Taken from "Adams Businesses You Can Start Almanac"
Startup Cost: Between $200-$500
Potential Earnings: $15,000-$$20,000
Typical Fees: $5-$10 per drop-off
Advertising: Fliers or classified ads
Qualifications: Marketing Sense, time-management skills
Equipment Needed: A method for tracking and processing payments due to your crewmembers
Home business potential: Yes
Staff Required: Yes
Hidden Costs: Spot-checking your distribution crew, insurance
Businesses are moving beyond traditional marketing avenues (magazine and newspaper advertising, radio spots, etc.) to develop less expensive, more effective alternatives. In many areas of the country, there is a return to an old tried and true advertising method, handbill distribution. If you live in an area with a high concentration of people and plenty of retailers, restaurants, and services nearby, you can develop a handbill distribution service. Unless you are willing to log alot of miles on foot yourself, you will need a crew of people to do the actual distribution, but you will have to carry out spot checks to make sure they are actually handing out each bill and not simply dumping them along the way. If you recruit and manage a good crew, handbill distribution can be an effective marketing approach for you clients and a profitable business for you.
Aside from the fliers with which you promote your own business, your primary costs will be what you pay to your crews. You may need to carry insurance against work-related mishaps; check with your agent to be sure you are covered. You will derive your income from the clients whose handbills you distribute. Expect to bill between $5 and $10 per drop-off; add extra for jobs involving more time and effort.
Bottom Line Advice:
The simplicity of this business has great appeal, especially for those who thrive on person-to-person, face-to-face interaction. You'll be building a service that is almost pure service, which can be quite satisfying. Expect, however, to expand a lot of your energy in marketing your operation and hiring and managing your crew.