The Newspaper Carrier’s Triple Tip To Tip Him

by admin on January 23, 2013

On January 20th, I received a THIRD letter from my newspaper carrier soliciting for a holiday tip. An excerpt from the letter:

“Those customers who have not done it yet and those who are still in the process of sending me their warm wishes are kindly requested to do so at your earliest convenience (and preferably before all the New Year sales are over for my shopaholic wife!!!!)”

It seems that somewhere around the time that teenagers who delivered the paper to your doorstep and collected payment from the customer personally were replaced by adults who drive by and throw the paper in your driveway (if you are lucky) and collect payment electronically it became OK for carriers to send holiday letters informing customers where they can send a holiday tip. While I find it rude for anyone to even suggest they are due a tip or gift, I’ve come to accept this tipping practice as standard, at least in my area of the country.

But for a carrier to send THREE such letters pressuring customers for money (two before Christmas and this one well into January) is blatantly crass in my opinion. My trash collectors, postal carrier, hair stylist, house cleaner, and babysitter did not send me such letters. Why is it acceptable for a newspaper carrier to do so? 0122-13


It’s not acceptable.  It’s blatant begging.   When someone so conspicuously demands a tip,  I begin to wonder if the level of standard service I should expect from them will decline in quality as a form of retaliation should I fail to tip.

{ 90 comments… read them below or add one }

NostalgicGal January 23, 2013 at 7:12 pm

Shalamar, sounds a lot like what I did to survive once…

I had three routes during college in very cold northern state. I was at the mercy of when the papers were dropped off at the dump point, usually about 3:30 am but some mornings it might be 6:30 or later. I then hauled between 170 and 230 (depending on daily or Sunday) newspapers with a wagon or dolly about a mile to my first route, and started the slog. If it was Wednesday that was when all the fliers came out, and Sunday was a thick one. Those old canvas bags, if you got three papers to the bundle instead of 30, that meant walking the route with the dolly in snow, in ick, it didn’t matter, and a pair of bags slung across your body like a pack mule. Some on some of the routes, if they didn’t see their paper by 6:00 they started calling the paper (we were supposed to have until 9 am but…). It was the days of brick cellphones so no way to contact me until I got done. Then call in and take the cr*pola from Circulation. Yes I was out there, I probably got to their door as they hung up… In summer it was trudge with a couple hours of being the center of a mosquito cloud, in winter snow was often over knee deep as nobody ever seemed to shovel their walk. One INSISTED that the paper be inserted in their mail slot and that meant on a thick day having to take their paper into 4-5 chunks, fold it and stuff it in the slot (and their dog would shred it so they’d call anyway). And one fellow on the end of one route that never shovelled and if he didn’t see his paper by 6 am he’d swear a bluestreak at me from the other side of the door. (else his family got up and got to the paper before he did). On Christmas morning on a Wednesday, it had blizzarded about 2 feet and of course he didn’t shovel and they didn’t dump my papers until 6:30 so I was superlate… aka 8:30 to his door, and he swore at me and I spoke up and said I had no choice they dumped my papers 3 hours late and I’m past my KNEES out here in snow at -20 on christmas morning… never did hear him swear at me again.

At that time daily and sunday cost a whole 7 bucks a month, and I had a number of ‘just skating by’ in their expensive little culdesac and only time I could catch them home to collect was a howling storm… and I better carry about $700 in change as I would be offered a hundred to pay for 3 months (about 20 bucks) and they bet I couldn’t break it so they didn’t have to pay. Pouring buckets, wind that’d turn over a VW and I could catch them all home and guess what, I could break their $100 bill. Some of the expressions were priceless. Yes I’d call their bluff, they owed, and I was going to give them their change, you’re welcome.

I never asked for a tip or expected it. I just hoped that I could catch that one home for once and collect 4 months finally…. The one place that swore I hadn’t delivered them for four months and the circulation department always sided with the customer and I got stung for that….

Circulation finally decided that I had to post $250 a route out of my own pocket to cover nopays and skipouts (run 2-3 months worth then move or something and leave me stuck, paper was going to make me pay for it). Oh, I wasn’t allowed to toss from a car, I had to go put them in the door or their mailbox or whatever. Only satisfaction I got out of it was managing to hustle a bustle on a thinday, and getting everyone’s yipyap (little dog) up about 5-5:30…. on a Saturday.

Fifteen months, don’t know who they got to do it after I gave up, and I sure bet my routes realized how nice they’d had it.

In later years I did have lawn toss delivery to me except I said sidewalk or front porch else my sprinklers would nail it (so they would baggie it so they didn’t have to bother on aim) and I would buy a year’s worth at a time (solid gold customer to circulation, nobody had to collect). And I would meet them one morning in Dec and hand over something (like a huge chocolate bar) for tip. Yes I appreciated them getting up at that hour and bringing me my paper.
(where I had to the door mail delivery, I would also tip the mailman, and a sixpack for the trash guys.
Where I live now my paper is electronic, my mail is at the postoffice 4 blocks away, and city trash goes into small dumpsters set strategically on curb all about town and emptied at least once a week, so I no longer tip) I tip waitstaff, valets, the hotel maid…

It is very crass what that delivery person did, and I’d go to the paper and turn over the three letters to the Circulation department.


Kate January 23, 2013 at 8:18 pm

Wow, what a gimme pig.

My first job was delivering Sunday newspapers. At Christmas, I bought little cards for everyone on my route and wrote a short message like ‘Happy holidays from your Sunday papergirl’. When I did my deliveries next week, I was genuinely surprised to see that some people had left tips! I just thought the cards would be a cool thing to do considering I’d been visiting their houses for a year.


Barbarian January 23, 2013 at 9:58 pm

When the newspaper increases its monthly subscription fee, I feel that the carriers are already compensated for the high price of gas to deliver by vehicle. They don’t have to bill or collect anymore-the paper takes care of that thru automatic bank drafts. I would ignore the request. I will not tip a newspaper carrier period. Sometimes my paper has landed under our cars or in other inaccessible places. From time to time my neighbors steal my Sunday paper for coupons.. Newspaper guy better just be grateful he still has a job-many people are cutting off their paper subscriptions in favor of the Internet as a news delivery service. Antagonizing your customers by blatantly begging for tips is a pretty good way to lose them.


