Package Deal

Get your tape. Get your boxes. Buy some stamps. Pay a franchise fee. 'Cause one man's mail can be another man's business.

Today's postal franchises are making sure they beat the "snail mail" rap by providing unmatched service alongside access to the latest technologies. By changing not only the way we communicate but the way we do business, modern technology has been a springboard from which the postal industry has taken off.

"We're experiencing unprecedented expansion," says John Goodell, vice president of marketing and franchise development at PostalAnnex+. "It's a dynamic marketplace that's evolving quickly. The people who get out in front of the curve are going to make more money than they ever thought possible. Those who don't keep up, however, are going to fall by the wayside."

With the rise of the Internet and computers, the old postal alternative from 10 or 20 years ago has evolved into a full-service business that accommodates all technology needs, including not only the traditional services like copying, faxing, shipping and passport photos, but also a host of high-demand Internet and computer-related services, ranging from providing Internet access to operating a full-blown e-commerce site.

"The great thing about this business is anybody is a potential customer, because everybody has the basic needs for packaging and shipping. We have a lot of homemakers who are our customers, but we also have a big business base, and the SOHO market is [substantial]," says Goodell.

Technological advancements have led to the growth of the homebased-business market, which in turn has increased opportunities for the postal industry. Postal franchises have, in a sense, become secondary offices to entrepreneurs who don't want to have copiers, fax machines and postal meters cluttering their homes. "Five or 10 years ago, [the homebased-business market] didn't even exist," says James Amos, president and CEO of Mail Boxes Etc. "Today, not only is it the largest, fastest-growing customer segment in the world, but it's continuing to grow due to the impact of technology."

More than anything, the growth of b2b services over the past decade has set the stage for postal-franchising opportunities.

 


Zaheera Wahid is a former writer for The Orange County Register.

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This article was originally published in the August 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Package Deal.

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