Small business records storage: should you do it yourself

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When it comes to records storage, you have two choices: store them yourself at an offsite storage facility or hire a company to manage offsite storage.

February 19, 20217 mins
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When it comes to records storage, you have two choices: store records yourself or hire a company to manage storage offsite.

The records you keep—on finances, customers, employees, equipment and inventory —are the fuel that keeps your small business running. Without them, your operations come to a standstill.

Records should be stored safely and out of sight. If your record storage plan is a back room filled with boxes of documents, you’re putting your business at risk. Loss of valuable documents by theft or fire could put you out of commission for months—or, worse, shut you down for good.

Your records are not only more vulnerable in your office, but also take up valuable space you could use to spread employees out, store inventory, or make customers more comfortable.

Simply put, it’s not good business to keep records onsite.

Know the 7 advantages of outsourcing offsite storage

The sensitivity of your information, your industry, your appetite for risk, record accessibility, and cost of services all factor into your record storage decision. Here, we’ve outlined advantages for outsourcing offsite storage:

1. Space

With self-storage, you can have as much space as you can pay for, but you are subject to available onsite or offsite spaces. Companies that specialize in offsite records storage don’t have space problems. It’s their business to have enough space for customers.

2. Transport

Packing up, transporting and unloading documents to a storage facility on your own can be cumbersome. Not only is it tough physically moving everything, it also requires a truck and vehicle insurance. With a professional records storage service, your files are picked up and transported by vetted, trained drivers to a secure facility.

3. Security

While many self-storage facilities have some degree of security camera surveillance, it’s up to you to lock your unit. If you forget to lock your unit one day, you may be out of luck as most facilities have contract clauses saying they aren’t liable for stolen or missing items. You also won’t know who else is storing items at the facility or what they’re storing, which could be hazardous materials for all you know.

With a professional records storage service, employees are screened, and record facilities are built with security top of mind. They typically have strong security systems with fences and guards, as well as external and internal surveillance.

4. Disaster protection

Most self-storage facilities offer some protection against fire and water damage but they aren’t guaranteed to withstand extreme weather conditions.

Professional facilities are built with strong structural integrity and have the latest fire and flood prevention systems.

5. Easy file access

There will be times you need to find a file that’s been put in storage. With the do-it-yourself method, you have to spend your own time driving to the storage unit and searching through boxes.

Professional services have this covered. You can request a document from the service, and it’s delivered to you quickly.

6. Disposing of documents

When a document reaches the end of its legal retention period, it can be time-consuming to search through boxes to find and destroy it securely.

With a professional service, you can have your documents retrieved and shredded on a predetermined schedule.

7. Cost effectiveness

While self-storage might seem like the less expensive option, that’s not always the case. To ensure you have enough self-storage space, you’ll probably pay for space you don’t use. You’ll also need a good insurance policy.

At a professional storage facility, you pay only for the records you store, and insurance is included. You also save the labor costs of sorting, searching and transporting records yourself.

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