E-signing 101: how much does it cost to go digital?

When evaluating the opportunities of switching from physical to electronic signing processes, price can sometimes be one of the important aspects. The truth is, digital signing processes are not expensive compared to the physical one. Let’s see how so. 

Physical document signing

First, in order to understand the difference, let’s look at physical signing expenses and negate myth that it doesn’t cost a thing.

Physical document processes include paper, printing, mailing, and, most importantly, lots of workforce which actually is the most expensive resource. However, people tend to forget about the latter one.

Let’s say you sign 50 documents a month, each of them containing 2 pages, 2 copies. This is 200 pages of paper, plus printing costs. Let’s say each page of paper itself and printing of one page costs 1 cent, so for all your documents you’d spend 4-5 euros per month. This is the smallest part.

If you send, for example, half of those by mail or courier (for a client, partner or any other party), that’s 25 documents sent. Postage can cost 1-2 euros, so at least 25 euros spent here.

However, it all really depends on how much time you spend on handing the documents. Time spent processing one document includes printing, binding, getting signatures from authorised individuals, registering and archiving it, as well as preparing it for sending by mail or courier if needed. So that can be anywhere from a few minutes to hours, all depending on your processes. Let’s say you’ve got quite fast processes when everything and everyone’s always available and no time is wasted, and take 10 minutes as an average. If an average hourly workforce rate is 9 euros, then 10 minutes cost 1,5 eur. For all 50 documents that would be 75 eur.

So adding everything up, in total in a month your physical document signing costs around 100 euros.

Pay attention that this doesn’t include any mistakes in the process, e.g., reprinting, resending, etc., which in fact also relates to increased amount of workforce.

Electronic document signing

When you switch to e-signing, the process changes completely. Electronic document handling means that printing and postage parts can be eliminated entirely, and the workforce required is shortened significantly.

How much does that save? By eliminating printing and postage, you already save 30 euros. When looking at workforce, the savings can vary but processing your documents online takes at least half of the physical time (so 37,5 eur), and often – significantly less time, reducing it to only a few minutes. Why? If earlier we talked that processing a document includes printing, binding, getting signatures from authorised individuals, registering and archiving it, as well as preparing it for sending by mail or courier if needed, with digital processes you only access the system on your computer, upload a document and share it with those who need to sign; that’s it! It literally takes a few minutes.

Yes, it doesn’t mean that electronic signing is totally free. Depending on your electronic signature tool, its price may vary – it can either be free (e.g., Smart-ID) or have a symbolic cost (e.g., Mobile ID up to 1 eur/month). The same is with a platform or system your choose to handle your documents at, it can either be free or have a price if it offers a user-friendly UX, additional features for digital document processes, and ensures document security. For example, to electronically sign documents and collect signatures from others in Dokobit portal, for the above discussed scenario, will cost ~38 eur.

So adding everything up, in total in a month your digital document signing costs around 40 euros. And that’s 60 euros less – more than twice cheaper – compared to physical document signing processes.

An additional bonus of digital processes is that you’re also able to easily manage documents – they’re all in one place and it’s easy to find them through search or according to the categories you assign your documents to, this way documents have no way of being lost.

Something else to consider

And that’s just internal processes. If you think about signature collection from partners or clients which takes up more of your own time and also time of the parties you need to collect signatures from, then it all adds up to bigger numbers and, most importantly, customer experience.

With digital document signing and collection processes you not only save expenses and time, but also improve user experience for you employees, customers or partners. So join hundreds of other companies like yours and enjoy countless advantages of e-signing. Check out our solutions here.

This post is also available in: Estonian