If you get your newspaper delivered to your house the old fashioned way – by a newspaper carrier – please read the following very carefully. What you are about to read is true. Cross my heart.
Hubby and I deliver papers for the paper here in Smalltown. It’s a small route – less than 200 customers – and it’s fairly easy. Two retirement homes and a few houses on a cul-de-sac in a very nice part of town. The daily papers are easy to deliver – he can do that in little more than an hour. The Sunday papers are harder because of the ads and inserts – that can take up to 2 hours.
Here are the drawbacks. Delivering the papers is a 7 day a week/365 day a year job. No days off. No vacation. No sick days. You deliver papers every day of the year. Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, New Years Day, Easter Sunday. If you want to take some time off, you need to find somebody to sub the route for you. You deliver papers in all kinds of weather – rain, snow, heat, fog – and in the middle of the night. The daily papers have to be delivered by 5:30 a.m. The Sunday papers have to be delivered by 8:00 a.m.
Here’s the part that you probably don’t know . . . and the newspapers don’t want the customers to know. We don’t get paid a whole lot of money to deliver the paper. You pay 75 cents for a daily paper – we get paid 9 cents to deliver that paper. You pay $1.75 for a Sunday paper – we get 30 cents to deliver that paper. You pay $6.00 for a Sunday New York times – we get paid 10 cents to deliver that paper. If we forget to deliver the paper to your door and you call the paper to ask for them to re-deliver the paper to you, we get charged $3.00. For each complaint. Which is why you have to be careful who you get to sub your route. If the sub does a bad job delivering papers, you can end up owning the paper money at the end of the week. We have to pay for the supplies – bags, rubber bands – that we use. Since carriers are considered independent contractors, we don’t get health benefits, workers comp or unemployment. If it’s a good week and we have no complaints, we make about $130.
Yes, that’s right. Hubby makes $130 a week delivering about 200 papers a day, every day.
Until we started delivering papers, I had no idea how hard the job was – or how little it actually paid. But now I know and I swear that I will never again take a dry newspaper on my doorstep for granted. If you get a paper delivered to your door every day, show the carrier a little love this holiday season – and every season.