Deliver Newspapers to Rural Areas and Make Money

If you can get up early enough, you can start a part time business delivering newspapers to rural customers.

| July/August 1976

  • newspaper delivery
    If you don't mind getting up early, you can earn part time money delivering newspapers to rural customers.
    PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF

  • newspaper delivery

Ever wonder who delivers the daily newspaper to the folks who live along the backroads? Well, at least in some cases, it's a back-to-the-lander who works 21 hours a week . . . and earns $450 a month for doing the job!

A Do-it-Yourself Business that Works!

Three years ago Wanda (my wife) and I signed a contract for a motor route dealership with our local newspaper. As a result, we buy papers directly from the publisher and deliver them daily to about three hundred customers. We also drop a bundle of the newspapers at a rural store and seven more bundles along the way to "junior dealers" who, in turn, cover smaller routes. For our services (to both individual customers and the special drops), we collect enough each month to pay for our papers, cover all our operating expenses, and leave about $450 in "wages" for us. We're not getting rich at that rate, but that's not the idea. What we wanted was a business which would bring in enough money to cover the taxes and payments on our country place . . . yet leave us sufficient time to be people instead of machines. Our newspaper delivery service is exactly that business.

Make Money Delivering Newspapers

The easiest way to break into this little enterprise is by taking over an established route from a deliveryman who wants to retire or move on to something else. That's how we began . . . when another dealer quit his daily deliveries and set up a "Sunday only" service to some towns back in the mountains. (Our predecessor now works just one day a week instead of seven, but still nets a respectable $160 a month for handling only the Sunday—which pays better than the dailies—edition.)

You can usually find out if any routes are open by asking one of the carriers for your local paper. Or, better yet, go directly to the newspaper's circulation manager, let him know you're interested, and—if there are no immediate openings—leave your name, address, and (if you have one) telephone number. Then drop back from time to time until you land the route you want.



Remember that there are delivery routes [1] which service individual subscribers alone, [2] that drop bundles to people who cover shorter routes, [3] which leave bundles at newsstands, stores, and other places of business, and [4] that are made up of various combinations of the first three. (Ours, for instance, combines all three of the basic possibilities.) In every case, however, your rate of pay will probably depend on the total number of miles you cover and the number of papers you deliver.

Invest in Equipment

Unlike city newspaper routes which are usually delivered on foot or by bicycle, country routes are covered with a car or pickup. That means a vehicle which starts every morning, doesn't gulp gasoline, handles well, and is big enough to haul a hefty load of fat Sunday papers. A Volkswagen, of course, qualifies as well as anything on the first three points (and many carriers use them) . . . but only has so much room. We started with a Rambler and, at 110,000 miles, traded it for a Datsun wagon. The Datsun is still, after two years, in good shape and we use it for other hauling jobs as well.






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