Delivering leaflets is a job that can take on many forms. Under the right circumstances and with the right company it can be a great way to make a living, stay fit and keep a flexible schedule.
However there are also circumstances under which flyer delivery can become a very unpleasant job. Let’s discuss what you should look out for when choosing which company you want to be a distributor for and how to get the job when you find the right place to apply.
When you are looking at all the companies you could become a flyer distributor for you want to first have a look at how their delivery systems work.
Some companies run their flyer deliveries in teams. This system would often rely on you showing up to a specific place in London early in the morning. The exact meeting point would change from day to day.
Together with a few other flyer distributors and a supervisor you would then proceed to unload your leaflets from a van and start delivering.
You would often get a pack of leaflets and deliver to one or two roads and come back to the van and your supervisor for more.
In general this is not the best system for the flyer distributor. You will have more or less no control over your schedule as you’ll receive a call to show up to a specific meeting point often at short notice.
These meeting points could be quite far from where you live and will change all the time. Travel expenses are something you need to consider when signing up for a job like this.
Other companies like The Private Postman operate individual delivery systems. Under this way of organising deliveries you receive instructions to cover a selected London area each week.
You will then receive the flyers you will need to cover this area to your home where you keep them. You can then plan out your schedule for the week as you wish.
Which parts of the area you want to be delivering first, which days you will work and how many leaflets you will deliver on a given day will be largely up to you to decide.
There are some limits to this that will apply but in general it is safe to say that you have considerably more control over how you organise your days and weeks.
At The Private Postman we know where our flyer distributors live and thanks to that we can make sure to assign areas that are close to the homes of each distributor to minimise commuting.
This can be a great help as staying local minimises the time it takes to get to your flyer delivery area, the cost of commuting and also ensures that you have good local knowledge of where you are delivering.
Knowing the area will allow you to work faster and maximise your per hour earnings.
Long-term vs short-term
You yourself will know best whether you are looking for a job for just a few months or whether you want to be a distributor for longer.
In general the companies that are looking for long-term workers will allow you to earn more money and make their systems more convenient for you to work within.
If you are only seen as a short-term worker who will be gone in a few weeks or months, the company you are working with is going to not have a great incentive to look out for your comfort or worry about how content you are while working.
On the other hand a flyer distribution company that will be expecting you to stay on for a few years has a good reason to build a good relationship with you, pay you better and assign work that is more convenient for you.
Who is this job for?
So who is the job of a leaflet distributor for? The types of people who enjoy long-term flyer delivery work the most are.
Parents with young children/babies who want a flexible schedule and short working days
Artists, musicians and people who need a lot of time for their main pursuit but want to earn money while keeping their mind clear
People who love active physical work
Former office workers who want to decompress from the sedentary lifestyle
Former Royal Mail postmen
Who is this job not for?
On the other hand there definitely are people who should not be doing flyer delivery. This includes people who might struggle with physical work, people with back issues or similar challenges and people who don’t like working alone.
How to get the job?
So now you found a flyer company that will allow you to keep control over your schedule, that pays well and that is looking for long-term workers.
What should you do to prepare for the job and how to get it?
You want to make sure that you are fit enough to do the job. This might seem obvious but if you haven’t done some kind of physical job before the fact that it can be quite taxing can surprise you.
It might be a good idea for you to put a backpack on, fill it with a couple water bottles and some flyers and spend a couple hours walking around your area.
Walk up a couple of hills, don’t stop too often and make sure to hydrate in the process. How are you feeling now?
If you struggled to walk around for a couple of hours with a few kilos on your back you might want to spend a little bit more time getting physically ready. You want to make sure that you are in good shape before you start working as a flyer distributor.
This will make sure that you don’t injure yourself, become fatigued or overwhelmed with the job when you have to perform.
In the current climate it might actually be relatively competitive to get a job as a flyer distributor as many people are applying.
If in your application and interview you mention that you’ve tested yourself physically before applying for the job you will make a great impression on whoever will be responsible for selecting successful applicants.
We’ve mentioned your physical health a few times here. It is very important that you make sure that you have good shoes and footwear for when you’re distributing.
A rolled ankle, flat feet or blisters can be surprisingly unpleasant things to deal with. Any combination of these can feel debilitating.
You want to make sure that the shoes you are wearing give you ankle support, fit your feet perfectly and support a healthy shape of your foot as you will be likely to walk on concrete and hard pavement.
You should also always carry a bottle of water with you. When you get into the rhythm of moving and delivering you might forget to drink.
England isn’t exactly known for its tropical climate but we do have hot days and heatstroke can be a serious issue.
If you’ve never experienced heatstroke you might think that mentioning something as basic as carrying water is unnecessary.
It can however be surprisingly impactful and debilitating if you forget about it and as such you should always carry water every time you are delivering.
