How to Properly Set Up Business Reply Envelopes with USPS Guidelines

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Use business reply envelopes to mail anything that can be later returned to you without any cost or charge for recipients through USPS. Here's how to set them up right.

Business reply mail (BRM) is a tool often used by companies and businesses for marketing purposes. It is a direct mail strategy that allows you to send postcards or any other envelop to a list of potential customers who can later return it to you without any cost or charge for them.

In order to be able to send business reply mail, you need to pay a permit fee to a mailing or delivery service company (such as USPS), and you’ll also have to pay the cost of each returned envelop. This method also allows your customers to return or exchange defective merchandise and dispose or recycle packages.

Business reply mail encourages customers to reply directly to you, because it provides a safe way for them to give you feedback without any additional fee for them.

However, business envelopes need to be properly filled, so the postal office and recipients know exactly what you’re sending. In the case of USPS, they have a service called International Business Reply Mail® and you need to be affiliated to it, to be able to send business mail.

Envelope Measurements

  • Must be rectangular.
  • Minimum size is 5 1/2″ long x 3 1/2″ high x 0.007″ thick.
  • Maximum size of 11 1/2″ long x 6 1/8″ high 1/4″ thick.
  • Letters that exceed one of these dimensions will be charged the flat-size price.
  • Maximum weight is 2 oz.


Related: Browse our vast line of blank envelopes for business.

How to Set Up Your Business Reply Envelopes: Requirements

Besides from having specific measurements on your business reply envelopes, there are also some guidelines to follow regarding the information you need to put on your business envelope

1. BUSINESS REPLY MAIL needs to be written above the address, in capital letters and a 3/16 minimum height, so it can be read easily.

2. “FIRST-CLASS MAIL PERMIT No.” add the permit number, your city and state, below the business reply mail box.

3. POSTAGE WILL BE PAID BY ADDRESSEE should be written under the business reply legend box.

4. COMPANY LOGO:  you can add your company’s logo on the left side of the envelope (next to the address), it can’t be higher than the first line of the address text block.

5. FACING IDENTIFICATION MARK (FIM):  this is a different type of postal barcode, which is used to track mail. This type of code is required for all business reply envelopes and you should ask USPS or any other mailing company of your choosing, when you sign your contract for business reply mail, for the type of FIM your company will use (B or C usually). This FIM must be located on the bottom part of the envelope.

5. NO POSTAGE NECESSARY IF MAILED IN THE UNITEDSTATES must be written on the top right corner of your BRM. The text shouldn’t go further than 1 3/4″ from the right edge of your envelope or postcard, and the text box should have a square frame.

6. HORIZONTAL BARS:  Print a series of horizontal bars immediately below the “NO POSTAGE” endorsement. These bars must be uniform in size, at least 1″ in length, 1/16″ to 3/16″ in thickness and evenly spaced. The bars cannot extend below the delivery address line, which is located directly above the line containing the city, state and ZIP Code. There must be at least 1/2″ clearance between the ZIP Code and the horizontal bars.

7. POSTNET BARCODE:  you need to add  a barcode to your business mail to the right side of envelope, to represent your 9 digit ZIP + 4, code. You can get the positive at the postal office, to use it on your business correspondence. You barcode can’t extend lower than the last line of your address, or higher than the POSTAGE WILL BE PAID sign, and it must cover the whole area designed for its purpose.

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