Lisa Leto November 17, 2014 at 10:07 am

I deliver newspapers in my area; roughly a 70 mile route & if it’s windy & a light paper, the paper will blow around & that’s not my fault. I am paid cents for each paper & I pay for the gas, about $80.00/week. I try my best to make sure my customers get their paper how they want it. My guess is you have never delivered newspapers or you would have a little more empathy!


Kris January 24, 2013 at 1:21 am

@barbarian and you base that on what? Just because the subscription fee has been raised does NOT mean pay has gone up. Case in point one of the local papers pays 300 a month. Not a week not every two weeks a MONTH. That is 10 bucks a day with the occasional tip. You really think gas plus everything else is really going to get covered on pay like that if that is their only source of income?

Your paper getting jacked is not the carrier’s fault. Put up a motion detector light.

OP: Leave the carrier a tip. “Here’s your tip, begging is rude. Have a nice day”


Gabriele January 24, 2013 at 2:46 am

I used to subscribe to a major US city paper but as its quality and quantify declined I send my cancellation notice in with the payment coupon.
The paper continued to arrive and I wondered why it was taking so long to disconnect us…
Then I got a call from the delivery person, why wasn’t I paying. I explained I had sent in the cancellation notice a couple months prior.
He informed me that if I read the very tiny print on an attachment that came along with the bill (not on the bill proper) that it said I had to contact HIM to cancel, not the newspaper (or its collectors) instead.
He said he’d like to explain it to me in person, I said fine. He drove over, showed me the notice (he used highlighter on it, which helped) and asked me to pay all the outstanding charges. I showed him my original subscription where it stated I would contact the paper to cancel with my payment notice.
He was very angry. Told me it wasn’t just him…he hired people to deliver the papers, he had paid them, he had paid for the papers and he expected me to pay him right then…that he was taking his own personal time to come to explain the matter to me and he was missing a session with his personal trainer.
I might have been more understanding but the ‘missing a sesson with his personal trainer’ did it.
I told him that my original contract was the the -_ Times and since it appeared that he was a subcontractor and the Times had not informed me of the change of business relationship, I was not bound by any changed in the contract he had made. If he could provide me with a copy of a notice from the Times stating there would be a change and I had the option to continue under the new terms or cancel my subscription (not accept the new terms) than I would take up the matter with the Times and perhaps agree to pay a portion of what he considered due.
He was very angry when he left, throwing the bill at me and told me he’d never deliver a paper to me again. I suppose he meant if I decided to resubscribe…because I had already said I didn’t want a paper delivered to me.
I do seem to remember a cutsey card left in the mail box (not mailed) which I disregarded.

When I was young I lived in a small town without local delivery. I remember seeing a card in the mail box (in the post office) wishing us a merry christmas and sort of soliciting a gift. Since there were about 5 people who worked there I suppose they expected to receive money which they could split.
My mother commented that they had guaranteed jobs and that was more than most people had.


Lychii January 24, 2013 at 5:49 am

@Jewel – Should it matter to the customer what the job involves? Surely, the customer is paying a subscription fee, which is the end of his obligation to the newspaper company and everyone involved. It is the employer who owes their workers a fair salary, not the customer.


Lisa Leto November 17, 2014 at 10:12 am

Newspaper carriers, for the most part, are not employees. They are subcontractors, meaning they pay for all their gas, repairs, etc. & work 7 days/week, no benefits, & deliver in all weather conditions. Try it for a month & I’d bet you’d tip the carrier!


Sally January 24, 2013 at 10:59 am

My carrier also includes a Christmas Card at the beginning of December, with a self addressed envelope. However, when I get my bill, it has a spot for a tip for the carrier on it and that is what I use. There is no need to send it directly to the carrier that way. I’m sure that other papers have the same thing. Very crass to send three “gimme” letters.


LeLe January 2, 2015 at 3:29 pm

You can choose the way you tip and not do all options. Most customers like to personally tip the carrier themselves because the newspaper comapny charges the carrier a fee to process fee.


livvy17 January 24, 2013 at 11:01 am

I too, think tipping has gotten completely out of control, and should be eliminated. Waitstaff should get paid a decent salary – it’s always been unfair that they get paid less than minimum wage, and it’s even more unfair now, when restaurants have to guestimate tipping (which may or may not have occurred) on the w2’s, etc. Service should be good. Those who don’t provide it should be disciplined, re-trained, or fired.
It seems now that half the world seems to feel they’re entitled to tips. The barista, the massuese, the housekeeping staff, etc. There’s no logic. Why am expected to tip the woman who rubs my back but not the dental hygenist who cleans my teeth? And apparently, those who expect tips expect a certain amount of tip as well…..posting “helpful” calculations of how much 20% of your massage is, for example. So, even though the therapist (who normally gets 1/2 the total fee for a massage) is getting $50 for her hour of work, (more than I make, mind you), I’m being prompted to throw in an extra $20?
What’s next? Do I need to tip the person who tells me where to find the shoe department at the department store? do I need to add a percentage to my groceries or clothing bill to tip the cashier?


Jaxsue January 24, 2013 at 12:01 pm

I get a daily newspaper. I have the option of leaving a tip online once a year, which I do. I must have a good delivery person, because my paper is consistently on my porch every morning.

As for tipping mail carriers, that isn’t allowed, but you can give them gifts. I usually give a gift card to Starbucks or DD every Xmas.


Angel January 24, 2013 at 1:30 pm

I don’t tip letter carriers. And I don’t tip garbage men either. Sorry–that’s their job. If I see them I thank them. Just thanks should be enough I think. I don’t know about letter carriers but garbage men are paid pretty well from what I understand. Why not just pay them more? They have to be outside in all weather.


