If you’re waiting for a particular piece of mail to arrive, then you may wonder where your mail carrier is on their route.
The post office follows a strict protocol to ensure delivery times are fast and efficient.
Since it’s illegal to tamper with anyone’s mail, these strict procedures also decrease the risk of someone else receiving and handling your mail.
It’s written in the law governing the post that mail carriers can only deliver mail to a mailbox or PO Box.
In some cases, they can deliver the mail directly to a person when they arrive at their address or place it at their doorstep.
That’s only if the mailbox is temporarily inaccessible or the mail doesn’t fit inside of the mailbox.
Knowing where your mail carrier is can help you receive your mail as soon as it arrives at your address.
Here are a few ways you can find out where your mail carrier is on their route.
Where Is My Mailman? (5 Ways To Find Out)
1. Track Packages
One of the best and easiest ways to figure out the location of your mail is through a bar code.
All packages come with a tracking bar code.
As it makes its way through the delivery process, the carriers scan the bar code to update its tracking information.
The mail service doesn’t only deliver letters and other forms of mail.
They also deliver packages.
Those packages tend to be on the smaller side, but they can come from almost anywhere.
That’s because the USPS has an agreement with FedEx, UPS, and even Amazon.
In certain cases, these carriers will bring smaller packages to the local USPS office.
The packages then get sorted and placed on the mail carrier’s truck for delivery.
You can track your mail by keeping an eye on your tracking information.
It will tell you the expected date of delivery.
Some carriers even allow you to receive notifications when the package is 10 minutes away and so on.
Through package tracking, you can figure out where your mail carrier is and when they’ll deliver your package.
2. Observing The Route
The postal service is responsible for delivering tons of mail to certain addresses within their jurisdiction.
To cover all those addresses, they have a certain number of trucks and postal workers.
Those workers sort the mail into trays that then go on the truck.
They sort the mail in the tray by putting the closest address on their specific route first, and then putting the next-closest address after that, and so on.
In this way, the mail carrier doesn’t have to drive back and forth and waste time.
It also helps you determine where your mailman is on their route.
Spend some time when you’re at home watching your mailbox.
In most cases, the mail will arrive at the same time every day.
That’s because the route doesn’t change.
Certain variables like traffic and the weather may delay your mail carrier on certain days, but otherwise, you can expect them to arrive around the same time.
Knowing when your mail carrier arrives at your address can give you a good idea of where they are before they reach your address.
Before the usual delivery time of your mail, for example, you can expect your mail carrier to be at the addresses that come before your home.
3. Call The Post Office
Calling the post office is another way to figure out where your mailman is.
They won’t be able to give you a specific time, since no one knows for sure, but they can give you a time range.
They base this on the past delivery times the carrier has made.
Since tracking actual mail trucks is illegal for the public to do, the post office relies on their own private tracking information to give you the best possible answer.
In some cases, the post office might not disclose specific information to you.
That’s because the mail carrier often carries sensitive mail.
This type of mail may come from the IRS, have checks or credit cards in them, or there could be other types of mail that have sensitive information in them.
Because of that, mail carriers are sometimes targeted by thieves.
By disclosing specific information to the public, it increases the chances of someone being able to narrow down where the mail carrier is for nefarious purposes.
By giving general public information instead, the post office can protect its employees and safeguard the sensitive information held within the mail.
However, calling them can give you a general idea of when to expect your mail to arrive at your address.
4. Use Informed Delivery
One of the services that the USPS offers is Informed Delivery.
This type of service is something that anyone can opt in to.
Whenever mail is coming to your address, the office will take a picture of it and send you a notification in your email.
The email will state when to expect the mail and include the picture.
This not only informs you of the possible date on which to expect your mailman, but it also informs you about the specific type of mail that’s arriving.
This is helpful because if it’s an important piece of mail, then you can make the necessary arrangements to ensure you or someone you trust can be there to take the mail from the mailbox immediately after it’s delivered.
Although you still can’t track the exact location of your mail carrier through Informed Delivery, it does give you a better idea of when to expect mail and what type of mail it is.
5. Rent A PO Box
A final way to figure out the location of your mail is to remove the mail carrier entirely.
By renting a PO Box, all mail that’s sent to the post office gets placed in the PO Box immediately.
This removes the need to have the mail carrier deliver it to your address.
Instead, you have to drive to the post office, or where your PO Box resides, and unlock it to receive your mail yourself.
Renting a PO Box ensures you never have to worry about tracking down your mailman again.
Can You Track Your Mail Carrier?
One of the problems with trying to find out the location of your mail carrier is that it’s illegal to actually track your mail carrier.
There are several laws governing the processing and delivery of mail.
Since there are many felony charges for tampering with mail, opening someone else’s mail, or even delaying the mail delivery process, allowing for private tracking of the mail carrier opens up a can of worms.
There are a few governing bodies within the post office administration that are in charge of tracking mail carriers.
This ensures that they can generate data about their delivery system.
For example, as an area builds more homes and people move into those homes, the route needs to adjust.
The administration will examine the current routes and the tracking data they have to determine if they can add the new addresses to an existing route.
If not, then they’ll need to establish a new route and find the resources and funds to support it.
Another reason the administration tracks mail carriers is for safety.
Since some mail carries sensitive information or even checks, there are some who might hold up a mail carrier and steal that mail.
Some might even steal the mail truck as a whole.
The tracking information can allow the post office to help the police find the missing mail truck and have it safely returned.
