Protect your home or business from identity theft and fraud with professional document destruction. Professional document shredding providers with top-notch security systems in place provide paper and document destruction on your behalf, at either your location or their premises. Professional facilities are able to shred paper, cardstock, cardboard, plastic, media and other materials. From one box to hundreds of pounds of paper, document shredding companies have you covered.
Paper shredding is used across all industries for secure record management. Some of the largest clients of this service are those that work with paper documents or records which contain confidential client or patient information like home addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, credit card numbers and other sensitive personal or private information. These include companies in the insurance, dental, medical and legal fields.
However, document destruction isn't just for big businesses; individual households can have documents destroyed on a one-time or recurring basis to maintain privacy and prevent identity theft. Some individuals just do it once a year after tax season. If you have a large volume of personal papers that need safe destruction, hire a company to provide a secure container for your location and safely dispose of the contents once a month or more. If you're interested in protecting privacy with shredding services, here are the cost factors.
A one-time service — known as a purge in the industry — can safely clean out those boxes of old files, tax documents and other confidential documents you've been unsure what to do with. Companies may charge different rates for on-site and off-site destruction or a drop-off service. Some charge by weight, while others charge by the number of documents, boxes of paper, or bags of paper you're having destroyed.
With on-site destruction, the company brings a mobile shredding machine to your location. This option is good for companies that have about 300 pounds of paper — or about 10 boxes — to dispose of. If you're shy of the ideal amount, you can invite another small business or neighbor to contribute their old documents and share the cost of the shredding.
With off-site destruction, the company picks up your material, brings it to its own facility, and quickly destroys it in industrial machines. On-site destruction typically costs more because the fee accounts for the time company employees must spend at your location. Most companies will send you a certificate of destruction after the paper is shredded, in case you require proof of its destruction.
If you don't have enough paper to make it worthwhile for a shredding company to come to you, you can arrange to send the paper to them. Drop-off paper shredding services allow you to drop off copy paper boxes full of papers — usually 30 pounds per box — for destruction. On average, drop-off shredding costs a flat rate of about $1 per pound and may include a minimum charge. Usually, the paper is shredded at the company's convenience, and you will be notified when it's done.
Here is an example of average one-time residential or smaller-scale commercial document destruction costs:
- On-site job of up to 10 boxes: $125 from Paper Cuts, Inc. in San Fernando, California. Minimum charge of $125 for mobile service.
- Off-site service of up to 10 boxes: $75-$80 from Paper Cuts, Inc.
Ongoing residential service
Clients can arrange for an ongoing document destruction service. Typically the scheduled service agreement provides a secure container that the company will collect each week, each month or as arranged. Here is one example of cost:
- One 64-gallon bin: $40 per month from Paper Cuts, Inc. Holds up to 200 pounds of documents.
- One heavy-duty teflon bag: $30 per month from Paper Cuts, Inc. The bag self-seals, and the company picks it up and exchanges it for a new bag.
Commercial services are available for every size company from small mom-and-pop operations to large corporations disposing of thousands of pounds of paper per month. The more containers a company uses, the higher the overall cost, but the lower the price per container. Here are two examples of the average cost of a medium-sized and larger-scale shredding from a service provider:
- Medium-sized company: 5 bins per month: $90 per month from Paper Cuts, Inc. $30 for the first container, and $15 per additional container.
- Large company: 100 bins per month: $1,200-$1,500 per month from Paper Cuts, Inc. $12-$15 per container, per service.
The type of shredding service you choose comes down how securely you need to destroy your documents — the stricter the security requirements, the smaller the shredded paper must get. A strip-cut shredder is the least secure; it uses rotating knives to cut narrow strips the length of the original sheet of paper. Cross-cut, also called confetti-cut, shredders use two contra-rotating drums to cut rectangular, parallelogram-shaped, or diamond-shaped pieces of paper. Particle-cut shredders cut paper into tiny square or circular pieces. Finally, pierce-and-tear shredders, which are the most secure type, have rotating blades that pierce the paper, then tear it apart into tiny pieces; most mobile shredding and off-site shredding services use pierce-and-tear shredders.
There are seven levels of security, ranging from P-1 to P-7. Security levels P-1 and P-2 are for shredding general internal documents; strip-cut papers range from 7/16-inch to ⅜-inch to ¼-inch wide. At this level, documents could be reproduced. Security levels P-3 and P-4 are for shredding internal documents with sensitive, confidential and personal data; strip-cut pieces should be no more than ¼-inch to ⅛-inch wide. It would take considerable effort to reproduce the data and may require specialized equipment. Security level P-5 is for shredding confidential information, while level P-6 is for confidential information with an exceptionally high level of security; strip-cut pieces are no more than 1/16-inch wide. Few companies need to shred documents at the higher level of security, because it's extremely difficult to reproduce data shredded at level P-6. Finally, security level P-7 is reserved for shredding top-secret data; strip-cut pieces are no wider than 1/32-inch wide. It is currently impossible to reproduce data shredded at this level.
Because the law requires many industries, including medical, legal and government agencies, to shred documents, it's important to make sure that the shredding service you choose is compliant with government regulations, such as HIPAA for medical facilities, FACTA for companies dealing with personal or business credit, and GLA for financial institutions. A shredding service that is compliant with the National Association for Information Destruction (NAID) has been certified to follow all safety and security procedures; they will provide your company with a certificate proving that all rules and regulations for storing and destroying documents were followed.
Research the security measures your intended document shredding agency has in place. Darryl Pikoos says that all Paper Cuts, Inc. employees are licensed, bonded and insured, as well as being certified with the National Association for Information Destruction. All the documents and materials transported by Paper Cuts, Inc. are locked in secured containers and vehicles, and each client gets a certificate of destruction for each occurrence. For more, check out our tips for smart hiring.
Many document destruction companies offer other services, including electronic media destruction.
"We offer secure document storage, electronic waste recycling, hard drive destruction, and in-house imaging and scanning," says Pikoos at Paper Cuts, Inc. "We charge 25 cents per box per month to store documents on site with us — allowing you 24/7 access to them. We also fax, scan, and deliver papers on your behalf. A lot of doctors and lawyers work with us in this way because no one has space these days."
- Don't worry about removing staples, binder clips and paper clips, says Pikoos at Paper Cuts, Inc.; their industrial shredders can handle the job.
- The number of containers or boxes you have is more important than the total weight of documents you want shredded, says Pikoos at Paper Cuts, Inc. His company charges per container or box, not per pound.
- Save money by having your documents destroyed at the company's facilities. Onsite shredding often costs more, explains Pikoos at Paper Cuts, Inc., because the company must transport its shredders to your location.