Planet Express is a one of a kind mail/package forwarding service. They offer services like “Shop For Me”, order fulfillment for business owners and sellers, package consolidation and physical storage for your packages, as you'll learn in this Planet Express review.
Planet Express beats market’s rates by 45 percent with upto 80% discounts on shipping costs and you can save you as much as 50% with their package consolidation services.
If you’re living outside the US and want to shop from US retailers—or if you’re a business owner, e-commerce seller or dropshipper—Planet Express is a great option for you.
If you're looking for virtual mailboxes and want to learn how this service can help you manage your e-commerce business, you've come to the right place. In this Planet Express review, we'll go over its features and services, pros and cons, fees, and how it compares to other virtual mailbox providers.
What Are Virtual Mailboxes?
A virtual mailbox allows you to check your mail right from your phone or laptop. They provide you with a street address where you can send physical mail. Once your mail is delivered at that address, they will accept it on your behalf, scan the envelope or package (without opening it), and send you that scan through email. From there you have three different options of what to do:
- Have them open up the envelope and send you another scan of the actual mail inside.
- Forward the mail on to another physical address, such as a relative’s address or an address in a different country.
- Shred the mail if it’s spam or unwanted.
How To Choose A Virtual Mailbox
On the surface, the mailbox with the lowest monthly fee might seem the cheapest option, but when it comes to virtual mailboxes, the devil's often in the details. Here are some pointers that'll help you understand the general fee structure of the virtual mailbox world:
The core functionality of a virtual mailbox is what you’d expect—receiving letters and scanning their contents for you to view remotely—but there are a number of other services they may also provide. Here are just a few:
- Package Forwarding: Some virtual mailboxes only deal with letters, but most of them will allow you to receive packages, too, to be forwarded on to the address of your choice.
- Package Consolidation: If you’re receiving multiple packages per month, it often makes sense to have your virtual mailbox consolidate them into a single shipment, to save on postage.
- Check Deposits: With your permission, your digital mailbox will deposit the checks you receive on your behalf. If you also run a remote business, check depositing can be an especially big deal.
- Monthly Fee: As the name suggests, the monthly fee is a certain amount that you pay every month for the street address that they provide. Some mailboxes offer pay-as-you-go plans where you'll only pay for what you use. Pay-as-you-go may seem like the cheapest option but that isn't always the case. 90 percent of virtual mailbox providers come with a fixed monthly fee.
- Scanning Prices: There are two types of scanning, one is commonly referred to as “envelope scanning” or sometimes “mail handling” and the other type is “Open & Scans”. The Envelope Scan is basically a scan of the envelope that tells you where and from whom the mail is from. Then if you want to see the contents inside the envelope, you can request an Open & Scan. So an Open & Scan is a scan of the contents inside the envelope. Now most virtual mailbox providers will offer a free monthly quota of Envelope Scans and Open & Scans but once the quota is met, there are additional charges. To avoid getting an unforeseen large bill, it's important to thoroughly look at the additional charges chart and to choose a plan that best meets your needs, even if on the surface it looks a tiny bit expensive.
- Physical Storage Prices: It's also important to consider physical storage prices. Most of the popular virtual mailbox providers offer free physical storage for a limited amount of time (often 1-2 months) and after that, there are some minor additional charges. It's a good practice to either shred or forward mail that is too old, to avoid additional charges.
Click here to read more on how to choose a virtual mailbox.
Now that you have a better picture of virtual mailboxes in general, let's continue this Planet Express review to see what this particular company offers.
About Planet Express
Founded in 2017 to serve those living outside the United States, Planet Express is a California- and Oregon-based package forwarding service for mail and online purchases. It uses an efficient, low-cost forwarding model that receives goods at its warehouse in California or Oregon and ships them directly to buyers all over the globe.
Planet Express Review: Features And Services
Planet Express makes shopping in the US very easy and cheap. With their service Shop For Me, you can shop in the US even if you don’t have a credit card that allows international transactions. Instead, Planet Express offers to place your orders for you. They also offer package consolidation with which you can decide which packages you want to be shipped together. This can consequently save you a lot on shipping costs. They offer these services at very attractive rates and with their Free Plan, you won’t even have to pay a monthly fee.