TheKat January 24, 2013 at 6:35 pm

I’d like to know what the difference is between this person ‘begging’ for tips and wait staff, who are under the expectation that you *owe* them tips – and the admin of this site who states that not tipping wait staff is stealing from them. As someone who lives in a country where tips are not common or even expected, wait staff are rarely tipped, and usually only for great/exceptional service. I agree that this man is crass in the extreme, but extremely baffled as to why this has people upset but other forms of expected tips do not.


Tracy January 25, 2013 at 11:56 am

Shoegal said: “Having your paper delivered is a service that you have to pay for, right? I think it is standard for paper carrier to put this sort of message in their papers during the holidays. ”

It’s standard for the carrier to put some sort of holiday/thinly veiled request for tip message in the paper. It is NOT standard to explicitly request a tip, three times, and blame it on your shopaholic wife.

Shalamar said: “Thank you – I’ve been getting pretty uncomfortable with some posters’ responses that seem to indicate a belief that delivering newspapers is easy. It’s not. I mentioned the weather in my previous post. How many times have you woken up, seen that the weather is atrocious, and thought “Ugh, I don’t want to go to work in THAT?” When you’re a newspaper carrier, you’ve got no choice. ”

Yeah, that’s irrelevant. Most of us don’t get to look out the window and say “Ugh, I’m not going to work today.” Newspaper carriers are no exception. And as for early morning hours and difficult working conditions, I also wouldn’t want to be a firefighter, nurse, bus driver, tollbooth operator, or any number of jobs with odd hours and tiresome conditions. But we don’t tip them.

Barbarian said: “When the newspaper increases its monthly subscription fee, I feel that the carriers are already compensated for the high price of gas to deliver by vehicle. ”

You are mistaken. This fee does not go to the carriers. In fact, many carriers don’t get a “salary” at all. They are independent contractors who are charged by the paper for their newspapers, and then they sell them to the customers. Your assumption is like saying “The price of pizza went up, so I feel the delivery driver is compensated fairly.”


Chris January 26, 2013 at 1:09 pm

I have never had the paper delivered personally but I remember my parents having it done and the kid would collect each week and my parents would include a tip with that payment. I am not sure they gave extra at Christmas but I am sure they did. I can’t even imagine receiving a letter like the one this writer received. Even if I had intended to give a gift, that would certainly discourage me from doing so.


Redblues January 26, 2013 at 3:12 pm

The first ‘notice to send warm wishes’ would be a card warmly wishing the paperman a happy holiday. The 2nd and 3rd would be forwarded on to the newspaper. I doubt theywould find this acceptable, particularly if you inform them that it will result in a cancellation of the subscription.


Elizabeth January 28, 2013 at 9:21 am

Why do people accept these jobs, dislike the pay, and demand more? Yes, the job is a challenge and you realized that when you took it on. My job has specific challenges and that is no one’s problem but mine.


LeLe January 2, 2015 at 3:36 pm

Don’t you want to be compensated at your job for a job well done.. same concept no different because the person is delivering newspapers.


Joanna February 1, 2013 at 1:25 pm

When I was 11 years old, I had a paper route, delivering for two streets’ worth of homes about two blocks from my own. Every day, directly after school, I would change out of school clothes and immediately go take care of the papers. Every Saturday morning, I would lug the doubly-heavy bag of weekend papers and take care of that, while the neighborhood slept. True, I was merely earning pocket money, while adults doing this today are no doubt trying to pay the bills. But on the other hand, I did not have the luxury of a car to help me deliver, and also an 11-year-old has an entirely different concept of job responsibilities than an adult. Personally, I would much rather tip the child than the adult, simply to encourage a child’s growing sense of responsibility (and no, not just because I once had that position). But certainly not everyone did, and I would never have dreamed of ASKING, just as I would not as an adult carrier. It’s just not something a polite, well-brought-up person does, period.


Rana February 2, 2013 at 5:06 pm


The difference is that, in a very real sense, waitstaff are owed tips. Minimum wage laws are set up in this country such that the one category of workers who can be paid less than minimum wage are waitstaff. This is based on the expectation that, as a normal part of their working conditions, they will receive tips sufficient to make up the difference.

There is no such expectation for other workers.


Sugaryfun February 8, 2013 at 11:33 pm

How rude! That kind of thing makes me glad that tipping is not really customary here (in Australia). People sometimes do it in restaurants (if the service is good) but I’ve never heard of anyone tipping the newspaper delivery people. They’d have to do something extra special to deserve a tip and I can’t even think what that would be if all there job is is throwing a newspaper on the lawn.


Aangel25 May 15, 2013 at 8:45 am

I currently deliver newspapers with two different companies. As another person posted above, when the cost of the paper goes up, we do not get an increase. In fact in my 10 years of delivering, one of the companies has cut our rates several times. We are now penalized for wet, missed, incomplete, blown away, people calling in for an extra Sunday paper for extra coupons. It is a365 day job. There’s no exceptions. I showed up in active labor with my son and was asked what my plan was. To throw my papers as fast as possible. And that’s what I did. I have never sent out a card during the holidays asking for a tip. I know many carriers that do and make out quite well. I feel if a customer is happy with my service they will send me a tip. But if they want their paper porched or some other special service. I don’t feel it is out of line to expect some kind of compensation. I am getting paid for my time. As for people who believe this is an easy job. Try going in and throwing with both windows open, in -20° with 25 mph wind gusts. With the flu for 7-8 hours. It makes for a long night.


thekernal May 16, 2013 at 12:07 pm

I am not sure if customers are aware of this but, for every tip that I receive when they add it to their subscription and pay electronically the company takes a percent for “processing” I would much rather them let me know they want their paper in a specific place and leave a tip if they chose to do so for me in the same spot I drop the paper.


