6 Business Reply Mail

6-1 Overview

For an annual permit fee, a Business Reply Mail (BRM) permit is available for distributing business reply cards, envelopes, self-mailers, cartons, and labels. BRM allows the permit holder to receive First-Class Mail and Priority Mail items back from customers by paying postage and fees only on the mail returned. The BRM permit holder guarantees payment of First-Class Mail postage plus a per-piece charge for pieces returned by the Postal Service. (See Notice 123, Price List.)

When designing a BRM mailpiece or label, a mailer must consult with the local Post Office. The piece must conform to a specific format to qualify as BRM, including a unique ZIP+4 Code assigned by the Postal Service.

BRM templates are available at https://pe.usps.com/text/qsg300/Q505.htm#ep1026965.

The Postal Service also offers an online self-service tool that allows mailers to create approved USPS camera-ready artwork for domestic reply mail pieces in just a few steps. The USPS Automated Business Reply Mail (ABRM) application is a web-based, self-service tool to assist reply mail mailers in creating domestic BRM, Courtesy Reply Mail (CRM), and Qualified Business Reply Mail (QBRM) artwork for card-size and letter-size mailpieces.

The ABRM tool allows mailers to design and create approved USPS camera-ready artwork with an Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb). Mailers can then place their IMb either above the address block or in the barcode clear zone (lower-right corner) of the piece and can even add an image or logo related to the mailpiece. Mailers can download artwork files in PDF and EPS formats and can store these files in the system library for future use. Another exciting feature of the ABRM tool allows mailers to authorize third-party vendors or service providers to create artwork on their behalf.

A client must provide its service provider with pertinent information such as its PostalOne! BRM permit number, mailer ID, and assigned BRM ZIP+4 Code.

Access the ABRM tool through the Business Customer Gateway Web site at https://gateway.usps.com/eAdmin/view/knowledge?id=ABRM.

In addition to the ABRM tool, the Postal Service has implemented the MDA Support Center. This center connects mailers with a mailpiece design analyst (MDA) who will provide timely assistance and evaluations of mailpiece design, including reply mail. The MDA Support Center hours of operation are Monday through Friday between 7:00 am and 5:00 pm CT. Mailers may contact the MDA Support Center by dialing 855-593-6093, or by sending a request via email to mda@usps.gov.

Before a mailer performs final printing or electronic distribution of reply mail pieces, the Postal Service must approve a proof for regular BRM or QBRM, both of which must include the applicable IMb. The Postal Service does not permit delivery point barcodes on BRM pieces or QBRM pieces.

Exhibit 6-1a provides layout guidelines for a BRM envelope, and Exhibit 6-1b provides a BRM checklist. For requirements on reusable envelopes using BRM with two-way indicia, see DMM 601.6.0.

BRM templates are available on the Postal Explorer Web site at pe.usps.com; under the “Business Solutions” tab in the top blue bar, select Mailpiece Design.

Exhibit 6-1a

Business Reply Mail Layout Guidelines

Business reply mail layout example

Exhibit 6-1b

Business Reply Mail Checklist


Business Reply Mail Checklist

This checklist is provided to assist mailers with designing Business Reply Mail.

  1. Printing and Print Reflectance
  2. Not handwritten, typewritten, or handstamped.
  3. No printed borders on letter-size.
  4. All ink colors are acceptable if the piece meets the appropriate reflectance standards in DMM 505.
  5. “No Postage Necessary” Imprint
  6. Properly worded (all capital letters recommended):
  7. Properly positioned.
  8. Upper-right corner of the address side of the piece: Not more than 1-3/4" from the right edge of the piece.
  9. Printed directly on piece1.
  10. Business Reply Legend
  11. Properly worded:
  12. All capital letters.
  13. Letters at least 3/16" high.
  14. Printed directly on piece1.
  15. Permit Number
  16. Properly worded:
    (Representing the permit holder’s number and Post Office that issued the permit.)
  17. Directly below the business reply legend.
  18. All capital letters.
  19. Printed directly on piece1.
  20. Postage Endorsement
  21. Properly worded:
  22. Directly below First-Class Mail and permit number, city, and state.
  23. All capital letters.
  24. Printed directly on piece1.
  25. Delivery Address
  26. Complete address:
    Permit holder’s name
    Delivery address
    City, state and BRM ZIP Code
  27. Within OCR read area2.
  28. At least 1/2" between ZIP Code and horizontal bars.
  29. Correct ZIP Code for BRM.
  30. Permit holder’s name printed directly on piece1.


Business Reply Mail Checklist (continued)

  1. Horizontal Bars — Optional with correct Intelligent Mail barcode
  2. Directly below “No Postage Necessary” imprint.
  3. Uniform length at least 1".
  4. 1/16"–3/16" thick and evenly spaced.
  5. Do not extend lower than 5/8" from bottom edge of piece.
  6. Facing Identification Mark (FIM)
  7. FIM C required.
  8. FIM clear zone boundaries:
    Left: 3" from right edge of the piece.
    Right: 1-3/4" from right edge of piece.
    Top: top edge of piece.
    Bottom: 5/8" from top edge of piece.
  9. FIM bars 5/8" high, ± 1/8".
  10. FIM bars 1/32" wide, ± 0.008".
  11. Right edge of rightmost bar 2" from right edge of piece, ± 1/8".
  12. Tops of bars no lower than 1/8" from top edge of piece.
  13. Bottom of bars no lower than 5/8" from top edge of piece, ±1/8".
  14. Positional skew (slant of the entire FIM) ± 5 degrees.
  15. Rotational skew (slant of individual FIM bars) ± 5 degrees.
  16. 30 percent reflectance between FIM and background.
  17. Company Logo
  18. On letter-size, no lower than 5/8" from bottom edge of piece.
  19. Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMb) and Delivery Point Barcode1,2,3,4,5
  20. Barcode clear zone:
    Left: 4-3/4" from right edge of piece.
    Right: Right edge of piece.
    Top: 5/8" from bottom edge of piece.
    Bottom: Bottom edge of piece.
  21. Barcode on mailpiece (barcode read area):
    Horizontally, leftmost bar within 3-1/2" to 4-1/4" from right edge of piece.
    Vertically, entire barcode within 3/16" to 1/2" from bottom edge of piece.
  22. 1 See DMM 505.1 for window envelopes.

    2 See DMM 202.2 for OCR read area.

    3 See DMM 202.5 for placement of barcode in address block.

    4 See DMM 204.1.for IMb Specifications.

    5 See DMM 505.1 for complete QBRM specifications; only IMb can be used on QBRM pieces.