How To Avoid SIX Leaflet Distribution Rip-Offs!
Unbelievable low price
Beware of unscrupulous distribution companies who offer nothing except an exceptionally low price. It takes about 6 – 7.5 hours to deliver to 1000 homes on average. An adult worker (aged 22 or above) must therefore get paid approximately £38.00 upwards per 1000 to be above the minimum wage of £6.31per hour (valid from 1st Oct 2013). If you are being charged less than around £55 to £60 (+ VAT) for “solus” (i.e. only one leaflet) delivery, that is undertaken by adult distributors, it probably infers that either your leaflets will be dumped or illegally low wages are being paid. Don’t forget that every business will have many costs in addition to wage costs that they need to cover in the price they charge you. They will also need to make a profit on the work! Remember: if it looks too good to be true it will almost certainly be some sort of rip-off. Can you really afford to lose your hard earned money on such an unethical scam?
Unreliable tracking information
Make sure your distribution company notifies you of exactly when and where your leaflets have been dropped. Unless you receive this information you will be unable to make checks yourself to ensure that everything has been carried out in a legitimate manner. Less scrupulous distribution companies will often offer no information on where leaflets have been dropped… making it very straightforward for them not to carry out your distribution properly!
Unrealistic delivery times
Many businesses want to get out large quantities of leaflets very quickly. Unfortunately, some less than honest distribution companies are so desperate to take your order they will promise to deliver exceptionally large quantities of leaflets within completely unrealistic timescales. For example, if you want to drop 50,000 leaflets in your local area in one day it would take 50 distributors an entire day of walking to achieve this. Let me assure you the logistics of coordinating such a large workforce on a short lead time is not straightforward. Make sure you question your distribution company carefully to be sure they have the available capacity to carry out your drop both professionally and reliably.
Nonexistent post-delivery checks
Make sure the company you choose to do your distribution has a robust and reliable way of checking their distribution to make sure it is done properly. Beware of some companies who promise to do large amounts of spot checks, either by knocking on doors or over the phone, as the amount of time and money it takes to do this properly is very significant. If your distribution company has not factored these costs into the price they are charging you it is very unlikely any checks will be carried out at all! It is therefore essential that you question your distribution company to find out exactly how they monitor their distributors.
The terms & conditions trap
Beware of some companies whose terms and conditions exclude liability from the following: (1) the replacement cost of your leaflets if they are dumped by distributors or delivered in entirely the wrong area etc (2) the replacement cost of your leaflets if they are lost, stolen, damaged by fire/flood, or subcontractors negligence whilst in the possession of either the distributor or their subcontractors. Such clauses are not deemed reasonable in the eyes of the law and certainly would not be held up in a court of law. Unethical distribution companies often insert such clauses to avoid potential litigation in the event of their exceptionally poor (or even worse nonexistent) delivery of your promotional material. Any reputable distribution company should be able to openly discuss a distribution problem with their clients and resolve such issues promptly with a reasonable goodwill gesture.
The postcode area scam
Leaflet distribution companies need to accurately estimate how many homes are in each “postcode” zone they are delivering to. Many companies will use data supplied by the Royal Mail as a starting point for this estimation. However, the reality of leaflet distribution is such that it is not always possible to cover remote rural areas and gain access to some flats. Consequently, the total number of households that can actually be delivered to in a “postcode” zone is often much less than the Royal Mail data suggests. Unscrupulous leaflet distribution companies will often significantly over estimate the total number of homes that they can actually deliver to. This will result in two things: (1) their client is overcharged for the work they wish to have carried out and (2) many of the leaflets they are handing over will be dumped (since there are literally no houses to deliver them to!). To avoid falling into this trap you must use a company that has good local knowledge of the areas you need delivering to. Take the time to question them to find out how they have reached their estimation of the number of households they say they cover.
FOUR Costly Misconceptions About Leaflet Distribution
Putting your leaflets through inside a newspaper is cost-effective
Many entrepreneurs or business people new to leaflet distribution consider the possibility of distributing their leaflets inside a local newspaper or magazine. This can at first seem attractive due to the cheaper distribution cost per thousand leaflets. The reality however is that when your leaflets go through the door without a paper the homeowner must remove it from the letterbox and physically hold it in their hand. Unless they actually hold your leaflet they will certainly not be able to read it. Leaflets that are delivered inside a newspaper or magazine are often thrown straight in the bin without the paper even being opened. At the end of the day it all boils down to a numbers game whereby the reduction in cost offered by the newspaper company to deliver your leaflets is unfortunately accompanied by a massive reduction in the response to your marketing campaign.
Having your leaflets delivered with four or five other mail items saves money
Some distribution companies offer you a slightly reduced price if they put your leaflet through with several other flyers or mail items at the same time. Research has shown that whilst the addition of one other flyer usually makes no real difference to the overall response rate, when you add as many as three or four other flyers to your own flyer the response rate decreases significantly. This will often mean that overall your profit margin will be reduced.
All leaflet distribution companies provide the same service
Many businesses hold the misconception that all leaflet distribution companies essentially do the same job and therefore the best way to discriminate between them is to choose the company who offers the cheapest price. The reality of leaflet distribution is that the quality of service between different distribution companies varies tremendously. At one end of the spectrum you will find responsible, reliable and trustworthy companies who will provide an excellent service, and at the other end of the spectrum you will have companies whose only concern is to take your money and bin your flyers… However cheap the latter distribution companies may seem, they clearly will never be a good investment! Furthermore, beware of “national” leaflet distribution companies who outsource their work to smaller local companies (they often hide this in the small print of their terms and conditions!). The company you are dealing with directly may seem legitimate enough but can the same be said about the companies they are using to get your leaflets out? Make sure you question your leaflet distribution company carefully to find out who will actually be putting your leaflets out.
It doesn’t matter where my leaflets go as long as they get delivered
The vast majority of businesses will find that if they target their leaflets carefully the response rate will be significantly improved. It is therefore important to be very clear in your own mind who your target market is and plan to choose a distribution company who can be flexible enough to target this market for you. A good leaflet distribution company should also have considerable expertise in advising businesses on the best demographic areas to drop their leaflets. It is certainly also worth mentioning that if your distribution company has demographic targeting software you will hopefully get much better assistance!
Have you experienced any of the following when dealing with leaflet distribution companies?
1. Delivered tens of thousands of leaflets and had virtually no calls?
2. Have been refused information as to exactly which streets were covered on each distribution day?
3. Found that the hired workers were paid so little money they threw away all of your leaflets?