Frequently Asked Questions
BM-Win Plus (Bulk Mail for Windows)
ZipClean Plus (Address CASS Processing)
for Windows 98/ME/2000/XP/2003/Vista/Windows7, 8, and 10
Questions about Bulk Mail:
Answer: It all depends on the size and frequency of your mailing. It also depends on the type of mailing; First Class or Standard(A), Nonprofit or Regular, Automation Compatible or not, with or without Carrier Route sorting, whether or not most of the pieces are going to the same area served by the post office where you will be dropping off the mail or not, and other such factors. Also, all pieces will not necessarily get the same rate. It will depend on which type of tray or package the piece get sorted into.
For a letter going to a Carrier Route served by the post office where you are dropping off the mail the lowest "Automation" rate might be 14.7 cents for regular rate or 8.4 cents for nonprofit rate. The highest rate, for "Non-Auto" pieces going to a distant city with very few other pieces for example, might be 28.2 cents for regular rate and 17.0 cents for nonprofit rate.
Since you can download a fully functional copy BM-Win Plus for free, the best thing to do would be to sort your mailing list using BM-Win Plus and then print out the Postage Statement to see how much an actual mailing would cost you using bulk mail. If you might be doing more than that one mailing per year, then multiply your savings by the number of mailings that you will be doing to see how much bulk mail might save you per year.
Answer: You must have a valid mailing permit before you can mail at presorted postage rates. You’ll pay a fee when you apply and when you renew the permit every 12 months. You can apply for a permit any time. Just complete and turn in the application: Form 3615, Mailing Permit Application and Customer Profile.
Form 3615 can be downloaded as an Acrobat file from the Post Office's Business Center WEB site. Click here to download Form 3615, Mailing Permit Application and Customer Profile. (Click on the Acrobat floppy disk icon to save the file to your hard drive.)
The normal fees are:
See also: The Post Office's Business Mail 101 Getting Started for more information.
Answer: There are many companies that sell mailing lists either general or specialized. You can do a WEB search on "Mailing Lists" to find many of them. The largest and oldest company selling mailing lists is Polk Co. To see what they offer go to their WEB site at http://usa.polk.com/industries/directmkt/communicate/targetmkt/business_list_solut.htm .
Answer: CASS and PAVE are two different types of software which perform two different functions..
PAVE stands for Presort Accuracy Validation and Evaluation.
PAVE certified software is bulk mail presort software that has been tested and certified by the post office for accuracy in doing different types of sorts and producing various types of postal documents. Presort software sorts your mailing list according to all of the rules and regulations of the post office and produces, among other things, the barcoded mailing labels, barcoded tray and sack tags, Qualification Reports, Postage Statements, and Setup Reports.
BM-Win Plus has been PAVE Certified
GOLD by the post office meaning that it has passed an extra battery
of tests over and above the standard PAVE tests. The PAVE certification
means that the post office has tested the software for a variety of sorts
The Post Office conducts PAVE Certification tests
every year. Cycle , which is the cycle for 2015-2016, is the most recent.
FIRST CLASS AUTO LETTERS & POST CARDS
CASS stands for Coding Accuracy Support System.
CASS certified software cleans up, corrects, and standardizes a mailing list. It will add missing ZIP+4 zipcodes, Carrier Route codes, Delivery Point Numbers, Line of Travel information as well as correct any invalid address, city, state, or zipcode information. It will also put the address into the post office recommend standard format such as using the two letter abbreviation for state names. CASS software has nothing to do with sorting a mailing list or printing the mailing labels. That is done by PAVE certified software.
ZipClean Plus is Certified by the USPS to meet all requirements of the Coding Accuracy Support System. ZipClean Plus is certified to process mailing lists that are national in scope and to correct or add ZIP+4, Delivery Point, Delivery Point Validation, LACSLink, SuiteLink, Carrier Route, and/or Enhanced Line of Travel (eLOT) information.
To give customers the widest choices BM-Win Plus does not come pre-bundled
with CASS software. It does, however, offer ZipClean Plus which works with
BM-Win Plus to form a complete Bulk Mail Package for those who want or
need to functionality of a CASS Certified Software. If you need to have
your mailing list CASS certified, you can purchase ZipClean Plus software
Answer: No. Your mailing list does not have to be CASS processed if you are doing a non-automation compatible mailing.
Automation Compatible mailing rates are, however, as much as 6 cents per piece less than non-automation rates and do require that your mailing list be run through CASS certified software such as ZipClean Plus.
