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JuryDuty

Escapees Mail Questions - Why is it worth it?

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I've been looking at mail services for full-timers and know most people here recommend Escapees, but the website seems to lack the answers to several questions other mail service websites answer. For instance:

  1. If you receive a check, will they deposit it for you? (Most services offer this.)
  2. How many recipients can you have at your Escapees address? (Most allow 2-6.)
  3. If they allow more than one, can one of those be a business name? Or will that cost extra? (Most include.)
  4. The scanning service seems to indicate it's an additional $10/month, but another place says scans are 50c/page. Is it $10/month + 50c/page?
  5. Is mail recycled or securely shredded?

I want to support Escapees, but if I'm reading the webpages right, it appears the service is twice the price of their competitors with half the perks. What am I missing?? Help convince me! :)

(I've been comparing to Traveling Mailbox, ScanMailboxes, AnytimeMailbox, TexasHomebase and iPostal1.)

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I don't have any answers for you but we receive so little mail that most of the services you are asking for we wouldn't need. But I have some comments. Deposit of checks: I can't remember the last time I had a check to deposit except from friends or a consignment shop which would be local. Also, I believe most checks need to be endorsed. I know checks we receive we just deposit via our phone. With the number of banks, credit unions, brokerage accounts etc. I don't see how a mail service could make a  deposit. I don't want people opening my mail. Yes scanning the envelope is fine but again we get so little mail.

To me a mail service is service to hold my mail and forward it. It sounds like you want more personal service. I personally have never heard of any of the services that you mentioned. If you are going to use your mail service also as your state of domicile you need to keep that in your consideration also.

Have you emailed the mail service and asked these questions?

When try to get our mail once a month and have never missed anything important. 

Running a business is a different situation and may require a different solution.

 

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Yes, I suppose I'm looking for more of a mail scanning and forwarding service. The mail we receive is minimal and most could be scanned, but some we'd need forwarded. Most services scan the front of your envelope as a basic service (not a surcharge) and then you can tell them to forward it, shred it, or open and scan the contents. Some charge for scanning the contents, some do not.

I'm a freelance writer and unfortunately, some clients still only pay by check. What most mail services will do for you is open the envelope, stamp "For Deposit Only" on the check and then forward it to your bank. Almost all services offer this for $5 per check, which is why I was surprised not to see it mentioned from Escapees.

I'll have to see if I can find that email address. Good idea.

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mailservice@escapees.com

I thought you were expecting the deposit of checks for free. Wouldn't the service need deposit slips etc. Just curious. Personally, I would use Paypal over a check. At least you know it is good.

I would find having to log on and look at was scanned(assuming I  had internet) to me would be an aggravation. I  am too busy having fun..............But since you are working I can see your point.

I would also check any service that you use to make sure it is not  Mom and Pop operation. You want continuity. Escapees is the largest mail service in the US, I don't know how many people they service. You might be better off with a smaller service.

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1 minute ago, SWharton said:

mailservice@escapees.com

I thought you were expecting the deposit of checks for free. Wouldn't the service need deposit slips etc. Just curious. Personally, I would use Paypal over a check. At least you know it is good.

I would find having to log on and look at was scanned(assuming I  had internet) to me would be an aggravation. I  am too busy having fun..............But since you are working I can see your point.

Believe me, I'd love to do away with checks all together. My entire life is online, but some clients still are "old school."

Actually, that's why I'd prefer mail scanning over mail forwarding, except when I absolutely need it. I'd much prefer to just check my email box, look at my mail and delete what I don't want than have to have it shipped to me. We want to streamline these communication channels! :P

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2 hours ago, JuryDuty said:

If you receive a check, will they deposit it for you? (Most services offer this.)

I have never heard of a mail service that does this and if you keep your bank in Ft Worth, it would be a long trip to do that.

2 hours ago, JuryDuty said:

How many recipients can you have at your Escapees address? (Most allow 2-6.)

It is a mailing address with no restrictions. It works just like any other address in that everyone living there gets mail there.  For business use, check the website or call them to get specifics. I believe that you will find that all mail services charge extra for a business account.

2 hours ago, JuryDuty said:

Is mail recycled or securely shredded?

Both. 

2 hours ago, JuryDuty said:

I want to support Escapees, but if I'm reading the webpages right, it appears the service is twice the price of their competitors with half the perks. What am I missing??

