Delivering BT Phonebooks via Thomson Local

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Delivering BT Phonebooks via Thomson Local
Edit 6 April 2018: Thomson Local no longer print business directories. See more here.
I make a point of being very honest on this blog, which is probably why this entry has taken me such a long time to write – almost two entire months after collecting the BT phone books for delivering.
But let me start at the beginning. I wanted an iPad, and this coincided with there being an advert in my local paper to deliver BT phone books. So I quickly signed up, using their website. It looks harmless enough:
We are currently recruiting for distributors to delivery to homes and businesses around the UK.  Distributors are recruited to deliver in their local area and routes are typically around 800 books. You will collect your directories, using your own vehicle, from a store in your local area where you will be given training on how to correctly deliver the directory.  You will have 7 days to complete your route and you can manage your time for the delivery. All routes will be checked to ensure customers receive their copy in the correct way.
Pay ranges are different for each route dependant on the density of the local area. A typical route will be in the region of £60 – £80.
If you are interested in applying for temporary work distributing directories complete the form (you must have a vehicle and a phone to be able to apply).

So that was that. A few weeks later, I received a phone call from a blocked number – at the time I was applying for a ton of jobs so thought nothing of it when I answered the call.

The person on the end of the phone was very rude to me, the conversation went along the lines of them saying ‘BT phone books, postcode ABC 1, 76 and 52 books, collect on this date from this location' and that was the end of that! No chance for me to ask any questions, no contact telephone number – nothing!

Luckily, as it turned out, I was free on the date they told me to pick up the books. I popped the postcode into my satnav to find that it was 30 miles away, the cost of petrol being over £12 for a round trip. But I didn't have a contact telephone number so off I went.

When I arrived the whole thing was very unprofessional – no one explained what was happening and suddenly 5 people started pulling apart my car and piling in phone books. It was then that I realised I had been misled – I had distinctly been told that there were 76 and 52 books to deliver, not 76 and 52 bundles. I believe each bundle had 8 phone books in it.

Then I was told that my car would not support all the bundles and I'd have to make a return trip. At 60 miles for a round trip, I flat out refused and they overloaded my car and made me sign a waiver stating that if I got a ticket I couldn't make a claim against the company.

And off we went home. Only to open up the two routes and discover one was 8 miles away (£3.30 return trip in petrol) and the other was 13 miles away (£4.90 return trip in petrol). Well, since we had the books anyway, and returning them was a 60 mile round trip, we made a grand effort to deliver them.

Starting that Friday afternoon, my boyfriend (who loves walking) and I made a start. It took two of us about 14 hours each to deliver just one round of the phone books. The whole thing was unprofessional:

