Records Storage: Like a Gold Mine

Cary F. McGovern Comments
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It always surprises me how simple records management is. So why is it such a big problem in today’s business? I’ll give you four reasons:

  1. Records are a big pain in the neck.
  2. They aren’t important until you need them.
  3. Businesses rarely have a budget for record-management.
  4. People don’t know the true cost of record-keeping.

Stop Selling Storage

I know you are a storage business but I am telling you not to sell storage. This may seem counter-productive, but if you sell records management, you will get more storage customers ... and for a very long time. Records stay on the shelf for an average of 16 years. Records contracts are usually considered permanent contacts because of their "evergreen clause" and because the cost of moving them out is greater than keeping them where they are. Plus, businesses have a hard time figuring out what to keep and what to toss. These days, everyone is afraid of making a bad decision so the trend is to store things longer than necessary.

Most commercial-records centers keep records for large clients; probably 50 percent of the records in these large-client accounts are not necessary to keep. But rarely does anyone actually try to do something about it.

Iron Mountain, the only publicly traded company (IRM) in records management, is a highly rated stock and very profitable. Yet, the basis of its business is simply storage, just like you. The difference is Iron Mountain’s storage does not come and go like yours. It stays forever. Iron Mountain boasts of decades of continued storage growth in its annual report on www.ironmountain.com

Mimicking Iron Mountain

The formula for successful operation of a commercial-records center is straightforward and right under your nose. You already have a storage business and a larger market than both Iron Mountain and the local commercial-records centers. How can that be?

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