Having a paper route (delivering newspapers) as a teenager was a great way to make extra money! It’s how I started learning the basics of business. The basics of buying something low and then selling it at a higher price for a profit.
It’s amazing how a job like delivering newspapers can boost your confidence as a young kid. I remember my first-day delivering papers and thought: How am I ever going to get all of these newspapers delivered in time?
Then you do it a second day, a third day, and you do it again and again. You work out a system to get the work done faster. You learn, adapt, and come up with solutions to make the job easier and efficient. Later you take those skills to an even higher paying job or opportunity. You grow in life as it should be.
Delivering NewsPapers Teaches You About The Following Business & Money Concepts…
Buying Low & Selling High; As A Reseller
When you have a paper route, you are a reseller of the newspapers. Every morning a bundle of newspapers was delivered on my porch. These are the papers that I bought and the expenses were automatically billed to me every month from the newspaper company.
Having a paper route is a simple business model, you buy the newspapers wholesale, then sell them to your customer at the retail price. You have a profit margin of about 30%.
How much did I make? Here’s an example
I had roughly 40 homes in my little paper route, each with daily delivery. Each customer would pay ten bucks per month for the subscription. My cost for each customer’s monthly subscription was 7 dollars. I netted three bucks per month, per home for a total profit of $120 per month.
Plus I made tip money which I’ll take more about later.
Billing & Collecting Money From Customers
Most customers were pretty good about paying their newspaper bill. Some even mailed it into the newspaper company; it would then credit back to me at the end of the month. Others would leave a check under the doormat or just tell me to come at a specific time to collect the money.
For a few customers, they were horrible at paying, and I’d have to knock on their door several times to collect. Sometimes I’d have to go back because they’d write me a bad check. If the problems persisted and I was not paid, I would just cancel their subscription. NO MORE DELIVERY!
When someone is doing the wrong thing, and you confront them head-on, you gain a lot of self-confidence.
Receiving & Giving Tips To Service Workers
A lot of the money made by delivering papers is also from tips. Depending on the customer’s needs, sometimes you’ll make special requests for them, such as:
- Making sure the newspaper is on the porch
- Putting a poly plastic bag on the paper if its raining
- Stopping the delivery if they were on vacation
- If requested, leaving the paper on a chair on their porch
- Putting the newspaper in a special delivery box
A lot of times I’d make an extra 50 – 75 dollars per month from tip money.
Life Tip! When you work for tips, it changes your perspective on tipping others who serve you. I always tip other service professionals very well for my haircuts, pizza delivery, car washes, etc.
Every morning there was a delivery deadline of about 6:30 am for weekdays and 7:30 am for weekend mornings. You’d want to get up early enough to get the papers rolled, stacked, and in your delivery bag. Then hit the streets to deliver them to each customer’s home.
If the weather was raining, you might have to get up earlier than your regular time to allow for extra time for putting plastic poly bags over each newspaper.
Or if it was too cold or there was ice on the streets, it could slow you down in how fast you can move between each house. Causing you to get up earlier in the winter months vs. summer.
AND YES, working in bad weather really sucks! My average time for completing the daily run of newspaper deliveries was about one hour and fifteen minutes each day.
After The Year 2000
The Internet came on pretty strong by the year 2000, and it made more sense for people to stop getting the newspaper and read the Internet for news. So kids don’t really deliver papers as much anymore.
Did you have a paper route or did you ever deliver newspapers with a friend?
Share your story below.