Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes
#1
Old 06-24-2011, 11:41 AM
BANNED
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,039
Tell me about being a newspaper carrier

I'm applying for a few newspaper carrier jobs, and I'm wondering what to expect.

I will begin applying tomorrow morning. Is there an interviewing process? No one mentioned it on the phone. Paperwork was mentioned, however. What sort of things they ask about on this paperwork? Regarding the job itself, what are the pros and cons?
#2
Old 06-24-2011, 12:04 PM
Guest
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 809
I've never done the job, but worked with them in a previous life.
Assuming you're an adult I think the questions would likely center on are you reliable? do you have a dependable car? do you understand what time of day you need to do deliveries? how do you feel about working seven days a week? how dependable is that car?
#3
Old 06-24-2011, 12:39 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Southern California
Posts: 9,474
Did it for a while when younger. Would never do it again. You get fined for every customer complaint. I got fined because a customer complained that he didn't get his monopoly game piece in his paper one Sunday. Factor in the cost of transportation, (gas, repairs, tires, etc) and the rewards are not all that great. YMMV, IMHO. Etc.
#4
Old 06-24-2011, 12:45 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 24,229
It has been a lifetime (1958) since I did my route on a bicycle to about 70 customers. My experience is borderline irrelevant.

My main reason to post is that one of my brother's schoolmates (as an adult) shot and killed his paperboy for throwing the paper against his bedroom window. (Yes, my brother had some dodgy schoolmates, but paper routes are not all honey and roses, if that's what you've been led to believe.)
#5
Old 06-24-2011, 01:16 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Trenton, NJ
Posts: 4,414
Another childhood paperboy here. 66 daily, 77 on Sunday. All delivered by bicycle and on foot—we put the paper in whatever weird place the customer wanted (e.g. "in milk box," "screen door," or "hole in garage door")

The worst part about the job was that it was 7 days a week. Kind of like having a dog, you never ever are far from your responsibility.

Maybe these days with professional newspaper carriers prowling the neighborhoods in their pickup trucks they might schedule different guys in such a way to give people a day off?
#6
Old 06-24-2011, 01:23 PM
Guest
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 809
Quote:
Originally Posted by minor7flat5 View Post

Maybe these days with professional newspaper carriers prowling the neighborhoods in their pickup trucks they might schedule different guys in such a way to give people a day off?
Generally no. The carrier is free to arrange someone to cover his route, but they are responsible for getting it done seven days a week.
Which reminds me that most of them are contractors, not employees.
#7
Old 06-24-2011, 01:40 PM
Guest
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 5,889
Like Zeldar, my experience was as a teenager on a bicycle 30+ years ago.

I started a failed "Ask the..." thread I tried a few years ago, but I can't make the search function find it. Fucking two minute waits!

Even for an adult with a car, it is brutal work when the weather is poor. (rain or snow). I've been unemployed a couple of times, and would put this near last resort territory. At least you probably wouldn't have to deal with bullies from school attacking you. (happened to me a couple of times)

It seems like newspapers are fatter now than back then, which makes it all worse. In my day it was only Sunday and Wednesday (food section, grocery store ads) that were bad.

Sundays probably still suck ass. In the case of the Denver Post, the Sunday paper was distributed in 3 runs. The comics/magazine section came out BEFORE the Saturday evening paper (Post was an evening paper back then). So I used to "cheat" and delivery it on Saturday to cut the weight on Sunday. Which meant I had special "full" sunday papers for the "sunday only" customers. The Sunday classifieds were delivered around midnight, and then the actual "news" came at around 3-4 AM. You had to insert the two sections into the paper and then fold and rubberband/bag the whole mess.

Bags, rubber bands, receipt books, etc. all had to be purchased. You also bought the papers wholesale, and it worked best to just buy one retail if you got a short bale.

There were no fines for complaints, but you could lose the route if you got too many. They were always on you to sell more subscriptions...which must really suck with the whole industry in decline these days.
#8
Old 06-24-2011, 01:58 PM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Munich, Germany
Posts: 4,951
Don't know whether you will work in the suburbs or in the city, but my own impression delivering the church newsletter at 14 and when my friend delivered newspapers in the city for a few weeks is that it's a very time-consuming, exhausting, stressful work that pays little in comparison.

