How To Start A Document Shredding Business


We all have a stack of documents lying about that we’ve been meaning to take care of. Maybe it’s some old bank statements or maybe it’s your expired driver’s licence. Either way, wouldn’t be it lovely if this wasn’t such a laborious task? This is where a document shredding business comes into play.

Read on to find five tips to help you can start your very own document shredding business today and help businesses discard their unwanted files whilst also protecting their privacy.

The Business Plan

Before starting any new business venture, it’s important that you develop a business plan. A business plan helps you to zone in on your goals and objectives. It also helps you to understand what is required to succeed and how to get there.   

To help give you some perspective and food for thought, it’s worth conducting some market research and competitive analysis. In doing so, you’ll find out how to provide value to customers and make your business stand out.

During this preliminary process, consider the following questions:

  • Are you targeting individuals or businesses?
  • Is it self-serve or will you need to hire employees?
  • Will services be restricted to shredding or will you offer complementary services such as pickup or recycling?
  • Will you charge per sheet or by weight?
  • Where will your business be located?

As your business grows and evolves, be sure to revisit your business plan and account for any changes.

The Location

As this is a niche service you are providing, the location of your business is crucial. 

If you are catering towards individuals, look into local shopping centres. Shopping centres are readily accessible and allow for great foot traffic. Additionally, you could find out where the local office supplies or printing stores are located. This would make it convenient for individuals to complete similar tasks in the same area. 

Alternatively, if you are catering towards businesses, look into the CBD or other areas where there is high office density. Again, convenience is key.

The Equipment

When it comes to deciding what equipment you will need to purchase, think about volume. 

If you anticipate that it’ll just be a couple of papers here and there, departmental paper shredders will be your best bet. They are generally more compact and more affordable than commercial shredders.

On the other hand, if you anticipate large and regular volumes, its worth considering commercial shredders. Although they will be a bit more pricey, they are more efficient and have greater functionality.  

The Legal Setup

Australian Business Number 

In order to make your document shredding business official, you’ll need to register for an Australian Business Number (ABN). An ABN is a unique number that identifies your business to the government and others in the community. You’ll need an ABN in order to give invoices and for tax purposes. Additionally, if you wish to register a business name, you’ll need to have your ABN on hand. 

Business Structure

A precursor to registering for an ABN is deciding on your business structure. This will depend on the specific needs of your business. The three options to decide from are as follows:

  • Sole trader – You will be solely responsible for the business
  • Partnership – If you intend on running the business with one or more people.
  • Company – You will be creating a separate legal entity.

Your business structure will also affect your liability and how you will be taxed.

The Exposure 

Although we can hope that customers magically turn up to your store, a safer bet would be to get your name out there.

Consider creating a website or Facebook page. This will provide customers with information about what services you provide and pricing. Moreover, it should inform customers of your trading hours and contact details.

It might also be beneficial to consider taking out some ads in the local area. The more people recognise your business, the more likely they will seek out your services when in need. 

Alternatively, you could establish relationships with other businesses in the area. This could simply be leaving your flyers on their counter or actually putting in place a referral agreement


In a time when people are increasingly concerned about there privacy, why not start a document shredding business.

If you are after additional resources to help start your business, you can find them here. Additionally, if you are after some tailored legal advice, feel free to reach out to one of our experienced business lawyers

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