At Paper Escape, we offer both storage services – Physical document storage and document scanning or EDS (electronic document storage) as it’s more commonly known today so unlike some of our competitors who specialise in just one of these field, our comparisons of the two solutions are a little less bias .
In one of our recent surveys, the general opinion was one that physically storing your documents would be a cheaper option than electronic document storage but EDS would be the preferred and more efficient solution, so is this really the case? Let’s investigate further, starting with document storage.
From research undertaken in one of our recent surveys, we found that the average annual cost of storing one standard size archive box was £11.40, however, it is worth noting that the costs varied depending on storage location with some central London locations quoting over £40 for a similar service. The standard storage cost isn’t the only cost to consider when storing your documents, in fact, for many companies, retrieving their files is where they will incur a high percentage of their storage charges.
Feedback from our recent survey provided us with the average cost of retrieving 3 files from storage, the costs varied depending on whether they were e-retrievals (files retrieved from storage, scanned and returned back to storage after the scanned file has been emailed to the customer) or a physical file retrieval where the file is delivered back to the customer. The cheapest we could find a 24 hour retrieval service for was £40.50 (£13.50 each) however; the average cost was £54.15 (£18.05) including delivery with some companies offering unlimited retrieval packages ranging from £60 to £175 per month.
Most document storage companies charge a withdrawal fee, this is a fee to withdraw boxes completely from storage, again the cost of this does vary, our survey provided us with an average cost of around £2 per box for this and then further charges to have the boxes delivered if the customer is unavailable to collect.
It’s hard to summarise document scanning costings in the same way as we have previously done with the physical storage costs because paperwork is different from one company to the next, with the criteria of the paperwork within the archive box changing from one job to the next and in turn altering the price to scan that box of documents. The quality of paper, size of documentation, quality and quantity can affect the prices quoted by an EDS supplier as can the total volume of paperwork and the format in which a customer would like their paperwork indexed and stored.
Electronic document storage is extremely efficient and once the files have been scanned they can be accessed within seconds without any additional costs by inserting a disc or USB to retrieve your documents or using the office server, document management system or cloud to locate the required file.
Once documents have been scanned, the only additional costs to consider are costs incurred for the secure destruction (shredding) of files and the cost of a document management system or cloud storage solution to store and manage documents which of course is a more advanced option than the standard solution provided of simply storing documents to disc, USB or hard drive which is satisfactory for many customers.
Using pricing information received from suppliers up and down the country by our recent survey we have created a case study in which we compared the costs of scanning 100 typical archive boxes of finance paperwork with the cost of storing the same 100 archive boxes for a period of 10 years with two file retrievals per month. We have also included additional costs such as the shredding costs after the documents have been scanned and withdrawal and return costs of the boxes after the 10 year storage period has expired.
|Document storage||Based on average costs|
|10 years storage costs to store 100 typical archive boxes||£11,400.00|
|240 x file retrievals (Mix of physical and e-retrievals)||£4332.00|
|Withdrawal of boxes||£200.00|
|Delivery of boxes||£85.00|
|Document scanning||Based on average costs|
|100 x typical archive boxes scanned||£3566.00|
|240 x file retrievals||No cost|
|Withdrawal of boxes||No cost|
|Shredding of boxes||£250.00|
As you can see from the above pricing comparison, the advantage of document storage is that there is very little outlay, in fact, the monthly cost of initially storing 100 boxes is less than £100 (no retrievals) which is considerably less than the initial outlay involved when choosing to have your documents digitized. However, the total spend on document scanning over a 10 year period is considerably less than the costs incurred for storing your documents not to mention the other obvious advantages in office efficiency and security.