Growing Popularity of Shred Events

Shred Nations’ focus is on the financial success of our Partners. By looking at factors such as creating route density, making multiple stops in an office building, and driving only to remote areas when the job is guaranteed to be profitable – we strive to think outside the shredding box. One aspect of the business which is becoming increasingly popular is to host Shred Events in the evenings and on weekends when your trucks are idle.

Each year, the number of requests to hold a shred event increase exponentially.  However, all Shred Events are not created equal. Before committing to hosting a Shred Event, you must consider these five questions:

Who Sponsors Shred Events and Why?

For instance, there is a big difference between an event sponsored by a downtown bank/financial institution as opposed to an event put on by a local Little League baseball team for fundraising.  The bank most likely already has media partners in place who will reach out to the public and drive up the number of boxes to be destroyed. The baseball team may need new uniforms and expect a portion of the proceeds to go directly to them. They probably don’t have an advertising budget and expect you to get the word out.

Should You Host a Free Event or Collect Fees?

How are you being compensated for your presence at the Shred Event?  Do you charge by the hour, by the box, or simply a flat fee for the event?  Is the potential exposure worth doing it for free?  Can you offer your services to a non-profit organization and write it off as a way to give back to the community? You could decide based on a gut feeling, but we recommend you do a cost/benefit analysis before signing on the dotted line.

Where is the Event Located and When Will it Take Place?

What is the date?  Since you have a limited opportunity to do a Shred Event (limited by the number of trucks you own and the availability of drivers) you need to consider where and when the event is going to take place.  It’s much easier to make money someplace close to your plant and visible, then driving to a remote location. Do you have the manpower to spare?

How Long Should the Event Last?

Since the event is about generating revenue/buzz for your company, it’s important to understand how long the organization expects your shredding truck to be at the event.  Does the customer have clear cut expectations of what is involved? After all, time is money.

How Should I Manage Expectations?

It’s important for you to emphasize to your client how long it takes to shred a box of paper and for them to understand your expectations.  Will you issue a certificate of destruction to each individual customer? Will you tip the bin between each client? These are important points of fact to share prior to the Shred Event. No one wants to go away from the event feeling unsatisfied.

Start Hosting Your Shred Event Now

At Shred Nations, our focus is to provide you with as many opportunities as we can to generate revenue for your business.  Shredding Events should be profitable, but they are also a chance for your company to spread knowledge of identity theft and convey the importance of secure destruction.

They are also a chance for you to create brand awareness by being in front of new customers and communities who may be connected to businesses that will have a need in the future.  You must have well defined goals to make the most of these opportunities.

Is the immediate revenue more important or is the low-cost advertising what drives your decision?  Either way you go, the opportunities are REAL and the advantages are plentiful. We can help you.  SHRED ON!


Making a Habit of Sales Success While Shredding

Hundreds of salespeople and leading independently-owned shredding companies in the shredding industry make a habit of sales success using sales-ready referrals from Shred Nations.

How Sales-Ready Referrals Enable Success

The habit-forming effect of sales-ready referrals is directly attributed to the sweet taste of success from an overwhelming competitive advantage provided by referrals, the low cost of referrals, and their enormous positive impact on sales and profitability.

Starting in 1999 Shred Nations designed sales-ready referrals to create sales success in response to a sales manager’s request – “Just give me one customer at-a-time that needs a shredding service – right now.  I’ll handle the rest.”  Today, Shred Nations’ referrals originate from customers that are searching the internet for a shredding service.  An experienced marketing group distills each referral from a continuous information flow from more than 1,500 inquiries per day.  These inquiries originate from clicks, conversions, phone calls, form-fills, and customer interviews.

Why Sales-Ready Referrals?

In their final form referrals represent exceptionally accurate information. The sales efficiency attributable to accurate information is augmented by the awesome persuasive effect from extreme speed in responding to every customer request. Salespeople from local shredding companies are frequently in touch with customers who are looking at a computer monitor that displays the inquiry they sent just a few moments earlier. Routinely Shred Nations responds within seconds after a referral is completed to both inquiring customers and local shredding companies.

