Why Is Scanning So Costly

scanning costs

While paper is still important for many business processes, it can quickly become a burden. Paper multiplies quickly, leading to expensive storage costs, difficulties in locating the right record, and impeding speedy collaboration. 

Document scanning allows you to convert your documents to digital files. Digital files are easier to organize, edit, and share. However, the scanning process can be costly. Why is it so expensive? It is worth the investment? Below we will discuss the costs, the process, and the benefits of scanning.

Scanning Investment

The cost of document scanning generally ranges from 7 to 12 cents per page. The price will vary based on the type of documents you have and the volume of pages. There may be slight price differences between scanning paper, microfilm, and wide-format documents; but the greatest price factors will be the required labor costs and the total number of images.

Your scanning provider will ask for detailed information about your project to provide an accurate price quote. They will want to know the type of material and page volume.

how scanning saves businesses money and time

Some material options may be:

  • Pages
  • Copy boxes
  • Bankers boxes
  • Microfilm reels (16 mm or 35 mm)
  • Microfiche cards (16 mm or 35 mm)
  • Wide format drawings & images

A general estimate of the page volume can be found using the numbers below:

  • Loose paper: 150-180 pages per inch
  • Copy box: 1800-2100 pages per box
  • Bankers box: 1800-2000 pages per box
  • Lateral filing cabinet: 5000-6000 pages per box
  • 4 drawer filing cabinet: 2500 pages per drawer
  • Photographs: 100-125 per inch

Labor costs will be based on the time spent preparing your files for scanning. Technicians will go through your documents to remove staples, paper clips, and bindings. The quality of the source material may also contribute to preparation tasks.

Post-processing requirements and optional service enhancements can add additional costs. Services like optical character recognition (OCR), blank page removal, and indexing make your files easier to organize and use. Expedited service, as well as, document reassembly may require an added charge.

How Scanning Works

Professional scanning is the fastest and most efficient way to convert your business files. Scanning in-house can be tedious and extremely time consuming. It takes up valuable time for your staff that could be better utilized. Scanning services increase quality and decrease turnaround time. Professionals also have the necessary equipment, software, and skills to properly convert and index your files.

the 6 step scanning process

Here is how scanning works:

  1. Pickup: Your scanning provider will pick up your documents and pack them if needed. They will take an inventory of your pages for tracking and loss prevention.
  2. Transport: Your documents will be taken to a nearby scanning facility. A careful chain of custody will be maintained and documented.
  3. Document Preparation: Upon arrival, your documents will be inspected. The processing team will prepare your pages and remove bindings.
  4. Scanning: Your documents will be scanned using high-resolution scanners, creating high quality digital copies. Each scan will pass through quality control and be rescanned if necessary.
  5. Indexing: IDs, names, and invoice numbers will be extracted to enable text-search functionality. Additional service enhancements may also be completed at this time.
  6. Return: Your digital files will be delivered to you via secure file transfer, encrypted thumb drive, or uploaded to your document management system. We will return your original documents to you or destroy them with secure shredding.

The technology, specialized equipment, and painstaking labor required to make high-quality files increases the price of scanning. Though it can be costly, it is a one-time cost that pays for itself with the many benefits to your company.

The Benefits of Scanning

Cost Savings

When considering the cost of scanning, it is important to weigh the price against the costs of maintaining paper documents. An employee tasked with paper-based document management spends about 20% of their time filing and retrieving files. That is valuable time taken away from other, more profit-generating activities.

Paper documents can also be easily lost, wasting more time and money for your company. PwC estimates that the cost of finding a single lost document is $122. On average, businesses lose 7.5% of the paper documents they work with, adding up to thousands of dollars lost. Scanning automates filing, enables instant retrieval, and eliminates lost documents.

Storing physical documents on or offsite is expensive. You are either giving up valuable real estate in your office or paying for storage space elsewhere. Digital document and cloud storage costs a fraction of the price and offers access from anywhere.

The Benefits of ScanningEfficiency

Paper processes are time-consuming and messy. Digital documents are indexed and organized for quick search capabilities and convenience. Your team will be able to work more productively without any wasted time.


Digital documents are protected with innovative cybersecurity, encryption, and identity-based access controls. You will be able to better protect your private information and prevent data loss. Scanning allows you to maintain multiple working copies of your documents to ensure business continuity in the event of a disaster.

Improved Customer Service

Accessible information allows your team to respond quickly and accurately to customers, giving them a better experience with your company. Customers will also appreciate communication with clear digital documents. Scanning enhances the look of your documents by removing marks, cropping, straightening, and rotating images to create professional, high-quality files.


Reducing paper usage supports sustainability initiatives and attracts environmentally-conscious customers. Today’s consumers are more likely to support brands that offer eco-friendly services and do their part to better the world.

Invest in Your Business with Scanning Services Today

Scanning is an investment in your business that creates better workflow, easier communication, and saves you money in the long run. Contact us today by calling (866) 385-3706 or filling out the form. We will instantly connect you with scanning experts in your area that offer competitive pricing. We will send you free, no-obligation price quotes for your scanning project within minutes.

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