The U.S. Postal Service is slashing services to the bone. They are reducing business hours and eliminating delivery on weekends in many areas. All of these cuts have opened the door to a unique business opportunity for you: providing private mail services.

With this business, you would offer the same services as your local post office, including mailbox rentals, mail forwarding, and selling shipping supplies and postage. But private mail services usually offer other services, too – like copying, imaging, collating, professional packing, and Internet access.

The popularity of this business is growing. Some customers just like the privacy. Others – like college students and “snow birds” – move around quite a bit and don’t want their mail to get lost in the shuffle. (With a private mail service, they can keep the same address, no matter how many times they move.) Having a private mailbox also allows a business to have a street address, rather than a P.O Box number. This has numerous advantages, and is often used by entrepreneurs who want to have a physical address in one city but live and work in another.

You can run a private mail service on your own or as a franchise. The most popular franchisors are the UPS Store, Pak Mail, and PostNet.

As you know, ETR almost never recommends opening a retail or storefront business. But there are a few things that make this one different from most others I can think of. For one thing, private mail services do not require a lot of space. They usually need only 500 to 1,000 square feet. (The actual mailbox rental area typically requires 100 square feet or less.) Plus, there is very little (or no) inventory to keep track of.

One more thing to keep in mind before you start investigating this opportunity further: The net rental revenue per square foot generated by private mail services often surpasses the net revenue per square foot of apartment buildings, hotels, office parks, marinas, and residential homes.

[Ed. Note: This unique and lucrative business opportunity was originally published in the Liberty Street Letter, a monthly publication dedicated to uncovering under-the-radar business and investment ideas. To find out more, go here.]