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Own business: archive

We are all used to the idea that a business should make a profit. Production produces, trade, respectively, sells something. Engineers develop, technologists follow. Etc. And everything is aimed at making a profit.

Focusing on financial results, it is often forgotten that in addition to the right to receive money, a business also has certain obligations. These are various taxes and fees – first of all. The watchful eye of the tax inspectorate reminds us of them in time. Environmental safety, which is not completely forgotten by Rospotrebnadzor and related organizations. But there is one aspect that is rarely mentioned. But when it comes to business, there are no small things. It is about maintaining the archive of the organization. According to the legislation of the Russian Federation, documents, depending on their type, must be stored for 3 to 10 (or more) years. For example, primary accounting documentation must be kept for at least 5 years; documents created in the course of banking activities and the activities of insurance organizations – on average from 3 to 5 years; documentation,

At the same time, according to the archival legislation of the Russian Federation, a number of rather stringent requirements are imposed on the premises of the archive in relation to fire safety, temperature, humidity and security conditions, etc. And if in the case of ordinary production and trade organizations of small and medium-sized businesses, everything is quite simple – documents are stored in the accounting department in four or five cabinets, then for some other categories of organizations, the issue of storing archives is quite acute. First of all, we are talking about banks (and other investment and financial structures), as well as insurance companies. Their main difference is that the volume of document flow is literally hundreds and thousands of times greater than trade or production organizations. And this is against the backdrop of a shortage of free space: banks and insurance companies seek to settle in prestigious business centers or detached buildings with good traffic. And that means high rents. Which, in turn, means the desire of managers to use the available space as efficiently as possible, which, as we understand it, does not imply the equipment of a spacious and properly equipped archive room. In addition, the archives of these organizations contain information, the leakage of which means serious problems for them – account numbers, plastic card data, clients’ cash flows, etc. equipping a spacious and properly equipped archive room. In addition, the archives of these organizations contain information, the leakage of which means serious problems for them – account numbers, plastic card data, clients’ cash flows, etc. equipping a spacious and properly equipped archive room. In addition, the archives of these organizations contain information, the leakage of which means serious problems for them – account numbers, plastic card data, clients’ cash flows, etc. 

This was the introduction. In the main part, we will talk about exactly how you can make money on the fact that since 2011, supervisory services have shown an increased interest in compliance with the standards for storing archival documentation.

Let’s take it as an axiom that equipping a room that meets all the standards and requirements, keeping at least one archivist on staff – all this is a completely unnecessary headache for the above-mentioned organizations. It is much easier to transfer this “happiness” to outsourcing. Actually, here it is – an opportunity to earn money: a private archival repository.

To date, the market for this type of service in Russia is as follows. In fact, there are only two players specializing in this type of service – these are foreign companies with serious know-how, as well as storage facilities in all regional centers of the country. They provide a range of services such as:

– out-of-office secure storage of the archive (both on paper and on electronic media);

– archival data processing;

– providing remote access to the archive;

– transfer to electronic media;

– certified destruction of documents.

This approach is quite serious, but, in fact, the bulk of the services offered are of interest only to a few. The cost is relatively high, because companies need to maintain a large staff, including administrative and managerial staff, plus a premium for reputation. But more on that later.

Also, out-of-office storage services are offered by regional companies specializing in responsible storage of everything in a row. In this case, there is no need to talk about any kind of data protection from possible leaks. Information about deposits can easily end up on the same shelf with a set of winter tires or rubbish from a grandmother’s closet, which is a pity to throw out of sentimentality.

What is the result? Space for well-organized activities for the secure storage of archives. We will have to fight with specialized companies; we do not take consignment warehouses seriously. Their experience and breadth of the range of services can be countered by an affordable cost due to a narrower specialization, and, consequently, a reduction in the number of personnel and technological processes.

The most demanded services in practice are out-of-office secure storage of archives and destruction of documents. Refinements like storing server backups on magnetic cassettes (which, by the way, requires a separate magnetically protected room) or cloud access to the digital version of the archive, as we said earlier, are of interest only to a few companies. However, certified destruction has one nuance – the cost of a new industrial shredder starts from 2.5 million rubles; payback period is great. Therefore, if you do not have the opportunity to purchase used equipment at a reasonable price, you should think about uncertified destruction. How – fantasy will tell.

Let’s figure out what is meant by secure storage. In addition to meeting the requirements for the premises (temperature and humidity, lighting, fire protection), that is, from factors that can lead to the physical destruction of documents, it is also necessary to provide protection against leakage of classified information. The premises must have round-the-clock security, access to the premises – only to a limited circle of responsible persons. Plus a number of special events, which we will talk about below.

The archival storage unit is an archival box made of moisture-proof cardboard containing 5 thick stationery folders. Boxes are placed on racks with numbered storage locations. To ensure greater security, each box receives a unique barcode (information about the owner is not applied to the box itself), and the number is entered into the database. The place of storage behind the box is not fixed, but there is a periodic rotation of the boxes on the racks. Thus, to find out exactly where the box of the client “N” is located, one can only contact the warehouse management system, access to which should be provided to two or three operators with a high level of clearance. At the request of the client, the necessary box can be removed and delivered to the office.