Here are all the features and services you get with Planet Express:
- Warehouse Addresses: Los Angeles, Portland, United Kingdom.
May 2020 Update: Planet Express just opened an Oregon warehouse that can accept packages and avoid the 9.5% sales tax imposed on purchases made within California.
- Free Photo Of Packages: Once the package is received at the warehouse they’ll take a free picture of it and send it to you so you can see the condition of the package and also the sender’s name and address. If you need to look at the contents of the package, you can also request for that.
- Shop in the US
- “Shop For Me”: If you can’t place a purchase directly with a U.S. retailer, perhaps because you don’t have a credit card accepted there, Planet Express’ “Shop For Me” service will do it for you. Just log into your account page, give them a link to what you want to buy, and any product specifications they need to know (size, color, etc.) and they’ll buy it for you. There’s a $5 processing fee for the Shop For Me service, plus 7% of the item’s purchase price.
- Package Consolidation: Every item that’s shipped individually to either their California or their Oregon warehouse can be combined and sent to the customer in a single shipment instead of many shipments, which can easily reduce your shipping costs by well over 50%. Packing material and empty space is eliminated when you consolidate your packages, which makes for less space and weight in the final shipment.
- Intuitive Web Interface: The Planet Express web interface allows you to manage all of your packages and have them shipped out to you when you’re ready. It’s extremely easy to use and is available 24/7 for your convenience.
- Zero Hidden Fees: There are never any hidden fees with Planet Express. All costs, charges, and fees are disclosed upfront, so you’ll never be surprised by a charge you didn’t know about.
- Physical Storage for packages: 10-45 days of free storage (depending on your plan).
- Order Fulfillment For Business Owners And Sellers: Business owners and e-commerce sellers or dropshippers can use Planet Express as a one-stop shipping and fulfillment center. The company offers e-commerce fulfillment, subscription box fulfillment, and even Amazon fulfillment options. Their e-commerce fulfillment pricing is highly competitive, easy to understand, and comes with discounts in line with what they offer on the package forwarding side.
- Free photos of packages.
- No hidden fees.
- eCommerce Fulfilment: If you have an online business Planet Express can help you distribute your product.
- Shopping in the US if you live somewhere else.
- The Shop For Me Service.
- You can check the contents of your packages before it reaches you and if there’s a problem you can send it back.
- 10-45 days of free storage.
Planet Express is a virtual mailbox mainly for packages, therefore, they don't offer services like Open & Scans, Check Deposit, etc.
Planet Express Review: Payment Plans
Planet Express has an easy-to-understand pricing set-up. It’s free to sign up, though you do need to add a $5 deposit to receive your shipping address, which you can then put toward your first purchase.
There are two plans:
- The One Package Plan, and
- The Consolidated Package Plan
The One Package Plan works best for shoppers who typically buy just a single item at a time, while the Consolidated Plan is for more frequent shoppers.
The following section of this Planet Express review covers what you get with each plan and will help you choose the one that best fits your needs.
One Package Plan
- No account fee
- $2 for shipping/handling of each package
- 10 days of free storage, after that 1 cent per pound/day.
- Free package trashing/deletion.
- Manual photo requests are $2 for 3 general photos and $5 for 10 detailed photos (these costs are 50% off if you order photos before your package arrives)
- “Shop For Me” service fees are $5 per item plus 7% of the purchase price of the item.
Consolidated Package Plan
- All of the benefits of the One Package Plan
- Account fee of $10/month or $50/year
- Consolidation fee of $5 flat plus $2 per package in each consolidated order
- 45 days of free storage
Planet Express Fees
- Monthly fee: Pay-As-You-Go – $10/month
- No Setup fee
- Pictures: Automatic Picture is free, if you request a Package Contents Pictures then, $2 for 3 general pictures and $5 for 10 detailed pictures.
- Mail Forwarding: $2/package + Shipping Costs
- Storage: 10-45 days (depending on your plan) free then $.01 per lbs/day
How Does Planet Express Compare To Other Virtual Mailboxes?
There are plenty of other virtual mailboxes to choose from, other than Planet Express. In the following subsections, we'll compare the highlights and fees of Planet Express with their most important competitors.
