August 13, 2013 by Tom Zeliff Categories: Document Scanning

It’s tempting to consider using the document scanning company that offers the lowest price per page or per box. But can the lowest price be too good to be true? Though price is always important, it is only one component of the entire cost.

What’s in a Price

There are several important steps to the document scanning process, including document prep, scanning, quality control, and indexing, all of which have associated costs. It’s important to find out upfront if the quoted price includes all the services needed to deliver a quality product to avoid surprise charges later.

What follows is a checklist of important questions to ask a document scanning company regarding their price and your total cost:

  • Do they charge box handling fees?
  • If they charge a per box price, how many pages does each box hold?
  • Are there minimum quantities of documents or fees for document scanning projects?
  • Is indexing included in the scanning price?
  • Is document preparation included in the price or is it additional?
  • Is there a different price for scanning legal sized documents?
  • Are there restrictions or extra charges for uniquely sized documents? (e.g. 11”x17” documents, wide/large format documents)
  • Do they charge extra for optical character recognition (OCR) processing for full-text search capability?
  • Are there separate quality control charges?
  • Are there box storage fees while boxes are kept at the scanning facility?
  • How is document storage and/or shredding managed and what costs are associated with both?
  • What are the box transportation options and costs? (e.g. licensed and bonded courier, parcel post, UPS, FedEx, etc.)
  • Do they charge pick-up fees?
  • Do they produce images in file format options that meet your needs, and are there extra charges for particular file formats? (e.g. TIFF, PDF)
  • What are the options for media delivery, such as CD, DVD, hard drive, and how much does each cost?
  • Are there charges for delivering/uploading the files?
  • Is there an option for hosting your images in a cost-effective document management system and, if so, are scanning minimums required?

Case in Point

A company needed to have their documents scanned and was attracted to a low-cost provider. When looking at the fine print, they discovered the following:

  • All of the scanning is done out of state, hundreds of miles away
  • There are page minimums for document scanning that they were not informed of previously
  • Documents will be shipped using a common delivery service vs. a courier service (a courier service ensures direct delivery from the client to the scanning facility)
  • A minimum number of boxes must be scanned in order to use the scanning company’s hosted document management software

This company needed document scanning services and was interested in cloud management for hosting their images as well. They didn’t like the idea of having to commit to scanning a large number of boxes just to use the provider’s document management software. They also didn’t like the idea of having to use the scanning company’s selected shipping partner to send their sensitive documents out of state. In their words, “I think this shines a light as to why they can be so cheap.”

Buyer’s Beware

All organizations needing document scanning have unique requirements, so it’s important to work with a partner that can meet them—and who operates honestly in their pricing and process. Make sure you review the fine print before making your final decision and watch out for the opportunistic low-cost leaders and the “gotchas” in the fine print.

Get an honest price