What is a Parcel Locker? A Simple Guide for Businesses

what is a parcel locker

By Dan Barraclough | Published: September 12 2018

A parcel locker is a secure container that lets mailers receive large packages. Parcel lockers are perfect for packages that don’t fit into standard mailboxes. Rather than make multiple delivery attempts, shippers can leave them in a parcel locker, where they’ll be held for the recipient to collect.

Parcel lockers are usually located in common spaces to which couriers and USPS postal workers have easy access.

Examples of places where you might see parcel lockers: office reception areas, apartment complex lobbies, and sidewalks.

A woman retrieves her mail from a self-service parcel locker

What Are the Benefits of Parcel Lockers?

Guaranteed Delivery

What’s more frustrating than not being in to receive your important package? Having to trek across town to pick it up yourself.

With a parcel locker service, you’ll never make another tedious trip to the post office. Simply open your nearest locker to find your package waiting for you. It’s smooth, simple, and it ensures you get your package on time, every time.

Secure Storage

Having important goods left on your porch or behind your trash can isn’t ideal, even in ‘good’ neighborhoods. A parcel locker is a much safer alternative that’ll give you greater peace of mind, especially if you don’t check your mail daily.

Secure storage options come in many shapes and sizes. USPS-approved parcel lockers feature strengthened locks and sturdy designs. Many office locker solutions come equipped with video surveillance systems.


Post offices only let you pick up items during their opening hours. Not so with a parcel locker; you can access your safe deposit box day and night, provided you have your key or access card.

The USPS runs a popular line of gopost self-service kiosks. Amazon Lockers are another popular type for orders shipped by Amazon. Several other third party solutions exist. Collectively, they ease the administrative burden on post offices and make it more convenient to receive mail.

How Much Do Parcel Lockers Cost?

All of the major shipping companies provide parcel lockers for free for domestic users. That said, their availability depends on whether they’ve rolled out the service in your area.

The number of days each service gives you to collect your mail also differs. We’ve summarized the rules for the top five mail carriers below:

Locker ServiceFree Storage Allowance*Price
USPS Gopost15 working daysFree
UPS Access Point7 working daysFree
DHL Lockers7 working daysFree
FedEx Ship&Get5 working daysFree
Amazon Lockers3 working daysFree

*If you exceed the time allowed for free storage, your package will normally be returned to the sender.

How Secure are Parcel Lockers?

Despite being unmanned, parcel lockers are extremely secure places to store mail. Video surveillance deters thieves, while access card and PIN code protections keep the contents of your locker(s) safe. Plus, most companies insure their customers’ goods, so you won’t lose out in the unlikely event of a break in.

Do Parcel Lockers Result in Cheaper Postage?

Centralized mail lockers make it cheaper for postal carriers to deliver mail. The bad news is that these costs savings don’t get passed on to you, the end user.

The good news is that there are other ways that you and other small owners can minimize the costs of sending and receiving mail.

For starters, using prepaid postage meters greatly cuts down the amount of time and money you spend handling outgoing mail. Instead of weighing items one by one and manually applying the correct number of stamps, a postage machine can do it for you.

If you send high volumes of mail, you may also qualify for preferential rates. For more information, check out our guide to USPS Priority Mail rates.

What is a Parcel Locker: Next Steps

We’ve all experienced how annoying it is to miss a package delivery. Parcel lockers make sure your mail gets where it needs to go, even if you’re not there to sign for it. Nowadays, any commercial shipping service provider worth its salt offers parcel lockers as a delivery option. Parcel lockers also feature in most modern office spaces.

For more tips on commercial postage solutions, learn more about postage meters.

Dan Barraclough

Dan’s a Senior Writer at Expert Market, specialising in digital marketing, web design, and photocopiers, amongst other topics.

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