  • We were given a route list without individual numbers, so we had to do a lot of writing or printing to tick them off.
  • A large number of the houses were no longer in existence and hadn't been in our lifetimes.
  • If no letter box was available we were expected to wrap the phone book in a bag, hide it somewhere and leave a note stating where we left it. Where exactly the note was supposed to go I have no idea, but for 1,024 phone books we were given just 6 bags.
  • The petrol allowance paid was around £3. For the entire route.
  • The route wasn't “every road in this area”. Sometimes there would be quite some distance between roads on the route and sometimes roads were on someone else's route, with no logic behind this.
  • You had to mark down any reason for not delivering a phone book.
  • We weren't provided with my field supervisor's telephone number, despite all the paperwork stating to contact them for any questions or problems.
It doesn't end there though. I had to hand back one of the routes for personal reasons, so we requested that the books be collected from us. This was on the Monday after we had picked up the phone books (Friday). I waited four and a half weeks for the books to be picked up, after multiple phone calls.
As I'm sure you can appreciate, 608 phone books cluttering up your living room is not great at all. I'm really angry that it took a month for the phone books to be collected from us – and only then because I made a point of ringing regularly to ask for an update.
Possibly the most disheartening thing is that about two weeks after I completed my initial round, Thomson text me to tell me that they were paying 1.5x for the remaining routes, the kicker then being receiving the texts offering double on the remaining routes. The person who eventually picked up our phone books had managed to negotiate a lovely payment from Thomson for delivering them, as well as a decent fuel allowance for collecting the books from us.
In the end we earned £43 for delivering one round. It cost £12 to pick up the phone books, and we made 3 x 16 mile round trips to the village at a cost of £9.90. I also spent approximately £5 on petrol driving around the village and up long farm driveways. So we worked about 28 hours delivering phone books for a massive profit of £16.10.
I've not even touched upon the physical aspect of it – I could carry maybe 5 phone books in my hands (so that I could still open letterboxes) and 15 in a bag I took with me, and that really takes its toll on you. Not to mention the fingernail injury I sustained from someone's letterbox.
Plus you feel totally grubby and if you happen to come across someone in their garden, or tinkering with their car, you're treated as though you're a scammer. In fact, my 6ft, unshaved, hoodie wearing boyfriend was called as much numerous times.
Now I will do (almost) anything for money. I don't mind selling something for 50p, I don't mind doing bootsales at the crack of dawn to walk away with a mere £20. But this was absolutely ridiculous. I would warn anyone against delivering phone books. Honestly, never ever again. I would strongly advise against it.
Have you had any experience with Thomson, or delivering other phone books? Please share your stories!
Delivering BT Phonebooks via Thomson Local

46 Comments on “Delivering BT Phonebooks via Thomson Local”

  1. Yessss!!!ohmygod this sounds so similar to my experience!!Luckily my route was all in my village but completely agree with the misleading,impossible,slave nature of it!I was hoping to use it as a way to get fit but soon realised it was impossible to carry enough to do that,so mum had to drive me round.I swear they take advantage of people,knowing people will do it!Xxx


  2. This sounds so unprofessional and definitely something to avoid. Can’t believed you weren’t offered any petrol allowance for collecting the books.


  3. Between us a friend and myself have delivered 6 rounds ,no problem there we knew what to expect but can we get payment for them NO. Numerous phone calls supposed given wrong account excuses waiting to get money back from the wrong account etc payment next week . Yet we were given 7 days to deliver where is the deadline for payment ?

    1. Hi John, sorry I only just saw this comment. I was wondering if you’d managed to sort the payment out now?

    2. i had that same problem, i waited 6 months for payment which they tried to make out there system was down and if it wasnt for my dad threatening to take them to high court they wldnt of paid up.. slave labor yes i would say so for the little amount of pay rates.apart form that one incident, they have been fine.. but company not recognised we took up a search to where they are based.. sounds dodgy

  4. I totally agree I have done this and was given 7 days to get about 8 routes out, I didn’t mind as I enjoyed it but was waiting weeks for payment to come throw must of been two mouths before anything came in post by check and not to my bank after asking for bank details, if people need the cash asap … BEWARE …… it takes weeks before they pay you……

    1. Why do people do work for then complain after agreeing to carry out this type of work as I have done a lot of rounds for thomson local in the past and still doing them I all ways get my areas sorted out before

      1. Because this is my own blog, written about my own experience. If you’re happy to write about your own experiences then you’ll find my email address on the ‘about’ page.

      2. Have delivered both Thompson and BT books for three yes no complaints about both of them its hard work for what you do if you don’t like hard work don’t do it and as for being given just any route that’s rubbish you pick your own route on there portal or they ring you and offer you routes

  5. Hi ive done over 40 rounds since september and had no problems takes me between 3 and 5 hours depending on amount of book very easy money and always paid with in 2 weeks you can even go online and pick your own route by looking at dufferent rounds and maps an example is pick 3 rounds about 2400 books 20 pound petrol 12 hours delivery it works out for me about 14 pound a hour where am i going to get paid that for the easy amount of work

    1. That’s fantastic, I’m glad it is going well for you. Would you mind if I copy your comment into the main blog post now, to give readers an alternative opinion?

