You want to scan a few of your paper files but don’t know what it’s going to cost you.

Paper scanning comes in all shapes and sizes, and one we hear about a lot is the “small” paper scanning project. Without knowing how much it’s going to cost you, or even who can provide this service, it can be worrisome when you start your search.

In our article we’ll review what we consider a “small” paper scanning project, what you get included with your project when you work with us, a brief overview of our paper scanning process, and of course the basic costs of a project.

What’s Considered A “Small” Paper Scanning Project?

Paper scanning projects with fewer than 100,000 pages are what we consider a “small” project. 

100,000 pages sounds like a lot (and it is!) but when you convert pages into boxes it makes a little more sense why we call it small. 100,000 pages is roughly 40 bankers boxes of records. 

Our operations are built to ingest multiple hundreds of thousands to millions of pages, so in a relative sense, 100,000 pages is on the smaller side of things.

These projects may not be the larger style that we’re geared for, but they’re just as important to you and we’re able to successfully convert your records so you have a digital copy.


Note: there are many variations of paper records, so to keep it simple in this article we’re specifically referring to office-size documents, such as 8.5×11” records.

How Much Does A Small Paper Scanning Project Cost?

In general, your pricing for a small project will fall into the range below:

$300 – $600 per box

There will also be fees for administrative items such as setup and shipping, so those will be in addition to the scanning price. 

If you’ve read our other article about standard paper scanning costs, this is a bit higher but now you know why. Some additional reasons for the increased price are described below.

What’s Included When You Get Your Paper Scanned?

All paper scanning projects are unique in some way, but when it comes to small scanning projects it’s best to have a “go-to” scope of work to eliminate as much uncertainty as possible. 

When a large document scanning project comes in, there’s more wiggle room to craft a completely unique project process flow because with a large project, the overall price allows for it. With a small scanning project, it’s normally very quick and completed before there’s a change to utilize our technology or scalability. Because of this, we’ve crafted a “template” for small projects to make the whole process more straightforward and efficient. 

The basics of what you get when you scan with us are the following:

300dpi is the standard scanning resolution in the industry. If you want something different (200dpi, 400dpi, etc.) just let us know and we’ll see how we can make it happen for you.

Sometimes one image type can be better than the other, so we provide you with both sets and you can decide which is better for your needs.

You’ll get multi-page PDF files of both bitonal and grayscale images, named by the information that’s located on the folder. We like to provide sets of both bitonal and grayscale digital images because one may provide a better image quality; since you get both, you can choose when the need arises! 

PDFs are the standard and it’s what most of our customers ask for, but we can mix it up (such as TIF or JPG) if you need to.

PDFs are named by the folder tab information (or other physical separator, such as flasher sheets or something like that) with a BMI UID (unique ID #). 

Also available is box-level scanning via the  Digital Box method.” This is the most simple indexing method you can use, and if you’re not accessing your records a lot, or you don’t want the indexing to increase your cost, this could be what you’re looking for.

Your digital files will be exported to a USB drive and returned at the end of the project. In most cases, we’ll encrypt the USB because of sensitive information on the files.

Included! We normally use UPS and FedEx for our shipping needs.

What’s The Process?

A small paper digitization project follows the same approach as our larger projects (which you can read about here), but with some modifications to account for the smaller scale.

To begin, the document scanning service is limited in scope in order to keep the cost low for you. You don’t want to spend too much money digitizing your records because it’s a minor project. If you have any particular requirements, we can discuss them with you and figure out how to include them into your project.

Second, the Milestone 1 Proof of Concept is generally eliminated from the process. We have hundreds of thousands or millions of pages to work with in regular paper scanning projects, and creating the process flow and testing with our M1 process allows us to change our setup and execute the project at scale. With a modest document imaging project, the job is almost done by the time we construct the process flow and run the M1! Rather than doing so and developing a fresh setup for each small project, we’ve fine-tuned the process flow to fit the majority of similar projects, removing the requirement for an M1.

Finally, the timeline to complete a small project is substantially shorter than a conventional digitization job. If you have a large quantity of pages, the M1 alone could take 3-4 weeks before it’s ready for approval. However, because of how we’ve optimized the small projects we work on, the entire project could be completed within 2-4 weeks.

Why Is This Different Than A “Large” Project?

We differentiate “small” projects because we’re built to ingest, scan, process, and deliver large quantities of paper records. 

In order to achieve a successful end result for a standard project, we build a unique process flow based on individual tasks and demands, appoint a project manager to the work, and execute tests and a proof of concept.

We still apply the same degree of professionalism and care to smaller paper conversion projects, but it wouldn’t make sense to use the same scanning approach that we’d use to scan 1,000,000 pages. Instead, we’ve created a simple project scope (explained in the “What’s Included” section) and provided you with clear specs and pricing to bring you exactly what you want: digital files.

If you have a specific request that isn’t covered by our small project scope, we may tailor the project to meet your requirements. Just keep in mind that instead of our normal small project output, we’re now offering a custom project.

Other Options To Digitize Your Paper

If you have a small project but aren’t interested in the scope we provide or the associated pricing, there are some other options available to you.

A common option we recommend is to contact your local FedEx Office or Office Depot store – depending on the location, they may have scanning services that can get you what you need for a small project. Also, they likely take walk-ins so you can go whenever you’re ready. 

Another option is to contact local litigation support companies. Although their specialty is with litigation records, they can sometimes offer scanning for other records, too, and might even have a mobile scanning option in which they go to your location to scan the records.

Next Steps

Reach out to us today! Click the “Get Your Quote” button below, fill out the form, and we’ll quickly reply to you to discuss your project.

Further Reading

Take a look at a few other paper scanning-related articles to become even more familiar with the process!

“How Long Will A Paper Scanning Project Take?” includes factors that will affect your conversion timeline, and illustrates the factors with a few examples. 

“4.5 Secrets To Lowering Your Paper Scanning Price” gives you a few recommendations to lower the cost of your scanning project. 

“Backfile vs. Go-Forward Paper Scanning” describes the differences between scanning records you already have versus the records you’re going to create in the future. Different solutions for different circumstances!