It's usually done by teens because it's one of the few jobs they are allowed to do and can easily find - that is, delivering the Shopping newspaper in the afternoon; delivering real newspapers in the early morning is for adults because you get up at 3 am or so to collect the newspaper and then deliver them till 7 or 8 am to go home and drop into your bed and sleep some hours because you're exhausted. Real newspapers are heavy and you have to carry them up stairs (in the city); with bad weather, you're riding a bike, running up stairs sweating and then getting into cold wind alternating for several hours, making you a prime candidate for catching a cold or something worse.

The first few days you are still learning all the addresses, so you need much much longer than the usual guys (which can lead to complaints when the last customers don't get their papers at 7 am but 8:30 am), but even when you know the route, it still takes more time than the company thinks or pays for.

To sum up: it's a bad paid job for only a short time while you're trying to find something better.
#9
Old 06-24-2011, 02:15 PM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Within
Posts: 11,673
Quote:
Originally Posted by minor7flat5 View Post
Maybe these days with professional newspaper carriers
The OP might check into the apprenticeship program that is required to become a "professional" paper carrier. Most professional occupations don't just accept anyone and give them a few hours of training.
#10
Old 06-24-2011, 03:37 PM
Member
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 6,619
Nowadays carriers are usually "independent contractors" so you will have to pay your own taxes, gas, wear & tear on the car, etc. The money is not so good once you factor those in.
#11
Old 06-24-2011, 05:20 PM
Guest
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Arvada, CO
Posts: 1,656
I picked up my papers around 3:00 AM, 7 days a week. It worked well with my "day job" working nights in a restaurant. I would get home around 11:30, eat and take a nap, then drive to the newspaper office.

Unlike other's experience, a few extra papers were free, and I needed at least one. I delivered inside a retirement home, and I gave a paper to the night shift employees that let me in. Delivering about 40 papers in the two story building was easy on Mondays and Tuesdays, when the papers were small, but the rest of thee week, I had to drop half the stack somewhere to lighten the load. On Sundays, I jut couldn't carry all of them, so I came up with some tricks. I left most of the stack at the front door (I went in the back door) and then I grabbed a wheel chair to cart the papers around.

I had a total of about 200 customers on two routes. the bigger route paid more per customer, I don't know why. I didn't have to do any subscription selling, but we did do free paper promotions, and once a month I had to pick 25 houses each route to deliver to for a week. I usually picked up one customer a month doing that.

One of my deliveries was to a tiny house with a big dog who slept outside on a leash. One night, he wasn't there, which wasn't unusual. when I dropped the paper and turned to get back in my car, the dog was standing between me and my open door! growling! Its amazing I didn't get attacked. Despite her persistent complaints about getting her paper on the porch every day before this event (which is the reason I had to get out of my car) I never left the car after that.

I had a couple trick shots I was proud of... out the drivers side window, over the roof and onto the porch... Sure, I could just toss the paper out the passenger side window, but the trick shot was more fun. Another was over a fence that I couldn't open into a yard with a tiny concrete path in the lawn. I got a phone call every time i missed that one.

I caught a newspaper thief too... one subscriber's neighbor was snatching their paper, and I kept getting missed-delivery calls (I had to pay a fine to have someone re-deliver every time I missed a delivery). After my route one day, I did a stake out and caught the loser. I didn't do anything except report the reason for the constant missed deliveries and deliver them a free paper for a week with a note, calling them on the theft! They stopped stealing papers, then subscribed a month later!

Most of my route was repetition: drive, shift to park, get out, drop paper, get in car, shift to drive drive to next house, repeat 100 times. One day I missed one of those steps: "Shift to Park"... my car drove away without me! Luckily, i hadn't closed the door, and I dove in head first and hit the brake with my hands. Pretty horrifying experience.
#12
Old 06-24-2011, 06:18 PM
Guest
Join Date: Nov 1999
Posts: 4,440
I did it for 2 weeks last year between jobs. It sucked, hard. I hated every minute of it. I had visions of driving around with my dog and a jug of coffee, dropping off papers out my car window. It wasn't anything like that. It was horrible.

First of all, there was no interview. They'll take anyone.

Second, the wear and tear on your car will be awful - I hope you have a beater that gets good mpg. My car normally gets 29-30 mpg; delivering papers I got 18 mpg. I have a Mini Cooper convertible (not a beater!) and I couldn't even fit all the Sunday papers in the car. I had to take my SO's car on Sundays. Sundays also sucked because the paper sections had to be assembled by the drivers on Sundays. So that took another 2 hours on top of the extra delivery time.

