Physical document storage or electronic document storage? That’s the big question and it’s a subject that was discussed some time ago on our dedicated web page. However, a few years on, it’s worth discussing the options again. Today I am focusing on physical storage and will follow this up later this month with electronic document storage (document scanning)
Storage fees and hidden costs to be consider
Document storage is certainly the cheapest short term option, monthly storage rates vary in the UK and generally start at around 40p per standard archive box so simply storing your paper archive for the short term can cost very little in comparison to digitally processing the paperwork. The additional and often ‘hidden’ costs associated with storage is where it gets a little complicated and potentially expensive. Costs will incur depending on what you require in terms of access and retrieval of your documents while they are in storage. For example if you wanted to simply retrieve one file from a box you will usually incur a retrieval fee combined with a handling fee and should the file need returning to the box it came from once you’ve finished with it a ‘re-store’ fee will also be added. These fees combined will almost certainly cost more than the cost you would incur to actually have that file scanned instead of stored. Of course, if you only require a couple of files per month this may not add up to much on top of your monthly storage fees but if you do need to retrieve files regularly the costs could soon escalate.
Another hidden cost to be wary of with physical storage is the removal fee which most companies incorporate into the contract. This fee is usually similar to a handling fee and is applied if you want to remove your files completely from storage and destroy or move to another supplier. We spoke to a client recently who had over 2000 boxes in storage with one of the UK’s leading storage companies, the client was looking at the option of taking these boxes out of storage to have them scanned. The cost to simply take them out of storage was over £2000. This resulted in the client simply keeping the boxes in storage which is often the case with companies who have built up a large archive over time. Once more the client was also told that the removal fee is also applied if he chose to have his boxes securely destroyed with the same his existing supplier at a fee of £4 per box. This resulted in costs of over 10k to remove and securely destroy all boxes currently with his supplier. This cost again was too expensive for the client and so they had no choice but to continually store the boxes with their supplier past their expiry date. This is certainly something to consider when choosing document storage, it’s not something that every storage company will apply but it tends to be in contracts more often than not. In a digital age where customers are moving more and more towards electronic document storage and a paperless office it’s more important than ever for storage suppliers to maintain their current customers and many of the retrieval fees & hidden charges associated with storing are designed with exactly that in mind.
Storage is an excellent short term solution
In short, physical storage is a great short term solution, it provides moderate but acceptable security of your documents at a low cost. If you don’t need access at all to your documents it might be worth investigating the option of a self-managed storage unit within a dedicated storage company who do not necessarily specialise in document storage. There you can lock your documents away in a room and because it’s not managed the costs could be significantly cheaper. If you do require access to your files and file retrieval service you will however need a specialised supplier but I would certainly recommend weighing up exactly how many retrievals you might require before making this decision. If it’s just a few retrievals, storage would still be a competitive option on a short term basis but if you require regular file retrievals or storage over a longer period, I would recommend a document scanning service as a cost effective alternative which will provide greater security and improved office efficiency.
Document storage with Paper Escape
At Paper Escape we offer a fully managed document storage service coupled with a scan on demand service. This not only eliminates the need for physical file retrievals but it also offers a much faster way of retrieving a file. Within the hour we can have the requested file scanned and uploaded to a secure cloud which can then be accessed from your office or mobile to view & download. Our scan on demand service is competitively priced and is a service that only document scanning specialists like ourselves can offer with a physical storage service. For competitive quotation for storing your documents, please complete our quick quote form.