Offsite Document Storage Management vs Self-Storage Service

Why choose an offsite document storage and record management provider over a self-storage service? 

A self-storage facility is an excellent choice for furniture, vehicles, recreational items and even business inventory, but are they really the best choice when it comes to storing business documents and archives? Regardless of the size of your business, there are necessary retention regulations enforced by Australian law. Whether these are financial records for tax purposes, GST records, company documents, client documents or personnel files, all need secure and safe storage during their retention period.  

See our guide for document retention regulations in Australia.  

Security & Safety 

If you opt for self-storage, you may not be guaranteed the security and safety of these essential documents. Protection against foreseeable threats is a necessity for any business. Compared to a reputable offsite document storage service, self-storage security may be limited. While they may have pin code access gates, security cameras and onsite staff, this may not be enough to protect your confidential documents and archives. Anyone can rent a storage container leaving it open to vulnerability. Typically, storage containers are locked with a padlock which could be tampered with and compromised. CostSmart’s warehouse is purposed for archive storage and provides unrivalled security. 

It is not only theft and unauthorised access to your documents you need to be concerned with, but also fire, floods, and exposure to the elements. Some self-storage facilities fall short of providing a climate-controlled environment with safeguards against natural disasters. An offsite document storage and record management provider, such as CostSmart, provides secure facilities, including firewalls, onsite fire hydrants and boosters and adherence to regulated fire protection and building standards. At CostSmart we have installed elevated warehouse shelving in the event of localised road flooding, ventilation for climate control, 24/7 security cameras and an alarm system for fire and theft.  


Partnering with a document storage provider usually supplies better value through the bonus of record management. Often when documents are stored in a self-storage facility, it is a case of out of sight, out of mind. However, knowing how long you are required to keep your documents and when to destroy them is key to efficiency and compliance. An offsite document storage and record management provider can manage your retention and destruction rates to ensure efficient storage of your documents. You may opt to keep files indefinitely within a self-storage facility to ensure you cover all bases, but the coordination and cost of doing this would be a substantial burden. There may also be the thought to scan and electronically store documents, but this is certainly not the most cost-effective solution available – as noted in our earlier post Document File Storage Cost vs Scanning Cost. 

CostSmart’s efficient record management system means that once the items are received at the CostSmart facility, they are catalogued, barcoded and stored physically and digitally. You can then browse a record of your stored documents on the CostSmart online system. You can be notified when documents are nearing the end of their retention period and will be given the option to have them destroyed (reducing the cost of your storage fees).

Convenience & Cost 

When archive boxes begin stacking up in your in-house storage rooms, you may think that self-storage provides a cheap and convenient solution, but this is not necessarily the case. With a self-storage option, you are paying for unnecessary and unused space due to paying for the size of the container as opposed to the number of boxes stored. It is a more cost-effective option to store with an offsite document storage provider because you only pay for the boxes you store, as opposed to paying for wasted space in a self-storage container. 

Storing your documents and archives in self-storage is far from convenient. Every time a document is required you must allocate staff to drive to the container, search through the archive boxes, retrieve, and return with the document for the job or case. This takes precious time away from more pressing in-house tasks and creates an unnecessary spend on labour. It also poses a work health safety threat if an archive box is to fall on an employee, or if an employee has a car accident going to and from the container. Furthermore, have you trained your staff in the correct heavy-lifting techniques? To ensure no accidents occur, CostSmart offers a free collection and transport service. It will cost you nothing to have us collect your documents from the self-storage facility and move them to our facilities.  

Scan on Demand 

Once your documents are within the CostSmart facility, you can take advantage of the Scan on Demand service. This service bypasses the need for couriering, which saves time and the potential cost of shipment. We retrieve your document and deliver it to you via a secure electronic file transfer protocol within 2 hours of your request. The document is then returned to its original location in our warehouse. This pay-as-you-go service is the most cost-effective service in the market. Especially if CostSmart manages your destruction dates. 


From collecting, transporting, cataloguing, barcoding, retrieving and destruction, CostSmart provides a cost-effective and superior service compared to a self-storage option. To find out more about CostSmart’s document storage and record management, contact us at [email protected] or by calling 1300 100 461 for further information. Our team would be happy to discuss a personalised approach for your business.