Introduction | Design
Requirements | Required Design Elements | Size/Weight
Business Reply Mail (BRM)
allows customers to return first class postage paid pieces to the
sender. The sender is liable for the postage only on the pieces that
are returned to them. The sender distributes a wide range of items
including cards, envelopes, cartons, labels, and self-mailers. Some
of the uses for Business Reply Mail are:
- Companies can use it for receiving orders for their products and
for gaining new customers.
- Cards or inserts are placed in magazines with the intent of gaining
- Researchers can use BRM to gather information on marketing.
Note: Another common type of reply mail is
Courtesy Reply Mail (CRM). It requires
that the customer pay the postage before mailing the reply back to
the sender. Courtesy Reply Mail works well when the response from
the customer is almost a guarantee, such as when the CRM piece is
a billing statement and the customer has to remit a payment. Even
though the customer pays for the postage, the CRM item adds convenience
because it is preaddressed and the customer doesn't have to worry
about the response going to the wrong place.
Required Design Elements
Business Reply Mail (BRM) contains six elements
that must follow guidelines set up by the Postal Service. A design
analyst from the Postal Service can be very helpful to ensure these
elements meet all of the necessary design requirements before the
BRM piece is printed. It is best that the design analyst be involved
early in the process in order to make suggestions and recommendations.
Involving the design analyst will help to save the customer time and
costs that may occur if changes had to be made later in the process.
You may contact an analyst at your nearest postal business center.
The illustration below shows the six required design elements on a
BRM piece. Click on the titles below to learn more about them.
No Postage Necessary Endorsement
Facing Identification Mark
Business Reply Legend, Permit Number,
Complete Delivery Address
Barcode Clear Zone
No Postage Necessary Endorsement
The endorsement "NO POSTAGE NECESSARY IF MAILED
IN THE UNITED STATES", is required in the upper right corner,
as shown in the illustration. The endorsement is generally inside
a box and the left edge of this endorsement box must not extend more
than 1 3/4" from the right edge of the BRM piece, and the top
line of the box should be 1/2" below the top edge of the BRM
piece but can be less if necessary.
A group of horizontal bars is required
below the "No Postage Necessary..." endorsement on the Business
Reply Mailer. The bars must be of uniform length, thickness, and spacing,
and each bar must be at least 1" long and 1/16" thick. There
must be a minimum of 1/2" clearance between the right edge of
the ZIP Code and the left edge of the horizontal bars. The bottom
bar of the group must be above, and not on or below, the delivery
address line which is the line directly above the city, state and
ZIP Code line
Identification Mark (FIM)
A facing identification mark (FIM) is required on
all letter sized BRM pieces and on Business Reply Labels that are
attached to letter size mail. The FIM is a series of vertical bars
printed in the upper right, to the left of the space used for the
postage area. Automated processing equipment reads the FIM and identifies
the BRM piece. Also, the FIM identifies mail that includes preprinted
barcodes. A high speed barcode sorter reads the barcoded mail. The
high speed sorter is used instead of slower manual sorting or Optical
Character Recognition (OCR) processing equipment.
There are two types of FIM's for
Business Reply Mail:
Note: There is a FIM A, but it is used with
prebarcoded Courtesy Reply Mail
In addition to regular Business Reply Mail, Penalty Mail* and Franked
Mail*, which are official mail types used by U.S. government departments
and by Congress, use FIM B if they are without a preprinted
POSTNET* barcode. Use FIM C for regular BRM, Penalty Mail, or Franked
Mail with a preprinted POSTNET barcode. The Postal Service
provides camera ready positives of FIMs and camera ready prints of
the barcodes which represent the ZIP+4 or specific delivery point
for reply mail. There is no charge for any of these. The barcodes
cannot be changed in any way or they will not be valid.
| *Penalty Mail: refers to official mail sent by
U.S. government agencies relating solely to the business of the U.S.
government, that is authorized by law to be carried in the mail without
prepayment of postage.