Rain and the elements
Like we said, England is not famous for tropical heat. What it is famous for however is rain.
You will encounter rain if you are a leaflet distributor here. Anytime you go out to deliver flyers you should bring a raincoat of some kind.
Definitely check an app like Accuweather every day and plan a few hours and days ahead.
A good leaflet distribution company will often have a policy in place that will limit flyer deliveries in the rain. As such you want to have an idea of when it will be raining and work around that fact.
Flyers can become damaged in the rain and as such companies often discourage delivering in bad conditions. These rules will be flexible to some extent as there are deadlines to stick to and it rains quite often in England.
If you however mention the fact that you are aware of this issue in your interview or on your application you are likely to make a positive impression.
Are you reliable?
One of the most important character traits any company will be looking for is reliability.
Every flyer you receive and deliver is a client that the company you are working with wants to make happy. In a competitive climate it can be difficult to find and keep clients and any error or problem on the part of the distributor will be blamed on the company as a whole.
Because of this every flyer distribution company is looking for responsible people it can rely on as a single mistake can cost them a valuable client.
If you can demonstrate the fact that you are reliable in your interview that can be a great plus. Whether you’ve worked another job for a long time before and have a great reference or whether there is any area in your life where people have relied on you you want to mention this on your application.
Sometimes, simply mentioning the fact that you understand that this is a sensitive topic and that the flyer represents valuable client relationships can be enough to elevate you in the eyes of the interviewer.
Types of flyer delivery
When you are applying for a job as a distributor it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with the types of delivery techniques that exist.
Solus deliveries mean that you’ll be delivering only one leaflet through each letterbox at a time. You’re going to be doing this less often than the alternative.
Solus flyer drops are relatively expensive for the clients and there are more cost-efficient alternatives. With that said it makes sense that Solus flyer drops will make up only maybe 10% of your work.
Solus flyer drops will often be either located in unusual areas of London where the distribution company is not running other deliveries at that time or they will be a part of smaller targeted campaigns.
A good example of this would be an estate agent who has successfully sold a house and wants to deliver their flyers announcing this to the surrounding streets. This is fairly common but each campaign will consist of 1000 flyers maximum.
These campaigns can be fun to work on as you’ll be carrying around a smaller number of leaflets compared to larger shared campaigns.
Shared flyer delivery is the most common way to distribute leaflets. It is the more common alternative to the above mentioned Solus campaigns.
Shared deliveries will rely on you delivering 2-3 flyers from different clients at the same time. These will be clients from different fields that do not compete with each other. Every time you deliver you’ll be putting three flyers through each door.
There is a considerable cost advantage for the client in using this system as the cost can be spread among the 2-3 companies whose flyers you’ll be delivering at one time.
The inconvenience on the part of the distributor lies in the fact that you’ll need to carry more leaflets around and sort through them to make sure you are delivering the right amount of the right leaflet.
This however is the industry standard and shared deliveries will often get you a higher pay compared to Solus campaigns for the exact reasons mentioned above.
Door to door
Door to door is what most people imagine when they hear the words flyer delivery. Door to door campaigns work on the basis of the distributor delivering flyers through doors and letterboxes.
This is what the absolute majority of flyer delivery is going to look like and it also happens to be the most effective, efficient and common way to deliver flyers.
Door to door flyer delivery however brings some specific challenges. We will often bring these things up with distributors that are looking to work with us.
1.Keep your fingers
- When you’re putting a flyer through a door the most important thing is to not follow through with your fingers. London flats and homes are full of bored dogs that spend hours every day sitting in the hallway and starting at the door.
As soon as they hear you coming up towards the door they come closer and if they see your fingers coming through the letterbox with your flyers they will jump and bite.
Every distributor has the experience of their leaflets flying out of their hand as a dog rips them out through the letterbox. This doesn’t happen every ten minutes but it happens enough that you need to make sure to never put your fingers through the letterbox/door.
If you do, your fingers could be coming off with the flyers if the dog is large enough. You can use one hand to pull or push the letterbox open and shove the flyers in with the other.
2.Careful with stairs
- As a flyer distributor you will encounter millions of stairs. This is fine and after a while walking up stairs with your flyers stops being a physical challenge.
A very important thing to keep in mind however is that not all stairs are the same. Some staircases are old, some of low quality, some lack proper maintenance.
With the English weather being as it is any structure that is exposed to the elements will deteriorate. You need to make sure that when you are delivering your flyers that you assess each staircase before using it.
Certain kinds of concrete stairs can start to roll at the edges and it can be easier to slip compared to a hard edge of a new step. Some tiles can be unstable or slippery. You will develop familiarity with these idiosyncrasies as you deliver more flyers but you always need to remain mindful of this.
