IPS Blog

How much does it cost to scan a box of documents?

Mar 12, 2015 10:52:00 AM

By Greg Bartels, President/CEO

Customers typically come to us for a document scanning project armed with good intentions of a paperless office, a project goal and a deadline. They’ve researched the benefits of digitizing their business and moving to a paperless office, vetted their shortlist of choices, and need to collect quotes.

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Each customer, no matter the size of their budget, the scope of their project, or the industry they’re in, wants to know the answer to one common question:

How much is it (scanning a box of documents) going to cost?

It’s one of the most frequently asked questions we hear from prospective customers. And, as you can likely imagine, the answer is almost always the same: it depends.

The power of pricing is in your hands

When determining the cost of a scanning project, there is no pre-calculated price tag that can be stuck on each box of documents you have in a filing cabinet or storage facility. Typically, box storage companies may charge $250.00 or more per box depending on many different factors. Companies that specialize in document scanning and have built their business on providing low cost backfile conversion can do it for significantly less.

Some may argue that getting quotes that contain a pre-set price per box is quicker and easier. For those of you in charge of a document scanning project, who are already crunched for time and stretched for resources, you need a simple route that will ultimately set both your budget and your project up for success.

Taking a more thorough approach to your scanning services project is all you need to set you on the right path.

What you should know before pricing out a document scanning project

Arming yourself with the right information before contacting vendors will help prepare you and put you on a level playing field when it comes to determining real costs and sticking to your budget. This will also ensure that you won’t get blind estimates that are too high or too low, and you’ll know that what you are paying for is exactly what you need.

Before gathering pricing, be prepared with the following:

  • What’s in the box?
    • What is the actual quantity of paper contained in each box? Even a rough estimate will be better than nothing. Why? There can be discounts for more volume in some cases, but if you’re paying a set price per box you may lose the potential to save money.
  • What’s on the paper?
    • Are the sheets single or double sided? What type of documents are they? The approach for a scanning project involving only contracts can differ from one that contains employee records, invoices or other types of documents.  You may have additional options for how the documents can be digitized and stored depending on what they are as well.
  • What do you want to do with your documents?
    • Are you just trying to free up some physical space in the office and need to migrate away from physical archives? Or do you need to scan documents that are referenced frequently by internal employees or customers (or both?).
  • How do you want to be able to search your documents?
    • This is not a question of if you want to be able to search your documents, but how. No matter what kind of documents, you still need to have a system in place for searching and locating the information they contain.

Creating a searchable database of your documents is a worthwhile investment, and often one of the most compelling reasons to invest in a scanning project.  But not every customer may want to take the step from scanning to adding index fields for searching right away. Being prepared with the above details will allow you to have a conversation with your scanning services provider. For companies that want to move forward with searchable databases, this is the best time to determine how.

Accurate pricing for document scanning benefits everyone involved     

Gathering a few additional details on the documents you need scanned before discussing pricing will save you both time and money. Many document scanning companies, including IPS, offer free consultation to companies considering a project to ensure that this first step is done right. A free analysis of your boxes before providing quotes will let the experts take samplings and give recommendations specific to you, and provide you with a more thorough and cost effective process as a result. 

Before you open Pandora's box, avoid the pricing trap by making sure you have a price that meets your budget and is not subject to unwelcomed surprises.

For more information on scanning your documents, check out our document scanning guide or contact us for a free box analysis today. 

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Topics: paperless, Document imaging, Document scanning, Digitizing Business