    2. I have done about 20 routes since November same here no problem with routes and payments the trick is to go online and work out where and when to do the routes and plan the routes round my other work ian craig

    3. Hi,
      I’ve just recently started doing this work my 1st pick up of the phone books was last Thursday (5th) when I went and got my car (an Astra) fully loaded with 1939 books, I drove slow and carefully home, about 15 miles away and I delivered as much as I could in as little time as poss, even though I’m a single mum with 3 children! I got on with it and it works out by the time I had done I earned about £14 an hour. I was done by the 9th and I got more rounds I’ve got myself 4758 phone books and by Monday (16th) I will have finished and earned myself £445.78 in the space of 11 days an I’ve had 3 days not doing it, I think to get the best from this work is to crack on with it get it done. The only downfall is it takes up to 25 days to get paid. I feel fitter than ever an I’ve lost weight and been paid while doing so what more can a girl ask for (ha ha), I would recommend to anyone xxx

  6. I have done several Thomson a Rounds and have found them very easy only if you do a bit of planning, always look at there website and chose routes with a lot of flats therefore it gives great delight when you go to flats and deliver 50 books which only takes a few minutes I.e, letter box to flats is all downstairs or you can not get through main door, easy money and quick, I always do rounds with flats on as you can normally finish the route within 1.5 hours, work it out guys 3 routes 1.5 hours each, 4.5 hours in total, payment around £145 so with the time picking up the books and get to the location only around 7 hours of the day this works out just over £20 per hour, yes the pay takes a few weeks but if you are prepared to move around areas and do three rounds per week per average your bank balance goes up and up, within the last year this has paid me a holiday and a car, all you need to do is be prepared to travel to your location and be smart, got a route to do tomorrow morning will take no time but 30 miles away, but the pay is great, got to pick up more books on Monday, have made over £500 within the month.

  7. Furthermore they call me up all the time for routes which are coming up and not even on the website portal, and to make more money have loaded the cars as we’ll pay around £6.45 per hour but you add this on to your pay, it can pay you over £200 per week

  8. Fantastic job. Got paid on time. Very helpful whenever i had a query. Put name down already for next year.

  9. Did 7 rounds for BT directories in September paid for six but not seventh, despite three or four calls a week since. I am told that someone will call me back but it never happens. I am so angry now and my partner has since died. I will never do any more rounds for them.

  10. This is very misleading as I know you choose your routes based on your home address and deliver near your home address after collecting near your address. The gentleman who wrote this long and unfactual story certainly needs help and serious help. You ask yourself why someone would write such a long explanation which could at best be summed up in 50 words. I am a distributor and agree it does not pay much but am afraid the gentleman or lady who wrote is misleading. The upside is hey excercise I have benefited a lot from this.

  11. I did the Yellow Pages this year, had a bit of spare time before permanent job. All I can say, is that anyone who reckons they can do 2,400 in 12 hours is smoking stuff and telling us a jackanory.

    There seems to be a lot of people of late, saying it is good easy money and you’ll make minimum wage guaranteed.

    This is simply not true and anyone that has really done it, will know this. I did 5 rounds (over 3,000 books) two weeks ago. We were being told that certain rounds would take 6 hours, yet it took me and the wife 7 hours each and we were going some. Petrol is not covered, not on the route or the collection of catalogues.

    You’ not paid for collection time, induction time or sitting at home planning time. You should pay out for business insurance on the car (£25+) and it is illegal not to. You also should do a tax self assessment form and that is even more unpaid time.

    If you get rural rounds, you spend hours going up farm tracks damaging your exhaust for an 8p YP delivery for 15 minutes of work. I had to put a new exhaust box bracket on our car.

