(This article is an excerpt from How to Select a Photo Scanning Service for Highly-Valued Photographic Collections, published by FotoBridge. The entire publication can be downloaded here.)
How to Select a Photo Scanning Service (Part 2 of 4)
Photo Scanning Services: Factors to Consider
After determining your basic photo preservation requirements, it makes sense to start looking at the providers that are candidates for your project. Our research, customer surveys, and experience have identified many factors that customers evaluate to select a photo scanning service that’s right for them. Chief among them are trust, safety, quality of service, turnaround performance, and affordability.
Once you've determined which providers match your basic requirements, you can begin to look at these factors and others to narrow the list of candidate providers. Online research can often quickly uncover information useful for evaluating these factors, both from company and independent sources.
- Has the provider been in business long enough to have earned a large customer base? Do customers recommend the company? Do they have a BBB grade that is consistent with “trust”? Does the company provide information about privacy practices? Is their evidence that the company has been “trusted” by notable or prominent clients with particularly sensitive materials and demanding privacy and commercial requirements?
- Does the service provide information about how your media is safeguarded both during transport and during processing? What is the record of the provider for safeguarding customer photo collections? Are the procedures and practices for protecting your original media reasonable and robust? Where is the service located and where will your collection be processed? Does the service retain a backup for a period of time that ensures you have safely received your originals and newly digital files (and delete those files at the appropriate time in accordance with established privacy policies)? Is the facility where your photos will be stored during processing secured against threats such as fire and water damage. How quickly will your media be digitized and backed-up as measured by the time you ship them to the service provider? Does the provider utilize or require usage of highly reputable shippers with real-time shipment tracking?
- Quality of Service
- Does the service offer sample scans of your originals, at no cost? Are they helpful and responsive to inquiries? Are they flexible and respond favorably to requests? Are they available? Does the provider offer a satisfaction guarantee? Does the provider perform in a professional manner and employ knowledgeable and capable managers and technicians? What do customers say about level of service and satisfaction with the provider? Are there any truly independent reviews of the service to be considered?
- Turnaround Performance
- What is the total elapsed time promised by the provider? Is there any evidence of performance to turnaround estimates or commitments? Does the provider charge extra for expedited service?
- Affordability and Pricing
- What is included in the provider’s basic service? Does the provider pay for shipping? Does the provider offer quantity discounts? Does the provider charge per scan or package? How are options priced? Does the provider offer returning customer discounts?
1. Ease of Use
3. Customer Support
4. Company Reputation
7. Shipping and Handling Practices
9. Domestic vs. Overseas Operations
10. Company-specific Offers
Stay tuned, coming next: Estimating Total Cost Worksheet