picture of many different #9 envelopes - Return - with print | ColorCopiesUSA

Number #9  Return Envelopes 
Also Known as Number #9 Courtesy Reply Envelopes

Size of #9 Return Envelopes:  The closed envelope's size is as follows: 

Width x Height: 8.875" x 3.875". Expressed in fraction numbers as opposed to decimals.
The dimensions are: 8-7/8" x 3-7/8"

The flap is triangular.

The glue is activated with moisture.

Color of the paper: White

Side Printed: It is usually the front side that gets printed.

What is the typical use of #9 Return Envelopes:

Return envelopes are usually used as secondary envelopes in a direct mailing campaign to achieve certain campaign goals. Even when the piece (the envelope) is the same, because of how they are handled and who pays for the postage, there are these two main styles:

  1.  Pre Self Addressed #9 Return Envelopes that require postage paid by the sender:  #1 reason to provide self-addressed #9 return envelopes to your clients is to make it easy for them to mail payments, usually in the form of checks.

    Your clients are the ones responsible to affix a stamp or to use stamped postage prepaid service such as stamps.com.

    Classic example of what a #9 Return Envelope that requires a mailing stamp looks like - Image with annotations

    Click on the picture for an enlarged view of the #9 envelope

    Customize the message to be Printed: These envelopes are custom printed, and most of the times, there is a destination address pre-printed in the middle of the face of the envelope, and space for the sender to identify themselves by name, account number, or any other relevant piece of information.
  2. Business Reply Mail (BRM) - Pre-Addressed - PREPAID Return Envelopes: Marketers or service provides such as doctors, insurance companies, etc who want to make it easy for their clients to respond to special promotions or to make payments without delay, provide these envelopes for free to their clients.

    Image shows a Return Envelope with a Business Reply Mail addressing as indicated by USPS

    Click on the picture for an enlarged view of the #9 envelope with the Business Reply Mail requirements imprinted

    The information to be printed is dsigned and mandated by USPS: Because USPS has to read barcodes and chard postage accordingly, there are restrictions in terms of the layout of the envelope.
    Making postage pre paid envelopes to your clients shortens the cycle shorten on your client's side, and increases the response rates. With these self-addressed that include pre-paid postage Return Envelopes, the sender does not have to affix stamps or prepay the postage.

    The self-addressed envelope is laid-out following strict specifications issued, case by case, by the United States Post Office, USPS. The envelope displays a bar code that when processed through USPS, is detected and based on the unique bar code, generates a distribution charge that the issuer of the envelope (permit holder) will pay for. Even though #9 envelopes are used for BRM, the feature can be used on other sizes of envelopes, or even to mail cards.


How to Address an Envelope?

Are there special addressing rules for #9 return envelopes?

The way to address an envelope is to have the proper information in the "three areas of interest" in an envelope.

Addressing a #9 return envelope. Image showing the areas

Which are the three areas?  What information is necessary for each area?

  1.  Sender's Address: The first area is reserved for the address of the sender of the envelope.  As a color note, in the US we write the senders address on the top-left part of the front of the letter. In other countries though, the convention is that that piece of information is printed on the flap of the return envelope, on the backside.
  2.  Recipient's Address: The middle-center part indicates where the envelope is going to be sent to by the United States Postal Services (USPS). The recipient mas have a destination address that has to be printed in caps when possible for better clarity. it must indicate the suite number, city, state and zip code. USPS's computers will "fix" what you wrote so that the letter can be delivered when using First Class Mail.
    Addressing the Envelope For Return Envelopes:  Because you want the mail to come back to you without delays and without it getting lost, you should put extra care in the information and formatting of the address. you should always validate the address (before it gets printed on a massive number of envelopes) with USPS's tools. This zip+4 lookup tool tells you if the address is accepted or if it has any errors.
  3.  Postage: The last critical area is the postage which is not an address component per se, but necessary to have the envelope get where it is intended to go. There are two possible methods of paying for postage: Using a live stamp, prepaying the postage through one of the online payment tools, or using the Business Reply Mail program run by USPS where the recipient of the envelope ends up paying for the postage charges.

Let's go a little bit deeper into this topic:

Why do would you need pre-addressed envelopes for your clients to mail back to you?

  • Your client does not need to worry about finding an envelope
  • There is no effort on your client's end to type an address. No risk of wrong data.
  • Prepaid postage makes the response rates even higher. Your clients have nothing to worry about.

What does a "Secondary Role Return Envelope" mean in the context of a marketing campaign?

This secondary return envelope must be part of a campaign in order to allow someone to take action.

I think that this example will provide some further clarity about what "secondary" means in this context:  For an individual being offered to buy a subscription to a magazine, sending back an envelope with the payment for the goods, only happens after the main action (offer the subscription) is accepted by a prospect. The self-addressed envelope has to be in the hands of the prospect but is not the specific target in the campaign. It is necessary, but not the main reason the campaign is successful or a failure.



Postage for #9 Return Envelopes. 

Every envelope requires postage to be handled and delivered by USPS. As noted above, some companies will pre-pay the postage so that you don't have to, but there's always a party that pays for the service. A first-class stamp is often enough to cover the charges.Picture shows mailing-inserting including #10 window envelope, #9 return envelope, and a letter

How do you make #9 Return Envelopes available to your clients?:

How do your clients receive a #9 envelope that they can send back? This envelope is usually mailed to prospects or clients inside a #10 envelope or another piece of mail. The larger envelope would typically contain an invoice that has to be paid, The recipient is expected to return something back to the original sender of the mailing piece by using the #9 envelope.

Postage for #9 Business Return Mail Program (USPS) Return Envelopes.

According to the quick Service Guide 507a from USPS, the cost per piece charged by USPS is: First Class Postage + $0.65

An annual permit has to be purchased from USPS, at a cost of $160 (information as of 2020). Your local office will guide you on how to apply for a permit.


Direct Mailing Projects: Print + Fold +Insert +Mail Service:

Picture shows mailing-inserting including #10 window envelope, #9 return envelope, and a letter

If you need to print a single-page document, or a multipage document, trifold it, insert it into a #10 envelope together with a #9 return envelope, ColorCopieUSA is the right company to process your job. 

Through our specialized software to produce 100% customization and data merging as well as the specialized equipment to fold and insert, we can handle your most complex projects in house, with the highest standards in data list processing. Call us and let us know about your project.

What does get mailed back in #9 envelopes?

  • A letter-size sheet (which could be a contract or a proof) to be folded and inserted into this #9 envelope, making it extremely versatile.
  • Registration cards mailed back,
  • payment checks,
  • coupons, 
  • payment stubs,
  • Signed agreements
  • Surveys
  • Subscription forms

Why is Pre-Addressing so Critical and Important?

Your clients have to send their mail back to a specific address, pre-addressed envelopes prevents typos and procrastination.

In these envelopes, the destination where the envelope will ultimately be received is preprinted by a printer, leaving marked space on the left top corner so that the sender can identify a return address or an account number that is related to the documentation that is being mailed. 

Security - Document Protection:

Is it necessary to use security -tinted envelopes when expecting to receive payments?

It is not massively used but for certain documents that both parties want to keep on the private end, you might prefer to use security envelopes. Especially if health forms are expected to be mailed back, or certain financial documents

We offer a selection of security-tinted envelopes that you can find among our products in the category ENVELOPES


Predesigned Templates are available to you to customize for this product:

Click on the "Browse Designs - FREE SERVICE" button next to the calculator.

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Based on the selection of product size and additional option attributes, you can view and download the help template for the product.

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