Frequently Asked Questions
About Parcel Boxes
What is a secure parcel box?
A secure parcel box can take many forms, including a parcel drop box, package chest/locker, or an in-wall drop vault. They are typically made of metal and usually placed near the front door of a residence or business (or possibly at the road for rural applications). Instead of packages being left on the porch and vulnerable to thieves, the delivery driver puts packages in the secure parcel box. The delivery person does not have nor do they need a key or code to drop parcels and packages in your parcel box.
Secure parcel drop boxes generally have four things in common - 1) a top or front door that accepts packages from delivery drivers, 2) a secure storage area below for the packages, 3) a theft deterrent device to guard against thieves reaching into the secure storage area, and 4) a locked access door for the owner to retrieve packages.
You simply retrieve your packages from the parcel box at your convenience, at your home or business, without worry or hassle.
What do they look like?
A secure parcel box can take various forms, styles, and sizes. Some are decorative, some not so much. It could be a smaller box mounted on a wall for small packages like prescriptions or large/thick envelopes. Larger parcel boxes might resemble a stand-up mailbox in the drive-up lane at the post office, but not quite that big.
There are some parcel chests (or lockers) that accept very large packages. You could also have an in-wall drop vault installed, which is a metal door for packages that is mounted between the studs of an exterior wall, such as a garage. The packages are retrieved inside the home or business.
All of the parcel boxes we offer allow delivery drivers to drop parcels and packages inside without the need for a key or code.
Why would I need a secure parcel box?
Simple, to avoid package and identity theft by Porch Pirates and to keep your packages out of the weather.
Online retail sales (eCommerce) is growing much faster than overall retail sales. People of all ages and areas recognize the savings and convenience of online shopping. People who have a hard time getting to the store rely on it.
Porch Pirates see package deliveries as an increasingly lucrative opportunity. Fight back with a secure parcel box!
How is online shopping in the US changing?
Online retail sales, or eCommerce, as a percent of total retail sales in the US has tripled in the last 10 years. US Department of Commerce data estimates a total of $600 billion was spent on eCommerce sales in the US in 2019. Currently (2020, Q1), eCommerce represents about 12% of total retail sales in the US (or about 16% of retail sales when items not typically purchased online are excluded, such as vehicles, restaurant spending, fuel purchases, etc.). Either way, it's a lot, and growing.
Amazon accounted for a little over a third of eCommerce sales in the US in 2019. There are about 112 million Amazon Prime members in the US as of January 2020.
Why Porch & Package?
Why should I use Porch & Package instead of purchasing a parcel box online?
Personal, responsive, local customer service
One call does it all - sales, installation, and service
Try before you buy - see how it works & how great it looks at your home or business
Local inventory for super-quick turnaround
Several parcel box models available - we did the research and testing
Parcel boxes are inspected by Porch & Package prior to installation
Basic installation that goes above-and-beyond included in price
Small business serving Fort Collins and surrounding area
How does the process work with Porch & Package?
Simple - just call or email us for more information or to schedule a demonstration!
Free, no-obligation demonstration - We will arrive at your home or business with several new parcel box models for you to see how they work and how they look on your porch. We will also bring several packages to show you what fits inside.
Quick turnaround - If you decide to make a purchase, we can usually deliver and install your new secure parcel box within a day or two, sometimes sooner.
Professional installation - Basic installation is quick and includes a pre-installation inspection, delivery to your door (not just the curb), all mounting hardware, plastic spacers for additional rust protection, professional mounting, directional signs, and a 2-year limited warranty on the installation.
How secure is a parcel box?
As secure as you want and need it to be.
There are several online references to the “aluminum baseball bat test”. It’s not an official test, but you get the idea. There are some secure parcel boxes designed to withstand a repeated beating from a bat. These would be for high-value packages; and they are heavy and can be quite expensive.
For typical applications, a variety of secure parcel boxes of various sizes, security levels, and price points are available. You might consider the value, size, and number of packages in your secure parcel box decision.
Doesn’t a doorbell camera protect my packages from theft?
Yes and no. A porch camera can certainly serve as a deterrent to package theft. But think about the thieves in this case. Many thefts occur in broad daylight, with the perps usually wearing ball caps or hoodies, maybe using a stolen car, and possibly (and we are only speculating here) fueled by a drug habit. We’ve all see the videos from doorbell camera on the news - the thieves don’t seem to care they are on camera. Why? Because they rarely get caught.
You don’t want criminals like this anywhere near your front door. A package is a target - lock it up!
Why do secure parcel boxes that sit on the porch need to be mounted?
Two reasons. First, thieves could push over or carry it away if it is not secured. The other reason, however unlikely, is that a secure parcel box could hurt someone if pushed over.
What size packages will fit in a secure parcel box?
Secure parcel boxes for typical residential and business applications can accommodate large packages such as (17” x 9.25” x 12”) or (15” x 16” x 10”). Parcel chests can handle even larger sizes. Most applications don’t require this much capacity, so it’s best to select based on your size, security, and cost preferences. Porch & Package offers a variety of options for different package sizes, styles, and security levels. For demonstrations, we bring several example packages of various sizes to show you what fits in each parcel box.