For non-automation compatible mailings you must still make an effort to verify the accuracy of the zipcodes in your mailing list. You may use one of several methods to do this.
Answer: For Automation compatible mailings you must have had your mailing list validated by CASS certified software such as ZipClean Plus within 6 months of mailing. If you are doing a Carrier Route sort, your mailing list must have been validated by CASS software within 3 months of mailing. The CASS software will produce a Form 3553 which you must deliver with your mailing as proof of timely CASS validation.
ZipClean Plus uses the Post Office's National Address Database to match the addresses in your mailing list. This database comes on CD-ROM and is updated by the Post Office every month. Post Office rules stipulate that this database be deactivated 105 days from it's published date which is always the 15th of the month in which it was issued. The table below shows the valid life-span for the 12 possible release dates.
Once a mailing list has been run through the CASS software a 3553 CASS Report is printed. The 3553 report must be presented to the Post Office at the time that you deliver your mailing. This report continues to be valid for future mailings for three months if doing Carrier Route sorting or six months for other bulk mail sorting.
How often you might need to order new releases of the CASS database depends on how often you get new mailing lists and how often you do a mailing. The most you would need is one every 3 months. This would ensure that you always had a valid CASS database in effect. This would cover you no matter how many or how often you received new mailing lists that needed to be CASS certified. If, however, you are basically working with only one mailing list, you may only need two disks per year. The first disk is valid for three months and the 3553 CASS report is valid for the next three to six months after that. You would then buy the next CASS database right before the previous CASS report is expiring.
Answer: You will normally drop off your bulk mail to the Post Office where you registered when you obtained your bulk mail permit. A Post Office can be either a Destination Delivery Unit (DDU) serving one 5-digit zipcode, a Sectional Center Facility (SCF) serving one or more 3-digit zipcode areas, or a Bulk Mail Center (BMC) serving many 3-digit zipcode areas.
If the Post Office of Entry where you drop off your mailing is either an SCF or BMC, the mail pieces that go to the 3-digit zipcode(s) served by that facility may qualify for an entry discount. If the Post Office where you are dropping off you mailing is a DDU and you have Carrier Route trays for the 5-digit zipcode served by that DDU, then, in a few cases, you may qualify for an entry discount. DDU entry discounts for most types of mail, however, are not available.
For more information see the Post Offices' Pub. 49.
Answer: Letter sized mail normally goes into, what the Post Office calls, a one-foot or two-foot MM trays. If your letter is oversized (greater than 10" wide or greater than 4 5/8" high), then these letters will go into EMM trays.
Large non-letter sized pieces, such as 81/2" X 11" envelopes, are referred to as flats. Standard (A) flats go into white canvas or plastic Sacks and First Class flats go into Flat Trays, also called First Class Flat Tubs.
You can pick any of these up at the Post Office where you will be dropping off your mailing along with any other supplies that you may need to package your mailing such as rubber bands, tray sleeves, etc.
If you want to know exactly how many and what type of trays or sacks you will need for your mailing, do the sort of your mailing list and then print out the Postage Statement which will have the quantity and type of trays or sacks needed for the mailing. You can then pick these up from the Post Office before printing your labels and packaging your mailing.
For more information see the Post Offices' Pub. 49. Click here to download Publication 49 Pub. 49 Preparing Standard Mail (A) (2889KB)
Answer: Postal Publication 32 is a Glossary of Postal Terms. To download this publication click here Pub. 32 Glossary of Postal Terms (682KB)
The Post office also has an interactive WEB site where you can lookup Postal terms and abbreviations at http://www.usps.gov/cpim/ftp/pubs/32html/welcome.htm
Answer: In many large cities there are Postal Business Centers which offer free classes on bulk mail as well as free Postal publications and other services. Even using automated software such as BM-Win Plus it is a good idea to get a working knowledge of the details of how a bulk mailing is prepared and packaged before doing your first mailing. To find the Postal Business Center nearest you go to http://www.usps.gov/ncsc/locators/find-pbc.html
Answer: The Post Office offers many free publications that can help you in preparing a bulk mailing. These publications can be obtained from the Post Office where you obtained your bulk mail permit, your local Postal Business Center, or on-line.
