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 and finance.
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 more 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 The Following Lessons About Business & Money
Buying Low & Selling High; As A Reseller
When you have a paper route, you are a reseller of newspapers. Every morning a bundle of newspapers was delivered to 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 Money 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 newspaper cost for each customer’s monthly subscription was 7 dollars.
I profited three bucks per month for each home customer, for a total profit of $120 per month.
Plus I made tip money which I’ll take more about later.
One thing to note, these numbers for how much profit was made were from over 30 years ago. Back then, $100 dollars was about three-four times more valuable than it is today.
Billing & Collecting Money From Customers
Most customers were pretty good about paying their newspaper bill. Some even paid their bill by mailing a check 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. That was the big life lesson as a teenager doing newspaper delivery.
That self-confidence will follow you into your adult life, so learning it at a young age is a huge advantage.
Receiving Tips From Delivering Newspapers
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 it’s raining
- Stopping the delivery if they were on vacation
- If requested, leave the paper on a chair
- 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 by doing these extra things.
When you work for tips at a young age, it changes your perspective on tipping others who serve you later in life. I always tip other service professionals very well for my haircuts, pizza delivery, car washes, etc.
Time Management For Getting Newspapers Delivered On-time
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 newspapers 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 would have to get up earlier than your regular time to allow for extra time for putting plastic poly bags over each newspaper.
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. That was another reason you had to wake up extra early.
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.
Through the days of bad weather and delivering newspapers you learn about time management at a young age. Then when you are older and see a rainy day, you know it will take longer to drive into your office for work, so you get up earlier to compensate.
The Internet Killed Newspaper Delivery For Young Kids
The Internet came on pretty strong by the year 2000, and it made more sense for people to stop getting the newspaper and check the internet for news.
The Internet was a better alternative to get more up-to-date news in a much faster more convenient package. If you were born after the year 1995, you probably never had the chance to experience having a paper route.
Luckily, there are other things you can do however to learn more about reselling and business, eBay is a great option, or having a garage sale with your parents.