Most newspaper delivery people who run motor routes work as independent contractors, three or four hours a day, 365 days a year. Those who fill walking delivery route positions normally invest one to two hours a day on the same 365-days-a-year schedule. Since the majority of newspaper delivery jobs involve early morning hours, carriers can pursue other interests or jobs with the rest of their day.
Newspaper carrier jobs vary substantially in compensation amounts. Advertisements appear in newspapers across the country on a regular basis, quoting monthly income amounts from £68 for a 32-newspaper, porch-delivery route that requires approximately 45 minutes per day, to a £650 per month motor route that requires four hours every morning and covers 96, two-lane country road miles. Location is a significant variable when considering salaries for newspaper delivery jobs. For instance, according to Pay Scale, as of January 2011, a newspaper delivery person in New York City can expect to receive an average annual salary, before expenses, of £27,786; in Columbus, Ohio that figure drops to £11,779; and in Portland, Oregon the median income before expenses is reported as £14,832.
A newspaper delivery person is required to deliver a readable product to the subscriber by a time deadline set by the newspaper circulation department’s manager. Carriers may also be required to increase circulation on the contracted route. In newspapers where the circulation department does not bill customers for their subscriptions, a carrier pays the newspaper for the product they draw, then bill and collect payment from his customers. Bulk newspaper delivery drivers pick up newspapers at the printing plant and transport them to drop sites for home-delivery carriers to pick up. Both home-delivery and bulk carriers may also stock stores and newspaper racks.
Equipment and Skills
A newspaper carrier must own a reliable vehicle, possess a valid driving licence and have car insurance in an amount specified by the contract he signs with the newspaper. Since most newspapers check the driver’s department of motor vehicles record, a good driving record may be the determining factor in obtaining a route. The carrier should have a basic understanding of record-keeping techniques to keep track of subscriptions, payments, miles driven and cost of repairs and fuel.
Unless the carrier delivers for a company that classifies a carrier as an employee, which is the exception rather than the rule, there are no benefits available for the newspaper carrier. If the carrier is deemed an employee, benefits may be limited or nonexistent because of the part-time hours required to complete the assigned route.
As a self-employed independent contractor, carriers are responsible for paying self-employment taxes. In 2010, self-employment tax stood at 15.3 per cent. With passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the percentage dropped to 13.3 per cent in 2011. Self-employed taxpayers must file Schedule C, Profit or Loss From Business and Schedule SE, Self-Employment Tax, along with Form 1040.