What is the Average Cost of a Scanning Project?

Document scanning specialist scanning images at Didlake Imaging in Manassas, Virginia.

Document scanning can change the way you access business-critical information. The upfront costs of a digitization project can return long-term rewards for organizations, but what’s the average cost of a scanning project?

In short, the typical scanning project costs around 7-12 cents per image scanned. When scanning a document, an image is a single-side of a piece of paper. If you scan a single-sided document, your cost would be for one image. If you have a double-sided document, your cost would be for two images. The total cost of your project will depend on the number of single and double-sided pages you need scanned.

Scanning project quotes vary according to the file format and service solutions. Each scanning project is different and comes with unique requirements and customizations. To receive an accurate quote, you’ll need to provide a detailed analysis of your task at hand.

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What You Need to Estimate the Cost of a Scanning Project

Scanning projects involve large volumes of historical and sometimes sensitive documents. It can be overwhelming to know exactly what you need scanned.You can use the big to small method to break down your scanning project into smaller, more digestible tasks.

The big to small method goes like this:

  • Project
  • Document types
  • Boxes
  • Folders
  • Files
  • Pages
  • Fasteners
  • Condition

Using the big to small method keeps your project from becoming overwhelming, giving you a more holistic project approach. Here are a few questions to help you know what you need before you can estimate the cost of your scanning project.

What Type of Documents are you Scanning?

Your scanning project uses high-level details like project start and end dates, costs, the document management vendor you will work with, and what personnel will be involved.

Once all these details are sorted, you can look into what types of documents need to be scanned. Categorize your documents by document types (or doctypes for short). There’s no set way to identify your files; you select what works best for you!

Your document scanning partner will need to know your doctypes so they can replicate what you already know. For a more accurate quote, note the file format you will be scanning, such as paper documents or microfilm rolls, during your initial consultation.

How Many Pages Do You Have to Scan?

The first question our experts will ask you before providing a project quote is how many pages you need scanned. Provide an accurate paper count estimate to ensure you receive an accurate quote.

One way to know how much paperwork you have is to count the number of boxes you need scanned. A standard file box (also known as a banker box) holds around 2,700 single-sided pages and is 10 x 12 x 15”. The total number of boxes x 2700 = the approximate number of pages.

Be sure to identify what is stored in each file box. For example, write on the front of the box “Tax Records 2001 Box 1 of 4” to indicate the doctype, time period of contents, and amount of boxes with related materials.

Will You Have Double-Sided Pages?

Double-sided pages add complexity to scanning projects. Use separate file boxes for double-sided and single-sided pages. Organizing paperwork by single-sided and double-sided lets us calculate your project in its entirety.

A standard letter file box of double-sided paperwork increases 2,700 pages to 5,400.

If you’re concerned about the volume of paperwork for the project, don’t be alarmed. While projects are priced on the total amount of documents, larger projects have lower average costs per scanned page.

Green paper clip removed from a pages in a document scanning project.
Do the prep work yourself! Be sure to remove all pesky binding material before embarking on your scanning project.

How Much Prep Work Do You Have?

If your documents have staples or paperclips, know how many will need to be removed. The more prep work your scanning project requires can impact the total cost and duration of your project.

You will also need to consider the condition of physical pages and the quality of image files to ensure they can be scanned for indexing and easy retrieval. Poor conditions include pixelated images, ripped, curled, and folded pages, and even old and damaged documents. If your documents are in poorer condition they will require more prep work and can increase the cost of the project.

Does your Project Need to Follow Regulations and Compliances?

Different organizations require that documents follow special regulations and compliances. Before you start your scanning project, understand your document retention policy and record retention guidelines.

Rules set in these frameworks determine how your scanning project happens. Here are some options you will need to consider for a project estimate.

Where Can Documents Be Scanned?

Under some record retention guidelines, documents cannot leave the site or need a witness to the process. During your estimate, you will be asked if you need on-site or off-site scanning.

On-site scanning services have scanners come to perform the scanning at your location. The scanning company’s main focus is to finish your project as quickly as possible, so you can get back to business. On-site scanning is a project option for organizations that want to oversee and have the comfort of knowing their records are in good hands.

Off-site scanning is a more convenient option for organizing your scanning project. We pick up your documents and deliver them to our secure facilities.

Can the Documents Be Destroyed?

Some files need digital backups but still need to be stored in physical form. Consult your record retention policy to know what files will need to be returned to you after digitization. Documents that don’t need to be stored in physical form can be shredded.

How Will You Store the Documents?

Once your documents are scanned, you’ll need to think about how you’ll store the digital files. We can convert documents into TIF or PDF format and import them into a user-friendly database, content management system, or workflow. Many organizations choose to outsource their document management programs at this point of their project.

Prospective clients often overlook how much digital storage they need for their electronic documents. If you need a secure cloud repository for your records, be sure to include this in your budget.

How to Manage Documents After A Scanning Project

After you’ve scanned your documents into digital files, there are document management options that you can use to increase the efficiency of your business. Digital Mailrooms, Cloud Storage, and document management systems are all scanning project service solutions that impact the cost of your project.

Think about how you will handle paper documents after your project. Will you want to scan them as well? A day-forward scanning schedule can help you keep up with your digitization progress, scanning documents on a regular and recurring basis.
Understanding scanning project options will help you better organize your project plan and give us the ability to provide the most accurate quote possible for your project. Be sure to evaluate all project options and explore what solutions work best for your operations.

While digitization is associated with upfront costs, the long-term benefits can help your organization operate at peak performance. Request a free quote from our document management experts today and see what a physical to digital transformation can do for you!