A while back a reader asked what we are planning to use for mail service. Surf through several blogs written by other full timers and the options quickly become apparent. Karen and I are saving this decision for the year we take off, along with selecting domicile and healthcare options. Part of the beauty of having taken five years to plan is the ability to make small changes now that will help with the eventual transition. For example, going paperless and establishing online delivery and payment of bills.
Pending the most current information relative to income taxes, healthcare and auto insurance, licensing and more, we are most likely to consider Texas or Florida as our new home state. Tentatively, we plan to make use of a domicile service that provides a physical address, mail forwarding and assistance with the process of changing our home state of residency. For example, Texas is interesting. The Escapees RV Club out of Polk County Texas offers all the services we might need. Texas is relatively close to our family and we like the idea of being centrally located in the United States. There are other factors to consider such as Texas requires a special driver’s license for a rig the size we would have and once you return to the state you might have to have your vehicle inspected. While currently Florida might offer the best healthcare insurance plan for our needs as I’ll not be on Medicare. Otherwise we might consider another top three places to domicile which others agree is South Dakota.
Some additional thoughts about mail service include how you have it delivered when you’re on the road. For Amazon and other box deliveries I read how others just wait until they are parked for a given length of time and have the package delivered directly to the RV park. Their mail forwarding service has options depending on your needs. For example, they offer scanning so you can view online and select what mail you want delivered. You can have the service send boxes of mail to any local post office as general delivery. Then simply swing by and pick it up.
Before we go full time, and as part of going paperless, we have been opting out of having items such as magazines and catalogs delivered to the house. I’ve also researched a few websites that claim they help take us off the “junk” mail lists. I’m thinking by the time we hit the road, delivery of residential mail from the mail forwarding service will be minimal.
One concern for me will be getting business related mail required should I keep a part-time office job. I might use an online fax service for incoming documents. Scanning whatever I need to fax and sending it through email or the online fax service. Not a big deal because I don’t get much now in the way of faxes. Email is replacing faxes. We currently use a Magic Jack phone number for our fax line. This can be taken anywhere as long as there is internet service. Magic Jack is an easy way to have a home or business phone without cellular or landline service. I’ve had one for years and it extends phone service to several wireless phones around the house.
There are options for receiving bills online but in our business, this is relatively rare. This may be one area the mail forwarding service will have to scan and send documents. I’m still working through the business mail parts. A few months before we take off, should I keep the office job, I’ll test a new system to make sure it is working. Our accountant already makes use of file servers to send and receive accounting documents. Fortunately, our accountant has more customers out of state than in state so they have it worked out. They will be a valuable resource.
Our current business mail goes mostly to the office address with some going to the owner of the business. We will most likely have to change the business address, which is a big task, to the owner’s address. He is good about taking a picture of what he gets and sending it to me. Cam Scanner is a good phone application for this. A most important item of mail (checks) already go to him.
Many of our business practices have already been streamlined such as how employees submit their time worked via email, voicemail or texting. Everyone is required to have direct deposit and that system has been working well for several years. I may write a separate post about business mail later. One thing for sure if I do keep the part-time office job I want communicating with me to be as painless as possible for those I work with. We are in the construction contracting business so are accustomed to not having co-workers sitting right next to us.
Until then and as always, when I receive a piece of mail from the post office I ask “how can I do this paperless?”