Rich Martin Dispels the Myths & Misconceptions of Document Shredding and Destruction

I had the opportunity to sit down with Rich Martin, co-owner of Paper Tiger Document Solutions. In today’s interview, Rich dispels the misconceptions of document shredding and destruction by sharing insights that help take the mystery of proper and secure document shredding, document destruction, and document storage.

Markus: We are very excited today. We have Rich Martin who is the co-owner of the Paper Tiger Document Solutions in Gurnee Illinois. And he’s been in the business for 27 years and is an expert in document shredding, document destruction, and document storage. Paper Tiger is actually in the business of doing just that, paper shredding, document shredding, document destruction both on site as well as offsite as well as office records storage and document storage and more importantly they are N.A.I.D. AAA certified which is the National Association of Information Destruction AAA certified.  Welcome Rich.

Rich: Thanks for having me, I appreciate being here.

Markus: Absolutely. I appreciate you spending time in our readers today and highlighting a lot of the issues a lot of businesses have. So let’s get right into it and tell us about your business and the types of clients you’re helping.

Rich: Our clients range the whole gamut of businesses as well as residential. We have people that show up with just a box that they want to have shredded from their house all the way up to multinational companies with thousands of boxes. And we also have a lot of companies where we’re doing ongoing service. What we do is we put councils or totes in their offices and their employees dump stuff in there and we come on a set schedule and take care of their destruction needs on an ongoing basis. In addition to that, we do document storage here at our record center in Gurnee Illinois.

Markus: That’s fantastic. So what’s the importance of document shredding? You hear about this stuff and people have these little shredders in their offices and they’re just using that. I think there’s more to it than that. Would you give us some insight into that?

Rich: Well in the last 15 or 20 years, there’s been a lot of federal as well as state regulation on handling sensitive information; social security numbers, birth certificates, just all types of information that needs to be securely destroyed once the life cycle of that paper or other media is over. You’ve got HIPA, FACTA, and there’s all kinds of regulations and everyone knows about identity theft. So a lot of people are a lot more cognizant of the need for making sure their material is securely destroyed and that’s exactly what we do. So we say we’re in the shredding business but we’re really in the security business.

Markus: I like that. That absolutely makes sense. Information is so prevalent and the misuse of information or the information getting out there into the wrong hands is happening more and more, being able to protect that information is super important. So Rich tell us how did you get into this field and get started in this business?

Rich: I used to work for a couple of guys who were in the self-storage business and back in the late 80’s / early 90’s that business was sort of on the wane and they wanted to fill up some space in a couple of their storage facilities. So we got into the document storage business as a means to fill up that space and get revenue from it. And when the market came back for self storage, maybe three or four years later, they wanted to get out of the business. And since I had basically started the business with them, I was the natural person to take over that business. So I moved two different warehouses into one up here in Gurnee at about the same time my first child was born back in 1996 and that’s how I got started in the business. So I’ve been in the business for a long time. We were initially just in the document storage business. But as things progressed and we had a lot of customers who, after the life cycle of the paper that they were having stored here was over, wanted us to go in and destroy it. At that time, we weren’t in the document destruction business. So the shredding business has been a natural outgrowth of our document storage business and it’s currently our major growth area of our company.

Markus: So you really had an evolution of your business because of the life-cycle of documents. That’s very interesting. So what would you say is the most common misconception out there that people have about document shredding? What are some of the obstacles that you see business having in the industry when it comes to documents, document security, document shredding, storage and so forth.

Rich: Well they think it’s going to be a big hassle to have someone come in and take care of this for them. So we just try and allay their fears. We come in and take care of everything because a lot of times they’ll think, “Oh well you know, I got this stuff. It’s in the basement or it’s over in this storage facility, then I got to go and get it and bring it to you” and all that sort of thing and we’re just like, “No, we’ll take care of everything.” If it’s up in an attic or down in the basement or in some storage facility, we’ve got the manpower and the know how to take care of the entire process for them. And a lot of times they come to us afterwards and there so relieved. We here things like “Oh, This was so much easier than I thought it was going to be. I really appreciate it. We’re going to tell everyone we know about you guys”, and that sort of thing. So I think the biggest misconception is just how easy we make it for people based on what they know about where the stuff is as well as maybe their previous experience with another company whose service aren’t as comprehensive or as good.  And so they’re very happy at the end of the process.

Markus: Fantastic. That reminds me of a story you told me about a project you had with The Chicago Tribune and they were moving and had some documents that needed to be destroyed. Tell us about that.

Rich: That was a big project. It was sort of two projects in one. They had all kinds of open shelving of old files they wanted to get rid of and it was located up in this big area they called “the handball court.” It was up a whole series of stairs and to try and pull it out of there, we had to get pretty creative with how we brought that stuff down because as you can imagine you’re not just going to grab handfuls of files and bring them down one by one.  So we came up with an interesting way to bring them down with our totes and sort of slide them down the stairs. In addition to that, in the lower level basement they had over 2000 boxes of stuff. Now if you’re familiar with the Tribune building, it’s an old building.  And one of the docks on that side of that building was somewhat of a challenge in getting skids of boxes out. Not to mention, that building gets extremely busy and since it is an older building, the elevators get jammed up with employees and food personnel and all different types of people. So what we ended up doing was going down there at 4:00 in the morning before the mad rush came in with everyone else and we removed those 2000 boxes and just took care of it for them. They loved it because we were able to sort of go out of our comfort zone and handle the project in a way that was efficient both for us as well as the client.

