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What Do You Do With All Your Client Files?

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I don't know about you, but I have a ton of files on my computer from things I've done for clients.

- Videos I've created

- MP3s they've sent me

- Graphics I've created

- Reports

- Email correspondance

- PDFs

- eBooks


I typically go through and clean out my files every so often and delete things I don't need. I want to start compiling all my files every month and sending them to each client and tell them that this zip file is for your records and I will no longer be storing them on my end.


Sometimes clients come to me 2-3 months later looking for a file we used or discussed and basically I just don't want to be their external hard drive.


What do you think? I have all this all written out in my contract but I don't think clients actually realize all of what is stated in our agreement.


What do you do with all the files between you and your clients?




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I agree with you, Danielle. You should not be the clients' "external hard drive".

If you reach the point of having to buy storage or utilize a cloud back-up service, it will increase your overhead.


I would certainly keep relevant materials through the contractual revision period; if a project is on-going and past notes might prove useful at a later date, I'd keep them through conclusion of the project.


Occasionally, I'll keep something (non-proprietary and "sanitized," of course!) that may serve as a good model/template for me in the future. As a "governance geek," I collect bylaws, for example...


Apart from that, I would feel comfortable purging the files. Document retention/destruction is each company's responsibility.

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In our company we do depend on cloud based platform for the files transaction. We do not depend on the local host for the operation to be accomplished and carried out. The risk level is also less and also the accessibility does not have any issues there of.

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My computer files are in the computer and paper files are in the filing cabinets. For all new clients, I will keep their digital files/work product in my computer for 90 days after our service agreement ends. After that, I will store them in a back-up for MY convenience should that client ever need a file/work product again or something comes up, I'll have it handy. Paper files are kept indefinitely, for now.


Love the phrase "External Hard Drive"!! :)

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I burn all client files at the end of each year (o.k. technically in January for the prior year's records) to DVD - I send a copy to the client(s) and keep a copy for my own records. DVDs are easy to store without taking a lot of room and then I can clean up my computer rather than having ridiculous amounts of obsolete data stored.

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