3. Plan your route
- The cardinal sin of flyer delivery is the distributor ‘walking back on themselves’. When you are delivering flyers you want to make sure that you are as efficient with your movement as possible.
The quicker you can get through your flyer deliveries the more money you are making for your time.
You will generally receive a map of the area you will run your distribution in ahead of time. You can have a look at each section and plan your route before you even head out with your flyers.
When you are out with the flyers and running your distribution for the day, plan your route to follow one side of the street. On the way back you can cover the other side.
You can also check google maps before you head out to see the types of terrain you will encounter.
4.Don’t overload yourself
- You want to remain effective and efficient with your distribution over a long period of time. Sprinting on deliveries and loading up your backpack with too many leaflets are not tactics that will pay off long-term.
Bring a reasonable amount of leaflets with you for each distribution round and save your energy. You will be going out multiple times a week to deliver anyways.
Hand to Hand
Hand to hand is a type of flyer distribution that relies on you standing at a busy spot and handing out flyers to people passing by.
You will not find yourself doing this often. If you end up working with us at The Private Postman you will most likely never do this kind of distribution.
Hand to hand is not generally a kind of flyer distribution we operate. There are only a few exceptions to this.
Hand to hand tends to be fairly ineffective in most cases and considerably more expensive than door to door for the client.
B to B
Another method of flyer distribution you might encounter and do are B to B flyer deliveries. B to B means business to business.
If you are handling this kind of flyer campaign you will get a map of a selected area with the businesses highlighted.
You will then deliver your flyers to these businesses and you might need to deliver a short one-line explanation of what the flyers are advertising.
This is a fairly specialised form of flyer delivery and is not as common as Shared door to door deliveries.
It is however common enough that you might encounter it. As this way of delivering flyers requires some basic people skills, mostly more experienced distributors will be doing these jobs.
B to B flyer deliveries are not only about putting flyers through letterboxes but also about making a good impression. With the inconvenience of having to present yourself well also comes higher pay.
Even if you are particularly good at this kind of flyer delivery you will still most likely do this only occasionally. If you don’t like this kind of social contact you can generally just tell the distribution company that you don’t want to do B to B deliveries and you’ll never have to.
In the past flyer deliveries to council housing or local authority estates have not been consistently done. There were too many variables at play and consistency in flyer deliveries has not been possible.
A flyer distributor would often not be able to access some areas as many places of this kind have gates with limited access. Some clients would prefer their flyers not be a part of deliveries to these kinds of properties as well.
This has resulted in most flyer deliveries completely ignoring local authority housing.
At The Private Postman we have developed a new system that allows us to deliver flyers to various local authority housing estates consistently.
As such if you end up working with us you might find yourself executing these flyer delivery campaigns aimed at local authority housing.
These will often be fairly specialised flyer deliveries on Solus basis. The volumes you will carry and deliver will be smaller but more travel will most likely be involved.
Local authority flyer delivery drops can act as a nice source of variety for a distributor after a good number of shared door to door flyer campaigns.
Areas to avoid
Even though we’ve mentioned many places you will be delivering your flyers to, there are still areas you will be avoiding when you are out flyering.
Industrial areas are the most obvious example. You want to always avoid any form of industrial property or area when delivering flyers. Many of these can be found close to the Thames or in places like Park Royal in the North West.
You will not be delivering flyers here and there is no need to come anywhere near industrial areas.
You will also ignore businesses for most flyer campaigns. Unless you are executing specifically a B2B campaign you will not be delivering flyers to businesses of any kind.
Large apartment buildings especially in Central London will also be missing from your flyer delivery maps. It can often be challenging to negotiate access to these larger buildings and unless access is clearly available you will not be going into these buildings with your flyers.
As you are most likely going to be working on a self-employed basis when delivering leaflets you want to make sure you are taking advantage of all that brings.
Claiming expenses is the most obvious part of this. You want to consult a professional before making any decisions about what you claim as an expense but generally travel, some clothing, backpacks and sometimes you can even claim food as an expense.
We should all pay our taxes but you are working hard and you want to make sure you don’t pay more than you need to. You might be able to claim some expenses and as a result you might end up with a smaller tax bill at the end of the year.
We hope that this short guide on what the work of a flyer distributor is like has been somewhat informative.
To summarise, make sure that you are presentable and reliable when applying for the job. Double check that your level of fitness is up to par with what the job will demand. In general go with companies that are looking for long term workers as you’ll benefit from this relationship.
Flyer delivery is a physical job but it can be rewarding as it gives you the ability to control your schedule and keep fit.
If you get a job as a distributor, you want to make sure that you look out for your health and safety first. Stay fit, carry water and be aware of your surroundings. Wear quality footwear and prepare ahead of time for your weekly flyer delivery round.
You can make a good income with flyer deliveries and if you like keeping fit and are reliable you should consider trying the job of a flyer distributor.