Cost of door drops.You’re paying how much?!

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

I’m not big on resolutions, but I have made one this year because I worry about the cost of door drops!

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!