Darling December 10, 2013 at 10:50 pm

I’m a current newspaper carrier. I have 4 kids and I work another job. I always make sure that my customers are satisfied. I have 9 apartment complexes that I have to walk and deliver the paper. No biggie. Getting paid, well that’s different we get paid mon through sat .03 cents a paper! Sunday is .10 cents. No one knows that and we really are not allowed to disclose this info.
If you are unhappy with your deliveries call and request to get it delivered at your door. Some people have unrealistic expectations; “jump the fence on my backyard and deliver the paper on my patio table, don’t mind the dog he’s never bit anyone” yes I actually had to do this. If the paper gets wet because of sprinklers, just request to has your paper bagged.
I can’t believe people actually think we get paid like that. WE ARE CONSIDERED SUB CONTRACTORS, we are not part of the newspaper company nor do we receive any compensation for gas or mile usage. We work 7 days a week regardless of weather and some of us do it gladly. I enjoy my job but I find it frustrating that people are “misinformed” about our pay, what we do and how we do it. I have been a carrier for 5 years. Love my customers and yes because I enjoy them I give them Christmas cards that say happy holidays, personal message and my telephone number should thy have any delivery issues. I don’t expect anything in return some people just can not afford it. I do look forward for their little things they do, like leave me a bar of chocolate or something simple they made. It’s a simple caring act and I really appreciate it!
The carrier with the 3″notification” system has to go! That was not only unethical but disrespectful and done with the wrong intentions. I would say -tell your “workaholic wife” to get a job to support that habit!


Bob Allen December 11, 2013 at 8:12 pm

I am currently a carrier. Have had a route for 18 years. The paper has never been a well paid job, but in the past they have been as well paying as a gas station job. Over the years they have constantly raised the price of the paper and at the same time cut the pay that the carriers have gotten. Gas has gone up significantly over that same time and all of our expenses have gone up (just like every business out there). Bags and bands that once were free are not at our expense, we have to pay for insurance, we even have to pay for the list that they provide to tell us who the customers are.

Don’t get me wrong. I make a little money at this (partially because I know how to run my business, how to control my expenses etc. But we are not getting rich by any since of the word. We work nights, 365 days of the year, we have to put up with unusual requests. In order to make money today I have to throw about 2.5 times more papers today then in years past. And most of us have day jobs to so don’t think this is easy.

There have been statements that tipping should go away. I totally disagree with that. When I go into a restaurant I like knowing that I have some control over what the person serving me the food gets paid. If they give me good service I pay them well for that service. If they give me bad service I don’t hesitate to give them a low tip or no tip thus penalizing them for the poor service. The same thing applies to the newspaper carrier. I know some carriers where I work that just run through the route and try to get the route done as quick as possible. Those people as far as I am concerned are working for the small amount the paper pays us to throw. I try to take care of my customers and go above and beyond. I throw for the garage doors, porch the requested porches, try to make sure my elderly people are cared for. That kind of service should be rewarded by a tip. If you get the paper daily (365 days) and you tip $10 that’s a wopping 2 1/5 cents a day tip.

The carrier that is being discussed at the beginning of this has gone over board. Putting out the 1 card should have been all he did. The easy answer is to ignore it, but understand that depending on the service you get there might be a reduction of service. If your not getting anything special for service then should not be in issue but if your getting it at the garage door you might start finding it at the bottom of the drive or in the yard.


Kristi Swearingen December 14, 2013 at 3:06 pm

I am also a person who has delivered papers on and off since I was 6 years old. This is on and off for almost 30 years. (My parents delivered newspapers and I used to go with them.) I work 2 jobs (because I need the extra income to make ends meet) and I actually like to deliver the paper to my customers. The times have changed since I first started delivering. The newspaper we delivered used to come at 1 in the morning and now is delivered to the drop off location between 4 and 6 am. That is 3-5 hours later and we still have to drive the same miles (which is on average 30-60 miles a night) but now in morning traffic. People still want the paper delivered by the same time 6 am. They have cut our pay per paper and expect us to deliver it in less time and still meet unreal expectations asked from the customers. Don’t get me wrong I do ENJOY delivering the paper. I do know that giving customers the great service takes me much longer that if I just whipped the papers to the driveway. I don’t get paid any different to deliver them to the driveway and to the porch. I do it out of respect to my customers and I hope customers understand this. The weather is challenging when it rains, snows, extreme winds, and temps. I get the paper delivered and I tip because I know how challenging the job can be. I know the cost of newspaper has risen and I know my carrier doesn’t get the increase. I do tip based on performance but I do tip ALWAYS. I do know that I usually give extra care to those who tip, and have seen what carriers do to those that don’t tip. I know one carrier used to empty their ashtray on their driveway at least once a week or would throw them in the bushes on purpose. I think that is extremely inexcusable and would not do that.

Some people were talking about paying a decent wage to the newspaper carrier. I know my route takes approximately 3-4 hours daily and 6-8 hours for Sunday which is a whopping $25 daily and $75 on Sundays which is about minimum wage but I have to pay for gas out of that wage. If they paid us more to deliver the paper the cost would be passed to our customers. I believe those that give great service should be rewarded. I also know that the same people will tip the pizza delivery $5 for bringing them a pizza once and tip me $5 for putting the paper at their door EVERYDAY of the year. I believe the carriers are doing a service and not a job. In most cases you pay less for having the paper delivered to your home then it would cost you to go to a retailer and get the paper.

As for postal carriers and garbage collectors they get HOLIDAYS off. How you would like to work 365 days a year?

As for the first comment about the receiving 3 tip sheets as we call them. THAT is completely inexcusable in my opinion. You should contact the newspaper and report that immediately.

Ok I am sorry if I have offended anyone but maybe you will think about your carrier a little differently.


BB November 22, 2014 at 8:01 pm

Garbage collectors are actually also contractors too in a lot of places. Don’t know if they are sub-contractors though. I’ll tip my garbage collector and one year we gave them all down coats when we caught them taking whole curb of branches (we put so many branches out one day on “big trash” day it filled their whole truck and they had to go empty it.. they weren’t supposed to take it and didn’t have to but they did)…


Kristi Swearingen December 14, 2013 at 3:15 pm

This was stolen from another website but I found it fitting

I have read a lot of people saying that they don’t get tips for their jobs, so why should a paper carrier. I hear people complaining about not getting their paper on the door step. People complain about late papers during terrible storms.

