The Cost of a Paper File

You’re reading this on a screen, aren’t you? Thought so.

You didn’t print out a copy of this very important blog post. Trust us, our feelings aren’t hurt. In fact, we want you to save paper -- not just for the environment’s sake, but for your agency’s budget, too!

Did you know that the average office worker burns through more than 10,000 sheets of paper per year and about $20 every time they file a paper document? Naturally, that figure grows once human error gets involved. For every misfiled document, businesses spend about $120 in labor trying to find it. If the document can’t be found, business incur around $220 in labor costs recreating it.

In a busy office, those unexpected expenses can add up quickly! But what if you’re a perfectionist? What if you’re that person who color-codes, triple-checks, double-checks your triple-check, and refuses to let anyone touch your meticulously organized file cabinet?


“Those expenses couldn’t possibly impact me and my perfect system, right?”

office worker burdened by file cabinets

Source: Shutterstock


Let’s talk about that meticulous file cabinet. These days, a fireproof 4-drawer file cabinet can cost you upwards of $2,000. You can buy cheap, of course, but if you’re serious about your filing habits, you understand the seriousness of quality.
Take a look around your office. How many cabinets do you have? How many do you need? What happens when your book of business outgrows them?


“I’ve had these cabinets forever! I’ll never have to buy more, because they’re not going anywhere.”

old office worker with vintage file cabinet

Source: Shutterstock

Right. Yes. About that.

Your sturdy file cabinets aren’t going anywhere, and that -- that -- should concern you. The average cost of renting office space ranges wildly all across the U.S. In New York’s Midtown neighborhood, you can expect to pay an average of $73/sqft annually, while in downtown Dallas, you’re looking at around $22/sqft annually.

Let’s say you go vertical instead of lateral, with a four-drawer cabinet sized at 56” tall, 19” wide, and 31” deep. That meticulous system of yours takes up just over four sqft, a whopping $298 in New York and $89 in Dallas. If you go laterally, relying on a cabinet that’s 28” tall, 31” wide, and 22” deep, those figures jump up to $346 and $104, respectively.


“But… But…. My system works.”

office worker ninja tie in file cabinet

Source: Shutterstock

It does, yes.

Is it sustainable? No.

Is it foolproof, practical, and cost-effective? No, not at all.

There’s never been a better time to trade the file cabinet for an agency management system. If you’ve already made the switch, we’re proud of you. If you’re still running your agency the old fashioned way, please take a moment to fill out this form. It’s not for us. It’s for you.


the cost of a paper file form



Let’s step back for a moment.

You know where we stand on this issue, and if after all that you’re still attached to your paper files, we don’t want to keep twisting your arm. The fact of the matter is simple. If you’re in Dallas, paying less than one-third in rental space costs than your New York counterpart, relying on quality file cabinet handed down from generation to generation, the kind that you don’t mind navigating around and don’t see your business outgrowing, and your employees never, ever make mistakes -- you could argue that an agency management system might not be the most cost effective choice, but “going paperless” is just one the many benefits of switching. Think of all the time you’ll save, and how that translates to money. Imagine what your agency could do if it maximizes its efficiency.

In a perfect world, the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) on the file cabinet system might be low, but what’s the value of this system? As an independent agent, you have to be careful about how you invest your agency’s hard-earned capital. In deciding where to invest, you are going to seek out the most value.

We’re positive you won’t find it in a file cabinet.

Value is the belief that you are getting something greater than what you are giving. In evaluating the difference between a file cabinet and an agency management system, it’s important to ask yourself which one will return the most added money, time, and efficiency in exchange for what you pay to use it.

Here. We’ll make this final part easy to understand. Follow this link and download our Automation Brochure. We built this free, digital pamphlet to address any lingering doubts you may have about the true cost of a paper file.

Already made the switch? Fantastic! Please share your reasons and results in the comment section below. Also, don't forget to follow HawkSoft on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.


[Photos: Shutterstock;]


Amanda Cyr

Author: Amanda Cyr

Education, HawkSoft, Tips & Tricks, Value, Why Automate, industry topics