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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

+ General Mail Study Information + Dropper Role and Compensation + Vacation and Coverage + Confidentiality + Contact Us
General Mail Study Information
What is the IBM Mail Study?
IBM has been contracted by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to conduct an independent study of mail delivery performance, known as the Transit-Time Measurement System (TTMS). TTMS' main goal is to measure service performance of USPS mail delivery from the customer's point of view. IBM provides information to the USPS on a daily basis to help them gauge their success in meeting performance goals.
What information is the IBM Mail Study providing to the USPS?
The results of the mail study provide the USPS with independent on-time delivery performance data. If you are interested in viewing the results we provide the U.S. Postal Service, please visit USPS Service Performance Page.
How does the IBM Mail Study identify candidates to be Droppers?
The IBM Mail Study needs independent contractors across the country. We use a number of web job boards and direct mailings to locate potential Droppers. We work with external vendors, such as Experian Information Solutions Inc., to acquire names and addresses of candidates who can be sent our recruiting letter. Names are chosen based on our needs in a specific area. If any of your information is incorrect, please contact Experian by calling 1-800-316-2637 ext. 5247 (http://www.experian.com).
Who pays for the IBM Mail Study?
The USPS is required by law to measure delivery performance as part of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act. The Mail Study is funded by the USPS, and paid for through postage revenue, not tax dollars.
Dropper Role and Compensation
What is a Dropper?
"Dropper" is the IBM Mail Study term used to describe an independent contractor who deposits bundles of test mail in USPS collection boxes.
Will IBM provide all the materials I need to complete my Dropper role?
Yes. IBM will provide all of the materials a Dropper will need including a quarterly schedule, collection box address listings, and the test mail bundles to be mailed. Droppers are required to have a reliable form of transportation and their own cell phone.
How long do I need to participate?
IBM recently signed a new contract with the USPS and plans on conducting the measurement study for many years into the future. However, IBM asks that Droppers make at least a 13-week (one quarter) commitment. Droppers have the option of participating for as long as they are needed, or for as long as IBM is conducting the study.
Am I an employee of IBM or an independent contractor?
Droppers are independent contractors and not employees of IBM. Independent contractors may work for other companies and adjust their schedule to drop at times they find most convenient.
What can I expect my schedule and workload to be like?
The Mail Study follows the U.S. government fiscal year. The fiscal year is divided into four quarters, and each quarter is 13 weeks. The number of bundles for each geographical area differs because they are based on real mail volume levels. We have some metropolitan droppers who drop nearly every day and others in more rural locations who drop one day per month. Our recruiter will be able to describe this in more detail if you are interested.
What is a test mail bundle comprised of?
Test mail bundles are made up of 10 to 35 pre-addressed stamped test mail pieces. The test mail looks like regular mail and comes in various shapes, sizes, and colors. Each of these mail pieces contains a paper insert with information for the recipient.
When can I drop bundles?
Prior to the start of the quarter, we will give you the scheduled dates for your area and you will confirm that you are available to make drops on those dates. You can drop starting at 5:00 AM up until 30 minutes before the last pickup time at the collection box you have chosen to use. For example, if your box has a last pickup time of 2:30 PM, then you have from 5:00 AM to 2:00 PM to complete your drop.
How do I get paid as a Dropper?
As independent contractors, Droppers are paid for each bundle that is dropped correctly. The specific rate varies depending on the number of drops and the area traveled. Payments are made every other week.
Vacation and Coverage
What happens if I go on vacation or need to leave town?
Schedules are provided early enough for Droppers to identify known scheduling conflicts. Droppers are encouraged to have back-up Droppers who can cover for them when on vacation or unavailable for any reason.
What is a back-up Dropper?
A back-up Dropper is someone who can complete inductions for you if you're unable to do them yourself, for example, if you're on vacation. It is highly recommended that Droppers have a reliable back-up to cover for them. You can find a back-up by yourself, or you can ask IBM to recruit one for you. No matter how a back-up Dropper is recruited, IBM will train the individual.
What do I do in cases of severe weather?
Our primary concern is your safety, and you should not go to extraordinary measures to drop your test mail bundles in severe weather. For example, we ask that Droppers never go out during driving bans or during a mandatory evacuation. Do not put yourself at risk to complete your inductions.
Should I tell my Postal Carrier that I am involved with a project with IBM?
No, confidentiality is critical to the integrity of the study. Please do not inform your Postal Carrier or any other USPS employee of your participation.
Contact Us
How and when can I reach IBM?
If you would like to contact our Dropper Recruiting Team, call us toll-free at 1-800-688-0330 between 9:00AM and 5:00PM Monday through Friday (EST). You can also reach our recruiters via email at .
Who should I contact if I have a friend who is interested in becoming a Dropper?
If you know someone who is interested in becoming a Dropper, they can either speak to one of our recruiters by calling 1-800-688-0330 or visit the Join Our Team page.