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Reply Mail

Reply Mail

Convenient business reply mail service is available on a recharge basis for all campus departments.

Mail Services maintains an advance account at the Amherst Post Office for business reply mail and handles all the associated fees and accounting. Mail Services is the ONLY campus department qualified by USPS to authorize business reply usage.

The design requirements are very exact for business reply mail so it is required that you contact Mail Services customer service at 413-545-2488 before planning your campaign or printing any mailing pieces.

Postal regulations change frequently so please do not use old envelopes or previous designs without approval of Mail Services.

Recharge amounts, based on basic USPS Business Reply postage rates, are as follows:

  • Regular letters and post cards up to one ounce- 81.5 ¢ each piece returned
  • Larger pieces are charged at the rate of $2.35 plus .20 each additional ounce

After receiving business reply pieces from the Post office, Mail Services will recharge individual departments and deliver reply mail the next business day.

Choosing Reply Mail Type

There are two basic types of reply mail—business reply mail (BRM) and courtesy reply mail (CRM). Although BRM and CRM are similar, there is a significant difference.

Business Reply Mail

Business reply mail (BRM) requires that postage be paid by your dept. (the sender) if your customer (the respondent) mails the reply back to you. BRM is appropriate when your customer needs a little extra inducement to reply—in other words, the response or its timing is not assured. This type of reply mail is frequently used for surveys by researchers pursuing questionnaire responses, or development seeking donations and marketing seeking orders.

The extra inducement is provided because your customer does not need to affix the return postage, does not have to supply a postcard or envelope, and does not need to put an address on the mailpiece. Exhibit 5-1 shows a standard BRM piece in postcard and envelope formats.

Courtesy Reply Mail

Courtesy reply mail (CRM) requires your customer (the respondent) to affix the postage before mailing the reply back to you (the sender). CRM is appropriate when the response is more or less assured, such as for billings (see Exhibit 5 -2).

Although the customer usually pays the return postage (unless you prepay it by a meter, as in meter reply mail (MRM) - see page 96), the preaddressed postcard or envelope add convenience and ensures addressing accuracy. Exhibit 5-2 shows a standard CRM piece in postcard and envelope formats.

Exhibit 5-1
BRM Postcard and Envelope (not drawn to scale)

Graphic of BRM postcard and envelope as described in the text.

Exhibit 5-2
CRM Postcard and Envelope (not drawn to scale)


Benefiting From Reply Mail

Reply mail offers two major advantages: faster response and more accurate delivery.

The easier you make it for your customer to respond, the quicker the return will come. A pre-addressed (and perhaps postage-paid) envelope containing the customer's response or check is easy to mail. Customers have positive attitudes about marketers, and fund-raisers who show foresight and consideration by providing reply mail cards, envelopes, or labels.

With BRM and CRM, your address is preprinted. This is especially important when you want payments and inquiries directed to an address that is different from your usual mailing address.

Eliminating customer addressing issues, can eliminate potential delivery errors.

To request an envelope or postcard design, select one of options shown above.
A camera ready PDF layout will be sent to you so you can bring it to Print Services in Whitmore and order the printing of the envelopes for your program.

Business Reply Design Order Form