The True Cost of Your Personal Shredder

We hear almost daily from our customers, “my darn shredder broke down, again!” or “my shredder works for only 10 minutes, and then it must be cooled down for 45 minutes!” or “my manager doesn’t realize how long it takes to shred paper, taking my time away from important tasks.”

If any of these statements sound familiar, you’ve come to the right place. Please read along and we’ll show how a simple $250 office shredder may end up costing you nearly $7000 in three years!

Personal Shredder While small personal shredders are good for shredding a handful of documents, as our example will demonstrate, the true (hidden) costs of an office shredder are usually many times over the retail cost. Additionally, using your office shredder can cost twice as much as a shredding service, not to mention security risks and environmental costs.

Although the actual costs will vary for businesses depending upon the number of employees, how much they’re compensated, volume of paper usage, and how many documents are shredded monthly. The number of office shredders purchased, how much they cost and how long they last may also vary. However, when you calculate the true cost of using your office shredders, you’ll likely find that it costs more than twice as much to operate your office shredders versus outsourcing the job to a professional, secure shredding company like PULP SHRED. 

Here’s a simple way to calculate your actual shredder costs: To help you estimate your own office shredder costs we’ve provided an example of the projected shredding costs of a small business office with 5 employees. {To calculate your own office shredder costs just follow our example – simply switch our numbers to the ones that closely resemble your reality.}

A. Number of employees: Full-time staff of 5 employees. 

B. Shred time per day*: Our experience has shown that each employee that uses the office shredder averages about 5 (five) minutes of daily shred time or 25 minutes total per day for the entire office.

*Includes time to pick up the paper, straighten pages, remove staples, clips, folders, binders, metal pins, plastic covers, feed shredder, clean up, and paper disposal.

Note: You may think that 25 minutes of shredding per day is too much time for a small office, but total shred time is not just the amount of time it takes to shred documents. You must also consider the time it takes for an employee to walk from their work area to the shredder, remove paperclips and staples, pick up and straighten the paper, feed the paper into the shredder, and then walk back to their work area. Someone will also have to clean up around the shredder and dispose of the shredded paper every time the bag is full. Considering all those tasks, 25 minutes per day is a conservative figure for a small business.

C. Total daily shred time (in minutes): 25 minutes per day (A x B).

D. Total daily shred time (in hours): 0.42 hours per day (C/60 or 25/60 = 0.42 hours).

E. Number of workdays per month: 21.67 average workdays per month (office open from Monday to Friday).

F. Number of shredding hours per month: 9.03 shredding hours per month (D x E).

G. Average hourly wage: $19.50 per hour.

Note: we have considered the minimum wage of $15.00 per hour, plus benefits. We are using a very conservative estimate as not all employees will be making the minimum wage.

H. Total monthly labor cost to shred: $176.08 labour cost per month (F x G).

I. Purchase price of an office shredder: $250 for one office shredder.

Note: office shredders may vary in cost from $150 to upwards of $5000 depending upon the brand and type you choose.

J. Office shredder’s life expectancy: 36 months.

Note: we used a generous shredder life expectancy of 36 months, even though most will need to be replaced in less than two years.

K. Monthly depreciation cost: $6.94 monthly depreciation cost (I x J).

L. Monthly maintenance cost: $6.50 average monthly maintenance cost.

Note: Our experience shows that office shredder blades need to be sharpened and bags for the shredded paper need to be purchased regularly. This is a conservative estimate. Feel free to use our figure or to try to determine this number on your own.

M. Total monthly equipment cost: $13.44 monthly equipment cost (K + L).

N. Total monthly cost of the office shredder: $189.52 total monthly cost of owning and using your office shredder (H + M).

O. True lifetime cost of the office shredder: Over the shredder lifetime of 36 months, the $250 office shredder ended up costing the company a whopping $6,822.36 or 27 times the retail price!

PULP SHRED helps companies and home offices in transitioning from their office shredders and establishing a secure & sustainable shredding program customized to their unique needs. Don’t leave your security to chance!

Call us today at 403-453-9009. or email us at to set up a confidential, no-obligation assessment of your shredding requirements

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