Top 10 Side Jobs – #7: Newspaper Delivery

Welcome to a new ten part series at the Outlier Model on the Top 10 Side Jobs available to the average person.  Please check out our intro post and tune in every Wednesday as we count down to #1!

This week’s featured side job, coming in at #7, is Newspaper Delivery.  Now, don’t laugh – despite its traditions and stereotypes as a job done by teenagers running wild on bikes through tree lined neighbourhoods, today’s urban environment requires mature, adult newspaper carriers as well.  Brian and I both delivered papers when we were younger (though Brian was a bit more successful at it than I was!)

stack of newspapers

Photo Credit: via Flickr

Newspaper Delivery

Delivering newspapers is a pretty straightforward job.  You pick up stacks of papers, flyers and advertisements, assemble in their correct order, and deliver them to the correct addresses.  Usually, the morning paper has to arrive by a certain time.

Generally, newspaper carriers are contract employees who get paid per newspaper.  Some publications will also pay carriers an additional amount per flyer insert.

Skills required for being a newspaper carrier

Reliability is probably the most important skill for delivering newspapers.  When my 16 year old self had a route, reliability was NOT my strong point, haha.  I could never get the stupid papers out on time.  It also helps to be methodical and organized – you don’t want to miss a house or forget to add a flyer to the paper.  And depending on how big your route is, you may be required to have a drivers licence in order to pick up and delivery papers more efficiently.

Pros of delivering newspapers

As long as you don’t mind getting up early, delivering newspapers can be pretty convenient.  You can get it done at any time, as long as the paper gets where needs to be before a certain time the next day.  When I had a paper route, the paper had to arrive before 7am – other than that, I could deliver at any time, even the night before if I wanted.

Cons of delivering newspapers

Paper delivery remains a very manual job.  You have to assemble the papers, figure out the route and deliver each paper to each residence.  There will be a lot of walking, rain or shine, and a lot of papers to carry.  It’s not a great job for people who struggle with physical activities or who might not be as energetic as they once were.


If you need a flexible job and don’t mind being outside for most of it, delivering newspapers can help add some cash to your pocket.  It’s flexible enough to schedule outside of regular work hours and doesn’t require a lot of hard skills.  However, being paid per piece limits your potential income to the size of your route.

Posted in: Career and Work

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  1. Haha, my younger brother had a paper route. Which actually means that my mom had a second job, because he was not getting up at 5 AM…

    For me, waking up early and manual labor are two things I’m not a fan of. But it’s a great option if I ever really needed another hustle :).

  2. I know some people who have done this is a side job, and the biggest drawback is probably the lack of sleep (this is their opinion). It can be a long day if you are out delivering at four or five am and then go to work a full job. Then again, if you are a morning person this could really fit your personality.

    • CF says:

      That was the biggest problem for me when I was younger. I just didn’t have the motivation to wake up soooooo early and haul a sack of papers through the neighbourhood.

  3. Love this series idea! Would also add that thinking about the gas mileage could be an issue and deter from profit, especially if you live in a rural area or would be delivering by car instead of walking.

  4. If you want to exercise it sounds like a great way to cycle or walk while getting paid. I heard of people having a route with their car but with gas money it is not worth it. In winter I would hate to wake up 3 hours before the sun.

    • CF says:

      Yeah, driving would really eat into your earnings, especially with gas prices going up and up and up. It might not be worth it, unless you got a stipend for gas.

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