Public tracking information is not available because it allows people to intercept their mail carrier during their route.
This slows the delivery process which comes with consequences.
All mail carriers receive training that teaches them not to deliver mail to someone who comes up to them.
In most cases, the mail carriers don’t even know where that specific address is in their tray because it’s organized in such a way to go along their route.
They won’t know the next address until their current mail reaches its destination, for example.
With people disrupting the mail carrier from making their deliveries, the entire process falls apart and the system no longer becomes efficient.
Because of this, there’s never going to be an ability to track the exact location of your mailman.
How To Sign Up For Informed Delivery
One of the best ways to know if you’re receiving mail on a specific day is to sign up for Informed Delivery.
The steps to do so are relatively easy.
Follow these steps to sign up for Informed Delivery at your local USPS office.
1. Make An Account
The first thing you’ll need to do to qualify for the Informed Delivery service is to make an account on the USPS website.
Once you’ve made your account, you should see a section for Informed Delivery.
You can also go to the website here.
Once you’re on the right page, you’ll see an option to sign up for the service for free.
Click that link.
2. Check Qualifications
Not every address can use the Informed Delivery service.
There are two main criteria that need satisfying.
The first is the zip code.
You’ll type your zip code into the appropriate field when signing up for the service.
The website then checks to ensure that the zip code is an area where they support the service.
In most cases, if you live in an urban or suburban area, then your zip code will check out.
The second criterion is your actual address.
In order to determine what mail is coming your way, your mailbox needs to have a unique identifying number.
Most addresses tied to a standard home do.
Those who live in an apartment complex may not.
For example, there are certain apartment complexes where the mail is delivered to the office instead of specific boxes for each apartment.
If both qualifications check out, then you can move on to the next step.
3. Finish Creating Account
Once the qualifications check out, you’ll receive a prompt to enter in a username and password.
This is the login information you’ll use to sign in to your account to check your mail.
The USPS then has two methods to verify that you live at the address you signed up for.
The first method is that they send you a code through your phone which you then type into the appropriate field.
This ties that specific number to your account and address, too.
The second method is that the USPS will send you a piece of mail.
When it arrives at your home, it will have a code and instructions on how to verify your account.
The phone method is the fastest, but if you don’t have access to a phone, then you can always choose the second method to verify your account.
There is also a third option to verify your address if you don’t have a phone or if they’re unable to deliver mail to your address at the current time.
That method involves you heading to your local post office to verify that you live at the address in person.
If you don’t want to drive to your closest post office, then you can always ask to verify at another appropriate location.
Keep in mind that not all post offices can perform the necessary verification procedure.
If you choose this verification method, then you’ll receive a bar code that you’ll either need to print or show on your phone to a worker at the post office of your choice.
They’ll scan the code to verify you.
You have 30 days until the bar code expires.
5. Wait A Few Days
After you received your verification, it can take a few days for the service to go live.
The general consensus is that it takes two to three days for the service to be activated.
In some cases, especially during busy seasonal periods, it may take as long as a week to activate the service.
If you chose the method to verify through your mail, then the process can take longer since you have to wait for the mail to arrive at your home.
6. Watch Your Email
With the service properly activated, you’ll now receive emails when you have mail heading your way.
By clicking on the email, you’ll see an estimated delivery date and a picture of the mail.
Keep in mind that some pieces of mail may not be eligible for a picture.
However, you’ll still receive a notification that something is heading your way.
It’s also worth noting that although the Informed Delivery service gives you a date of when to expect the mail, this isn’t always accurate.
It can sometimes be the next day or the day after that in which the mail actually arrives at your mailbox.
This service also does not inform you when you’re receiving ads in the mail.
You can expect those on the day that you traditionally receive them in your mailbox.
How To Locate Your Post Office
If you don’t know which post office actually delivers your mail, then it can be difficult to know that you’re calling the right one to figure out where your mail carrier is.
Here are a few tips you can use to locate the post office that delivers your mail.
1. Use The Service Locator Tool
The USPS tries to make the process of finding your local post office easier by providing a search tool on their website.
To find out where your post office is, navigate to the USPS website.
Then look for their Search Locator tool.
You can usually find it on their home page or under their services tab.
You’ll then see a prompt for “Find Locations” when looking at the locations type tab.
At that point, you’ll need to select “Post Offices”.
It will give you a field in which you can type your address.
The website will then go through its database to match your address with the post office responsible for delivering your mail.
Once it locates it, the website will give you its address and contact information.
This method cuts down on the time it takes to locate your post office the old-fashioned way of visiting each one near you.
2. Check Missed Package Slips
Sometimes the post office requires you to sign for a package before they can deliver it.
If you’re not at home, then the mail carrier will leave behind a pink slip.
The slip will contain some information about the package and the time of the attempted delivery.
One of the most useful things about the slip is that it will give you the information about the post office where they sent the package.
You can then go to that address to pick up your package.
You also now know what post office delivers your mail.
3. Call The USPS
A final method to find out what post office delivers your mail is to call them.
Discover the contact information of the post office closest to you.
Then call them and ask if your address is one of those they serve.
They can look up your address in the database and either confirm or deny it.
If they don’t service your address, then they can help you find the office that does.
You can’t track the exact location of your mail carrier, but there are a few methods that you can use to determine their general whereabouts.
There are also helpful tools you can use to track your mail and the location of your post office.
Use these tools when you’re trying to determine where your mail is.NEXT: How Long Does Spray Paint Take To Dry? (Explained)