A momentous breakthrough occurred when Shred Nations combined accurate information with extreme responsiveness. Perhaps a newly perceived readiness of customers to act is attributed to the digital-age orientation of Gen X and Millennial generations who are growing beyond today’s 68% of the U.S. workforce. Perhaps the internet’s ability to generate instant information put self-directed customers in a frame of mind that they are prepared to act when their needs are met. Perhaps it is simply salespeople that are trained to listen and deliver the right message. Regardless the decision-making process of customers changed over the past decade.

Forming a Habit of Success from Sales-Ready Referrals

Customers are now buying shredding services with the first phone call (about 60%). Closing deals based on referrals is an easy and simple process for companies in the Shred Nations network. While it isn’t quite like shooting fish in a barrel, success is routine. As a by-product of sales success, shredding companies that are outside of the Shred Nations network rarely receive opportunities to earn referral business because 80% of referrals are quickly closed within the network. Another happy consequence for the Shred Nations network is that companies with established business relationships are losing customers before they can react. With about 2/3rds of the industry dominated by Shred-it and Iron Mountain, a major redistribution of shredding business is taking place and contributing significant growth for independently-owned shredding companies.

Individual and organizational success habits develop in this setting. A new sales-ready referral is the cue.  It stimulates an immediate phone call to a welcoming customer and an automatic sales routine that starts with listening to the customer’s needs and confirming the ability to deliver. This behavior is rewarded with a positive reaction. It is followed by negotiating price and concluding the negotiation.  This entire process creates a sense of personal satisfaction and achievement. People crave this feeling and desire to repeat it. Organizations create routines in support because referrals provide marketing cost leadership and a sustainable source of new profit. Leading organizations go one step further.

Referrals are not only a source of transactional profit – most can be turned into long-term business relationships because every company needs a shredding solution for their daily flow of confidential information. Also, every new customer invites converting their neighbors to additional new customers and possibly a customer gain from referrals.

Keep an eye out for part two of this series: Why Successful Habits Are So Powerful.

More information on sales-ready referrals is available from our partner team at (800) 747-3365


Challenges and Opportunities for Shredding Companies

By David R. Powelson
challenges and opportunities

There is no denying that there are giants roaming in the shredding industry. How we choose to compete against these giants could mean choosing between success or failure.

This article explains some of the challenges that are being presented to independent shredding companies, and some opportunities on how to come out on top.


Reduced Paper Usage: Moody’s 2016 Paper Industry Outlook indicted “paper demand in mature North American markets is expected to continue to fall by approximately 5% per year for the next several years. This decline is driven by individuals and businesses increasingly turning to digital alternatives, such as tablets and e-readers.”

If correct, five consecutive years of 5 percent decreases is a one-third reduction in paper demand.  This will negatively impact long term purge business and the daily accumulation of paper in offices.

Consolidation of the Shredding Industry:

Market Analysis (includes estimates)

CompanySales ($ millions)Percentage
Iron Mountain (IM)23814%
Recall (to be acquired by IM)965%
Up to 1,500 Shredders60035%

The market size of vended shredding companies is not authoritatively known. The table assumes 1,500 smaller shredding companies average $400,000 in annual sales.  Most local shredding companies operate only 1 to 2 trucks.

It’s very unusual for the top two companies of an industry to have a 65% market share- especially in a low capital-entry business.   The reason for this is grounded in economics.  As market dominant firms add their last groups of customers, operating costs grow exponentially.   For this reason and to satisfy their Wall Street and investor stakeholders, prices must be high.

This is precisely where local shredders make inroads and an equilibrium point is established – often this equilibrium is at 50% market share.  If smaller companies keep their operating costs down and their prices for shredding services low, it may become economically impractical for the top companies to maintain their current market share.


Untapped Markets 

Nationwide there are more than 5 million companies with fewer than 100 employees that employ over 40 million people – about 40% of the total U.S. work force.   There are also more than 9 million home businesses.

