Don’t be left behind: Adding scanning services increases shredding revenue

January 29, 2013

By Andy Sokol, Owner of CopyScan and Dean of Scanning School

More businesses than ever are changing the way they think about their paper records. From environmental pressures to cheaper alternatives, document scanning and imaging can revolutionize the shredding industry.

Shredding companies that don’t diversify and offer scanning to their existing and future customers will suffer, especially as managing data in the cloud becomes the standard for business document management. What’s more, they’ll miss out on a once-in-a-business-lifetime opportunity to explode their business!

In order to get more shredding customers, you need to also be in the document imaging business. Ray Barry, formerly of Shred School, used to ask, “Are you really in the shredding business?” If you only offer shredding to your storage customers and you don’t know how to sell it on its own, you are not in the shredding business. Andy Sokol, the Dean of Scanning School, was Barry’s third graduate of Shred School and can attest to that. In the same way, if you don’t know how to sell document scanning as its own service and your imaging revenue is based only on archive imaging, you are missing the most profitable imaging business out there, and here’s why.

In 1995, I built CopyScan as a document copying and scanning company without any other services. It was profitable all by itself, and in 2003, I added shredding as an additional service. Although I added other services over the years, document imaging is still the most profitable service I offer.

In order to sell imaging on its own, shredding company leaders need to learn a lot of new vocabulary. If you don’t understand what your customer will do with the images, how they will access them, and what system and software they are using, it will be impossible for you to do the consultative selling required to sell imaging. Archive scanning competes with box storage, which is much less expensive and is usually the most cost-efficient alternative to scanning. The misconception that most shredders have is that document scanning is not profitable. That’s because they don’t realize that document imaging is not about storage, it’s about the customer having instant access to their files. Archiving is only about storage and is the lowest margin work you will do.

In order to do the lucrative imaging of litigation documents for example, you need to be able to speak the litigation language. Selling imaging requires selling trust. Your prospect doesn’t trust someone that doesn’t know their lingo. You will need to learn the language and process of litigation so that you can have a conversation with a law firm like a pro. Since people will be suing other people for many years to come, don’t you want to create this revenue annuity?

In order to sell to corporations, you need to understand the vocabulary of business systems and the workflow that they use within their company. There is an entire language for business processes. You need to know it to confidently have the business process conversation like a pro.

And, yes, there are medical records. Perhaps you are wondering why this subject is last. Medical record scanning is hot right now and will be for some time to come. But document imaging was profitable long before the health care bill provided electronic medical record benefits to doctors, and it will be for many years. Remember, knowing the lingo means gaining trust.

And here’s the best part: All of these industries, and many others, will provide built-in shredding revenue because once the documents are scanned, they need to be shredded. There is nothing to lose by learning the document imaging business. You have everything to lose if you don’t learn.

CopyScan’s scanning customers never bid their shredding work and the local shredding competition doesn’t even know about the job; it’s already taken care of before the documents are ready for shredding. For more information about how to add document scanning as an additional service to your shredding company, come to our workshop at the upcoming NAID conference in Nashville, or check us out on the web at