I had the opportunity to sit down with Rich Martin, co-owner of Paper Tiger Document Solutions. In today’s interview, Rich dispels the misconceptions of document shredding and destruction by sharing insights that help take the mystery out of proper and secure document shredding, document destruction, and document storage.
Markus: We are very excited today. We have Rich Martin who is the co-owner of Paper Tiger Document Solutions in Gurnee, Illinois. He’s been in the business for 27 years and is an expert in document shredding, document destruction, and document storage. Paper Tiger is actually in the business of doing just that; paper shredding, document shredding, document destruction, both on-site and off-site, as well as document storage. More importantly, they are N.A.I.D. AAA certified which is the National Association of Information Destruction AAA certified. Welcome, Rich.
Rich: Thanks for having me, I appreciate being here.
Markus: Absolutely. I appreciate you spending time with our readers today and highlighting a lot of the issues many businesses have. So let’s get right into it and tell us about your business and the types of clients you’re helping.
Rich: Our clients range the whole gamut of businesses as well as residential clients. We have people that show up with just a box that they want to have shredded from their house all the way up to multinational companies with thousands of boxes. We also have a lot of companies where we’re doing ongoing service. What we do is we put councils or totes in their offices and their employees dump stuff in there and we come on a set schedule and take care of their destruction needs on an ongoing basis. In addition to that, we do document storage here at our record center in Gurnee, Illinois.
Markus: That’s fantastic. So what’s the importance of document shredding? You hear about this stuff and people have these little shredders in their offices and they’re just using that. I think there’s more to it than that. Would you give us some insight into that?
Rich: Well in the last 15 or 20 years, there’s been a lot of federal, as well as state regulations, on handling sensitive information; social security numbers, birth certificates, just all types of information that needs to be securely destroyed once the life cycle of that paper or other media is over. You’ve got HIPA, FACTA, and there are all kinds of regulations. And everyone knows about identity theft. So there’s a growing number of people who are a lot more cognizant of the need to make sure their material is securely destroyed and that’s exactly what we do. We say we’re in the shredding business but we’re really in the security business.
Markus: I like that. That absolutely makes sense. Information is so prevalent and the misuse of information or the information getting out into the wrong hands is happening more and more, being able to protect that information is super important. So Rich tell us how’d you get into this field and started in this business?
Rich: I used to work for a couple of guys who were in the self-storage business. Back in the late 80’s / early 90’s, the self-storage business was sort of on the wane and they wanted to fill up some space in a couple of their storage facilities. So we got into the document storage business as a means to fill up that space and get revenue from it. When the market came back for self-storage, three or four years later, they wanted to get out of the business. And since I had basically started the document storage business with them, I was the natural person to take over that business. So I moved two different warehouses into one up here in Gurnee, Illinois, at about the same time my first child was born back in 1996. That’s how I got started in the business. So I’ve been in the business for a long time. We were initially just in the document storage business. But as things progressed and we had a lot of customers who, after the life cycle of the paper that they were having stored here was over, wanted us to go in and destroy it. At that time, we weren’t in the document destruction business. So the shredding business has been a natural outgrowth of our document storage business and it’s currently the major growth area of our company.
Markus: So you really had an evolution of your business because of the life-cycle of documents. That’s very interesting. So what would you say is the most common misconception out there that people have about document shredding? What are some of the obstacles that you see business having in the industry when it comes to documents, document security, document shredding, storage and so forth?
Rich: Well they think it’s going to be a big hassle to have someone come in and take care of this for them. So we just try and allay their fears. We come in and take care of everything because a lot of times they’ll think, “Oh well you know, I got this stuff. It’s in the basement or it’s over in this storage facility and now I got to go and get it and bring it to you” and all that sort of thing. We’re just like, “No, we’ll take care of everything.” If it’s up in an attic or down in the basement or in some storage facility, we’ve got the manpower and the know how to take care of the entire process for them. When we’re done, a lot of times, they come to us afterwards and they’re so relieved. We hear things like “This was so much easier than I thought it was going to be. I really appreciate it. We’re going to tell everyone we know about you guys,” and that sort of thing. So I think the biggest misconception is just how easy we make it for people based on what they know about document shredding, where their stuff is, as well as maybe their previous experience with another company, whose services aren’t as comprehensive or as good. And so they’re very happy at the end of the process.