What is Business Reply Mail?

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  • Written By: Jan Hill
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 22 September 2019
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Business reply mail (BRM) is typically sent by direct marketing companies to potential customers. The mailer does not prepay the postage — it is only paid if the customer sends back the mailer. Postal services commonly have strict guidelines for BRM. This type of mail allows businesses to save money on domestic and worldwide mass mailings when customer response may not be anticipated.

Marketing companies use business replay mail when the customer might need a little added incentive to respond to the invitation in the mailer. Customers may be more likely to respond to this type of marketing than to regular mail because they do not have to pay the return postage. They also do not have to provide an envelope or a postcard, nor are they required to put an address on the piece of mail. Business reply mail is usually pre-addressed.

Mailers may pay for BRM that is returned in various ways. One way is to set up an advance deposit account with their postal service. Through this method, the postal service may be given the authority to make withdrawals from the account whenever a piece of business reply mail is returned. Another way that the direct mail industry sometimes pays for this type of service is by cash or check upon delivery, commonly known as C.O.D.


Marketing companies sometimes use business reply mail to increase orders. Researchers might send business reply envelopes to get better consumer response to their surveys. Business reply postcards might also be used by magazine publishers to make it easier for people to renew their subscriptions or purchase new ones.

Business reply mail tightly regulated by postal services. When designing business reply mail, mailers should typically consult with their local postal office regarding suitable formats, addressing methods, and appropriate postal codes. Unique zip codes and bar codes may be assigned. Many postal services also require mailers to buy an annual permit in order to do business reply mailings.

The United States Postal Service (USPS) has templates for business reply mail available. These templates typically meet the requirements set by the USPS. Both letter-size as well as card-size templates are available for download on a computer. A mailing may be created quickly and easily by providing a permit number, delivery address, and a bar code.

The USPS also has a service for international business reply mail, or IBRS. People in the U.S. can send things to foreign countries and have them returned without paying for postage beforehand. When the mail is delivered, the addressee pays any postage or fees. IBRS envelopes are also bound by weight and size requirements.


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