Shredding — what is it good for? Actually, quite a lot. Shredders help companies optimize efficiency for the same reason that you think and work better in an uncluttered space. (Rather than an office piled ceiling-high with legal pads and sticky notes and manila folders.) The two basic categories of shredding are onsite and offsite. The difference between them may seem obvious, but it’s worth walking through them to figure out which one is right for your business.
The Importance of Shredding
First, let’s consider why you might need to call a shredder in the first place. Imagine that you’re a law firm. Think about how much paper piles up your firm every day. We’re talking deposition transcripts, letters in the mail, redwelds with thousands of pages of motions and discovery and subpoenas. (To say nothing of medical records, which can spawn shelves of three-ring binders for a single patient.) Even if you’re a small operation, mountains of paper multiply within weeks. Now think about if you’ve been in business for 20 years. Unless you want to prop your desks and computers on sliding piles of paperwork, you’ll need that paper shredded and hauled away sometime.
Paper removal isn’t just a housekeeping priority, but a safety measure, too. The 1988 ruling in California v. Greenwood made searching through someone else’s trash totally okay. In that case, the police suspected that a local man, Billy Greenwood, was selling drugs out of his home. They searched through his trash, found enough evidence, and arrested him. Mr. Greenwood appealed. The case went all the way up to the Supreme Court, which affirmed that a warrantless search through someone else’s trash is constitutional.
Translation: Anyone can loot through the garbage cans you push out to the curb once a week. Now, if that person nabs your bank statement and steals your identity — yeah, that’s a crime. But that he can so easily sift through your private property is scary enough. And that may be one reason that identity theft is a relatively common crime in the US. In 2014 alone, over 17.6 million US Americans reported that their identity had been stolen. Granted, the fraudulent use of credit cards and bank account numbers made up the majority of these cases, and that information is usually accessed electronically. Still, if that information is mailed to you — ironically, for increased security — you may be setting yourself up for identity theft if you don’t call your shredder on the reg, especially if you’re a company.
Spoiler alert: If you’ve guessed that onsite shredding happens at the site of your business while offsite happens at a different site, you have just guessed correctly. But deciding between the two requires you to think through a few pros and cons.
Let’s say you call AllShred for an onsite project. We’ll show up, collect your documents or hard drives or both, and destroy them right in front of you. The benefit here is that you get to see it happen, and it happens immediately. You don’t have to worry about shipping your paper out, worry that someone didn’t get it, worry that it didn’t get destroyed. Instead, trucks roll in. Paper gets carted out. Shredding commences. Boom. Done.
If onsite’s so convenient, what’s the benefit of offsite? Two reasons:
- You’re Busy
You’ve got 99 problems today. Let’s say you’re a partner at that law firm. Most likely, your calendar is color-coded with appointments. You’re interviewing an associate, prepping an expert for trial, reading through a binder of depositions. You don’t have time to stand in the parking lot and oversee someone destroy all of the excess documents that your office generates. That’s why you hire us. You don’t even have to think about the docs. The same way that the trash gets taken out and the light switches get flipped on in the morning, the shredding gets finished so you can focus on your role and not clutter up your schedule with any more obligations.
- You’re Busy (Part II)
Law firms are often decked out in marble and mahogany the same way that banks before the Great Depression were housed in columned buildings with sonorous hallways — you’ve got to give off a sense of stability to sway anyone to invest in you. Let’s say you’re hosting important clients today. You don’t want those clients to have to park around a shredding truck that’s grinding through bulk paper. Shred that paper offsite, and none of the din of ripping, tearing, or smashing will break into the meeting you’re hosting in that book-lined conference room of yours.
So which is better, onsite or offsite? The answer comes down to the needs of your business. Paper shredding is a relative commodity. That means the bottom dollar bid wins. AllShred’s goal is to beat every bid out there. We’re NAID-certified, and we don’t just shred paper. We contract with a host of companies to destroy everything from athletic gear to mattress pads to steel-toed boots. Our goal is to clear your clutter onsite or offsite so that you can be more efficient and ace those appointments on your calendar. That’s what shredding’s good for.