Yes! And no 🙁
Sadly this is still a fairly unregulated industry.
While there are a few organisations now set up in the UK for shredding companies to affiliate with, these are simply ‘membership’ schemes and serve little more purpose than to charge legitimate shredding companies for a badge or sticker to say they pay money to an organisation that claims to be an authority. There is still no government body that shredding companies can belong to. However, there are some excellent service providers out there and thankfully fewer and fewer unscrupulous firms pretending to provide a legitimate shredding service.
So how do you find a reputable shredding company?
Start by searching Google. A quick search for ‘document shredding companies near me’ should bring up a few options. Be careful to avoid looking at only the paid ad’s (usually at the top of the search engine wen page with a small box next to it saying ‘Ad’). Instead scroll down until you find the top few shredding service providers that are ‘organically’ ranked on the first page. Check to see if any are highly ranked (usually visible with a gold star awarded by Google) and then do a little bit of digging! Click on one a shredding company you like the look of and check their page – does it have good reviews from reputable customers? Are there case studies, or pictures of a physical premises/vans/staff etc?
Make a shortlist of 3 or 4 providers and move to the next step;
Next, search for the shredding company name in Google – what does it come up with? Are there many (if any) Google reviews next to the listing that you can check through to see what other customers have said about their service? How many ‘Google star ratings’ does it have? A shredding company with, say, 40 ‘5 star’ Google reviews is unlikely to let you down.
Finally, call the shredding companies you have shortlisted and speak to them! A company who is offering a paid service to you should be friendly, welcoming and knowledgable. Ask questions. It can be a daunting prospect letting your personal data out of your hands never to be seen again. You want to be sure it is dealt with securely, and a reputable shredding company will understand your concerns and set your mind at ease. If you are not happy with the way a company handles your call or answers your questions, go with your instincts and move on to the next one. Regardless of whether they are reputable or not, there is no excuse for poor customer service.
An experienced, worthy shredding company will make you feel important, understand your concerns and provide all the information you require (and more) to reassure you. They will be able to provide you with information regarding the legal requirements of commercial waste disposal, talk you through their GDPR protocol and even tell you the BS standard to which they shred your documents! If they can’t tell you all of the above, keep searching!