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Which Shredding Service to Choose?

Posted on 07 September 2012 by Total Secure Shredding

How dos this shredding thing work?

4 Steps to Determining Your Shredding Needs

WARNING: This is not about which Shredding Company you should choose. This is about choosing the best shredding service TYPE that meets your needs viz, Drop-Off; Witnessed; Un-Witnessed; Mobile; Pickup; Recurring Service; Hard Drives.

I get this question all the time: “So how does your shredding service work?”

Well… Let’s begin.

Step 1: Determine how many standard size file boxes do you have.

Obviously, this begs the question: What is a Standard Size File Box. I go into great detail what is a Standard Size File Box and what happens if you don’t have your stuff in a Standard Size File Box HERE.

Once you have an approximate estimate foggy notion of how many boxes you might be needing shredded…

>>Here’s my best advice:

  • If you have LESS than 10 Standard Size File Boxes, I Highly Recommend bringing it down to our secure facility for Drop Off Paper Shredding (for more details click HERE).
  • If you have MORE than 10 Standard Size File Boxes, I Highly Recommend having us come out to you to perform a Mobile or Pickup Purge Service (for more details click HERE).

The reason for this distinction is that we have a minimum charge for coming out to you. Consequently there is significant savings if you only have a few boxes.

That being said, we have no problem coming out to you even if you only have one box (or one sheet of paper) and you are always welcome to come down to us even if you have more than 10 boxes.

Step 2: Determine whether or not it’s important for you to watch the documents get shredded.

This is only a determination that you can make.

I often get asked, “Do most people watch their documents get shredded?” On average, I would say 60 to 70% of our customers want to be around when their documents are shredded. How close they are watching is up to them.

>>Here’s my best advice: All I can say is that there is a certain satisfaction, when everything is said and done, of knowing 100% FOR CERTAIN that your documents were shredded.

On a side note: Almost all lawyers don’t want to watch their stuff get shredded. They are satisfied with receiving a certificate of destruction after the fact. I’m not saying that’s good or bad… Just something I’ve noticed.

Me personally, I would watch… but then again I’m not a lawyer!

You have the option of watching everything get shredded whether you come down to us or we come out to you.

Step 3: Determine if you may need a recurring service.

This is typically reserved for businesses… But not necessarily only for large businesses. A recurring service may be the perfect option for a small business or even a home business.

First off, a recurring shredding service, or bin service, is a service provided by most shredding companies which includes the use of a secure locking container by the business whereby the shredding service comes by on a periodic basis, usually monthly, to empty and shred the contents of the container. The shredding can either take place at the location of the business or back at the secure shredding facility of the shredding company (see Step 2).

A company will typically hire a shredding firm to perform this recurring service when they’ve come to a point where their paper volume is overwhelming their individual shredding machines resulting in high replacement and maintenance costs. Basically, you’re going through a quite a few shredding machines and it’s starting to cost a fortune.

There is also a time factor that must be considered. At some point, the time it takes to use your individual shredding machine (not just the shredding but emptying the shredded material canister and cleaning up any other mess) get’s to be more of an inconvenient time waster than a convenience.

>>Here’s my best advice:

  • Shredding Machine Costs: For the most part, most shredding machines you can buy suck and are not worth a fraction of the money.  I only recommend having your own shredding machine if you can keep up with a low volume of daily mail (i.e. credit card solicitations).
  • Extra Space: If you have the extra space to store day to day documents in boxes, it’s always cheaper to call us out for a purge.  If you’re paying for storage, that’s certainly something to consider.
  • Document Sensitivity: You must mitigate the cost savings of a periodic purge service against the POTENTIAL cost of having sensitive documents hanging around for an extended period of time. There’s no benefit to having potential eyes looking at documents that should be disposed.

So if you’re replacing your shredder machine every year and you don’t have the space to store discarded documents and you don’t want to have sensitive material hanging around, I’d consider trying something else. For most business, haveing a low cost bin service that you can call on for service AS NEEDED is ideal. See more HERE.

Step 4: Determine what other Non Paper media needs to be disposed.

Just about every type of media that contains information that must be securely disposed of at some time or another. This can include:

  • X-Rays
  • VHS Tapes/Cassette Tapes
  • CD’s/DVD’s/Diskettes/Disks
  • Hard Drives
  • Thumb Drives
  • Cell Phones/PDA’s

Many of these things can be taken care of by an enterprising individual. For example, a sledge hammer does wonders to cell phones, thumb drives, and hard drives.

>>Here’s my best advice: Having the right tools is the difference between an easy job and making an easy job overly difficult. Yes, a sledge hammer or some other cutting, bending, punching device may do the job. But is it the easiest way to get it done considering your time and effort? Getting the job done easily plus making sure the remains are recycled properly is often worth the minimal cost. Read more HERE.


Paper Shredding isn’t all that complicated but asking the right questions and getting the best answers can make life a little bit easier.

Here’s my last bit of advice: For the budget conscientious (and who isn’t these days), it’s always more affordable to bring your documents down to us and opt for the Un-Witnessed option.

Finally, here’s a quick One Page checklist that summarizes these 4 steps. I call it the “5 Minute Paper Shredding Audit“.

And, as always, feel free to give us a call or post a question in the comments section below.

Your friend,

Head Shredding guy

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