The Pros and Perils of Leafleting

I have been stopping to smell the flowers, usually while I’m on my weekly assigned leaflet route. I decided that I needed a walking prompt, and not being flush with cash at the moment, I figured it’d provide a little extra, which we use for fuel and give me a paid-cardio work out.

It’s really is a lot of work for very little return if you’re only looking at it in terms of monetary gain, but if you spread the work out over four or five days, you can deliver 200-250 leaflet packs in a couple of hours providing the houses are close together and you get paid to walk. No gym can offer you the same package. If you’re lucky you might even have some inclement weather to give you that extra challenge, but the insights are plentiful.

This is a perfect side job for a creative person.

On estates with large properties (rich people), you walk for miles up and down driveways, opening and closing gates, being turned away at the door with a tiny “no leaflets upon pain of death” labels, and you can expect to deliver only half the quantity, which means you only get paid half the amount, because you get paid a few pennies per house you deliver to.

It always helps to have things clearly signposted (as in the picture below) before you walk all the way up to a front door.

You have to take note of every house you could not deliver to, and why, and this saves you time by not forcing you to walk all the way up to the door.

My list of houses that decline Junk Mail of any description presumably is captured and stored on a secret marketers database somewhere.

Or maybe not.

I don’t know, I make things up while counting houses and colouring in my maps with fibre tip pens. This is why this is a perfect hobby for a writer.

Go ahead, make my day.

In England most houses have mail flaps (I can’t speak for the rest of the United Kingdom). Some are friendlier than others. My personal favourites are the soft lift with gentle brushes ones, they probably have a fancier name but there is something nice about pushing a leaflet pack through the gap between soft brushes.

However, the one set into the door below will rip your nails from their beds if you don’t use your other hand to stabilise the push up. See, I’m even coining leafleter terms.

Side note: It always helps to carry plasters, you don’t want to be leaving random samples of your blood all over town.

Mind your fingers, the lion ate the door knocker.
Mind your fingers, the lion ate the door knocker.

As with the next one, with an added twist…

Will rip your nails off sideways
Will rip your nails off sideways

Some flaps require agility, and balance in order to avoid wetting knees. This is a double whammy, tough flap, sharp edged, awkward angle – thank goodness there were no vicious dogs snapping and snarling on the other side.

Bow down and serve all ye that insert contents into this mail flap
Bow down and serve all ye that insert contents into this mail flap

Some homes invite you to pull off a phew, don’t mind if I do… er, don’t, thank you. But at least I got paid my 4p to deliver here, to the dig where the shoes will fossilise to confuse future archeologists, disrupting all effective debate.


While other homes speak of valuable moments in their history where someone once decided to spring clean and strongly decided they’d not accept another piece of unsolicited mail ever again.

Nailed in and rusty
Tacked in and rusty, but does the job

Some homeowners have made a clear decision to steer away from receiving mail through their door, and I wondered if a couple of them perhaps, had once delivered leaflets and wrangled with the same flap-diversity.


While other homes invite everyone implicitly with the following non-negotiable exceptions.


And every now and again a spark of light is lifted from the anonymity of society, and a smiling memory arises. Doctor Who’s suburban home perhaps?

May you go off fair time traveler, whomever you may be
May you go off into the deepest parts of the Universe fair time traveler, whomever you may be

I’m sure there will be more. I’ve a couple of weeks off from Leafleting, with other matters requiring more urgent attention but will be on foot in no time, exploring a new part of the city I love, the one in which I live.

The next time you see a leafleter, just remember that they’re probably not doing it because they absolutely OMG love leafleting, and contrary to what some opine, they actually are doing a great job promoting real, local businesses to real, local people. The stupid things people say to me while en route, I will leave to share another day.

Support local businesses and encourage your town to thrive by reading your leaflets when they come through the door. They weren’t put there automatically. Someone took the trouble to visit your front door and wished the best of life to you today, it may even have been me.


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