The True Cost of Paper Storage


Oct 9, 2019

According to Eco-efficiency, 50%-70% of office space is used for document storage, which is just absurd, isn't it? However, if you take a look around your work space and observe all the nooks and crannies where paper documents have been stuffed, the file cabinets built into every employee's desk, and other traditional archival systems, you may have to concede that the statement is true, possibly even to the extent of the higher figure.

What is this figure costing your business, though? The financial implication of document storage costs is the main issue and motivates companies to seek out ways to mitigate these costs. Here we will show you how to calculate your document storage pricing and the financial association that different solutions can offer.

What current storage methods does your office use?

File cabinets, hanging folders, storage boxes, bankers box - these are the most common physical records storage options used in offices.  No matter how optimally they are positioned in your office, they all take up space. Count up all of these main paper documents depositories and measure their area. For example, a 4-drawer file cabinet takes up an average of 17 square feet of office space. Once you know how many square feet these objects account for, consider your monthly office rent costs. If your rent costs $3 per square feet per month then you can calculate how much your current options for document storage costs your business each year.

Do you utilize offsite document storage facilities?

Some companies see offsite document storage facilities as a solution to their problem with records management. After all, offsite facilities are typically not near city centers so they can afford to charge less for square footage. Though they cost less and grant you more space in your office, the initial quote given by the offsite facility is often misleading due to the additional fees that accompany the actual management of your documents. There are charges for transporting information, re-boxing files, scanning papers, and document destruction. If you readily need your paper documents then you might choose to keep those paper you deem important in your office, offsetting the solution if offsite document storage. Or you may choose to have your files shipped back in forth on a weekly basis, and whether transported digitally or physically, this will cost you more in the long-term. Calculate all these costs and average the number of times the offsite facility transports, destroys, or scans your documents.

What are the associated costs of physical storage methods?

Traditional physical document storage systems like file cabinets and hanging folders require employees to manually interact with papers and files. This aspect contributes to 7.5% of files being lost and 1 out of 5 documents being misfiled. The average employee spends 4 weeks each year looking for paper documents, and document retrieval along with reproducing a lost document can take up to 25 hours. Since time is money, these lost hours can be very costly for a business. A more severe consequence of storing information in a tangible form is the lack of document security due to the fragility of physical paper documents. Should a fire or flood occur and damage your archives, your business might not be able to recover. More than 70% of today's companies would fail within 3 weeks if they suffered a catastrophic loss of paper documents, according to DocuSign, Inc.

What is the true solution to paper storage?

A digital records management system is the only solution to business' growing paper problem. The cost of digitally storing your information is sure to be drastically less than the figure you just calculated your physical storage to be costing your business. The real benefits, however, lie in the capabilities of a document management solution. Documents can be automatically retrieved and filed, leading to less confusion and lost information. Depending on the document storage system you choose, you can also capture content, track your files, share information, and edit your documents without needing to print anything. While accessibility and innovation are often the main allure of a digital system, the security of a document management system should be overlooked.

Our final question: Do you want to have it all? Our document management solutions prioritize document security, improve accessibility, and contain all the intuitive features you need to efficiently control your business information. 

Visit our document management solutions page to learn more OR contact us to schedule an on-site demo!