If you mean the entire cost of membership dues and mail service, you may be missing a few little things like the leading RV magazine, 18 member use RV parks, annual rallies, Escapee member discounts in RV parks and RV services, and a long list of other things than none of those have. Escapees is an RV club that offers mail service to members, while all of the others are mail services only. If you hang around here long enough, you will discover that there are many members of Escapees who for one reason or another choose another mail service, but still continue to be members of the Escapees RV Club for the fact that they are the only complete support system for the extended travel or full-time RV owner. 

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1 hour ago, Kirk Wood said:

I have never heard of a mail service that does this and if you keep your bank in Ft Worth, it would be a long trip to do that.

Actually, I was surprised to see that almost all of them offer this except Escapees. For just $5 they'll take a check you receive and forward it to your bank, marked as "For Deposit Only." I wouldn't have even thought about this as an option until I saw it on all the other services. 

1 hour ago, Kirk Wood said:

If you mean the entire cost of membership dues and mail service, you may be missing a few little things like the leading RV magazine, 18 member use RV parks, annual rallies, Escapee member discounts in RV parks and RV services, and a long list of other things than none of those have. Escapees is an RV club that offers mail service to members, while all of the others are mail services only. If you hang around here long enough, you will discover that there are many members of Escapees who for one reason or another choose another mail service, but still continue to be members of the Escapees RV Club for the fact that they are the only complete support system for the extended travel or full-time RV owner. 

No doubt! No, I just mean the cost of the mail service alone. I can tell the Escapees membership itself is a crazy good deal and seems to have a great community. If anything, I was surprised it didn't cost more!

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You have to remember that most of those using the service are NOT working, so things like getting a check in the next mail delivery (birthday, refund, etc.) isn't a make or break situation since we have all of our regular income funds directly deposited.  Personally, I don't want anyone opening ANY of my mail - that's why I don't use a family member, it is my mail (ie, first class mail) and I'll open it when it gets to me.  Plus, I'm cheap and $5 to deposit a $25 refund check for x,y or z, is a bit to much.  Again, most of us don't run businesses so we don't need the service.  You really need to call the office and talk about your business needs and see what they offer.  They might be more interested in expanding services since they actively promoting the XCAPERS for the younger/still working crowd. 

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On 6/2/2017 at 10:47 AM, JuryDuty said:

I've been looking at mail services for full-timers and know most people here recommend Escapees, but the website seems to lack the answers to several questions other mail service websites answer. For instance:

  1. If you receive a check, will they deposit it for you? (Most services offer this.)
  2. How many recipients can you have at your Escapees address? (Most allow 2-6.)
  3. If they allow more than one, can one of those be a business name? Or will that cost extra? (Most include.)
  4. The scanning service seems to indicate it's an additional $10/month, but another place says scans are 50c/page. Is it $10/month + 50c/page?
  5. Is mail recycled or securely shredded?

I want to support Escapees, but if I'm reading the webpages right, it appears the service is twice the price of their competitors with half the perks. What am I missing?? Help convince me! :)

(I've been comparing to Traveling Mailbox, ScanMailboxes, AnytimeMailbox, TexasHomebase and iPostal1.)

Good questions, and the answers are going to vary depending on situation. (I need to say right here that I have not yet hot the road. Still have a house to sell.) Me being an old man and retired, I don't get mail I care about. You specifically mention getting checks in the mail. I think I may have gotten 2 checks in the mail last year and one so far this year, and with mobile banking apps, you just take pictures of both sides and you can deposit them from the top of a mountain. My income sources are both direct deposited, and 95% of my mail is either food ads or bills that will be gone when I sell my house. This is an online world now. I bought 10 stamps 14 months ago and have 4 left. I have some situations in my life that many don't though, so I may not be typical.

I plan to use a UPS store. I am not concerned with counting dimes, so if one service is 20 a month and another is 18, that is not even a consideration. I prefer the mental comfort of a large corporation like UPS handling this than someone who does it out of his or her basement. Again, I get so little mail, it doesn't matter. My main piece of mail will be my license plate registration around my birthday, and I could honestly do that without the letter. I know when my birthday is... :-)

Edited by eddie1261

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I won't touch on this too much since I don't use SKP's mail service (although I am a club member), but a couple of comments. Most checks these days do not require endorsement. Only when they are specificially required per the instructions on the reverse of any check. "For Deposit Only" is generally sufficient and should be written on your checks anyway... even those you endorse and physically deposit in person.

