Many businesses rely on customer response to function. These responses can come in different forms such as phone calls, e-mails/online submissions, mail, or even in person visits. Each method targets different groups, but many organizations have found using a combination of these techniques can generate the largest volume of responses.
If your company sends out a large amount of mail every day and expects customers to respond, there are a few different variations of reply mail you can offer your customers.
BLOCK: What can your business expect with its mail options?
Reply Mail Options
Customer pays postage and provides envelope This is the least expensive option, but also creates the most work for your customers. This could result in a lower volume of response via mail.
Courtesy Reply Mail This method can generate a higher, and more timely response through mail by supplying the customer with a pre-addressed envelope. The customer will only need to supply the postage.
Stamped Reply Mail By stamping the pre-addressed envelopes yourself, you can increase the odds of the customer replying drastically, since there will be no costs associated with responding through mail. This will require full retail, first class postage regardless of whether the customer responds or not.
Meter Reply Mail If you have a postage machine, you can apply discounted postage on each preaddressed envelope. Meter Reply will net a savings of $.05 per envelope effective 8/29/21.
Business Reply Mail (BRM) Business Reply Mail is the most beneficial, when the need to get a response from the customer is more important to the business than it is to the customer. You will only pay postage on the pieces that are used by the customer, but you will also be required to pay additional fees.
With the additional fees and costs associated with Business Reply Mail, this may not be the most cost-effective option for your organization. Basic math skills and understanding the costs and fees associated with Business Reply Mail are all you need to intelligently decide whether Business Reply Mail is the best solution for your organization.
Listed below are the USPS BRM 1-ounce letter rates effective 8/29/21:
Fees: $265.00 annual permit fee
Postage: $0.58 + $0.92 per piece
Fee: $265.00 annual permit fee and $800.00 annual maintenance fee
Postage: $0.58 + $0.11 per piece
Basic QBRM (Qualified BRM)
– Recommended for those expecting 575 replies or more annually with automation compatible envelopes
Fee: $800.00 annual maintenance fee
Fee: $800.00 annual maintenance fee and $2675 quarterly fee
Postage: $0.561 + $0.016 per piece
Reference: USPS Price List – https://pe.usps.com/resources/PriceChange/August%202021%20-%20Notice123.pdf
*By knowing the average volume of mail piece sent out and the average percentage of replies received back, you can determine the cost for postage and fees*
BRM Cost Calculator Examples:
USPS BRM Regulations/Restrictions
For mail to qualify as Business Reply Mail, several steps must be taken beforehand:
- Step 1: Create an account PS Form 6805 must be filled out and submitted to your local Mailing Requirements department. This form must have the assigned company name and address that will be printed on the envelope. They will create your account, assigning you a permit number and a unique zip+4 based on your post office, not your mailing address. https://about.usps.com/forms/ps6805.pdf
- Step 2: Create envelope artwork – Email a copy of the completed form to ⦁ firstname.lastname@example.org requesting artwork for Business Reply Envelope. With this information the mail piece design analyst will be able to design and send you back an electronic copy of the BRM envelope artwork needed to print your own envelopes. Business Mailers who have a USPS Business Gateway Account can create art work without using Mailpiece Design Analyst (MDA) at https://abrm-prod.usps.com/ABRM/secure/welcome.do. You must have a Mailer ID (MID) and Customer Registration (CRID)
- Step 3: Pay permit and fund your account – Since this is a prepaid account, you will need to make sure your permit fee is paid annually and that your account has funds in it for automatic charges.
- Step 4: Print and begin mailing! – For additional information on BRM regulations and envelope artwork guidelines: Quick Service Guide – https://pe.usps.com/cpim/ftp/manuals/qsg300/q505.pdf
Before jumping into something new, it is always important to weigh your options. How will this impact the productivity of your organization?
Will creating a simple, easy and free process create responding through mail easier and will this boost response time and volume from your customers? Will you be able to reach customers that typically won’t respond otherwise? Is the cost of Business Reply Mail too high or will you end up spending more money on postage without BRM?
Though some of these questions may be difficult to answer, having the knowledge behind what makes BRM so effective for other organizations can be enough to decide. It is also important to keep in mind that some scenarios are more complicated than others and may require seeking consultation from mailing experts.
Your local USPS Mailing Requirements is also a valuable resource and are always willing to assist with your next steps or addressing questions with your specific business needs.