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The Total Cost of Document Scanning: Value vs. Price per Page

When Is a Document Scanning Price Too Good To Be True?

When you make a capital purchase you want to estimate the total cost of ownership to understand the real costs that need to be budgeted. The same is true with services—particularly with document scanning as some providers dangle temptingly low pricing while hiding extra fees in the fine print.

When selecting a document scanning partner, you’ll want to make sure your quote includes other services necessary for delivering high quality electronic images. These include pick-up, doc prep, indexing, QC, and security. Otherwise, you may get a quote that only partially covers what you need. For example, we have witnessed instance of companies being surprised by hidden handling fees that can increase the per page cost of document scanning by 50%. It’s like ordering a $1 burger special and having the waiter say, “One burger coming up… Oh, did you want that cooked? That’s extra.”


Beyond just minding the fine print, you will want to look beyond cost-per-page pricing and consider the value of the holistic effort involved with document scanning:

  • Bonded Pick-Up: reputable service bureaus will pick up your documents by bonded drivers so that if anything happens at your facility or on-route, your document assets are protected
  • Document Preparation: employing experienced operators who know how to effectively prepare documents to be scanned helps the entire operation to be more efficient and for documents to be batched, barcoded and scanned properly so they can be quickly retrieved later
  • Scanner Quality: utilizing high quality production-level document scanners help ensure documents will be scanned quickly, while also making sure documents are not damaged due to jamming and double-feeds; ultrasonic multi-feed protection helps ensure that all documents are scanned and that no information is lost and image enhancement helps ensure that all documents have optimized legibility for reading and OCR (optical character recognition)
  • Indexing: automating the indexing function with barcoding and automatic data extraction allows your documents to be quickly found after scanning as cost-effectively as possible (and facilitates uploading data into your system); many providers will also have a high quality data entry option available as well when experienced manual document indexing is desired
  • Quality Control: quality of service needs to be ensured at each step in the process, from supervisors and project managers managing the people involved and client updates, to quality control personnel ensuring that automated processes work properly (e.g. box tracking) and that the final result of scanning meets client wants and needs
  • Security: your document assets must be protected every step of the way, so you will want to work with a partner that employs experienced people that have passed background checks and uses a secure facility, typically with keycard access; transmission and external storage of electronic data also needs to be secure and adhere to the SSAE 16 standard

Caveat Emptor

There’s always someone willing to drop their price to get your business. The risk to you is twofold:

  1. They keep obvious costs low while a variety of other costs are hidden in the fine print; and/or
  2. They do not deliver the same scope of service and quality, costing you more in terms of mistakes, headache and possibly needing to bring in other service providers to fill the gaps

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