You should also be aware that most app deposits have limits on how much may be deposited with daily and monthly limits. Some banks may be as low as $500 per day and $1500 per month. Some $5000/day and $50k/monthly, but generally depends on the level of relationship you have with your bank.

Edited by Yarome

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On 7/20/2017 at 10:24 PM, eddie1261 said:

I prefer the mental comfort of a large corporation like UPS handling this than someone who does it out of his or her basement.

I think that you need to tour the Escapee mail service. They happen to be large enough to have a zip code that is exclusively for their mail service. They use the same sorting machine that the USPS uses. They process more mail for more addresses (15,000+) than do many postal offices. 

Edited by Kirk Wood

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Around my home base, two UPS stores closed and disappeared. I have no idea what happens to mail that was being sent to those privately owned franchised locations.

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15 hours ago, Kirk Wood said:

I think that you need to tour the Escapee mail service. They happen to be large enough to have a zip code that is exclusively for their mail service. They use the same sorting machine that the USPS uses. They process more mail for more addresses (15,000+) than do many postal offices. 

I looked at the web page before I responded, and I prefer to keep my car registered in Ohio, and if I change my mail address to one of the states available for use by Escapees mail service, all my "official stuff" gets moved. I also need to keep my anchor in Ohio for my CCW permit. If I moved my cars to Florida, I have to pay that ridiculous "new rubber" fee that is many hundreds of dollars ($400 is it?). License plates in Ohio are $54 a year. I will probably only be alive for one more DL renewal and one more CCW renewal, and for the DL I can do it anywhere in the state. (The CCW I have to do in the county it was issued, and I takes as long as 4-6 weeks, so I will need to be here for that long.) Once I renew that CCW in 2019, at age 67, the next one would be in 2024, when I am 72. That's a long way off for a diabetic who lived a hard life when he was younger. LOL!

As I said, in my case, and I know my case is just my case, as little mail as I get, I should just let everything go back to sender. That one birthday card and Christmas card I get can just as well be electronic. Currently I get an electric, mortgage, gas and water bill in the mail. The rest is junk. Food ads, grocery ads, local business propaganda. In the rare occasions that I'd get a check (it's been years, since direct deposit became the norm), I can take pictures of the back and front and deposit it from my cell phone.  Once I hit the road, ALL of that goes away. Only for car and CCW reasons (and maybe VA) do I even need to HAVE an address, and I prefer that be in Ohio. But again, that's me. As I read this thread, what I had an image of is people who probably stand by their mailbox at home waiting for the mailman, if only for something to do. I delivered mail for 8 years and  there WERE people  like that, where getting mail was their whole day. So while I WILL look for lower cost options in Ohio, I don't think Escapees is for me, as I don't want to "live" In Texas, Florida or South Dakota. So, again, this looks like a great service. It just won't fit my needs. I am not rich, but I am not poor either, and 20 bucks a month doesn't matter to me. That same logic applies to a Planet Fitness membership. It's $21 a month for a nationwide membership. Not that I work out (if you saw me, you'd KNOW I don't work out) but it's access to a shower and bathroom when I am near cities that have one. My RV has a shower, but why fill my tanks if I can run into a gym and do my morning SSS there?

Everybody's situation is different. This is just what fits me and I am not trying to tell anybody else what to do.

I do appreciate the suggestions!!! On every topic!

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On 7/20/2017 at 11:42 PM, Yarome said:

You should also be aware that most app deposits have limits on how much may be deposited with daily and monthly limits. Some banks may be as low as $500 per day and $1500 per month. Some $5000/day and $50k/monthly, but generally depends on the level of relationship you have with your bank.

That is good info. In my case, my bank allows $500 a day. However, I can count on one hand the number of checks I have gotten in the mail in the last 4 years. And none of them were anywhere near $500. I get 2 "checks" a month. One from SS and one from the VA. Both are direct deposit. I got a $51 check last month from my car insurance after an accident (rental car reimbursal) and last year I got one for $35 from someone I don't even remember. So for me, depositing checks is as close to moot as it gets, because my bank ha s a pretty good national presence, and in the unlikely event that I get a check I can just hang into it until I get to a state where there are branches.

But that IS a good consideration, and thanks for bringing it up!

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9 hours ago, eddie1261 said:

Everybody's situation is different. This is just what fits me and I am not trying to tell anybody else what to do.

