Back to the Viewable page

What Happens at the Post Office

The business mail entry unit (BMEU) clerk or posted signage will direct you where to place your trays or sacks. You may be asked to sign in so that customers are served in the order they arrived. When it’s your turn, bring your mail to the counter and give your postage statement and any required documentation to the clerk.

The clerk checks to make sure that you’ve prepared your mail properly. The clerk will open at least one of your trays to check your mail for:

Eligibility of contents (for Standard Mail, the clerk will actually open one of your mailpieces to check that the contents qualify for the price you’re claiming).
Markings and endorsements.
Sortation.
Postage payment.

If you’re paying with permit imprint, the clerk will check to see that there’s enough money in your advance deposit account to cover the cost of your mailing.

When you bring in your first mailing ever, the clerk will perform an in-depth presort verification. Because you followed all of the instructions in Business Mail 101, your mail will be perfectly sorted. The clerk will process your postage statement electronically or, sign off on your postage statement (and your copy, if you’ve brought one) and take your mail. You’re finished, and your mail is on its way!

In some instances, there may be problems with how you sorted or prepared your mail. Don’t be surprised if the first time you bring a mailing to the BMEU, it needs a little fine-tuning. If your mail is not presorted correctly, the clerk will point the problems out to you and tell you how to fix the sortation. There’s usually room right there in the BMEU for you to re-sort your mail and fill out a new postage statement.

If there are problems with the characteristics of your mailpiece[1], you might have to pay additional fees or surcharges. In some very rare cases, the contents of your mailing may not be eligible for the prices you’re claiming, and you may have to pay a higher postage price.

The clerks at the BMEU are there to help you get your mail into the system. They welcome questions and have lots of good tips for helping you with your mail.

TIPS
--You won’t get a "receipt" for your mail unless you bring an extra copy of your completed postage statement with you for the clerk to sign and date. You will always get a receipt for the deposits you make into your advance deposit (permit imprint) account.
--The business mail entry unit clerk checks both your presort and your piece count. If either of those is off by a certain amount, you can either fix it or pay extra postage.
--Business mail entry units have stickers, trays, sleeves (tray lids), sacks, rolling carts, tray labels, postage statements, and instructions for presorting your mail. The Postal Service DOES NOT provide strapping materials for customers, so be sure to do that before you come. There’s also usually some work space for customers to fix their mail.
--No one wants unpleasant surprises at the Post Office. It’s frustrating for customers and for the Postal Service, too. So, do a little work up front. When you’re designing a mailpiece, talk to your mailpiece design analyst[2] to make sure that your mailpiece is the right measurements to get the prices you want.

Where to go to drop off your bulk mail[3]

What to take with you to the Post Office[4]

Checklist for mailers[5]


Table of Links
  1. http://pe.usps.com/businessmail101/mailcharacteristics/welcome.htm
  2. http://pe.usps.gov/mpdesign/mpdfr_mda_lookup.asp
  3. http://pe.usps.com/businessmail101/postoffice/whereToGo.htm
  4. http://pe.usps.com/businessmail101/postoffice/whatToTake.htm
  5. http://pe.usps.com/businessmail101/checklist/welcome.htm