Keep in mind that as an online shopper you have some influence over package size. You can sometimes specify a maximum package size when placing an order. Another way to keep package sizes small is to have items in an order shipped as soon as they can be rather than having all items in an order shipped together.
Also, a shopper could place orders more often as things are needed. Remember, online retailers have economic (and environmental) incentives to use smaller packaging. And with the prevalence of online shopping these days, the FedEx, UPS, Amazon, Walmart, and other trucks are coming thru your neighborhood every day. So an order does not cause an extra truck trip, just an extra stop.
Parcel Box Use by Delivery Drivers
Who can and will deliver to a secure parcel box?
Delivery drivers will drop a package in a secure parcel box if they are guided to it and it is easy to use. This includes FedEx, UPS, Amazon, Walmart, and others. USPS (Post Office) delivery drivers will also use a parcel box if a package won’t fit in the official US MAIL mailbox at the residence or business. Friends and family can also use it. Remember, no-one but you has a key!
Are there ways to make sure the delivery driver will use my secure parcel box?
Yes! Remember, a driver might deliver as many as 200 packages a day, so speed is a primary factor. Delivery drivers will use a secure parcel box if it is obvious, convenient, and easy to use.
As part of the installation, Porch & Package provides directional signs that make it easy for the delivery driver to find the parcel box; and we can offer suggestions to locate your secure parcel box to maximize its convenience. Many delivery drivers run the same routes every day, so they will remember your parcel drop box and use it.
Another way to ensure the delivery driver will use a parcel box is to select a model that is easy to use. Deliver drivers want to drop the package and run. Time is money for them. A secure parcel box that is quick and easy to use will get used.
One more thing, when you place an order, many online retailers have a place for you to add instructions for the delivery driver to use the parcel box.
Parcel Box Placement & Installation
What does basic installation include?
- Pre-installation inspection - no hassles with returns or damage claims
All mounting hardware
Professional mounting to an existing wall or floor/concrete surface
Directional signs (2+2) customized to direct delivery drivers to your parcel box
2-year limited warranty on the installation
Local inventory in Fort Collins - no long wait times
Where’s the best place to mount a parcel box?
One driver might deliver as many as 200 packages a day, so the location of the secure parcel box is an important decision. Delivery drivers will use a secure parcel box if it is obvious and convenient, such as near the front door or along the walk to the front door. In some applications it may be placed at the street/curb. The parcel box doesn’t need to be visible from the street as long as the driver will see it at the front door or on the way to the front door. The best locations are under a porch overhang; however, all of the parcel boxes we offer provide weather protection for your packages.
How are parcel boxes mounted?
Different parcel box models are mounted in different ways, including on the porch, on a wall, or in a wall, depending on your needs and preferences. Our basic installation includes all mounting hardware.
Can you pour a concrete pad foundation if I don’t have a good location to mount a secure parcel box?
No problem! The size of the concrete pad is based on the size and weight of the secure parcel box.
Can you install an in-wall drop door in an exterior wall?
Yes, with some caveats. The in-wall drop doors that we offer require studs spaced at 16 inches or more. The exterior wall covering is also something to consider. Wood and aluminum siding are generally no problem. Brick or stone aren’t the best applications for an in-wall drop door but can be done if desired.
Is hardware to mount the parcel box included with the installation?
Yes, our basic installation includes the necessary hardware.
What about the directional signs you mentioned?
As part of the installation, we provide directional signs that make it easy for the delivery driver to find your parcel box. These drivers have a big workload so speed and convenience are important to them. Many delivery drivers run the same routes every day, so they will remember your parcel box and use it.
Are there additional costs not included with the installation?
Our basic installation includes everything necessary for most installations. In some cases, additional charges may apply. For example, Porch & Package can pour a concrete pad for mounting your parcel box for an additional charge.
Can you install a parcel box or locking mailbox that I purchased elsewhere?
Sure. Please contact us if you’d like a quote. We keep a wide assortment of fasteners and other hardware on hand and can usually do the installation on the spot if you desire.
Payment, Warranties, & Returns
What forms of payments do you accept?
Payment is made by check, credit card, Apple Pay, or Google Pay when installation is complete unless a different arrangement is made in the sales agreement. Monthly payment plans are available as well.
Do you offer monthly, zero-interest payment plans?
What about warranties?
Porch & Package inspects all parcel boxes prior to sale and installation in order to minimize any product warranty issues. We won’t sell or install a defective unit.
Product Warranties - Products and materials sold by Porch & Package are warranted by the manufacturer / distributor. A copy of the product warranty is provided with this Sales Agreement. Porch & Package takes no responsibility for the quality of the goods or decisions made by the manufacturer/distributor to rectify warranty claims. Realistically, these are metal boxes with fairly simple hinge and locking mechanisms, and we inspect before we install, so warranty issues are unlikely. Warranties for QualArc and dVault products can be viewed here.
Installation Warranty - Porch & Package provides a two (2) year limited warranty to the original purchaser of a parcel box product, concrete pad foundation, or accessory installed by us against installation defects or failure.
What is your return policy?
You won’t have any hassles with returning a parcel box to an online retailer because it arrived damaged or you don’t like it. With Porch & Package, you will have the opportunity to "test drive" our products before you buy them. Removal and/or restocking fees apply. Special orders must be paid in advance and cannot be returned.