*Franked Mail: refers to a stamp, printed marking, or signature
on a piece of mail indicating that the postal charges have been paid.
*POSTNET Barcode: (POSTal Numeric Encoding
Technique), is a series of tall and short bars printed in the
lower right portion of the business reply mail, which represents ZIP
Code information that is read by high speed processing equipment.
Requirements for FIM B/FIM C:
- A clear zone must be maintained for the FIM, that contains no
- The right bar of the FIM must be 2 inches (+ or - 1/8 inch) from
the right edge of the Business Reply Mail.
- The FIM bars must be 5/8 inch (+ or = 1/8 inch) high and 1/32
inch (+ or = 0.008 inch) wide.
- The tops of the FIM bars cannot be lower than 1/8 inch from the
top of the BRM piece. They may extend over the top edge to the back
flap of an envelope.
- The bottoms of the FIM bars should touch the bottom edge of the
FIM clear zone but they cannot be more than 1/8 inch above or below
FIM B and FIM C bars must be printed
within the dimensional tolerances shown below:
Business Reply Mail, Penalty Mail, or Franked Mail without
a POSTNET barcode.
Business Reply Mail, Penalty Mail, or Franked Mail with a POSTNET
The print reflectance difference between the type
of ink used for printing the FIM and paper stock on which it is printed,
must be at least 30%. Black ink printed on white paper stock is recommended.
The FIM bars must be within 5 degrees of being at a right angle with
the top edge of the Business Reply Mailer.
Business Reply Legend, Permit Number, and Postage Endorsement
The items listed below are required
for the Business Reply Mail legend box:
- The first line, called the business reply legend, must contain
the words, "BUSINESS REPLY MAIL". The letters must be
capitals and at least 3/16 inches high.
- The second line, called the permit number line, begins with the
words, "FIRST CLASS MAIL", and then the words, "PERMIT
NO.", then the actual permit number, and finally the originating
post office city and state. All of this should be in capital letters.
- The business reply legend and permit number lines must be enclosed
inside a rectangular box.
- Under the rectangular box, is "POSTAGE WILL BE PAID BY ADDRESSEE"
in capital letters. This line is referred to as the postage endorsement
- A complete delivery address is required on Business Reply Mail.
The address includes the name of the permit holder for the BRM,
the street address or post office box number, city, state, and ZIP
Code. The bottom of the lowest line of the address must be between
5/8 inch and 2 1/4 inches from the bottom edge of the BRM piece,
for letter-size mail and for cards.
- A specific ZIP+4 code, unique to Business Reply Mail and unique
for each category of BRM piece (such as a postcard, 1-ounce letter,
2-ounce letter, etc.), is assigned by the Postal Service.
- The address that appears on the Business Reply Mail must be that
of the permit holder or of an associate authorized by the permit
holder to use it. The Postal Service should be contacted for information
concerning procedures pertaining to this.
Barcode Clear Zone
A clear zone for barcodes is required on Business
Reply Mail. It must measure 5/8 inch from the bottom edge of the BRM
and 4 1/2 inches from the right edge. The POSTNET Barcode is the only
thing permitted in the clear zone.
BRM Size/Weight Requirements
The physical characteristics of Business Reply Mail
determine whether or not an item can be processed automatically. The
Business reply Mail must be rectangular, have straight edges, and
be within the dimensions shown below, in order to be processed with
*Note: The length of Business
Reply Mail is the dimension that parallels the lines of the delivery
**Note: A Business Reply Mail Letter
should not be less than 0.009 inches thick if it is more than 4 1/4
inches high and/or more than 6 inches long.
All items that do not meet the minimum
size standards shown above are considered nonmailable pieces.
There are sizes that are outside of
the standard dimensions that may be used, but are subject to an applicable
surcharge. Contact the Postal Service for these sizes and rates.
Back to Top