The United States Postal Service® (USPS®) published the final regulations for folded self-mailers (FSM’s) and other unenveloped pieces in the December 1, 2011 Federal Register. These final rules take effect on January 5, 2013, so mailers need to make plans to use up remaining stock and to make design changes for affected mailpieces that will mail after the effective date. As part of the changes, the USPS renamed pieces designed to carry discs and expanded the standards that apply to tabs to include folded self-mailers (FSM’s). These new rules do not apply to cards, envelopes, booklet style letters or mailpieces designed to carry discs.
The notice lays out the specifications for the size requirements for FSM’s:
- Length: A minimum of 5 inches and a maximum of 10 1/2 inches.
- Height: A minimum of 3 1/2 inches and a maximum of 6 inches.
- Thickness: A minimum of 0.007 inch; (0.009 inch if the height exceeds 4 1/4 inches or if the length exceeds 6 inches); the maximum thickness is 1/4 inch.
- Maximum Weight: 3 ounces.
- Rectangular, with four square corners and parallel opposite sides.
- Within an aspect ratio (length divided by height) of 1.3 to 2.5, inclusive (see Domestic Mail Manual 601.1.4).
- Maximum number of panels, bi-fold, tri-fold and oblongs: 12 for FSM’s constructed of non-newsprint paper
- Exception: Quarter folded self-mailers made of a minimum of 100 lb book grade paper may have 4 panels and those made of 55 lb newsprint must have at least 8 panels and may contain up to 24 panels.
The proposals include the definition of a “panel” and lengthy descriptions of permissible fold and panel configurations. The sealing options provided are numerous, including the optimal continuous glue line as well as three or four glue spots, three or four elongated glue lines, and various tabbing options. Many of the options are dependent on the paper basis weight and number of folds or panels. There are also a number of options for other design elements, such as die cuts, perforations, loose enclosures and attachments.
Due to the looming January 5, 2013 effective date, we strongly encourage mailers to review these new regulations and start making plans for any necessary design changes to future mailpieces. Many mailpieces, or components of mailpieces, are designed and prepared months in advance of the actual mailing date and may be kept in stock for remailings. Before you design and order mailpieces for 2013, please review these new rules so that you do not get stuck with additional postage charges or, worse, unmailable pieces.
For more detailed information on these new rules, comment below or contact us today.