    I’m not stupid or lazy, I had a good idea what I was taking on, planned well, and started early and only took a lunch break. I couldn’t make it pay, and I worked hard, both mentally and physically. We had two people drop out in the few days we were doing it (did one round jacked the second), we took one on, because it was the village where I live and turned down the rural route (may as well throw money out of the car). One said his car had broken down, but seemed fine when we picked up the catalogues, the other had the son go into ‘hospital’ turned that one down, but I bet if I’d got chatting to him, he would have admitted he’d had enough.

    People will make up their own minds, give it a go, say it can’t be that bad, they just didn’t approach it/plan it right. Take my word, I did, it isn’t worth it but if you want to find out the hard way, give it a go and come back next year with your tales of woe/never again.

    1. What a load of rubbish we always tell people (that listen) not to go down dirt tracks just let us know which ones you couldn’t deliver. Ive worked for Yellow Pages and Bt phone books for years and years and there is absolutely nothing wrong with this type of work. We get a few people every year that are not realistic at all and think everything is a drama. But they forget they get mail every day from Royal mail. You have to wait a few weeks to get paid by cheque that’s hardly a big deal….but to some winey people that’s a major issue…I love doing this type of work even the difficult bits. I started out as a distributor and now a full time supervisor. I’ve never heard of anybody been asked to drive 30 miles to collect your books???? its usually with 10 miles tops and that obviously the rural people, and you choose your routes so once again all this non sense about not knowing which areas you deliver is rubbish again, you tend do the routes in your postcode, and if you live in a rural area because you chose to live their hey up guess what you deliver the rural area you live in.
      Some people don’t enjoy this type of work which is fine but too over dramatize it is attention seeking and non factual.

      1. Richard, I really do not appreciate you coming onto my blog and telling me that my own experiences are “rubbish”. They happened. I am all for starting discussions, you can see there are quite a few on this blog post. To tell me that I didn’t have to drive 30 miles each way – you’re right. I just loaded it up on Google maps and it was 29.8 miles to get the books. I apologise for the inaccuracy.

  12. i have been delivering the thompsons and yellow pages all summer, it is hard work, you must be prepared to walk miles and carry books ,i have a large trolley i pull around with me saves a lot of leg work and petrol, i see it as a way of keeping fit and getting payed

  13. “Has anyone got any phone numbers of who I can get hold of to deliver any books please”
    I would like this info too please for delivering BT phone books and the Thomson Local.

  14. I recently delivered the bt phone book which I have done 4 years running, only to find out on the day we were picking them up that they had changed the place to collect them without telling me.
    Then found out I had only one round allocated to me when I had booked 3.
    Managed to get 3 rounds in the end but not in my area but did them anyway.
    Still waiting for payment 30days later
    Its a new company doing it this year
    the colour company which apparently specialise in this sort of thing,I would not advise working for these what a most unproffesional company dont even have a number to ring head office.
    Hopefully bt will not give them the contract again.
    not had any oroblems in the past except for now.

  15. I started delivering BT books last August when I did about 4 rounds, IN November I got the call for another area that needed delivering and I did about 3 or 4 rounds then, I then recieved texts saying 25% bonus on rounds to be completed before xmas, then another for 50% and a third for 100% bonus. Unfortunately the rounds left where too far away and too small a number for me to consider, even with the 100% bonus.

    Every round I have completed I have got paid about 2 weeks after I confirmed completion without an issue.

    I have, in the past 10 days, completed 5 rounds, about 4000 books for a third area with another round I plan to do tomorrow and am expecting the 25% bonus text soon as they have lots of rounds left undone and speaker to the gentleman at the warehouse they had hoped this week would have been it for this area.

    The staff have always been friendly and professional whenever I have spoken on the phone and collected my books.