I got an in-town route and since some of the people paid for "top step" delivery, there was no throwing the paper out the car window as I drove by - most places I had to drive in the driveway and get out of the car to place the paper on the step. It was a lot of in and out of the car - so much my muscles were sore. My arm sucks so I never developed a good throwing style. Many places I had to get out of the car and walk across the yard to place the paper by the door. I also had to deliver to a few apartment buildings. I couldn't imagine doing it in the rain and snow. I'm a female and a few times I had a bad feeling about people out and about at 3 a.m.

I got fed up when I was charged for the plastic bags used to keep the paper dry - and don't skimp, because people will complain if the paper gets wet or blows away. And if you miss a delivery you get charged. They didn't mention I had to pay for stuff like that when I signed on.

I learned that people will whine about any little thing when it comes to the paper - "it wasn't on the top step, I had to walk to the bottom", "it was a half hour later than normal", etc. etc, etc.

Plus, you can't go out and have a few drinks at night if you have to deliver papers at 1 a.m. every stinking night. There were a few times I wanted to go out on a Friday or Saturday night, but I couldn't drink because of the paper route.

I worked 2 weeks straight, every night, and made a measly $350. So not worth it when you factor in everything!
#13
Old 06-24-2011, 07:44 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Stockton
Posts: 9,965
Different newspapers have different procedures.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonesj2205 View Post
Generally no. The carrier is free to arrange someone to cover his route, but they are responsible for getting it done seven days a week.
Which reminds me that most of them are contractors, not employees.
Some newspapers will keep a sub list. You can put your name on the list if you want extra money, or you can get names off of the list to cover a vacation. But I've never seen a paper with the delivery folks on salary.

Sometimes if you want a route, but they're all taken, you can sub to get your foot in the door.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevbo View Post
. . . Sundays probably still suck ass. . .

. . . Bags, rubber bands, receipt books, etc. all had to be purchased. You also bought the papers wholesale, and it worked best to just buy one retail if you got a short bale.

There were no fines for complaints, but you could lose the route if you got too many. They were always on you to sell more subscriptions...which must really suck with the whole industry in decline these days.
You think Sundays are bad - I'm getting flashbacks of the Thanksgiving issue of the Sacramento Bee. You know those bags you could wear, that hung down in the front and the back? You could only get six of that issue in each side. They were logs.

Yeah, you had to buy all your supplies and equipment, including the cloth bags, if you wanted them. Sometimes used ones were available for less. I had one old lady who couldn't tip, but saved all of the rubber bands and returned them because she knew we had to buy them.

No fines, but deductions for any that the office had to deliver because they couldn't get ahold of you to do it yourself. Bonuses for subscriptions, and sometimes contests. They had door-to-door drives where they'd take kids out in a van to cover whole neighborhoods. You got extra points for that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Amblydoper View Post
. . . Unlike other's experience, a few extra papers were free, and I needed at least one. . .
One paper gave one extra, the other gave a couple. You were encouraged to toss extras as come-ons, if you didn't have to use them as replacements.

I'm just glad that most papers bill people directly, and bill ahead of time. Back in the eighties, kids had to collect their routes and turn in the money. Since you were paying for the papers up front, a couple of deadbeats, especially lying deadbeats, could soak up the whole profit from a small route.

"I don't have it on me right now." "Come back next week." "It's not my paper, it's my roommate's - he's not here." And sometimes the paper wouldn't let you cut them off until they were three weeks delinquent. That was always the worst part of the job.

Oddly enough, when the paper is the one collecting, they get cut off as soon as they're no longer paid ahead. And they come off of the delivery list that day.
#14
Old 06-24-2011, 07:57 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 7,429
I did it as a teenager 35 years ago for the major local daily. So probably not very relevant. However . . .

I walked my route. It was not much fun, because the papers were heavy to carry. Some people were particular about where they went -- on the front step, not in the driveway. And in winter it was miserable.

Perhaps the worst aspect was the subcription payment method. The subscribers didn't get a bill by mail, as people do nowadays. Instead, I had to pay a "wholesale" price for the newspapers myself and then once a week I had to walk my route again in the evening and call on my subscribers to pay me personally for the papers. Then I'd punch a hole in their subscription card to indicate that they'd paid me for that week. If they weren't home I'd come back again the next week and then they'd pay me for two weeks. Sometimes someone wouldn't be home for many weeks, then I wouldn't be paid for those papers indefinitely.

ETA: I just saw Yllaria's message, in which she talks about exactly that system of the carriers collecting the money, which I hated so much.

