Start a Document Shredding Business
By Eric Hammer
Look at any website or book on personal finance and one of
the very first things theyll suggest is that you purchase
a cross cut shredder to destroy all sensitive documents. These
things work great when you have a small amount of material that
needs to be shredded, but what about a business? For business
needs, you can supply them with secure document destruction with
a document shredding business.
The way it works is that you come by and pick up documents
that need to be destroyed. The documents are loaded on to your
truck and carted away to a separate facility where they are run
through your industrial level shredders to destroy them utterly.
This way, the business has their secrets protected while you
get to make a tidy profit on the deal.
Now you may be asking why the business wouldnt simply
purchase a shredder for the office and cut you out of the loop.
The answer is simple cost and convenience. The kind of
equipment you can bring to bear would destroy thousands of documents
in a matter of minutes whereas it would take hours or days to
destroy those same documents using the average office shredding
machine. Not to mention cost time is money after all and
the time employees spend standing over the shredder is time they
arent spending doing their jobs and earning the company
How Much Can You Make?
As with most businesses that you run on your own how much
you can make from a document shredding business depends on your
own initiative at getting regular contracts from businesses like
banks, hospitals and government agencies who regularly have need
to shred documents. Typical rates for shredding services (which
usually charge by the pound) range from around $1-$4 per pound
depending on a number of factors, including the security of the
destruction (is it a standard crosscut or confetti cut, are the
documents secured by armed guards and transported in armored
trucks en route, etc.). Therefore, you need to get some serious
volume in order to make a living at this. However, in major urban
areas there is definitely a need and you can do quite well for
Ways to Make More | Related Opportunities
In addition to basic off site shredding services, some document
destruction companies also offer mobile shredding services where
they will come by with a truck with industrial shredders in the
back of the truck hooked up to a generator. The documents are
then shredded on site, minimizing security risks.
Another option is to offer a burn service where documents,
after being shredded are burned to ashes. This is commonly used
for top secret government documents since they dont want
to risk the possibility of even confetti shredding being able
to be reassembled by hostile entities.
Finally, you can also make money from recycling the paper
that your shred. If you arent burning the documents, they
can be transported, already shredded to a paper recycling facility
that may pay for the raw material from you to be recycled (or
you could recycle the paper yourself).
The key to this business is integrity and price. You will
not last long in the document shredding business if you develop
a reputation for letting some documents slip through which then
reveal critical information. However, even if you offer perfect
integrity and security, you will also be competing against other
companies vying for the same contracts so you need to keep costs
down as much as possible.
Qualifications / Requirements
There are no formal requirements to set up a document shredding
business; however you do need to purchase the equipment, which
can be expensive. Expect to spend anywhere from $10,000-$50,000
in start up costs in order to create your document destruction
Start by taking inventory of your home town. Look realistically
at how many places there are that might require bulk document
destruction services. Places like banks, investment houses, hospitals,
busy doctor clinics and government offices are all places that
will likely use such a service. Schools also may have need of
such a service when they clear old records.
BPlans: Sample Document Shredding Business Plan
This is a really good resource which provides a sample
business plan for a document destruction company. It goes through
all the requirements that such a company may have and allows
you to really see what youll need to do in order to make
your own business successful.
All About Shredders: Starting a Mobile Shredding
Business This is a good start on the idea of offering
mobile shredding solutions as opposed to off site shredding.