My kids have a monthly paper route that delivers once a week. However, they only make $9 a month,so we wanted the “big time” newspaper route which claimed that you could make up to $800. They saw dollar signs in their eyes and we called right away.
I had to call several times before someone called me back. Even then we were put on a waiting list for over two months. The anticipation built.
Here is what I found out about a paper route….
Chapter 1. Claim: “You can make up to $800 a month”
They say that you can make $800 a month, but in reality, you make between $400 – $450 a month. You only make $800 if you have two routes. However you have to do your first route successfully for a while before you get another.
You also have to pay for your own bags (whether it is raining or not), your own insurance in case you get hurt, and you have to pay for any damage to houses or cars if you accidentally hit a window or anything. You also have to pay $2 for every “complaint.” We don’t even want to talk about the gas and the wear and tear on your car! The real doozy was when they wanted me to sign a contract saying that if I do not give them 30 days notice before I quit, they will charge me $250.
Chapter 2. Claim: “It is a really fast way to make money”
I had to get up at 2:45 to be there at 3:00am. I didn’t want my boys to lose too much sleep so the plan was to roll all of the papers and then wake up my boys to help me deliver them. The weekday papers had to be delivered by 6:00 am and the Sunday paper had to be delivered by 7:00.
Well let’s just say that I tried really hard but it took me an hour to roll the 150 papers (200 on Sunday) and then it took between three and five hours to deliver the papers. That was making me about $3.00 an hour.
Chapter 3. Claim: “Training is minimal”
I went with an “expert” for my first few days. I sat in the passenger side. Her car was totally filthy from all of the newspapers. She also said that it was “impossible to wear a seatbelt” (which goes against every fiber of my being). Hint: Before your kids start the newspaper, have them invest in savings accounts or money market account. No seatbelt is required for that!
The morning was pitch dark and you are driving on the wrong side of the street! The lady whipped in and out of the driveways and shot the newspapers very impressively up the sidewalk. However at the end of the route, her breaks squealed and I could smell a strong tire smell. The worst part is that I was carsick! She laughed and said, “I even make myself carsick sometimes.”
After two days of training, I was on my own (but the trainer was following me in her car to check on me). Some houses required that you run the paper up to the porch, but of course they forgot to trim the branches on the trees, so I lost some hair that got stuck on a branch. I could have lost an eye on the next untrimmed branch, had I not been bending down from the pain of the lost the hair first.
Some people don’t have addresses on the houses which makes it VERY difficult. Some people have dogs that wake up the neighborhood. I also didn’t have the arm the lady did and I had to get out of my car to redo some gutter newspapers.
I tried. I really did. I even made my kids go with me for the last 30 papers. Even they admitted, “This sucks!” After trying it for a little while on my own I realized that I was totally sleep deprived, using more gas than I was making, getting about 1-2 complaints a day, hard on my car, endangering myself and my kids and just completely unhappy. I do not give up easily, but when I realized that I was paying more for doing this, the newspaper had to go.
I have a new respect for newspaper delivery people. If you have a system that works and you make money, I would love to hear about it!! You really earn every penny you make! Here here to you!