Hidden Costs of Paper

October 30, 2017
Hidden Costs of Paper

Paper Costs More than You Think

Paper costs a business more than the price paid for a ream. There’s the added cost to purchase and upkeep the copier/printer, space needed to store the documents, and labor it takes to file, store and manage the documents. In fact, managing documents have hidden costs of 31 times more than the cost of paper alone.

Below are a few statistics typical for the average office’s paper consumption. Do these numbers surprise you?

Storing documents accounts for 50-70% of office space


50% of documents contain duplicate information


Employees never look at 80% of documents again


Employees throw away 50% of documents

Calculate Paper Consumption

Although the exact cost will vary depending on the company, industry and level of eco-friendly initiatives, it is safe to say that paper is a huge expense for most businesses. Before the benefits of a document management solution can be realized, the cost of paper must be determined.

The average employee consumes 10,000 sheets of paper each year, which to a business is roughly an $80 expense. Once a document is printed, Square9 found that filing the document costs $20, finding a missing document costs $120 and recreating a lost document costs $220.

These numbers are just statistics unless you determine how much your business actually spends on managing documents each year. Estimate the amount spent with these simple formulas below:

Monthly cost of paper x 12 months = Amount Spent on Paper


Number of filing cabinets x 16 square feet x Cost per square feet of office space = Costs of File Storage


(Monthly rent of off-site storage + utilities) x 12 months = Off-Site Storage Costs


(Annual printer rental cost + Annual printer maintenance cost) + (Monthly toner cost x 12 months) = Annual Printing Cost


Hours an employee spends managing paper x Number of employees x Average hourly wage x Number of workdays in one year = Amount Spent on Time Employees Handle Paper

Although there is an initial cost to implement a document management solution, the return on investment can be seen quickly by reducing paper usage and cutting time spent managing documents. Document management reduces costs, frees up office space, and streamlines tasks that can consume employees’ time.