Do you know what your really saying?

By law, paper carriers get no benefits, because they are not employed by the paper company. They do not get paid by the paper company.

Paper carriers get whatever is left of the money collected to pay for the papers they purchased at wholesale, maybe 13cents a paper.

Many paper carriers deliver 7 days a week, 365 days a year. No vacation pay, not sick pay. If they want a day off, they pay someone more then the route is worth for that one day off.

Paper carriers only have a list of deliveries given to them. They need to find them, and make a route that is quickest and easiest.

Carriers pay for all the bags and rubber bands for the papers. The gas, the brakes, the repairs for everything on the cars. …
Additional Details
Being a paper carrier is concidered running your own business.

Can you organize and handle over 200 deliveries per day, 7 days a week. Getting news starts daily, and remember all the customers on vacation?

Do you think your paper would be timely if the carrier delivered to every door step on the route? No, if it took 30 seconds per delivery and there where 200 deliveries, that is 100 minutes, or an hour an 40 minutes just for each stop. consider that delivery routes are upwards of 150 miles at an average of 35 mph. That is another 4 and a half hours of time, totaling almost 6 hours.

It is not worth the 13 cents to deliver to every door step. The costs to repair your car out of that 13 cents, the gas, the insurance. Your living wage, exempt from minimum wage laws.

You danger constantly of being killed by drunks or thugs hiding in the shadows like the USA Today driver of last year.

It is not just throw the paper and go. It is not that easy. Not everyone can do it.
6 year ago
You have to buy the papers.

You need to manage the sales of each store on a daily basis to determine the actual sales and make sure everyone wanting a paper gets one.

You need to collect weekly, after all the delivering is complete. More gas cost and work.

You call it a “fake job”, yet probably could not handle it.

Each and every customer needs to be tended to, with or without a tip. It takes most of the time to deliver to homes, yet pays the least. The money comes from the store deliveries, since they sell bulk amounts at one stop.

Most carriers handle several routes, and have to hire, pay and fire people.

If the papers come late, the carrier is the one who gets yelled at even if the press broke or ran out of ink.

You have to cut all the returned papers and send in detailed reports weekly.

Paper carriers don’t HAVE to deliver to your house, they make the same going to stores, but try to give you the convenience of home delivery. Saves you gas.

Why the poor comments then?
6 year ago
It is not about having been to school or not being able to get a better job.

Those who haven’t been to school and should work at Mcdonalds can’t do a paper route for even a week.

It takes a lot of business schooling, money management, and other skills.

Paper carriers that have been in the business for several years very easily get jobs as managers and supervisors, mainly because when you work for yourself and have to be extremely determined, employers are very happy to meet your acquaintance.

The people out there who think that carriers need to deliver where you want them to are wrong, because if you want your paper on the step because you don’t want to slip on the ice, that carrier could slip on the ice and sue you for it.

Being a carrier isn’t about the money, its about handling a small business and being completely self dependent. You don’t wake up knowing you just go to work and get paid.

You have to problem solve, and work hard.

It is the start of having a bigger busines
6 year ago


Greg August 25, 2014 at 11:16 am

I deliver papers in the East Valley around Phoenix. Not something I imagined I would be doing when I earned my degree, but the times have ”changed.” We are contracted to do the work and not employees. We are paid per deliver and not by the hour. The average here is around 10 cents per paper Monday through Friday and 15 cents for Sundays. With a rout. I also distribute my number to subscribers so they can contact me directly and not havee of 100 subscribers someone could earn say $75 per week. Multiple routes can build a usable income, but there’s only so much one can deliver by the deadline. All of this income is also BEFORE TAXES. This means we must be creative in how we use the funds and by the means we deliver. Besides gas we also buy rubber bands and bags. I also stamp return & new subscriber papers with how they may contact me directly with phone, email, and/or website (working the later still) in case of a miss or other delivers issue.

It would be impossible for me to send a ”request” for tip three times. That is plain crass. I use a Christmas card, generic as approved by the paper, in a self-addressed envelop. Others have used a thank you as a way to get addition tips after the new year, but I have not. There’s not enough time to thank only tippers & someone who did not tip might be offended.

It’s hard and tiring work at 55. I drive 7 nights and 5 days every week at around 100-150 miles per day. It also leads to considerable car service costs. It’s what could be had at a tims when interviews ended with, ”We can get two, even three,” for the price of you.


ncrease1 September 11, 2014 at 1:12 pm

This is all new to me I deliver papers as well in VA and I am finding out it is not a easy job. My car has broken down and I have been charged for it I get charged for complaints when I know I gave the customer the papers and I have retirement place where all they do is complain. But still I try to do my best. I took this job like most people to make money I got laid off and I am working part-time needed something to help with income until I get full time. I would like to have tips but I m not press.


Paper Lady October 2, 2014 at 3:57 pm

If you tip the garbage man, the mail carrier, your dog walker, your maid and your housekeeper, why can’t you tip your paper carrier without him/her having to remind you three times? They work 365 days a year without any allowance for sick time, they pay their own employment tax, they ruin their vehicles, replacing tires and brakes 5 or more times a year. They oblige your unrelentless, inflexible demands as to where you want your paper placed, as if you’re the only paper they deliver. This may come as a surprise, but we dont deliver wet papers. We double bag, in bags we pay for, when it rains. Try adjusting your sprinkler so that you’re not watering concrete or throwing your reclaimed water into my car. Paper carriers are under constant threat of losing the only income they may be capable of making by the corporate jerks who think that losing one customer will break them. I deliver 500 plus papers a day, have to drive my vehicle down roads riddled with potholes, debris, mud, deep standing water, all while avoiding pedestrians, wildlife or your or your neighbors little dog who happens to be roaming the streets at 4am. I’ve incurred a thousand dollars worth of damage from a deer bolting into my vehicle. Also keep in mind this is not a safe job, I’ve had people follow me, one jerk actually blocked the road with his huge truck to hinder my passage, and I’ve, on more than one occasion, reported suspicious activity in your neighborhood, which resulted in the arrest of a burglar! So to all of you cheapskates who don’t think your carrier deserves a tip, or you refuse to tip your newspaper carrier…cancel your subscription, I don’t really need the 90 cents I make a week delivering a 7 day a week paper down your crappy road, going out of my way to deliver it on the side of your circular driveway that I don’t drive past, have to drive my car into the shoulder of the road, risking tire damage to shove your paper into a tube, or risk my property or my life. Read it online or watch the news. And FYI even Ann Landers told readers that as a person who performs a service to you, the newspaper carrier deserves a tip.