Related: Check out our 2020 Virtual Mailbox Review, where we compare 15 different virtual mailbox providers to help you pick the best one.
Planet Express Features: Side By Side Comparison
In the following table, you'll find the most important features of each of these virtual mailboxes and of Planet Express, compared side by side:
|Service Provider||Highlight 1||Highlight 2||Monthly Fee|
|Planet Express||Free pictures of incoming packages||Shop in the US + Shop For Me||Pay-As-You-Go – $10/month|
|iPostal1||Over 900 locations across the world to choose from.||Virtual Office Services||Starting @ $9.99/month|
|Earth Class Mail||Multiple User Sign In||Check Deposit||$39-$179/month|
|VirtualPostMail||Registered Agent Services||Check Deposit||$20-$90/month|
|Anytime Mailbox||6oo International Locations to choose from||Check Deposit||It depends on which location you’re going with. For Example: For Vancouver, the rates range fromC$ 9.99-$299.99 / month|
|Traveling Mailbox||25 street addresses to choose from||Unlimited Cloud Storage||$15-$55/month|
|Earth Class Mail||Multiple User Sign In||Check Deposit||$39-$179/month|
|US Global Mail||Unlimited Incoming Mail||Check Deposit||Starting @ $10/month|
Planet Express Fees: Side By Side Comparison
In this section of this Planet Express review, you'll find a comparison of the fee structures of 6 different virtual mailbox providers with Planet Express.
|Service Provider||Mail Forwarding Price||Physical Storage Price|
|Planet Express||$2/package + shipping costs||10-45 days free then $.01 per lbs per day(depending on which plan you’re going with)|
|iPostal1||Just the shipping cost||Letters: $1.10/item per month|
Boxes: $1.10-$6.6/pound per month(depending on weight and dimensions of the box)
|Earth Class Mail||Domestic: $1.25-$3/shipment + postage(depending on which plan you’re going with)|
International:$5-$9.00/shipment + postage(depending on which plan you’re going with)
|Letter: First 30 days free. Then,$1.50/month|
Package: First 10 days free. Then, $15.00 per pound/month
|VirtualPostMail||Single letter: $2.30 for up to 2 oz increases accordingly for up to 13 oz.|
2+ letters: $3.30 for up to 5 oz and increases accordingly for up to 13 oz.
Packages: Price depends on weight, number of packages, and whether or not mail is included.
|First 60 days free, then you’ll be notified|
|Anytime Mailbox||It depends on the location & plan you’re choosing, for example, if you go with Vancouver C$ 3.00 +Shipping ||It depends on the location & plan you’re choosing, for example, if you go with Vancouver, then:|
(Silver Plan)Small Envelope Free for 30 days then 10 cents/day
Large Envelope Free for 30 days then 15 cents/day
Small Box Free for 15 days then 25 cents/day
Large Box Free for 7 days then 50 cents/days
|Traveling Mailbox||$2 + Postage/item||First 60 days free. Then, $1 per envelope/month.|
|US Global Mail||Free + Shipping cost||Letters: First 180 days free. Then 10 cents/letter/month|
Packages: First 30 days free. Then, $1/lb/mo
Comparing Planet Express with regular virtual mailboxes can be somewhat inconclusive since Planet Express is more or less exclusively for packages. However, the table above does provide some insight into the common market rates for services like mail forwarding and physical storage.
People living outside and wanting to buy from US-based brands. It's also perfect for business owners, e-commerce sellers, and drop shippers.
Planet Express has one of the most efficient business models in the industry. The things that stand out about Planet Express are both their rates and processing time. This is why they’re able to beat the market’s prices by up to 45 percent with up to 80 percent discounts on shipping.
As we covered in this Planet Express review, with this virtual mailbox you can shop in the US, with their “Shop For Me” service you can get them to place the orders for you if for some reason you’re unable to, and with package consolidation, you can save as much as 50% on shipping. Also, business owners and e-commerce sellers or dropshippers can use Planet Express as a shipping and fulfillment center.
So if you’re living outside the US and want to shop from US-based brands or if you’re a business owner, eCommerce seller or dropshipper, Planet Express can cover all your needs at the most attractive rates in the industry.