You’re paying how much?!

by Graham Dodd on 05/01/2012

* An updated version of this post is now online to reflect changes in minimum wage between 2012-2017. Blog available here.

I’m not big on resolutions, but I have made one this year!

It is my mission to try and make clients understand that, in my opinion, you cannot buy solus door drops at £40.00 per 1,000 – or even less – and expect them to really work.

If you are a paying less than £40.00 per 1,000 and believe door drops are working for you, have you ever tried paying a more realistic market rate and compared the results?

Or even split your door drops between solus providers charging different rates, and measure your ROI.

Or do you just buy on price, potentially sacrificing quality?

Cost of Door Drops

Mathematics is not one of my stronger skill sets, but take a look at the numbers below and tell me if I’m wrong.

General industry advice is that an individual distributor, subject to the demographic nature of the area they are covering, should be able to distribute between 700 -1,000 leaflets in a 7-hour working day.

I personally think the number may be nearer to 700-800, but for sake of the mathematics, let’s agree 1,000 leaflets in 7 hours (maximum volume/shortest time).

Minimum wage for adults in 2012 was increased to £6.08 per hour. 7 x £6.08 = £42.56 per 1,000 – i.e. just the direct cost of labour.

If it takes 8 hours to distribute 1,000 leaflets, the cost per 1,000 rises to £48.64 per 1,000.

If the distributor only delivers 800 leaflets in 7 hours, the cost per 1,000 rises to £53.20 per 1,000.

And so on.

So how does the company charging you £40.00 per 1,000 (or less) exist financially?

Presumably out of the £40.00 per 1,000 charged to you, they also pay for some form of management control and/or back checking (I’ll write about the importance of back checking another time) AND hope to make a profit. So just how much are they paying their distributors?

Certainly not the minimum wage. And you’re trusting your solus door drops to these people!

Now to be fair, I do know of some small, local operators who are pretty much employer and employee, and they can make those sorts of rates work. But trust me, they are very much in the minority and operate in quite small areas.

Check Door Drop Rates

If you have any doubts about the validity of my mathematics, here’s a tip:

Make an anonymous call or send an email to the distribution company you are thinking about using, pose as a distributor looking for work in the area you are looking to complete your drop in and ask them about their rates of pay. If they come up with a figure of around £30.00 per 1,000 – or less – start worrying!

If you really were looking for work, would you accept less than Minimum Wage and be expected to deliver that volume of items on a daily basis? How would you make it pay?

One other tip.

Clarify the distribution company’s definition of solus distribution is the same as yours – i.e. your leaflet goes through the letterbox on its own.

Some distribution companies offer a service called “solus by type”, “solus by nature” or something similar. This will mean that your item will be distributed alongside other items; in other words your solus door drop is in reality a shared distribution.

Some companies may limit the number of items they carry in any “shared” operation and some may also offer brand/service exclusivity, but you need to be asking the right questions before committing your precious budget to these people.

The more responsible companies will explain this service to you, but others may not.

So don’t confuse “shared” quotations with genuine solus quotations.

One final tip.

If your proposed supplier identifies that the c. £40.00 per 1,000 rate is for shared distribution, ask them what their solus rate is?

But alternatively, as ever, you can always talk to us for an honest assessment of what’s best to achieve your objectives. You never know, we might even change your way of thinking!

This article was written by...

– who has written 86 posts on Letterbox Consultancy for Door Drop Marketing.

Graham Dodd is the founder of The Letterbox Consultancy - he has over 40 years of experience in the door drop industry and remains at the forefront of innovation in the business.

Contact the author

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Ross April 29, 2012 at 6:42 pm

im looking to start up myself by just doing my local areas. an i havent got a clue about pricing a thousand leaflets, i have hurd its around 40 quid to the thousand, i live in the nottingham area could you help me out on prices, Thank you. Ross


Graham Dodd April 30, 2012 at 2:38 pm


My best advice would be to follow the mathematics in my blog.

If you are seeking to either earn and/or expect to pay distributors Minimum Wage (or more), you need to determine how many items can be distributed in any fixed hourly period in your core area.

Minimum Wage (or more) will tell you how much you will earn or pay for that period of time, which you can then translate into a cost per 1,000.

But based upon my mathematics that has to be around £50.00 per 1,000 as a minimum – in my opinion.

If you want to earn more or are prepared to pay a greater hourly rate, the that charge will increase of course.

And that does not take into account any overheads, that just covers your labour cost.

Hope that helps.


Mrs Welland February 26, 2013 at 9:07 am

Dear Graham
I have taken over a leaflet delivery drop from my son who is now doing another job. I would like to know how you work out the number of houses in my area that I deliver to it is BR2 area any quite big houses and drives alot of walking. At the moment getting paid under min wage by the hour.



graham February 26, 2013 at 3:33 pm

Sandra – the company “employing” you should be able to advise how many properties there are in the postal sectors which comprise BR2 and I would have expected them to be providing that information when asking you to complete the drop.

Our national database has property counts from all our potential suppliers in each UK postal sector, but that is confidential information.

If you are accepting the work at less than Minimum Wage then that’s really your decision.

But whoever is paying you may not be charging their client market rates, so probably cannot afford to pay you Minimum Wage and that might be why they won the business in the first place!

If you don’t accept the rates they offer and the drop is not completed as a result, the end client may in future use perhaps more reputable companies.


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