Markus: That’s excellent. And if I remember correctly, you also said that they were actually working with another company and that other company just refused to even go get the stuff and take care of it for The Tribune the way you took care of it which is just the way you do business everyday. So its safe to say, Paper Tiger takes care of it from beginning to end. Not just, “Here we’ll just pick it up on the street corner.” like so many other companies in the document shredding industry

Rich: Exactly Right. That’s exactly what happened because the other company was just like, “All right. we can do this but we can’t do that.” And it was going to gum up what the Tribune had in there schedule of events internally which wasn’t going to work for them. So they ended up loving that we were able to handle it quickly and efficiently and obviously went out of our way by going down there sort of in the middle of the night to take care of the project for them.

Markus: Absolutely. And that’s not just for big corporate clients either, you do that for residential clients as well. Your partner John was telling me about a client who was more mature in age and this lady had a bunch of stuff in her attic and another company pulled up and they were like, “Where’s your stuff?”  She said up in the attic and they told her to go get it. Whereas you will actually go up into the attic and help them and get the stuff out for them.

Rich: Yeah. We will pretty much go anywhere the client asks us to go. Obviously there are times we’re going to charge a little bit extra to do some things. Our guys need to get paid for their time and whatnot. But we’ll do just about anything within reason. For example, we had major flooding going on this past July and we went into people’s basements and found just nasty old paper that was just wet and starting to get moldy. We just took care of it because a lot of companies wouldn’t do that. Those other companies weren’t into that because it does make it more difficult, as you can imagine, to shred wet paper. You’ve got to pull it apart and pull it apart enough where the machine is going to work. And obviously, you’ve got to have the right equipment and material to handle wet moldy paper as well. We just take care of it and the customers are happy for it. We feel that it really works for us because then we get good referrals and a good reputation out there because we’ll handle the project for our customers.

Markus: That’s excellence and is actually what we need in this day and age. Customer service is so key and so many companies don’t do it. So you’re really revolutionizing the way the paper shredding business is being done which is just fantastic. I love to hear that. So what drives you Rich? What is your passion to get out of bed early in the morning and get out there and help the people you’re helping.

Rich: Well I think it’s a bit cliche but it’s really the satisfaction of a job well done. And when we hear that satisfaction from our customers, that’s really what does it for us. We’ll get customers calling and say, “Oh Pollo is such a great guy.” He’s one of our drivers. Or “Jim was so great. He did this for us. And we just love you guys and we love that your guys handled this for us.” That really makes us feel good. We’re providing a valuable service and our drivers feel good about working here because if they didn’t, they obviously wouldn’t be willing to pull out all the stops to take care of our customers. So, that’s really what we’re all about. We try to hire the right people and treat them well. And in turn, they treat us and the customers well. It’s a win win win situation – the customers, us and our employees. Everyone’s happy. It’s a fun, energetic environment to work in and it just works for everyone because we’re all doing well enjoying each other’s company and the customers are happy. So what more could you ask for really?

Markus: Exactly. And I know talking with some of your employees, they really like working at Paper Tiger. You really create a very dynamic and  fun yet supportive environment for them as well.

Rich: Right.

Markus: That’s great. So what would be the best advice you could give our readers who might be considering using a service to shred their documents. Maybe they’ve never ever done document shredding. Or possibly they’re thinking about document storage but they’re not sure how to go about doing that, what would be your advice to them?

Rich: I think the most important thing is for them to just call us or e-mail us and we’ll take care of whatever project they’ve got. It’s going to be a lot easier than they think and we’ll walk them through every step of the process and make it as easy as possible for them.  It’s not as daunting of a task as they’re thinking.

Markus: Excellent! So how can the readers find out more about Paper Tiger Document Solutions.

Rich: Just give us a call at (847) 599-9700, you can visit our website at or they can e-mail me directly. My partner John and I are always available whether on the phone, email or through the website. We pride ourselves as being an owner operated business. My email is

Markus: Fantastic! That’s awesome Martin. I really appreciate you taking the time today. You’ve shared a lot of golden nugget with the readers and I really excited with you enlightening us to the world of paper shredding. Thanks for sitting down with us today.

Rich: Thanks for having me. I appreciate your time and all the good information we’ve gotten out there for the readers.

Markus: Absolutely. You’re very welcome!  


About Paper Tiger Document Solutions
Paper Tiger Document Solutions offers comprehensive document management solutions for businesses large and small. They can handle all of your document storage and document shredding/destruction needs – providing you with very competitive pricing, industry-leading service, instant access to, and control of, your data. And, they provide 100 percent peace of mind as a NAID AAA Certified company.

You can reach them at:

Paper Tiger Document Solutions
1101 N. Estes Ave
Gurnee, IL 60031
(847) 599-9700

or visit them at

Markus Loving is a Best Selling Author, National Speaker, long a time entrepreneur and a host on Business Innovators Radio with his show The Inside Track and contributor to Business Innovators Magazine and Small Business Trendsetters where he covers leaders and trendsetters in Business. As the founder of, over the last 10 years, Markus has been empowering business owners across the country to Dominate Their Market Online with Reputation Marketing, Local Search, and Authority Presence Marketing. Markus gets great joy in Demystifying the Internet for his clients as he educates them with the most cutting edge and innovative strategies, tools and processes.