Especially helpful are:
25 Designing Business Letter Mail (1230KB)
To find the Postal Business Center nearest you go to http://www.usps.gov/ncsc/locators/find-pbc.html
To download the Postal publications on-line, except for the Quick service Guide, go to http://www.usps.gov/cpim/buspubs.htm
To download the Quick Service Guide on-line go to Quick Service Guide (by chapter)
Answer: Yes, especially for automation compatible mail. Postal Publication 28 "Postal Addressing Standards" gives a complete explanation. This publication can be obtained from your local Postal Business Center or downloaded on-line.
To find the Postal Business Center nearest you go to http://www.usps.gov/ncsc/locators/find-pbc.html
To download Pub. 28 on-line click here Pub. 28 Postal Addressing Standards (821KB)
Question: Does the Post Office offer any way for me to check the zipcodes in my mailing list?
Answer: Yes, the Post Office has two on-line zipcode lookup services.
ZIP+4 Code Look-Up Engine Click here to locate a ZIP+4 code for your address.
Code Associations Click here to associate ZIP Codes with city/state
Answer: The Post Office where you will be delivering your mailing has all of the supplies that you will need. If you don't want to guess at what size and how many trays or sacks that you may need for a mailing, use BM-Win Plus to do a sort and then print out the Postage Statement. It will have the sizes and quantities of trays or sacks that you will be required. Pick everything up at the Post Office and bring it back with to to prepare your mailing. Don't forget the rubber bands, tray lids or sleeves, and straps.
Answer: eLOT stands for enhanced Line of Travel. eLOT data is only used when doing Non-Automation ECR Basic Carrier Route sorting.
Non-Auto ECR Basic Carrier Route mail can be for either Letter or Non-Letter (Flat) sized pieces and is sorted not only by the Carrier Route number but also by the eLOT number which puts the mail more or less into the same order that the Postal Carrier travels when delivering the mail.
Since CASS processing is usually done to get the cheaper Auto rates, most people don't need to use the eLOT database. It is useful, however, if you have Flat sized pieces and you want to do Carrier Route sorting.
Answer: DPV stands for Delivery Point Validation. This is a method by which a specific address is validated. In the general CASS processing an address is considered valid as long as it falls within the range of addresses listed in the CASS database.For instance, the CASS database may give the range of valid addresses for Main Street in zipcode 77002 as being from 1000 to 1090. If you have an address in your mailing list of 1020 Main Street 77002, then the general CASS processing will consider this a valid address and assign it a Delivery Point Number even though there is a possibility that no such address really exists. DPV will double check that Delivery Point Number against another database to verify that 1020 Main Street 77002 is actually a valid address. If so, the CASS matching stands. If not, the address is not considered a CASS match and ZpClean Plus will return a code to let you know why the address was not matched.
LACS stands for Locatable Address Conversion System. LACS enables business mailers to update their rural-style addresses electronically with new, locatable city-style addresses in areas that are experiencing 911 emergency response address conversions. Other types of conversions happen when local municipalities make changes to the addressing schemes or the Postal Service renumbers Post Office boxes.
SuiteLink is a Post Office database containing business address information specifically identified as high rise default records. A "High Rise Default" addresses is a street address for a company in a high rise office building without the secondary suite number. For instance "1030 Main" could be the street address of the Shell Office Tower building. If you had an address for "The Offshore Drilling Company" at "1030 Main", that address would be valid as the default high rise address but it is missing the suite number.
With the SuiteLink database ZipClean Plus has the capability of appending the secondary number or suite number to a business address providing the input address is determined to be missing a secondary number.
Still Have Questions? Feedback / Tech. Support
Questions about BM-Win Plus Software:
Answer: There are several reasons. The main reason is that we have chosen to keep the price low so that companies with small mailing lists can better afford to do bulk mailings. Even though BM-Win Plus can handle a mailing list of 1 billion addresses that is not our target customer. The expensive PAVE software targets large companies as potential users and, consequently, usually offer sorting functions such as Pallet Load Sorting, Newspapers, Periodicals, Standard(B) Class Parcel Post, etc. required by large companies. For the vast majority of bulk mail customers this is overkill and there is no need to be paying for something that you will not be using.
Another factor is that the expensive PAVE software comes pre-bundled with a year's subscription of CASS software. We have chosen not to pre-bundle BM-Win Plus with our ZipClean Plus software. By not selling ZipClean Plus only as a yearly subscription the user only pays for what they need, when they need it and at the best possible price.
Answer: Yes. BM-Win Plus has been tested
extensively by the Post Office's PAVE department for accuracy. PAVE
stands for Presort Accuracy Validation and Evaluation.
