Cost of Office Shredder vs Shredding Service

Companies that sell paper shredders argue that it saves money to buy or lease a paper shredder. Shredding companies claim that their services save money. Let’s look at some of the options to see when it is of benefit to use a shredding service vs buying an office shredder. The following information assumes the average employee spends an average of 3 min per day shredding. In reality, most people who shred spend upwards of 5 minutes per day in front of a shredder.

If you think our numbers are a little off, feel free to download our free Excel calculator and enter your own values.

Costs of owning and operating an office based shredder:

Company with 1 employee (at $10/hr) with $100 office shredder: $19.97/month

This company would benefit from a pickup every other month. They would save 30-45% in costs, between 1-2 hours in labor, and the shredding would be far more secure.

Company with 5 employees (at $10/hr each) with a $350 office shredder: $81.33/month

This company would benefit from a monthly service, or at most twice a month. Depending on their volume, they could use either a locking 32 gallon bin, 1-2 office consoles, or at most a locking 64 gallon bin. They would spend  5-6 hours in labor, and could more than half their costs.

Company with 10 employees (at $10/hr each) with a $500 office shredder: $155.33/month

Depending on the number of office consoles or bins desired by this company, they could save tremendous amounts of time and money. If you are unsure about the amount of paper you generate, Paper Cuts will work with you to help determine the best schedule and types of bins for your needs.


Regardless of your size, contracting a paper shredding company like Paper Cuts can save you time and money.  Whether your company requires our smallest bin on a call in bases, several pick-ups per month, Paper Cuts would love to be your shredding company.

The Math Behind These Numbers

Statistics from FaCIA in their 2006-2007 report show that the average employee goes through between 10,000 and 20,000 sheets of paper a year. That is about 30 reams or about 600 pounds of paper.

Your company may use more or less than this, so to give a fair comparison we will use an average shredding time of 3 min per employee and assume an average of 21.6 work days per month. In reality, the average shredding time is closer to 5 min per employee, but we would rather give a more modest estimate. Feel free to download our free office shredding cost calculator and use your own information.

In case you would like to skip the math, you can download the Excel Office Shredding Cost calculator here.

Labor taken into account:

  • Number of employees
  • Daily time shredding
  • Work days per month
  • Employee wage per hour

Equipment taken into account:

  • Cost of shredder
  • Life expectancy of shredder (in months)
  • Monthly cost of bags, oil, sharpening
  • Cost to recycle shredded paper

The formula looks like this:

[(Number of employees)*(Daily time shredding ÷ 60min/hr)*(hourly wage)*(work days per month)] + [(Cost of shredder)/(life expectancy)] + (cost of bags, oil, etc) + (cost of recycling)

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