I wasn't telling you to "move" to Escapees, only responding to your remark about "someone who does it out of his or her basement." If you plan to return to Ohio, then that is probably your best and most legal domicile. 

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On 7/20/2017 at 8:24 PM, eddie1261 said:

I plan to use a UPS store. I am not concerned with counting dimes, so if one service is 20 a month and another is 18, that is not even a consideration. I prefer the mental comfort of a large corporation like UPS handling this than someone who does it out of his or her basement. Again, I get so little mail, it doesn't matter. My main piece of mail will be my license plate registration around my birthday, and I could honestly do that without the letter. I know when my birthday is... :-)

You do realize that most UPS Mail Box  are franchises, right?  And people do close them all of the time, often without warning.   Escapees mail service is a BIG deal - no basement mom & pop operation.   I've watched the 18-wheeler back up and start unloading at the operations in Livingston - it is very impressive.

We like the fact that we don't have to bother our kids handling our mail, that we never have a problem with voting, that the people in Livingston understand fulltimers and so jury duty is not a problem, and so on.   Suggestions were being made as to what works for a lot of fulltimers, not that it was the only way to go.

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Actually I'm not quite sure where this is going. The OP has already said he has found other options that he thinks are better for his purposes so he can go ahead and use those options. Escapees are not the magic solution for every problem so need to defend them. The OP can go ahead and use his solution. 

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On 6/2/2017 at 10:47 AM, JuryDuty said:

 

(I've been comparing to Traveling Mailbox, ScanMailboxes, AnytimeMailbox, TexasHomebase and iPostal1.)

I just did the same comparison and find that of the 5 you listed plus Escapees, only 2 allow me to have an Ohio address, so I have only 2 to choose from. I have had a couple of people offer their address to me, but that is not being self sufficient, and I have lived a life of never relying on anybody for anything. And honestly, I would feel like I am annoying anybody who would offer to handle my mail. Like I said in other responses, for the 1-2 pieces of meaningful mail I get per month, this is not a major concern. My only real issue is that the VA mails my meds out, and I have calls in to them to see if they can set that up where they can put refills into their network and I can pick them up at the nearest clinic to where I happen to be when I run out of something. We live in an online, technological world now, and I am AMAZED at home many people still think computers are a passing fad. I just did a video about how many people in their upper years who did NOT grow up in a world exposed to technology do not trust, and in some cases, actually fear, computers. (Caught a lot of flak for it too!!)

One of the comments here included someone saying that they don't want anybody else to open their mail.  While I can understand that some things may be sensitive, again, it is 2017 and the world lives online now. Who is sending you sensitive stuff in the mail without also sending it electronically? I would be interested in knowing what kind of content people are getting that they really care about someone else seeing for the half second it takes to stick it face down on a scanner and scan it before shredding it.Unless you are in that group that getting mail is your whole life, I don't get it. The same logic applies to those who insist on buying a newspaper to read the same content that is online at the paper's website, because they "want to actually HOLD a newspaper like I always have". Again, standard disclaimer applies, these are just opinions and I can only base these opinions on my own life, and once my utility bills become a memory, I will get close to NO 1st class mail. My annual license plate renewal notices and my every-5-year CCW renewal notice and the very rare occasion that I buy something with a rebate that comes on a debit card are about it. My insurance documents, my bank statements, my cell phone bill, anything to do with my RV loan... everything comes via email.

Maybe it's time to consider what you get in the mail and how much could be converted to paperless.

Depending on how things shake out with the VA and my meds, I may not even bother with mail forwarding, though I DO need to have AN address in Ohio, so I will likely just pick the cheapest option given how little I will use it.

As always, this is just how I think and your mileage may vary.

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On 7/23/2017 at 10:05 AM, eddie1261 said:

As always, this is just how I think and your mileage may vary.

There are many here with years of experience living in an RV and traveling continuously, and it would seem to me that at least some of them might have some good advice for you, but you are free to learn from your own experiences. 

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Eddie,  we have some things from our 403b which are mailed out showing account numbers and amount.  Can't get it turned off because of some legislative wording.  How long would it take to hit copy after hitting scan? 