None of these markets are in the direct path of the two dominant companies.  It will require highly efficient routes to earn profits in this growing segment of the market. In this setting the term “local service area” has real economic importance for the smaller operator.

Competing with Dominant Shredding Companies

It seems that the bigger a company gets, the less trust it places on its sales people.  Almost no one in a dominant company will be given authority to deviate from a price list.  Also, it becomes harder to get special services for a good customer.

When a small company empowers its salespeople to be flexible and make decisions, it’s easy to out-perform a dominant company in both price and service.

Why Disneyland is known as “the magic kingdom” is that it’s a big company that actually delivers great personalized service.  Most big companies lose their magic in a bureaucracy of operating procedures and rules.  The “magic trick” is make sure your company never stops enthusiastically delighting its customers.

A Zero-Sum Contest

Zero Sum Game

A Zero-sum contest is a situation in game theory in which one person’s gain is equivalent to another’s loss, so the net change in wealth or benefit is zero.  For example, if one company wins a customer, the second company loses the opportunity to service that same customer. No increased benefit results – it simply changes hands.

In practice neither a small or dominant company can afford losses, but a small company can achieve lower operating costs and in many cases “win” business with a bid that is lower than a big company is willing to go.

People do business with people, and business also can be won or lost based on personalities and sales skills.  Following-up and being “local” often counts but often not as much as a “competitive price.”

In summary the big opportunities are:

  • New Markets – focusing on businesses with fewer than 100 employees.
  • Focusing on route efficiency
  • Preparing for rapid growth
  • Offering competitive pricing and service where it makes sense.

To learn more about shredding opportunities or how to get a steady stream of vetted customers, call our Membership Hotline today at (800) 747-3365, or click here to fill out our form


Growing with Relative Ease

How to Grow Your Shredding Business with Relative Ease

By David R. Powelson

Re-thinking how your shredding business can grow in our current industry climate can be one of the most profitable uses of your time.  Because there are essentially two schools of thought, you can:

Growing with Relative Ease
  • Make it easy for customers to buy from you – This method is in alignment with what customers prefer.  They prefer to be “in control.”  It’s also in perfect alignment with what small companies can afford.
  • Develop a comprehensive market and selling program – This includes various methods focused on convincing prospects to buy from your company when their timing compels them to make a purchase decision.

This method “fights the current” and is unnatural because customers are typically suspicious of sellers. They fear being manipulated and making a wrong decision- thus “buyer’s remorse” is something they dread.   Proponents of this school of thought are quick to point out that a great sales program overcomes these objections.  It’s an uphill battle, hugely expensive and, in fact, the outcome is uncertain. In addition, tracking your costs vs. rewards can be challenging.

The bottom line for small companies is that successful expenditures must provide an immediate return.  It’s why being easy to buy from makes sense.  In contrast, big companies who can afford extremely large advertising budgets (blimp advertising) and other image producing methods can afford to “roll the dice” and wait to see what method works best.

Big companies advertise and conduct public relations programs to develop their brand.   Eventually a customer wants their product or service and makes a connection to the “blimp” and heads to their “branded” store to make a purchase.    Big companies also are eager to finance “face-to face” prospecting with highly paid salespeople.   Their investment in building a relationship is easily measured in the thousands of dollars.   There are no guaranteed results.   Why? Because a paradigm shift has occurred.

  • Today, 90% of buyers turn to the internet first.   When it’s time to buy, buyers prefer the internet since it gives them unbiased information and a level playing field. Customers want to be in control of their decisions.  They perceive sales techniques as “manipulative.”   The role of conventional marketing, advertising and direct selling are, by design, a way to change perceptions.

Buying versus Marketing & Sales – an Economist’s View

In the buying method, an economist views the cost for information for an “immediate buyer” as a finder’s fee. We here at Shred Nations like this method because the majority of our partners are local, independently owned document destruction providers. Because 80% closing rates are common with Shred Nations, the actual financing source of the finder’s fee is the buyer – not from the cash flow reserves of the business itself.    If accountants and economists could agree they would classify the finder’s fee as a “cost of sales.”   Both do agree the cash flow advantage from using the buying method is superior.