FIRST CLASS AUTO LETTERS & POST CARDS
Answer: PAVE stands for Presort Accuracy Validation and Evaluation. To be PAVE Certified means that BM-Win Plus was tested for and passed a variety of tests by the Post Office. BM-Win Plus not only passed those tests but has been PAVE Certified GOLD meaning that it has passed an extra battery of tests over and above the standard PAVE tests. (See above for the various sorts, functions, and documents that BM-Win Plus was tested and certified for.)
Answer: Yes and No.
If you are doing Non-Automation mailings, BM-Win Plus has and does everything that you will need including printing barcoded mailing labels, barcoded tray tags, Postage statements, Qualification reports, and much, much more.
If, however, you want to do Automation Compatible mailings, you will need to have your mailing list validated by CASS certified software such as ZipClean Plus. BM-Win Plus does not come pre-bundled with it's ZipClean Plus software. We have chosen to keep BM-Win Plus independent of the CASS function allowing the user to pay for CASS certification only if and when he or she needs it. In this way the user only pays for what they need, when they need it, and at the best possible price.
Answer: BM-Win Plus does not come pre-bundled with it's ZipClean Plus CASS software. We have chosen to keep BM-Win Plus independent of the CASS function allowing the user to pay for CASS certification only if and when he or she needs it. In this way the user only pays for what they need and when they need it, and at the best possible price. If you include ZipClean Plus with BM-Win Plus then, yes, you can CASS process your mailing list(s) to have them eligible for Automation discounts.
Answer: Yes. BM-Win Plus uses the dbf type file format internally which is the same format used by Goldmine, ACT!, dBase, FoxPro, and some others. Just select your ACT! or Goldmine file in BM-Win Plus and you are ready to begin. The latest versions of ACT! no longer use the dbf file format but they can export out to other file types that BMW can then import from.
For mailing lists in other formats such as Access, Excel, CSV, ASCII text, etc. BM-Win Plus has functions to Import these mailing lists into a dbf file format which can then be used for preparing the bulk mailing.
Answer: BM-Win Plus uses the dbf type file format internally which is the same format used by ACT!, Goldmine, dBase, FoxPro, and some others. If you have a mailing list in this format, just select the file in BM-Win Plus and you are ready to begin.
For mailing lists in MS Access BM-Win Plus has an Auto Import feature that reads the Access table and automatically Imports it into a dbf formatted file which can then be used.
For mailing lists in other formats such as CSV, ASCII text files delimited or fixed length, MS Excel, Lotus 1-2-3, Paradox, Rapid File, and MultiPlan BM-Win Plus has an Import Wizard to Import these mailing lists into a dbf file format which can then be used for preparing the bulk mailing.
If you have a mailing list in a file format other than the types listed above, almost all software can Export a file into one of these file types. If you need to Export your mailing list using your software, choose file type dBaseIII as your first choice, if it exists. If not, choose CSV or ASCII Delimited Text as your second choice or one of the others after that.
Answer: Believe it or not that's no problem. BM-Win Plus can handle mailing lists with up to one billion records. That's one Billion with a "B". That's one of the reasons that BM-Win Plus is used by, not only offices of the U.S. military, but also offices in federal, state, and city governments as well as "Mom and Pop" shops across the country.
Answer: BM-Win Plus does all of it's printing functions through Windows. If your printer is setup in Windows, then BM-Win Plus can use it for all of it's printing needs.
Answer: Yes. Although BM-Win Plus always refers to "Label Design" it means anything that you will be printing your address block to. BM-Win Plus comes with the standard #10 envelope and several post card sizes already setup and ready for you to layout your address block. You can, however, setup whatever envelope or postcard size you want by selecting the "Custom" button in the Label Designer window.
BM-Win Plus can also Export your mailing list in sorted order so that you may use some other software to print your labels, envelops, or post cards. You could use the Exported in Sorted Order file to print a Mail Merge document using your word processor, for instance.
Question: I want to use my word processor's Mail Merge capabilities to print the mail piece. Can I print the mail piece and labels in sorted order outside of BM-Win Plus using my word processor or other software?
Answer: Yes. After sorting your mailing list BM-Win Plus can Export your mailing list in sorted order so that you may use some other software to print your labels, envelops, or post cards. You could then use the Exported in Sorted Order file to print a Mail Merge document using your word processor.
Still Have Questions? Feedback / Tech. Support
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Date last modified: 11/25/2015
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