Do-It-Yourself Shredding: Does It Save Money?

When information destruction laws were enacted to protect the private information organizations handle, many businesses were forced to practice shredding policies.

The main choice organizations were confronted with was: do we shred our records with an office shredder, or hire a professional shredding company to get our documents and shred them for us?

Usually, in most cases it came down to cost. What is the lowest we can pay to shred our records without compromising security?

On the surface, buying your own shredder and having internal employees shred their own documents might appear to be cheaper. You pay a one time expense for a shredder and have employees shred their documents every once in awhile. In addition the need to shred documents stay in control.

However, there are hidden expenses related to shredding your documents yourself which makes it a less competitive option.

Hidden Fees of Shredding Documents Yourself

The average office shredder will cost about $200 and have a life span of about 5 years if used properly. Doing the math this puts you at a low cost of $3.33 per month—but this isn’t the only price you will pay to shred your files yourself. These are other costs (financial and otherwise) that you should consider.

The Loss of Time

While the process of shredding doesn’t take too long, overtime the minutes add up. If you have 10 employees, each of whom spend on average of 2 minutes a day shredding documents, that is 100 minutes of shredding a week, or about 400 minutes (over 6.5 hours) per month dedicated to shredding records. This is time that could be spent working on regular job duties.

You also need to add time to this estimate due to jams that regularly occur, especially on the cheaper shredder machines, and also add in the time it takes to remove staples and clips if your shredder cannot handle those materials.

The Cost of Space

An adequate shredder takes up valuable office space that can be used otherwise. You pay a premium for office space—the average city charges around $1.80 per month per square foot. A conservative estimate might put an office shredder at about 2 square feet, meaning you pay $43.20 a year just to keep the shredder in your office.

The Cost of Labor


If you have 10 employees spending on average 2 minutes per day shredding, it adds up to about 6.5 hours of time per month. If you assume the average hourly wage for an office worker is around $14.50, you end up paying $94.25 per month to have your own employees shred their paperwork.

The Cost of Maintenance

Purchasing a shredder is not a one time cost. You have to consider maintenance and account for the fact that eventually the shredder will break down and you will have to invest in another machine. You will have to purchase oil for the blades ($10 for 12oz) and properly sized shredder bags ($7 for 25), and regularly cleaning dust and debris out of the teeth takes up employee time.

The cheaper the shredder you buy, the less it will be able to handle, if you force too many papers or send paperclips or staples through it on accident you may have to call in repair man or get ready to purchase a brand new shredder.

Cost of Shredding Your Documents Yourself
Est. Cost of Shredder per Month $3.33
Est. Cost of Space per Month $3.60
Est. Cost of Labor per Month $94.25
Est. Cost of Maintenance per Month $1.42
Total Est. Cost per Month $102.60

As these monthly costs add up, you eventually realize that shredding files yourself costs more than you might think at first glance. If you are a small business and don’t handle very much sensitive paperwork, we also have the option of just dropping off your documents yourself, for convenient shredding. See a list of our drop off locations and pricing. But if you need to shred more than 100 files a week, consider our mobile shredding services.

Professional Shredding Services


Professional shredding services keep you compliant with information security laws and perform the dirty work for you. They stop by your location, pick up your files, shred them for you, and deal with mess so you don’t have to. There are a variety of service options to choose from:

Offsite shredding: services pick up your papers and take them to a secure facility to be shredded with thousands of other documents.

Mobile shred trucks can visit your location and shred onsite while you watch.

Professional shredding services are secure. We are a NAID certified provider and we will provide you with a certificate of destruction for your records.

Another perk you get by partnering with us — we recycle the shredded paper for you. If you shred your own files you will notice that it’s difficult if not impossible to find a recycler who will take your shredded paper—it’s simply too messy. But our professional shredding services work with recyclers and bale the shredded paper bits making it easier on the recycling center.

Save Your Bottom Line, Hire a Professional Shredder

Mobile Record Shredders is a secure, certified shredding company. If you are looking for an alternative to your office shredder, give us a call at (719) 544-5460 or fill out this contact form. We will get you a quote for free so you can determine if shredding services are right for your business.

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