Brandy October 3, 2014 at 9:14 pm

I have just started delivering last month. I don’t expect tips, but I have been asked by several people to give a card or flyer with my address for tips. I don’t just chuck and drive away either. I walk up to each door (cuz’ I needed to lose 100 pds and always hated my paper being tossed on my roof of the house) lol. I can’t belive how little we get paid. I have a larger route 270 papers and I get paid under 800 a month, this must cover my car repairs, gas, bags (20-30 a box for 2000 bags), bands, charges (4 for each complaint) and people that don’t pay. So far I am enjoying being out away from the kids. But if I get sick I don’t get a day off and if I can’t make it in I will lose my contract and owe the company 1600-2500 from the bond I must pay for monthly for them to find someone else to do my route.


Jackie Smith November 8, 2014 at 4:56 pm

I have to agree with what Kristi Swearingen has said.
I am a paper carrier for the Detroit area, and being a paper carrier is not a bad job, but to make ends meet can get hard. And before you say it, go get another job. I’ve tried that and with this economy it isn’t easy. Plus, with the hours I am able to work and to be home with my child during the day. Added bonus I am not paying that huge expense called day care. Yeah I know everyone thinks big whoop you throw papers. Well, its not easy – think of how big your Sunday paper is or how about the Thanksgiving paper. And your carrier puts the paper together, how do you think them ads get in your paper, not from the big building – your carrier puts each ad in the paper. On top of that all the wear and tear on our cars. I know every year I am putting tons of money into to my car to keep it going – No car = No job. As for the pay, it isn’t much (in my eyes) we make .13 cents a paper during the week & .23 cents for a Sunday paper. You can not survive on that unless you have a big route (which I do – takes me all night), us carriers depend on the tips, I know it sounds bad but it’s true. No our work does not compensate us on gas, nor the bags that your newspaper comes in – we pay for all of that & it adds up. Plus, we are contract labor, we have no benefits, no vacation time off, unless we pay someone to do our routes. And remember when your home enjoying your family on them holidays, we are throwing papers. So next time you pay your bill for your paper, maybe add a little something in there for the carrier, they (we) really appreciate it.


BB November 22, 2014 at 7:54 pm

They solicit tips because newspaper carries are contract workers, not employees. They are not compensated for gas or the wear on their car. They are not eligible for workers comp, unemployment AND if something happens to their car while on route insurance wont pay for it unless they were able to afford a commercial policy. They are technically self-employed. I work as a paper carrier for Dallas Morning News and get paid 10cents per paper to deliver, a whole 20 cents on sundays. I have 180-250 papers and have to drive 45 miles total to deliver them in my own car. I have 2-3 hours to do it. when someone calls and complains “my sprinklers got my paper wet / neighbor stole it / I want it on the porch not walkway/ it was 15 minutes late” I get charged $2. During Snowmageddon and Icepocalypse, I delivered your newspaper; It took 11 hours the day everything was coated with ice. Sprinklers getting paper wet is the most irritating; I can double bag and tie the end and people will still call for a new paper because the bag is wet. There are people who have the audacity to demand porch delivery whilst leaving their sprinklers on in freezing temps.. turning their walkway into icy steps of death. There are people who complain about the “free” paper, they pay nothing for, and we get charged $2 for that too when we get pennies to deliver! The free paper people do not tip at all. Apartment deliveries take a ton of time because you have to get out of your car and put it in front of their door, maybe climb flights of stairs, and drive around a whole complex for a few papers. Very few of them actually tip and their papers have the highest cost to deliver.

USPS will not deliver in severe weather and they do not deliver Sundays. USPS employees are EMPLOYEES with benefits, they do not use their own cars and they get paid over 20 dollars an hour. They have no costs to do their job and are paid well. They have a sweet cushy job. The Newspaper carriers are out there 7 days a week 365 days a year on the 3rd shift. out of 1100 per month for full time hours I profit about 600 dollars after what the job does to my car and cost of commercial insurance. Talk about tipping your mail carrier and disdain for tipping the paper carrier is ignorant and ridiculous. You don’t give tips to government workers and they are not even supposed to accept them or they can be fired! Tips are for contract workers who have their own expenses to do the work. Paper carriers do not even work for the newspaper, they are contracted by a distributor who is contracted by the newspaper. The newspaper is paying the distributors less and less.

The standard tip is supposed to be what one month subscription costs. One in 5 will tip and only half tip the standard. Nobody has any respect anymore. The Christmas tips are what makes the job worthwhile. This job trashes my car. It is very hard miles, stop and go and is equivalent to towing most days.

Most newspaper customers make me sick!


Dottie Ji December 18, 2014 at 12:12 pm

The era of newspapers is almost over. Since I’m one of the older generation, having my morning newspaper with a cup of coffee is a real pleasure in my life–something I’ve been doing almost as long as I can remember–if it wasn’t me, it was visions of my father reading the paper in the evening.
I’m fortunate to have my paper delivered to my doorstep (I’m on the 2nd floor), never thrown randomly. Of course I give a generous tip! Sometimes the paper is there at 4:00 or 5:00 am, wonderful for those times when I wake up way too early. And yes, I have an up to date iMAC computer, and read all kinds of news and articles online as well, but there’s something about that newspaper print, and coffee…that can never be replaced by an online subscription (which I also have access to)…Thank you news carriers everywhere! Would I want to be out there early in the morning in all kinds of miserable weather like you? Not a chance.