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I don't even know what a 403b is. And again, my application is not your application, so what works for me is not necessarily for anybody else. My 6-8 pieces of 1st class mail per year MUST stay on Ohio so I have to go this route. Texas, Florida, or South Dakota is not an option for me. My insurance would change if I changed states. Thus my car must registered in Ohio as well. I would have to apply for a CCW permit in another state in which I do not live. That would entail going through a class in that state because my Ohio CCW training would not be accepted in another state. The application process takes 6-8 weeks, so I would have to find a place to stay for 6-8 weeks that doesn't cost me a daily fee. It's just as easy for me to pay 20 bucks a month for a mail forwarding service, and 20 bucks a month to me is insignificant. Same for 20 bucks to belong to Planet Fitness.

I have watched video after video and read post after post, mainly by conversion van people more so than RV people, who squeeze nickels until the buffalo bleeds, to the point of their instructional videos saying "You don't need stainless steel screws. Regular screws are  a lot cheaper." Well, using that as my example, cheaper is not the same as more expensive. When those 9 cent screws rust and have to be replaced, causing the need to dismantle everything, how much money did you save by not buying the 19 cent stainless steel screws? That same logic will see me spend $1200 on a lithium ion battery for my solar system rather than the much cheaper flooded lead acid batteries. That lithium battery guarantees 4000 charging cycles, likely as many as 5000. That is about 11-14 years. In 11-14 years, I would replace flooded batteries 4 times, so 5 pairs of batteries at $500 per pair vs 1 at $1200. So which is "cheaper" and which is less expensive?

My point to the van dwellers who pinch those pennies, and the opinion that has a LOT of people mad at me, is this. If you have so little money that you have to live every moment of your life on a shoe string to the point where you have to care how much screws cost, maybe you should drop back in to society and get one of those "job" things for a while so you have some money in reserve. It's great to enjoy the perceived freedom of life on the road, but to choose a life of destitution where you are free to roam but have no money to do anything when you get to those places, is that living or existing? So many of those videos show people just sitting outside their little van just staring straight ahead.... Jeeze! You only get so many laps around the sun in your life. Go see stuff. Go do things! Go eat at fun restaurants rather than cooking canned beans on your little propane camping stove. I am far from rich, but I have enough money to actually enter this adventure out of choice, not out of necessity. Living in a car, eating cheap food from cans, begging people on the internet to fund you through Patreon or affiliate link clicks..... that is called homeless. Is that even living? I will be houseless, but not homeless.

The other side of that equation is the people who worked their whole life, saved their money, and are enjoying the road because they had the sense to plan for their retirement. Most of those people have nice RVs that are not held together by duct tape and a prayer sleeping on plywood beds and pooping into a Home Depot bucket into a plastic bag. 

Moral of the story, what works for some may not work for all. Your mileage may vary.

Edited by eddie1261

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Boy this thread has suddenly gotten more life nearly two months after I first posted!

So just to follow up for anyone who may care, after looking hard at several services and talking to RVers, I decided to go with TravelingMailbox.com.

For me, it boiled down to what I wanted from a mail service. Escapees is a STELLAR service if you want very strong mail forwarding with the ability to get some add-ons that may benefit you.

In my case, I wanted a service that would automatically scan all my letter covers without charging me extra, securely shred what I don't want on cue from a browser window, scan in what I do want to a PDF in Evernote, deposit checks, allow me to tie in a business mailbox at no charge, and occasionally forward a piece of mail. To me, this is more like a personal assistant. As far as sensitive information goes, this isn't a paramount concern to me as all my mail that's confidential is electronic anymore (such as Barbaraok said, my 403b paperwork is all online). And the few pieces that aren't electronic, I can just have them forward without opening. But that said, I also chose to go with a well known service with positive reviews in the industry. There are too many small/new outfits that could be untrustworthy/still need to prove themselves.

Much thanks for everyone's input. Great discussion and help all over this forum!

Edited by JuryDuty

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39 minutes ago, JuryDuty said:

Much thanks for everyone's input. Great discussion and help all over this forum!

Keep us posted as you move ahead with your plans! If there was one perfect answer to everything, there wouldn't be much purpose to forums like this one. 

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Happy travels to you guys JuryDuty.  And for others who might tune in and want just one more opinion...  We have used MyDakotaAddress in Madison, SD - and I can't say enough good things about Terri.  She always goes above an beyond expectations.  We've never used many of the services mentioned earlier (in fact, we have pared our mail down to the point that once a month generally does it for us), but she does have many other services.

Again happy trails to you all and safe travels wherever you're headed!!

Sharon

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