Newspaper on driveway

I fondly remember the Nintendo game Paperboy.  You control a character on a bike and try to throw the newspapers into the customers newspapers box.  Occasionally you miss and hit the window or knock over a plant.  Meanwhile you have to dodge inconveniently parked cars, angry dogs, and jump over potholes. 

Delivering a newspaper may not be exactly like that, but it with a little bit of creative maneuvering you can turn it into a decent side income, and with some other tips you can maximize the dollars you earn.

Maximize your tax position.  keep detailed logs of the mileage you drive on your vehicle. You may also be able to write of wear and tear, but consult an accountant on that. Park on a a corner and walk or bike down a street if you want to reduce usage.

You get first crack at the inserts.   Those Sunday papers are stuffed with great deals.  Don't miss out on the money savings coupons that are part of the package.

Become a spy.  I'm not saying you should start snooping on your neighbors.  However, there are legitimate ways to make money by knowing what is going on in your neighborhood.  After all, you will be driving around the same streets day after day.  For example, finding houses that could be targets for real estate agents is something people will pay money for.

Sell papers as well as deliver them.  Many newspapers will have this as a default part of the position, but you can boost your income with commissions if you can learn how to be a good salesman. 

Deliver multiple newspapers on the same route if you can. Generally speaking most major cities have a newspaper, some have a few.   Plus, there are often local newspapers that need to be delivered.  Lastly, national newspapers need delivery services as well.

Get the whole family involved.  If you have teenagers that drive, you can hit a wider area.  You just have to figure out how to get them to wake up early enough.

Just remember there are some drawbacks:

  1. You have to wake up early
  2. You have to assemble the newspapers as well as deliver them
  3. There are no other benefits (health care, retirement)
  4. You will have wear and tear on your vehicle - note that some paper companies reimburse gasoline usage
  5. You may have to deal with complaints
  6. There are strict deadlines about timeliness
  7. No vacation days
  8. There may be competition for routes in your area
  9. You will be exposed to the elements
  10. More and more newspapers are going digital

Still, in addition to earning a few hundred extra dollars a week you can enjoy some of the other perks:

  1. If you walk or bike your route, you are getting exercise
  2. You can be done with your workday before noon
  3. You will get to know your neighborhood really well
  4. You'll get to see some nice sunrises
Relive the classic with Paperboy II