receiving mail under. Each plan includes differing numbers of recipients in the plan. You can add additional recipients for an extra $5 / recipient / month.
MailRoom plans are targeted for businesses with larger mail volume. The Startup and Business plans include the following features:
- Free shredding
- 30 days physical mail storage
- Unlimited recipients
- Address of your choice
The Startup plan includes receiving and content scanning of 100 mail items while the Business plan includes 250 mail pieces. Additional mail received over the limit is billed at $1.75 / mail item for the Startup plan and $1.50 / mail item for the Business plan.
Check deposit service is not included in their plans and is sold separately. This means that if you ever plan to deposit checks, you will need to add the service to your mailbox for an extra $39 / month. It includes 5 checks in the plan per month and additional deposits are $2 per check.
If you wish to forward any physical letter or package to another destination, you will need to pay for shipping separately. Generally, shipping fees are calculated by adding a per package handling fee plus postage required to ship it. I’ve included a screenshot of their shipping price below for your convenience:
Cancellation and Reactivation Fees
When you close your account with Earth Class Mail, you will need to pay a $50 cancellation fee to cover “the cost of handling your mail for an additional 6 months after closing an account.” You can decide to shred all incoming mail after your account is closed or pay per-item fees (in addition to the $50 cancellation fee) if you wish to have mail received and scanned within the 6 months after you close the account.
If your account is closed and you wish to reopen it within 90 days of closure, you will need to pay a $99 reactivation fee.
Accounts closed for more than 6 months will stay closed until Jeff Bezos’ 10,000 year clock chimes for the last time.
Things to Watch Out For With Earth Class Mail Pricing
After spending hours deeply reviewing their pricing page, I’ve came up with a list of some things that were either unclear or confusing.
Perhaps the single most confusing aspect of their pricing is their storage fees.
The main pricing page says “30 day physical mail storage.” This is confirmed by the description in their detailed pricing:
What’s confusing is the Parcel Storage fee. I am not sure whether the storage fees for parcels begins 10 days after receiving the package or 10 days after the 30 days of physical mail storage.
I dug deeper into their support section to find an article that stated “mail items will be stored at no cost for 30 days and packages at no cost for 10 days.”
If the above statement is still current, then what they advertised on their pricing page would as inaccurate as people trying to guess my age. Or perhaps “physical mail storage” here only applies to letters and not to packages, in which case, I’ll chuck it up to being a little too playful with words.
“Does it matter?” You ask. At $15 / pound / month for parcel storage, that would be an affirmative.
I advise contacting their sales to get more clarification. Receiving a surprise on your bill may not be pleasant and fun as you may hope.
TIP: Also make sure to read and understand how they bill storage fees.
If you receive packages that fall outside Earth Class Mail’s package limits, you will pay additional handling fees:
- Heaving incoming mail items - $10 per item (50-150 pounds). Items over 150 pounds are not accepted.
- Oversized Packages - $25 per item if the dimensions exceed 24” x 15.5” x 18.5”.
It’s not clear whether fees are charged for receiving oversized packages since the pricing table is listed under “Special Requests.”
Note that the shipping price shown above only applies when the shipment weight is less than 150 pounds and your items fit into a box dimension of 24” x 15.5” x 18.5”.
It’s unclear what you will actually pay if your outgoing shipment is larger than the specified dimensions. I recommend asking them about this. My assumption is that you’d be paying $25 per item. If that were the case, does that mean you’re paying $25 for both receiving the package as well as shipping it out? Not sure. Best to ask them as well.
Picking a Plan
So which plan should you pick? Let’s start with the cheapest $19 plan and build it up based on your needs:
- If you are an individual and plan to just read your mail online, then likely the Personal Plan will be fine. However, your address will be in Oregon.
- If you want to pick an address of your choice, such as an address in a state where you live in, then you would have to get the Premium plan or higher. This means you are looking at a $79/month minimum.
- If you plan to add an extra recipient, such as a spouse or your billion-dollar-idea startup, add an extra $5 to the Personal Plan (not sure if they will even allow you to do this). So you’ll be paying at least $24/month.
- If you plan on receiving checks and have Earth Class Mail deposit it for you, the deposit service add-on is needed. Regardless if it’s 1 check or more, the cost is going to be at least $39 extra per month. That would take your monthly cost to be $58/month minimum.
- If you wish to choose your own address and have check deposit service for your small business, then that would be $118 ($79 Premium plan + $39 deposit add-on) minimum per month.
- If you choose the MailRoom plans, you are most likely a business and will receive and deposit checks. Remember to add the check deposit service add-on fees ($39) and the extra $2 per check overage fees to your calculation.
Despite Earth Class Mail’s new pricing being more simplified compared to the previous pricing, there are still many parts that require more clarity. I’ve used my MBA skills here to surface the most important parts of their pricing so you don’t need to spend $100K in tuition to do the same. Hopefully it’ll help you make a more informed decision on what’s the right fit for you.
If there are any corrections to be made, please send them my way.