The service for the destruction of storage media is carried out after the expiration of the established period for storing documents. Produced by shredding paper media using an industrial shredder that has a certificate of a certain type, confirming the impossibility of restoring the destroyed document. Destruction can be carried out both in the presence of a client representative, and with the creation of a video recording of the process, as well as with the issuance of an act of destruction.

Consider the costs of organizing an archive. For a regional center, a room of 350 sq. m. with a ceiling height of at least 6 m, where the storage itself will be located, as well as an office with operators, a sales department, etc. From the requirements for the room: non-dusty floor, heating, the presence of properly working active ventilation. The cost of warehouse space in the regions today is an average of 300 rubles. The total cost of renting a warehouse will be 105,000 rubles per month.

Equipping the warehouse with powder (not water!) fire extinguishing and access control systems will cost about 500 thousand rubles. The cost, however, is calculated individually and depends on many factors, so that the above figure can either change slightly downwards or increase indefinitely.

For storage of boxes, multi-tiered front racks are used, which are usually made to order, taking into account the characteristics of the room. To calculate the required number of places, it is necessary to determine the capabilities of the sales department – how many units of storage we can get as contracts during the first year. Realistically evaluating all the possibilities, we can talk about 3,000 boxes during the first year. For understanding – an average branch of an insurance company that has been operating in the region for about 5 years can deposit from 150-200 boxes at a time; 2-3 more new boxes will be added monthly. Thus, for the first year it is enough for us to conclude contracts with 20 organizations. The plan is quite feasible. It remains to calculate the number of places (or, otherwise, cells) on the racks. One pallet holds 15 boxes; we get 200 storage places for the first year of operation; at a cost of 500 rubles per place, the budget for the manufacture of racks will be 100,000 rubles. Next – the annual expansion of the warehouse fund, depending on the growth rate of sales.

To carry out manipulations with pallets, a reach truck (a type of forklift) is required. Given the not too much load on it during operation, it is advisable to opt for a used machine. Its cost will depend on the chosen height of the warehouse – the higher the rack, the more expensive the reach truck. The average cost of such a loader for a height of 6 m will be approximately 300,000 rubles.

Warehouse management software and a pair of data collection terminals (for reading barcodes on boxes) will cost about 200-250 thousand rubles. To equip an office space at the archive – another 200,000.

The box must be delivered from the client to the archive and, upon request, from the archive to the client. For this we need a car. A compact van like Fiat Doblo or Skoda Roomster will do. If desired, you can limit yourself to Lada Largus. In any case, the budget for a car is about 300,000 rubles.

From the staff at the first stage, we will need: 2 loaders (it is possible to combine with the functionality of the driver), 1 warehouse operator (it is possible to combine with the functionality of the loader), 2 sales managers. We can outsource the security guard and accountant. The payroll fund, therefore, will amount to 100-120 thousand rubles per month.

With the registration of a business, nuances are also possible. The choice of organizational and legal form in this case is not fundamental. The OKVED classifier is important. In the event that we choose “Library and Archive Services”, it will be mandatory to obtain a license from the State Archives for the “description, conservation and restoration of archival documents.” The procedure is not that complicated and costly, but still requires time for certain approvals. If we are ready to limit ourselves to storage and not expand the list of services with digitization, description of archives and other similar things, we can register as a safekeeping warehouse.

Summing up the cost, we get the following figures. Investments in the discovery are relatively large – about 1.5 million rubles. Plus working capital – 300-350 thousand. Monthly expenses – rent and salary – 220 thousand rubles; add here utility bills, fuel, mobile communications of sales managers and we get 300,000 rubles a month.

In order to understand how much we can earn on this venture, we will draw up a sales plan. Keep in mind that the average customer brings in 150 boxes one time and 2 boxes every month thereafter. Plan to attract in the first year – 20 clients; in the second – 30; in the third – 40. With the average cost of storing a box for large market players from 30 rubles per month, we can offer (if there are financial reserves for the first three years) a storage cost of 20 rubles. Such a difference in price will more than cover the lack of a beautiful sign and a big name. In addition, you can earn on related services: packaging and delivery of boxes to storage, removal from storage and delivery to the client, etc.

Excluding additional services, the budget deficit in the first year of operation will be 2,880,000 rubles; in the second – 1,680,000; in the third year the company will reach the break-even point. After that, even in the absence of a constant positive dynamics in attracting new customers, the company will receive a constant passive income from an increase in the number of boxes of existing customers, which, moreover, will grow every month. By five or six years of operation of the organization, profits can reach 150,000 rubles per month or more.

All the figures we have received seem to (transparently) hint that creating a protected archive is not an easy task, primarily due to large investments and a significant payback period. However, given the relative simplicity of the organization, the lack of close competition, and rather high profits in the long term, primarily due to the constantly growing passive income, this direction is worth paying attention to. 

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