USPS Delivery Instructions (What Is It & How Does It Work)

With millions of mailpieces delivered every day, it’s a wonder that the United States Postal Service can offer such individualized and specific service to its customers.

But that’s exactly what USPS can do. They offer features such as Delivery Instructions to their package delivery, so that recipients don’t have to worry about losing anything important.

What is USPS Delivery Instructions? I’ve got an explanation for you just below!

What Is USPS Delivery Instructions In 2022?

USPS Delivery Instructions is a free program that allows the recipient of packages to control where their parcel is left for retrieval. This includes specific locations on your property, at their local Post Office, or even at an entirely different address. The USPS Delivery Instructions feature can be found on the package tracking page.

For more about why you should use USPS Delivery Instructions, how the feature works, how to find out if your package is eligible and much, much more, keep reading!

Why Should You Use USPS Delivery Instructions?

If you have a history of having packages stolen; you have had packages ruined by bad weather; or you are hiding packages from your spouse – USPS Delivery Instructions is for you!

This service from USPS gives the recipient control over where their deliveries are left, and I think it’s particularly useful for people who have felt “burned” by USPS deliveries before.

For example, if you had a parcel that wouldn’t fit in the mailbox and was instead left by the side of the road – and it was raining – you were probably pretty peeved when that box was soggy.

With Delivery Instructions, when you know the delivery day is going to be rainy and you’re not going to be home, you can ask them to leave the parcel between the front door and storm door.

If you have had issues with porch pirates (people who steal packages), you can ask USPS to keep the parcel at the post office for you to come retrieve at your own convenience.

I think this is a necessary service that USPS rolled out to help reduce the headache on their end that comes with endless delivery inquiries and claims.

How Does USPS Delivery Instructions Work?

USPS Delivery Instructions is set up to allow recipients of eligible packages to direct the mail carrier about where they would like them placed.

To access this feature, you must have a USPS.com account and you must be signed in.

Also, Delivery Instructions must be set before the item is marked Out For Delivery

To access the Delivery Instructions feature, you will have to enter the tracking information for your package on USPS.com.

Per the USPS instructions, if you look to the right of the progress chart, there should be a heading that reads “Available Actions.”

If Delivery Instructions are, indeed, an available action, they will be listed under that heading.

You can expand the Delivery Instructions sub-heading via the down-pointing chevron icon to the right and validate your address.

Once that security hurdle has been leapt, you will choose which action you prefer:

  • Leave it at the original delivery address
  • Leave it with a neighbor
  • Send it to a different domestic address (extra charge)
  • Hold it at a Post Office

Depending on which option you choose, you will be instructed to leave different information.

For example, if you want to leave it at the original delivery address, you can then choose where on the property.

There is even an option to include your own instructions, like inside a garage with a code. You can leave the postal carrier a code and instruct them on how to close the door.

Or if you were to choose the hold at a Post Office, you will have to pick which one.

You will then have to “check out” – if you’re just leaving basic Delivery Instructions, it will be free of charge.

However, if you added premium delivery instructions or chose to add-on services, you will then be charged.

For the fully illustrated, step-by-step instruction, visit this USPS document here.

What Are Some Examples Of USPS Delivery Instructions?

What Are Some Examples Of USPS Delivery Instructions?

If you’re having Delivery Instructions writer’s block, you’re not alone. What will be helpful? What will make sense?

Here are some good examples for the USPS delivery person:

  • “Please place the package in the garage. Use the code XXXX to open the door. Press Enter to close the door.”
  • “Please put the package just inside the porch to the right side, where it can’t be seen from the street.”
  • “You are authorized to leave the package with the doorman. Thank you.”
  • “Please bring the package to our door. We are the third door on the left, second floor.”

Note how each instruction is polite, descriptive but also simple.

Is USPS Delivery Instructions Free?

The most basic options for USPS Delivery Instructions are free! These include:

  • Placement of package at a specific location on your property
  • Package left at a neighbor’s home instead (on your same route)
  • Post Office hold/pick-up

You can add additional services under the Delivery Instructions feature; these do have a fee. The add-ons include:

  • Rerouting your package to a different domestic address that is not on your carrier’s route (or within your zip code)
  • Hold/Pick-up at a Post Office that is not your delivering PO
  • Delivery service upgrade to Priority Mail or Priority Express
  • Other Extra Services, like Signature Required

How Do You Know If Your Package Is Eligible For USPS Delivery Instructions?

To find out if your package is eligible for USPS Delivery Instructions, you must enter your tracking information into the USPS.com website.

When the results appear, look to the right of your tracking progress bar. There will be a heading that reads “Available Actions.”

Beneath that, you will see subheadings with drop-down menus, including Text Updates and Email Updates.

If you are eligible for Delivery Instructions, you will see the option listed at the bottom.

However, if you are not eligible, you will not see Delivery Instructions listed at all.

You must have a USPS.com account in order to use the Delivery Instructions feature.

But if you don’t have one, you can initiate the Delivery Instructions process and the site will allow you to sign up for an account then and there.

Can You Cancel A USPS Delivery Instructions Request?

Per the USPS.com website, once you finalize a Delivery Instructions request and go through check-out, you cannot cancel it, nor can you edit it.

However, there might be a work-around – and it’s delightfully old-fashioned.

According to a thread on r/USPS, your next best route is to leave a note for your mail carrier, taped to the mailbox.

This obviously only works for deliveries that are still occurring on your property.

You cannot leave a note for the postal carrier if you want to have them leave the parcel at a neighbor’s or take it with them to the Post Office.

Want to sweeten the deal and make sure the postal carrier follows your note’s instructions?

Feel free to leave them a little goody, like a baked good or bottled water – a happy carrier is a helpful carrier!

To know more about USPS, you might also be interested in reading up on whether or not USPS sends text messages, if USPS updates tracking, and if USPS delivers on Sundays.

Conclusion

The USPS Delivery Instructions feature allows the recipient to specify – in most cases, for free – where and how they would like their postal carrier to deliver their packages.

While it doesn’t apply to all packages, it is easy to check and see if your parcel is eligible by visiting your item’s tracking page.

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of QuerySprout.com.

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