Last edited by suranyi; 06-24-2011 at 07:58 PM.
#15
Old 06-24-2011, 08:15 PM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Maryland, My Maryland!
Posts: 1,577
There is this thread about potential damage to a car’s transmission from overdoing it by switching back and forth from drive to reverse. The OP is from a newspaper delivery person.

At post 31, papergirl comes in. She delivers papers for a living and seems rather knowledgeable on the subject.

You should check it out.
#16
Old 06-24-2011, 08:37 PM
Guest
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Bloomington, IN
Posts: 3,111
I've been delivering papers for 10 years. I don't know where you are, or what type of route you'll be doing; much will depend on the area you're in, etc. But here's my experience (Indiana).
I deliver about 325 papers daily; about 110 or so to a retirement community with a large building, and the rest to residential neighborhoods. I leave my house at 4 a.m. and am back by 6:30 a.m. every day but Sunday, which takes an extra hour or so. Round trip is 27 miles, and that includes the to and from, which is about 15 miles total. Rural routes are considerably longer (some over 100 mi here) and pay slightly more. I don't know if the extra pay makes them worthwhile, but I know a lot of long-timers who do rural routes.
You will have to pay for your supplies--bags and rubber bands. Mine are taken out of my paycheck, so check your bills carefully. Some papers may fine you for complaints, but not all. You'll be expected to do your route every day and to find subs if you need them. I get paid once a month; I don't know if this is standard or not.
The first 6 months is tough, but if you stick it out it can be a good job if you're suited for it. I love it because I hardly ever have to deal with customers or management, I'm done before the kids get up for school, I have the rest of day to do other jobs, and I value the alone time. Basically I feel like I get paid to drive around and listen to the radio. Pay may vary wildly, but I make about $1250 a month plus maybe $2K at Christmas in tips. (Write a nice Christmas letter. Mention your children or your dog. It pays off.) My monthly average per hour is about $17 (not including Christmas tips in that.) I pay out maybe $45 a month in supplies
The downsides: it can be tough on your car (again, much depends on the route), it can be really frustrating to learn, and it can be really heavy work near the holidays when the ads get thick.
But as part-time work to pick up some extra cash? It sure beats working at a big-box store.
What else?
#17
Old 06-27-2011, 09:00 AM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Within
Posts: 11,673
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hanna View Post
First of all, there was no interview. They'll take anyone.
Really? Are you sure there's not some guild that aspiring professional paper throwers must join to gain their extensive training? If so, who knew how easy it was to become a professional.
#18
Old 06-27-2011, 12:24 PM
Guest
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Bloomington, IN
Posts: 3,111
Quote:
Originally Posted by Omar Little View Post
Really? Are you sure there's not some guild that aspiring professional paper throwers must join to gain their extensive training? If so, who knew how easy it was to become a professional.
You know, I've read some of your other posts. You don't seem to be a jerk in those. Why the hostility about this particular subject? Is it really, REALLY affecting your life if people refer to themselves as professionals at a job that you obviously consider a last-ditch, end-of-the-road, so-far-beneath-you scumbucket loser job? Does it somehow affect your own status as a Professional with an Honest to God Profession? I really, really wonder what's really up with people when they get so hung up on this kind of thing...it's got to speak to your own insecurity at some level, I guess. It's a mystery to me.

Anyway, FWIW, district managers may not take just anybody. Usually there is a shortage of carriers, but given an option, they're going to contract with someone who has experience and a good record.
#19
Old 06-27-2011, 01:00 PM
Just Lovely and Delicious
Charter Member
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Northeast Ohio
Posts: 23,660
Quote:
Originally Posted by papergirl View Post
Anyway, FWIW, district managers may not take just anybody. Usually there is a shortage of carriers, but given an option, they're going to contract with someone who has experience and a good record.
Yeah, I dated a carrier DM for a while (we still talk) and you're right. While he is usually desperate to fill carrier positions, he doesn't take just anyone. He needs to be able to trust that they will show up at the drop on time, get the papers delivered according to instructions, take care of the customers properly and not quit on him.

He gets tons of inquiries about jobs when he posts them but is selective about who he hires. If you can't do just one of the above things, it's easier for him just to do the route himself (which is not easy when you are DM for like 15 routes).

