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Are Paper Routes Still Profitable? | YourPaperRoute.com
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YourPaperRoute.com
Make Money or Move On!

Are Paper Routes Still Profitable?

This question has been asked of me quite a few times recently. Some grown ups looking for extra cash and some have been teenagers looking to start their own businesses and break the norm of working at the mall, working in fast food joints, and waiting until you are a certain age before you can get any of the aforementioned jobs.

Well, the answer is "it depends" ... it depends on your situation and many other factors.

First, how much money do you need to make? If you need thousands per month in PROFIT, you may be looking in the wrong area. Most paper routes will pay you via a 1099 and the gross amount will range from $100 - $1500 per pay period. Now, 20%-30% of that check will probably have to go to local and federal government for taxes. You must purchase your own supplies so subtract these expenses from your profit. Also, you have to provide the delivery vehicle, the fuel for the vehicle, and pay for all the necessary maintenance on the vehicle. Subtract all of these expenses from your profit.

With gas prices rising every week, you will make less and less profit if you use a car or any other gas powered vehicle to deliver your papers. To maximize your profit, you will need to walk or ride a bike to deliver your papers. Most routes are too big to walk or ride a bike so you must look into purchasing/using a car that gets really good gas mileage. Using your gas guzzling SUV to deliver newspapers is probably a bad idea.

In what neighborhood will you be delivering papers? This is a HUGE factor in determining how much money you will make. Talk to the current carrier to see how people pay and don't pay on the route. If the route has a high number of people who don't pay or pay late, this all will lower your profit! Never get a route with 10% or higher customers who pay late or don't pay at all. Your distribution company will NOT cut these people off. You are basically buying the paper to GIVE the paper to the non-paying customers.

How valuable is your time? If you value your time any, then you must set a number of hours per week that you deem acceptable for delivering newspapers. If your time is not valuable and you can spend forever and a day outside delivering the papers, you may be able to trick yourself into believing you are making a profit. If your time is valuable, every hour spent on your paper route reduces your profit.

Most paper routes are NOT profitable. Talk to the current carrier if possible as this will give you the best idea of the profit of a particular route. NEVER believe the quote the paper distribution company gives you as they are NEVER going to tell you the amount of money you will make. If they do give you a number, cut 25%-50% off that number because you will NEVER get the number they quote you on your check. I am not sure why they lie, but they do. Oh, I do know why ... if you knew how much money you will not be making, you probably would not want that particular route!

Comments

Hi, this is my experience

Hi, this is my experience with delivering for my city's newspaper. (not going to state which paper/company since I want to keep anonymity.

I just started in the beginning of the month, and I'm only doing 1 route which consists of 130 papers. When I first started it took me almost 3 hours to deliver, now it takes me only 50 minutes to 1 hour to deliver on weekdays, and an hour and a half to finish Sunday papers which is about 240 papers. It takes me about 20 minutes to bag all those papers each night, except sunday papers which take about an hour and a half (I'm still clumsy with the bags). The pay is about a thousand dollars a month, which makes the hourly pay pretty good. I make a 20 minute commute each way to pick up the papers, but since it's so minuscule I won't even count it. I do not get charged for complaints which is a plus as well.

So my hours come up to around 11 + hours a week. Because I get 1000 dollars a month, my pay comes to at least 20 dollars an hour minus gas, supplies, maintenance. Soon I'll be picking up a second route of similar size and density, so I can make double the income with better efficiency since I'll be only doing 1 commute for 2 of the routes. It's all about knowing the houses and being quick on your feet. Having a good throwing arm is always a bonus when you are making a drive-by delivery.

There are low lives @ the warehouse with no social lives who have been doing this job for 10+ years. Mostly Mexicans and Vietnamese warriors who smell like top ramen noodles at 2 in the morning and don't speak a bit of proper English, and most of them don't have any manners or social skills. There really isn't a future in the job unless you don't even have a high school diploma. But it's an easy job to be hired at, and depending on your route and your way of doing things, the pay can be alright. Delivering papers isn't glorious, but it's easy money since you don't really have to know anything. There is a bit of job satisfaction in knowing that your customer appreciates an on-time, dry paper. Overall it's a different job experience and might help if you need to work more than 1 job to get back on your feet since variety helps.

Thurs, 27/12/12 Delivered

Thurs, 27/12/12
Delivered newspapers for 10 months. In the beginning I made money because I had 6 routes (610 papers) @ .20 cents/paper, 1 day per week, $50-60 /month fuel, with 15 hours to deliver them. On all but 2 routes, the houses were close together with short driveways. The carriers were required to deliver to the front doors. Elastics $1.50 for 500 ish and bags $24.00 for 2000.

Great for the first two months. But then the delivery truck started showing up later and later. I had to continue to drop routes as time went on because I couldn't make the delivery deadline. Repeatedly late truck deliveries (because of the driver, not newspaper production issues) and management unable to resolve the problem has led me to give my notice with the papers.

That's my experience with the Ancaster Newspaper in Ontario Canada. Know too that most newspapers consider the carriers the low man on the ladder.