LeLe January 2, 2015 at 3:38 pm

Thank you Dottie, It is because of appreciative customers like yoursef that I don’t mind getting up early and delivering.


LeLe January 2, 2015 at 3:22 pm

I am a newspaper girl, I run my own baking/decorating company from home and I’m also a college student studying for my psychology degree and a full time mom. My husband is a car technician and also has a paper route. I been doing my route for almost a year now and I enjoy delivering to my customers. I deliver to people of all sorts of ages but mostly elderly people that just like to read the paper the old fashion way. Some of these folks have a hard time getting to their paper, therefore I make it convinient for the customer by doing special palcement to avoid any accident and ensure convinience. I go the extra mile because I have a kind heart and like to help other and in return my customers are more than greatful. They show their apprciation in many ways for example; Mrs. Lombardi leaves me a $5 dollar tip in her box every Sunday morning for coffee, Mr Smith Likes to tip me $25 dollars monthly… while others aren’t financially fit to tip but will show gratitide by a phone call, a single knod of the head. I have one lady that bakes me something every month… i totally look forward to her goodies, sometimes they never make it out the car cause I devour them during my route. Other people tip yearly, I have several people that sends $50-$100 tip per year. I never expect anything from the customers I deliver but I do appreciate every single gesture. Building a friendly relationship with your carrier is important. I personally like to put out a flyer every season with my information and a greeting that is proper for that season. My customer have the access to email,call or text me. I will get phone calls for vacation packages or a simple text to say hey you’re doing a great job or a message on that off day when I should of had coffee before leaving the house, forgetting Mr. Johnson’s Moday paper. However Mr. Johnson shoots a message and I make sure to deliver his paper right away. Somethings to know about your carrier… We use our persoanl vehicle for deliveries, wear and tear is on our cost. we work 365 days a year, no days off, vacation or benefits. They do offer a life insurance however, which leads me talk about the dangers of delivering. We deliver during rain, snow, sleet ect…During Decemnber 2014 we had a sleet mix fall creating a sheet of ice, that morning my car almost slammed into a tear by inches before haulting to a stop. We risk our lives every morning when we are delivering. I deliver about 200-300 papers a day at .18 cents per paper. Be mindful of your carrier besides don’t you want to know who is creeping in the middle of the night on your lawn to deliver your paper while you sleep. A friendly hello goes a long way or a simple gesture ofappreciation means a lot in this industry.


Rich M April 21, 2015 at 4:54 pm

WHY SHOULD YOU TIP – Read below.
I recently started delivering papers on Long Island – Suffolk County NY to make ends meet .
I have kept close records on cost and what I am paid as a Subcontractor.
In no way is delivering papers worth the investment of time, money and wear on vehicle which I have openly expressed to the paper, but I need an income even if small so I will do for awhile till things improve.
Here is what entails to get you a paper:
Easy job listen to radio when in car – No one bothers you / very cut & dry but monotonous due to repetition of same thing over and over like the movie Pleanstville. Sometimes you feel you missed someone’s delivery as you are not sure you delivered it so you may go back and check wasting time.

Early morning Hours
Monday to Friday 2:00 am start at warehouse packing papers 1.5 hours
Saturday & Sunday 1:00 am start at warehouse packing papers 2 hours due to more inserts & customers.

If it rains or snows this requires double bagging the papers at least another 1 hour sometime 2
If a Newspaper bulk delivery is late from the factory – you stand and wait unpaid.
Delivery consist of multiple papers NY Times, Wall Street Journal, Post, Daily News, US Today, Financial Times, Barons, Bloomberg business so if any of the factory drivers are late then all paper deliveries are affected. You as the carrier are unable to leave and comeback as the distance and time involved. Most carriers have day jobs to go to so if papers are late this can affect them personally.
Also papers when papers ere late it now causing carrier to struggle to re-sequence their route to avoid complaints and do double work to ensure everyone is satisfied.

Must drive with window open to throw papers in freezing, snow, rain & any other adverse conditions.

My route is round trip door to door is 95 miles / day / 365 days of the year.

Some customers stop and start regularly – I could be delivering Wed & Sunday this week then next week entirely different. So these customers make your route tough.
NY Times Saturday some customer only get the Head sheet portion, some only the inside sections and then others the full paper. It is ridiculous what you are paid to sort and do this properly it should be one paper for all not piecemeal.
As all of you know that in this electronic age papers are doomed so to make a profit I guess you have to cater to make a business model work to continue to sell papers; their demise will eventually happen.

Deer and Animals out all over the place.
Backing up degree of danger due to objects or just in general – doesn’t sound bad but try doing over and over and everyplace different or narrow and winding.

Make approximately $50/day for 4 1/2 hours and 16 dollars/day in gas plus wear and tear not included. So if I get a flat from that person that has construction going on which there is always one on every route daily I have to eat that.
Other Costs:
Pay $4 a week to use the warehouse to pack your papers
Pay $4 a week to be bonded
Pay $4 a week for those flimsy bags
Optional insurance when on route only $4 week only for personal injury not vehicle damages
Personally I feel the paper supplier should supply the bags and a warehouse to pack at no cost to the subcontractor but that is not the case. The bonding & optional insurance I understand

Pay for gas $31 every two days @ $2.55 a gallon for regular
Pay for car repairs – from hitting so many potholes especially on some of the private unmaintained roads plus brake jobs from constant stop & go.

Danger of people blatantly running stop signs early in the morning not even slowing down.
Drunks on the road especially Friday & Saturday

I strive for zero complaints but there are some ridiculous people complaining paper late during bad weather. They still expect a paper at 6:00 am even though they can’t get out because roads aren’t plowed or too icy.

People have no numbers, numbers that are on doors, side of doors, rocks, trees, poles, under snow, atop garage door, missing half a number, just out of sequence where it should be 1,3,5 but is actually 1, 7 ,8 15 or some that house is on corner facing to side which you think is the other block but is not.