Being a carrier is a really hard job, in this area at least. Because of the snow and the distance between paying customers and the hour you have to deliver. It's not a job for just anyone. You really need to be a top-notch person to do it. You'd be surprised how many people lack that skill.
#20
Old 06-27-2011, 01:12 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Trenton, NJ
Posts: 4,414
Quote:
Originally Posted by Omar Little View Post
Really? Are you sure there's not some guild that aspiring professional paper throwers must join to gain their extensive training? If so, who knew how easy it was to become a professional.
I assumed people understood that my own use of the term "professional" was tounge-in-cheek, to distinguish modern adults who deliver hundreds of papers by car from children who delivered a few dozen papers by bicycle after school.

Didn't know I needed to spell that one out.
#21
Old 06-27-2011, 01:38 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: San Antonio, TX
Posts: 18,744
Quote:
Originally Posted by Omar Little View Post
The OP might check into the apprenticeship program that is required to become a "professional" paper carrier. Most professional occupations don't just accept anyone and give them a few hours of training.
Don't know where the snark comes from, but I have paid people close to a million dollars a year to deliver phone books (I had one 1099 I mailed out back in 2007 total $847,000). There are, believe it or not, people who deliver as their primary occupation, and if they're properly organized can make themselves a nice living.

However, most newspapers are set up so you can't do this (they usually limit the # of routes you can take). I think the "professional" adjective is indicating a person (usually adult) who does this merely to supplement income (or to teach their kids some work skills - you get a lot of people like that).

Last edited by JohnT; 06-27-2011 at 01:42 PM.
#22
Old 06-27-2011, 01:41 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: San Antonio, TX
Posts: 18,744
Oops, DP...

Last edited by JohnT; 06-27-2011 at 01:42 PM.
#23
Old 06-27-2011, 03:04 PM
Guest
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Arvada, CO
Posts: 1,656
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnT View Post
... I have paid people close to a million dollars a year to deliver phone books (I had one 1099 I mailed out back in 2007 total $847,000).
Mind breaking that down a bit? How many phone books over what time period? I can only assume this is a contract deal, where some one gets truck loads of books and pays others to deliver a few days a week. But how many books are we talking about here?
#24
Old 06-27-2011, 04:30 PM
Guest
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Bloomington, IN
Posts: 3,111
John T, I'm tempted every year to deliver phone books. Unfortunately they usually come out at a time of year when I'm not up to picking up anything extra, plus it looks like the job involves...well, a fair amount of work. With two jobs, two kids, etc, I end up thinking maybe next year I'll do it. I think I asked about this one the Dope once, and I bet you were the poster that had all the answers. And that's why I love the Dope--there's always someone who knows the scoop on whatever subject comes up!
(Now that I think about it...maybe next year I WILL do it!)
#25
Old 06-27-2011, 04:48 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: San Antonio, TX
Posts: 18,744
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amblydoper View Post
Mind breaking that down a bit? How many phone books over what time period? I can only assume this is a contract deal, where some one gets truck loads of books and pays others to deliver a few days a week. But how many books are we talking about here?
We're talking over 3.5 million phone books delivered in S. California. He had about 10 vans of delivery teams who delivered about 2k books per day per van. Using him and others, we could push out about 500k books in 5-10 days.

Last edited by JohnT; 06-27-2011 at 04:49 PM.
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:05 AM.

Copyright © 2017
Best Topics: gorillas jumping mouse claws hypermiling mythbusters attempted manslaughter definition binder clip antenna dondi cartoon romania etymology after earth ending judo street fight penis fun fugitive glue strips big toe twitching doorknob mechanism drama etymology straight dope urban dictionary papi origin of fires moped weight limit friedman method childfund percentage katy selverstone images bounce ball handle counter suing missouri tributaries meijer stamps veterans caps russian hat called ss vs gestapo cum origin tough guy sayings heating core leak big bright green pleasure machine ears clogged and ringing what is a reverse blade sword gay bar south jersey pink polka dot bikini song what is a bosun's mate how long do roses last what is citra solv uh oh here comes a flock of wah wahs bed bath and beyond terry cloth robe what does omfug mean gfci breakers vs outlets physics ti 84 programs bugs bunny quotes wrong turn how to tell if you are circumcised random friend request on skype how to glue rubber legal age to babysit in nj how late does fed ex deliver stupidity knows no bounds what are butterfingers made of mucinex for runny nose what does expected hourly pay rate mean ear feel clogged and ringing football pool payout calculator lactose in sheeps milk how to cut thick metal ge grow light bulbs is kirkland vodka grey goose what does alto in spanish mean rear strut replacement cost guys gone wild videos new directions meal replacement