After retirement the Mrs. and

After retirement the Mrs. and I got a paper route in a rural town in Nevada. 250+ papers and a 38 mile route plus 12 miles to the drop off point and 8 miles back home. Our vehicle was a 2005 Grand Caravan, the one where the seats fold into the floor, lots of room for bins filled with newspapers. The first nite that 38 miles took almost 4 hours. Even though I new the town pretty well, everything looks different at night. Rural is right, no street lights and plenty of dirt roads. After a couple weeks my left arm got good and could toss a paper in the center of a driveway doing 35 mph. The customers that had tubes made for lots of starts and stops, hard on the car. Town driving was 19 mpg now it was barely 16 mpg. We started 3 weeks before Christmas so we printed a merry Christmas note introducing us with our cell phone number on it. We netted $500 in tips plus treats like gourmet popcorn over the holidays. We also got calls from people who wanted their paper is a certain spot an we did our best to accommodate them. After a month the route was down to 1 hour and 45 minutes, and since we rarely saw another car, I would blow thru stops signs like Kowalski in Vanishing Point and used the entire road on corners like a Formula 1 driver and never went over 2500 rpm. Gas mileage went to 17.5 mpg and we were still getting tips every pay period. We were making about $15 an hour and the checks were going into the bank account for our S-Corp but we soon discovered that the 1099 was in my name and my SSN not our EIN as they were supposed to do when we signed the contract. We asked them to change it and they said no. End of story. We quit and paid the 'I quit' penalty in the contract.
It was a lot of fun, as I do like watching the sky's at night, saw a shooting star every night and watching the moon rise at 4am. I do not miss being dinged $1.50 for a missing paper complaint that I knew was delivered but the wind blew it off their driveway into a ditch or getting there on time and just sitting there for an hour because the truck was late and then having to scramble to meet the contract dead line and dealing with the starts and stops and the muddy dirt roads when it rained.
It is a thankless job at times but there are good customers that will tip you because they know you have to put in that extra effort to deliver the paper while dodging drunks on Friday and Saturday nites and pulling into a drive thru drive way only to find the guy left his trailer there (a heart stopping moment).
In the end I do have an idea for a suspense novel. A paper carrier finds a brown paper bag filled with $20 bills in a tube. Takes the bag and stuffs the paper in the tube not knowing it's a drop off for a drug deal and from that point it could go anywhere.

My advice, if you have a car that get 30 MPG, it might be worth it, if your route has 10 drops per street, maybe if you have to detour a couple miles on a dirt road to deliver one paper. If your car only get's 17 mpg and weights 4400 pounds, you ain't making much money and you are better off auditioning for America's Got Talent. Hey we need a new Stevie Ray Vaughan and not another Steve Tyler (Tallirico) <--- grew up with that mutt head.

I currently run 3 rts and I

I currently run 3 rts and I also run a haul for another carrier which pays $175 a week.....that basically pays for my fuel for all 3 rts, pretty good profits......I use rubberbands as much as possible.....i use one size of bags that can be used on any day....6 1/2 size bags......if i get bogus complaints.....my dm will void them out by putting it back in my service bonus.....also i sent a note with all my customers if they have a problem with service or didn't get a paper to call me first, i usually have 5papers left over so if a customer calls i can get them a paper, keeps them from calling the paper to complain. my contract states 6am on one rt and the other 2 states 7am delivery......and if the press is late or bad weather they extend your required delivery times and will cancel all compaints.....i'm usually done by 6.....also I deliver seafood to restraunts 3 days a week which the owner pays me cash...so all in all good money....alot more than I ever made at fedex lol

I wish I knew how to get an

I wish I knew how to get an extra paper or two every day. I hate it when the customer calls the paper company for a missed delivery ... which I think is the customer just wanting an extra paper! It costs me more to pay for the missed delivery than it would for me to take the customer one of the extra papers!

Yea, Customers tend to do

Yea, Customers tend to do that on Sundays, coupons. My Sunday paper was about 3# Heavy like a log.

I would always take an extra bundle, count a couple extra and then take the rest back.

I wanted to post this in

I wanted to post this in reference to the fact that they deduct so much per complaint; be it $1, 2 or 3 - on any given day. My suspicion, however, is the money that is withdrawn from your paycheck is used to pay for the inbound calls, data storage (paper or electronic), and to pay for the whole host of other costly expenses that you incurred - true or not - because of those complaints. If, IF I decide to take this paper route I am going to be upfront and direct with the manager and crunch all numbers before I sign on; and to answer questions I have no intentions of asking with a big ego and loaded weapons (an attitude), but be courteous.

Either way, I am still considering the pros vs cons, and this is why I believe they take that money out. I hope I have given an at least partially accurate theory.

Where can I go to get a

Where can I go to get a paper rt position in my area. I live in the 604 area in Illinois. Please advise. Thanks!!

I have free fuel . I use veg

I have free fuel . I use veg oil. Having no gas bill would this increase my profits much, if I took a delivery job?

Sounds like some of you guys

Sounds like some of you guys need a new job....

My paper company gives me 140 papers a morning, pick up between 2-3 am delivered by 6.. approx 14 miles of route driving (22 miles all together) and it takes about 1.5 to 2.5 hours to complete...

The pay is a base $1200 per month, I net after taxes about $245 per week.. because I have a honda civic, my gas is around $30-40 per week.. I change my own oil and brakes and only have to do that about once every three months (at a shop it'd cost around $90, do it yourself and it's about $30) overall my run is very profitable even though it is a rather rural area.