Mailbox Flag Rules: 5 Important Facts To Know

A lot of mailboxes have flags attached to them.

These flags are also known as carrier flags, and they can be found in mailboxes for residential houses and businesses.

Here’s Why Some Mailboxes Have Flags:

Flags are placed on mailboxes mainly to let the postal carrier know that outgoing mail inside the box needs to be picked up and delivered to its destination. These flags serve as a signal so that postal carriers would stop at the mailbox to collect the outgoing mail.

Why Do Some Mailboxes Have Flags?

The flags placed on mailboxes are not there just for decoration. They have a function that makes sending very convenient to homeowners.

It saves time as it prevents the postal carriers from stopping at all mailboxes to check if there is outgoing mail. They would only stop at mailboxes with raised flags.

Not everyone has mailbox flags. Some homeowners can choose not to have them, but this means that they have to go to the post office or to a centralized public mailbox to be able to send mail.

Here are important things that you need to know about mailbox flags:

1) Mailbox Flags Are Used For Incoming and Outgoing Mail

Mailbox flags are commonly used for outgoing mail.

These flags are made to let the post carrier know that there is mail inside the box that should be picked up and delivered. However, mailbox flags can also be used for incoming mail.

When delivering mail, postal carriers would raise the mailbox flag so that the resident would know that they have mail to collect from the mailbox.

This is very convenient as the residents would not have to make unnecessary trips to check if mail is inside the mailbox.

2) Mailbox Flags Are Not Required for All Mailboxes

Contrary to popular belief, not all mailboxes should have mailbox flags. Postal services do not require placing a flag on all mailboxes.

There are usually two classifications of mailboxes: limited-service mailboxes and full-service mailboxes.

Limited-service mailboxes are for homeowners who do not want postal carriers to pick up their outgoing mail. Mail carriers will not stop at limited-service mailboxes.

Homeowners have to go to the post office or public mailboxes with limited-service mailboxes if they have outgoing mail to send.

Full-service mailboxes are the ones that require a flag. These mailboxes can have both incoming and outgoing mail, so a flag is required when homeowners have outgoing mail that needs to be picked up.

Mail carriers would stop when they saw a raised flag on full-service mailboxes.

3) Mailbox Flags Should Be Placed on The Right Side of The Mailbox

When placing a mailbox flag, you cannot just attach it anywhere.

All mailbox flags should be placed on the right side of the mailbox when facing it from the front.

It should be visible as the flag needs to be raised when there is outgoing mail inside the box, and it needs to be lowered once the outgoing mail has been picked up.

4) Mailbox Flags Should Be In a Contrasting Color

Mailbox flags usually come in red or orange, but this is not the standard color. There is no required color.

Mailbox flags can be any color except for green, yellow, blue, white, or brown, as these colors are the most common ones that mailboxes come in.

Plus, these colors can easily blend in with the surroundings. You would want your mailbox flag to be easily seen by the postal carrier and not blend in with the surroundings.

The only requirement for the color of mailbox flags is that it should contract the color of the mailbox.

The purpose of this is to make the mailbox flag stand out from the color of the mailbox so that it is visible to the postal carrier.

5) The Weight Of The Mailbox Flag Should Not Exceed 2 lbs

Mailbox flags should not weigh more than 2 pounds. They should be stiff and sturdy enough not to fall off when the flag is raised or lowered.

If it is too heavy, the flag can fall or get lowered on its own. And if this happens, the postal carrier may not see that there is outgoing mail, so they would not be able to collect it.

In addition, the flag can have an automatic lowering mechanism that is attached to the box.

This is completely fine as long as this mechanism does not get in the way of the postal carrier as they do their mail delivery routine.

What Kind of Flags CAN Mailboxes Have?

You can use any mailbox flag for your mailboxes.

The prescribed colors are red and orange, as these colors easily stand out and do not blend in with the surroundings. The postal carrier can easily see these colors, which makes their job easier when collecting outgoing mail.

You can pick any color for your mailbox flag if it does not blend in with the surroundings or is a contrasting color from the mailbox. Some people even personalize the colors of the mailbox flag.

Furthermore, flags do not necessarily have to be in the shape of a flag. You can have fun decorating and painting your mailbox flag to match the look of your house.

You can customize the shape of the mailbox flag. Some people have mailbox “flags” in the shape of a fish, palm tree, or star – it can be any shape.

Just make sure that it will be visible to the postal carrier.

What Kind of Flags CAN’T Mailboxes Have?

There is no definite rule as to what kind of flags mailboxes cannot have.

Generally, you can place any flag on your mailbox if it does not interfere with the postal carrier’s delivery routine.

However, there are a few colors that you should not use.

Mailbox flags should not be green, yellow, blue, white, or brown, as these colors are seen in nature and blend in with the environment.

You can also decorate your mailboxes. You can attach devices or decorative art to the exterior of the mailbox as long as they do not pose a safety hazard for the postal carrier.

These attachments should also not interfere with mail delivery.

After all, mailboxes make your life more convenient when receiving and sending mail, so anything that interferes with their functionality should not be placed.


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