If you’ve got access to a good ISP, equipment to scan documents, and a computer system that is reliable, then you already know how to start a document scanning business. Companies are moving all of their records online and to the Cloud because it is safer to have the files on local networks than it is to have them stored in local file cabinets. Access can be limited to these files so that only those employees who need to see them can open them. When there are a lot of files to be scanned, a company might contract this need out to a document scanning business.
It is important to note that photograph scanning is different than document scanning. Photo scanners have higher resolutions that are required and this ultimately means more expensive equipment. Black and white scanners can be setup with one-touch scanning to create the necessary files that a business may need to reduce their paperwork. Get the equipment you need and then you’ll be ready to follow these next steps.
1. Get your business official.
Every jurisdiction requires a business to be licensed. A couple of states, Alaska and Washington, require anyone conducting activities that may generate profit to have a business identification number. Most jurisdictions will require a document scanning business to charge sales tax because of the services being rendered. Apply for all of the licenses and permits your local laws require so that you don’t face fines and penalties for illegal work.
2. Choose the structure of your business.
Scanning documents will give you access to proprietary information. You may be asked to sign non-disclosure agreements [NDAs] to secure the privacy of that data. This means you’ll want to avoid having a document scanning business that is a partnership or a sole proprietorship. If that proprietary data leaks out of your business, even inadvertently, then you may be exposed to extensive litigation. Incorporation will protect personal assets if this happens.
3. Set your goals.
Every business should have a solid business plan from which they operate. You can get some help with the creation of a business plan from the Small Business Administration that is powered by the US government. If you’re creating an American-based document scanning business, then you may also qualify to apply for low-interest loans to give the new business a good start with solid financial backing.
4. Have your workspace set up so that it creates natural efficiencies.
A document scanning business doesn’t need a lot of space, but it does need to have an efficient workspace. You’ll also need an open garage or work area where the documents that are being scanned can be stored securely. If you do not have this space at home, then securing a rental storage unit or a commercial space with adequate storage may become necessary.
5. Remember that insurance is necessary, but won’t cover everything.
Most document scanning businesses are required to have a surety bond today in order to secure certain government and healthcare contracts. Large corporate accounts may also require the surety bond as a guarantee on the quality of work. It’s better to have the bond anyway because it can become another layer of defense against an inadvertent issue. General liability insurance is also necessary and insuring the site where the documents will be stored against fire, flood, and theft may be mandatory.
6. Secure a Cloud-based file transfer system.
In the past, scanned documents were generally transferred to a burned CD and then sent to the client. Today the entire process can be done computer to computer through the Cloud. Make sure that you have a file transfer system that can handle the volumes you’re expecting. Some low cost plans only allow 50 GB of data transfer per month and that may not even be enough to cover one contract for you. Look for options that are scalable so your business can continue to grow.
7. Promote your work locally.
Schedule appointments with local business owners, big and small, to discuss your services. Anyone who is doing business with physical paperwork is a potential customer. Make sure to have marketing materials that can be left behind, such as business cards, brochures, and fliers that describe what you do and how affordable you are.
Knowing how to start a document scanning business means being able to take a specific skill and make it a profitable action. Follow these steps and you’ll have your new business up and running in no time at all.
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