Advice to all put a large number by door & one by street so if you need emergency service there is no delays as I sometimes spend wasted time trying to figure out what house and taking a guess where to throw the paper and since there are no extras it is a draw of the cards sometimes hoping you as the carrier get it correct without a complaint like house number 30 that was on a tree 4 inches off ground with a foot snow and the house before says 6 on mail box that is actually 26 but missing a number and the house after no number then the one after that 46 & across the street from 30 is 17. I spent so much time wasted shining a spot light at doors, grass, trees and you name to get a complaint that it was not delivered to see the next week papers just lying on ground for number 30. If your house number is hard to find then please make sure it is noted when ordering paper.

When throwing papers they sometimes slide or bounce to places you don’t anticipate, if I notice it I will get out and climb under a car or remove from a bush. But there are times because it is just too dark to see where it landed so you have assume it is OK especially those which are thrown over the car if a windy day can land poorly.

If unable to do route without a 30 day notice a $200 dollar charge will apply to subcontractor.

Papers come damaged in bundle or incomplete there are no extras provided so someone sometimes has to get a damaged paper.

If you rely on bundle count sometimes are short or damage and you may have to drive to a store in another route area to purchase at carrier cost to avoid complaint.

Driving car with regular insurance carrier runs the risk of not being covered if insurance company finds out. Really requires commercial insurance but I do not believe any carrier has it because of the cost factor and actual earnings
If my car gets wrecked in accident or deer strike, etc I will need to get a vehicle same day or take chance of breach of contract $200 penalty. I worry about the out of state relative that gets sick or passes as $200 doesn’t mean a thing but since I will not be able to deliver or get a backup I have to say what if?
It would be nice if there was a group rate for carriers to rent a car at reduced rates but if had to do so it would cost more than $60/day earned delivering papers to rent a car here in NY

So when you come down to reality a newspaper carrier here is the facts:
My Weekly Income – $425.03
Minus government mileage rate:
.35 cents / mile 95 miles/day x 7 days – 665 miles weekly times . 35 cents =$232.75

Hours needed Mon to Friday 4.5 day= 22.5 Sat & Sunday 12 hours
Total for week normally about 34.5 hours

$425.03 minus government allowance $232.75 = $ 192.28 per week for
$192.28 divided by 34.5 hours = $5.573 / HOUR – Double OUCH!

Good job for person that unable to cope with others or has some type of past background that employers don’t want to hire such as a prison sentence. It can keep them out of trouble and permit them to earn a small income with little or no interfacing with the public.

Now ask why do I do it? as I already know why.
First you hope for no vehicle repairs so when you earn $425 minus gas $112 week = $313 for 34 hours of just simply driving.
However I have been doing for two months already had to repair my suspension, tire blowout and u-joints not all due to this job but definitely beats up your car especially after this winters potholes and snow. I was able to keep cost down by doing work myself and purchasing some parts used.
I need income as my entrepreneurial startup business is not going as planned and my wife has been supporting household for 2 years and I have gone into $20,000 debt on credit cards. So the short fact is I need money now and being I don’t sleep well I figured I could try to limp my business along during the day with the hope it will succeed meanwhile easing my wife of entire household bills.
Plus it is a mental thing to earn money not just lose it in a startup.

I have yet to put a self address envelope out with papers for tips but plan to do so as I know that my service excellent has been with almost zero complaints.

I have missed a few papers and left a note following day indicating I was sorry but this happened early on when I first started. Most of my complaints were from late papers in the beginning and most of that you can thank your neighbors for the numbering problems. I do realize it can happen from time to time again as people keep changing and starting & stopping randomly but I try to ensure all papers are delivered timely and properly.

For those of you that complain that one time a kid delivered to your door, did more by collecting moneys and then received less money for same job, think again!
First look at yourself and your neighbors why kids aren’t delivering anymore.
Kids delivered after school – now papers must be delivered in predawn hours because of customer demands.
Safety Factors from seedy individuals that preyed on kids partially eliminated them.
Kids used their bikes to deliver papers as a car was not needed. Todays routes due to size of routes, distances traveled and distribution locations a bicycle does not suffice. If every other house got a paper a bicycle would work plus I would love the exercise but my route by 94 miles a day I would have to pedal pretty hard to get papers out on time. A cost factor a kid on bike didn’t have a flat tire was the worst enemy resolvable by a simple patch usually carried on ones bicycle.

SO if I ask for a TIP :
I don’t expect it from everyone but if those of you that can afford it Thank you in advance as it would be nice.
For those that are financially challenged such as elderly or etc they should not feel obligated, pressured or insulted it is OK just toss envelope out or reply with a kind note.
If there is a customer which wants to express something positive or negative then use the envelope to do so to inform me the carrier. If carrier doesn’t know of a problem or gets complaints it affects him or her directly. So give them a chance to solve your problem before escalating a complaint by either sending in the envelope meant for not just tipping but also notifications or you could great the carrier wave them over to you if you happen to be an early riser. I am always happy to see a face and say hello usually makes me feel more attached to customer and in long run promotes better service. One lady awakes 4:00 am asked me to throw paper next to hedges along property line as she slip out side door to get instead of driveway out back. I was happy to oblige.
I do feel funny sending the tip envelope but the fact is anyone doing this is looking for cash and if there was better options they would not do it 7 days a week 365 days of the year at the wee hours of the morning. But there are a few of us that it adds a little bit to the family funds is the reason for doing it. So if your carrier seems disgruntled that’s probably because they just had a car repaired on emergency or are just plain tired from having to work another job plus this job when they should be asleep or papers were late now causing him or her to struggle to re-sequence their route to avoid complaints and do double work to ensure everyone is satisfied.

I look forward to doing this for a year or so till I am on a better level so if tips look like they make a difference who knows every bit will help.

If you happen to Tip – Thank you in advance
If you don’t that is OK as it better to drop a paper along the way.


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