The timing of when an operating expense is taken is the major distinction between a “finder’s fee” and marketing and sales costs.   Finder’s fees are incurred concurrent with the sales transaction.  Marketing and sales costs are front-end loaded, more expensive and slower in producing quantifiable results.  For example, the costs of the “blimp” or prospecting with high-priced sales people occurs months or even years before any economic benefit is received.  The cash flow drain is normally huge for an extended “sales process” of this nature. If you are a big enough organization, these costs are expected and planned for annually.

Hence, this way of advertising suits a big business – but it is potentially disastrous to a small business’s cash flow.  The reason is simple: the playing field is not level when it comes to available resources.  It also explains why big businesses are fond of starting out a contractual relationship with a customer with extremely attractive terms, essentially losing money in the early months – to create the illusion of a lower overall price. Direct marketing and inexpensive referral services can drastically alter the playing field for the smaller business. Shred Nations can be a great resource for this.

About Shred Nations

Shred Nations is, hands-down, the best continuing source of real-time information about immediate buyers for shredding services.  Shred Nations does not provide sales leads.  We supply something far better.   We supply “sales-ready” referrals which include the name, contact information, and type of shredding service needed by a buyer with an immediate need for a shredding service in your specific company’s service area.

Prices start at $10.99 for sales-ready referrals. Average shredding service providers invest about $200 per month. The average return on investment is 4 to 1.  Referrals can be focused around your base of operations, along transportation corridors or in clusters to help augment profit by creating route density.  After becoming a network member you may drop our service without cost at any time, and you are entitled to a free replacement of any defective “sales-ready” referral.    Your key to business success is your willingness and ability to be “extremely responsive” to the needs of every immediate buyer. There is no better time to join this network.

If you would like more information, give us a call on our Membership Hotline today at (800) 747-3365, or click here to fill out our form


Winning Against Giants

David and Goliath is an old story about how an ordinary man overcame the odds and won against the awesome image and might of a giant. In the Bible story the Philistine giant expected a match-up with another warrior outfitted with body armor, a shield, a javelin, a short spear and a sword.

Goliath looked down at the shepherd boy and took his appearance on the field of battle as a personal insult. Yet minutes later he was stricken in the forehead from a great distance by one of five smooth stones. Shortly thereafter Goliath’s head rolled in the dirt. In today’s terms this was an asymmetrical contest.

How to proceed against giants hasn’t changed over the years. They have giant strengths, for sure, but they also have giant weaknesses. Yet the greatest truth of all is that underdogs, armed with courage and confidence, possess awesome strength too.

Lets talk about how independently owned shredding companies can win in a shredding industry now dominated by Iron Mountain and Shred-it. Shred Nations’ mission is to help independent shredders be strong and successful in this new era.

Choose to be great (not BIG)

Success and greatness are a choice. Long term and daily goals are essential to being great.   It’s easier to build around core values. However you chose to do it, being great means “unified and focused.” Here’s an example:

Core Values of Shred Nations

  • Unity of effort is built on respecting fellow employees and all other people we encounter, earning trust, demonstrating integrity in what we say and do, and on communicating effectively.
  • We delight our customers thereby creating loyal advocates for our business.
  • We project enthusiasm, fun and passion as we go about performing our job responsibilities.
  • We are committed to continuous improvement and provide visibility to key metrics through a formal reporting system.
  • We are committed to building the best place to work for the best people.

Giants need rule books and policies, contracts and lawyers. They have hierarchies and layers of people. They become bureaucracies. In the end their bureaucracy kills discretionary effort of front-line employees. Gradually, overhead takes over. This requires higher and higher prices. Caring about customers becomes less and less important. Contracts become a substitute for great service and personal contact is lost. Yesterday’s contacts move on.  GIANTS can’t build successful personal relationships.

No matter how bad a GIANT’s service gets or how many conflicts over agreements, you can count on a public relations image that they are “service oriented” and operate with “integrity.” It makes sense to maintain a file of a giant’s public relations foibles.

The quick eat the slow.  The big think they eat the small.