    Next week I am collecting thomson local for the first time

    my tips are :

    1. pick your rounds online rather than when they phone you as you can see a map of the round.
    2. stay away from rural routes unless it’s a higher paying one, most of the time you get about 7p a book but rural rounds can be double that, but there will be more walking/driving.
    3. If you know the area, look for routes that contain flats and terraced housing as these generally mean less walking (no driveways etc) so faster completion, but do not some terraced block put their letter boxes on the back door which is a pain.
    4. New build estates can be a good bet aswell as they generally have short driveways if any, more expensive new estates may not be as good though/
    5. Use a ‘granny’ shopping trolley, this way you can carry more and drive less saving time and petrol

    If you can do around 100 books an hour then you will hit minimum wage. It does depend on your route, some there is no way you can do 100 books an hour, others it shouldn’t be a problem. I personally average about 80 an hour,

    1. “Thank you for that, you learn something new every day,I knew I was doing something wrong ,BUT , what do you do when you come to flats? you have trouble getting in, I was told to put them in the nearest “******** dust bin,.
      Pleased with the information,” good luck” your next round”

  16. I had It happen once its wen you get given a route and its not close to home its just the same with Avon leaflets etc and really not worth doing any of them but you win some and lose on others but I did it again and was great round near my house and 2miles to collect the books but they did take the p to collect my left over books and rammed my car now they have moved the collection point to 15miles away from my house so ain’t worth it

  17. A shame there are so many negative experiences. I am 57 and I’ve been doing this sort of work for a few years. It is very hard work. I enjoy it and it keeps me fit.
    I found your blog when I was going to log on to Thomsons to book more routes.

  18. I have delivered these books for a few years ,i find it very easy to book on there website ,you choose the rounds you require , so whats the problem. They have always been at the venue stated to collect the books from. In fact i sometimes go out of my normal area to do a round or two .Easy money , keeps me fit and the money is a bonus .They- always pay within the 30 days stated as well. Stewart

  19. I do the BT phone book, Thomson local and Yellow Pages over several areas. Sometimes its £5 an hour, sometimes £10 or more. It can be easy money if you are a retired postman and know the tricks of the trade and very easy if you know the round/walk you are delivering from being on the post. If you are new to delivery like many jobs ( and I have had a few ! ) its might not be easy at first but after a few days you will get the hang. You do need to be physically fit and reasonably strong and sometimes people are a bit rude. I would agree with the comment about rural rounds, the beginners pick them because the pay looks better for the number of books but in reality they take longer. Also if I had a decent/expensive car I would not perhaps do this and certainly not the rural rounds. I have never had any disagreement over payment from the Color Company for BT, Deya for Yellow Pages or Thomson Local.

  20. July 7.2015 at 3.30
    I do not “UNDERSTAND” all this fuss, I have just finished a route for thomaslocal,I was asked, How many books I would like to do, what area I would like to deliver in, Its the same every where you live, rude people,etc,
    the other day when I outside a gate going in, a man let his dog out ,I laughed and went on to the next house I enjoy the work ,enjoy meeting new people talking .I also work in the mornings and deliver
    No the money isn’t great ,but what other things would you be doing.
    IF you don’t do it “some OTHER PERSON WILL” m e “??????????????????????????????????

  21. I think that if you are organised and become familiar with the procedures, then the delivery work is fine.

  22. You get paid by cheque if it is Yellow pages, I think Thomson do bank transfer.

    I did 5 rounds with my wife last year (see comment earlier about this time last year). Money is the same, I didn’t want to spend many hours, petrol and planning time this year. I cut it down to one round in the village where I live. Virtually no petrol, no planning time, I know where everything is and all the nooks and crannies houses hidden away. I can pop home for a bite to eat at lunch, without taking too much time out.

    It just about pays, and the exercise is a key factor. Shame they have done it later this year and we had a non existent summer this year, last year was quite nice and the summer went into autumn.

    BTW payed is not a word, paid is.

  23. I have just completed two rounds – one semi rural. A week after completion not been paid. Round trip of 25 miles to collect telephone directories. I have done Thompsons, & Yellow Pages and estate agents leaflet. This is the worst payer.. Address database absolute rubbish – whole streets missing. Will not do this again.

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