Choose to act fast with every customer opportunity. There’s absolutely no way a big company can care about customers like an entrepreneur. Speed and responsiveness, saying thank you, and telling your customers how much you value their business is key.

People do business with people.  A GIANT relies on “Image”

Small business and giant businesses alike have a need to spread a message about their business.  Giants spend millions, and small shredding businesses must rely on word of mouth.

Refine your elevator speech:  “So what do you do?” a stranger says.

“My company, ABC Shredding, is the friendliest and best shredding company in the entire region.  We help businesses and individuals protect the confidentiality of their records by shredding paper in our mobile truck at their location.  We deliver personalized service.  Our professional drivers are key to our success.  Our customers can be assured of the opportunity to witness the destruction of their records.  Our drivers make certain our customers are delighted and they always thank our customer for their business.   Later we routinely send a written Certificate of Destruction. We’d sure like to add you to our list of happy customers.  Is there a good time we can meet?   Thanks for talking to me, here’s my card.”

Drivers are key.  They meet people every day and can even drop-in at the office next door while servicing a neighboring business.  They should become expert in delivering the company’s elevator speech, can hand out business cards and can become good-will ambassadors.

GIANTS’ advertisements costing millions of dollars telling readers they protect treasures and are trusted to store huge volumes of records for Fortune 500 companies.  The impression they create can’t measure up to the effectiveness of a personal message delivered by an authentic spokesperson.

Don’t be a sheep, you’ll get eaten by wolves

The courage and confidence of running a successful business is unbeatable.  If that’s not you, fake it until it’s true.  Sheep get eaten.   Your personal positive attitude is completely under your control. But back it up with performance.

Growth, Cost leadership, and Profitability will one day help you leave your business having achieved your financial goals. On a personal level this requires iron-willed, effective leadership.


The average business loses 15% of its customers per year.  This implies to grow at 10%, requires huge amounts of new customers.   The best internal method of obtaining referrals is referrals from existing customers. Organic growth is another winning strategy. Some successful companies routinely put extra security containers in each truck. Others have their drivers stay alert for new opportunities during each visit. Friendly drivers who consistently thank customers, are key. Their bond with customers can be priceless.

If these methods don’t provide sufficient growth, you’ll have to go outside.  Here, Shred Nations is hands-down the best and most effective, low cost external way to get a direct flow of new customers.  Access to customers with an immediate need for shredding in your market area cost from $10.99 to $42.99. Shred Nations calls these “sales-ready referrals.”

In comparison, to achieve growth through conventional sales programs costs from $700 to $1,000 for each new customer.   This includes advertising, customer relationship management, systems costs, and a sales force.

Cost Leadership through route density

The key to low cost trucking is route density.   Best results come from building routes in your own neighborhood, building along transportation corridors, and building in clusters.  Your drivers are your best sales force, Shred Nations can help pinpoint where referrals come from, and concentrating sales effort in prime areas work – either apart or as a coordinated program.


When every customer is a profit center, every route a profit center, and every truck a profit center you’ve arrived. Nothing like this happens by accident, it is a result of planning and intentional effort.

Use of Contracts

You can be sure giants will make long term contracts a centerpiece of their marketing effort.  It allows them to cut back on service, raise prices while keeping a hand-hold onto their customer’s revenue.

Small companies should learn from this. They should have friendly “letters of agreement” detailing each party’s responsibilities. The term of agreement should also be a number of years, and if agreeable they should be automatically renewable.   This serves to protect your customer base.   Liberal use of the legal term “interference with contractual relations” should discourage GIANTS from poaching your accounts.


Like Goliath, a business giant will be insulted when you compete for business effectively and win.

Shred Nations is like a precisely-guided smooth stone and belongs in your marketing program. We supply independent shredding companies a flow of new customers.  Our sales-ready referrals are like a perfect pitch in baseball.  There’s no guarantee you’ll hit every sales-ready referral out of the park but the batting average of network partners as a group is .810.

We’re here to help, call our Membership Hotline today at (800) 747-3365, or click here to fill out our form