The File Center - New Customer Orientation

  1. Introduction
  2. Holidays Observed
  3. Requesting Service during Normal Business Hours
  4. Requesting Service after Hours, Weekends, and Holidays
  5. Sending New Boxes to TFC
  6. Carton Assembly
  7. Marking the Carton
  8. Use of non-TFC Containers
  9. Inventory of Records
  10. Authorization for Service
  11. Pickup of Material for Storage
  12. Requesting Reference Service
  13. Personal Reference
  14. Returning Boxes and/or Files to TFC for Refiling
  15. Sending Interfiles
  16. Ordering a Delivery and Pickup for the Same Trip
  17. Permanent Withdrawals of Files and/or Cartons
  18. Ordering Destruction of Boxes/Tapes in Storage
  19. Methods of Destruction
  20. Ordering Imaging Services


Thank you for choosing The File Center as your off-site record storage and vault storage service provider. This manual is designed to give you an overview of the services that TFC offers and how to use them. At TFC, we are dedicated to providing the highest level of service to you, please take a few moments to review this manual. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us. Thank you.


Normal office hours are Monday-Friday, 8:30 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year; but there is an extra charge for service requested between 5:00 P.M. and 8:00 A.M., and weekends.


Below are the Holidays that TFC observes. TFC can still provide service during the Holidays but there will be an additional charge.

New Year’s

Day Thanksgiving

Memorial Day

Day after Thanksgiving

Independence Day

Christmas Eve

Labor Day

Christmas Day


Normal business hours are 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M., Monday through Friday.

Our Standard service is any record requested by 4:30 P.M. CST, will deliver the next day.

A Rush service is available for Records that are needed within three (3) hours of request.

*Please note that records requested after 4:30 P.M. and needed by 10:30 the following morning and are considered a Rush Order.

Emergency service is available for all after hour, weekends, and holidays. Service will be performed within 2 hours or when agreed upon.


Should the need arise to request service on an “Emergency Basis” please call our office. Your call will be forwarded to a paging service at which time you will receive the following verbal instructions:

  1. Enter your telephone number.
  2. If you have an extension number please push the STAR button.
  3. Enter your extension number.
  4. Do not leave a voice message as this will only result in a delay in returning your call.
  5. Stay near your telephone if possible. We will respond to you shortly.
  6. Please make sure that our personnel have access to you or a designate when they arrive at your location. This includes notifying any security guard, elevator operator, dock personnel or receptionist that may not be aware of our arrival.


Whenever possible, we urge you to utilize our standard 10” x 12” x 15” storage containers whenever possible. The 12” width accommodates letter size files, while the 15” length accommodates legal size files. They are also designed to handle a myriad of other size documents such as vouchers, computer printout without binders, etc.

Large containers such as letter or legal-sized transfer cases (banker boxes) are not only much more expensive to purchase than our standard boxes, but they also weigh considerably more; usually 70-100 pounds and can be injurious to your personnel as well as to ours. The cost of our standard boxes is far more inexpensive than a workmen’s compensation claim.


  1. Assemble the box and lid according to the instructions (Appendix 1).
  2. Place files into the carton leaving 1” to 1 ½” of space in the box for the following reasons:
    1. Fingers cannot fit through the hand holes in overstuffed boxes.
    2. The empty space allows us room to search for a file in your carton if requested.
    3. There may be an occasion when new files need to be added to the box (Interfiles).

The File Center - Record Storage and Maintenance


There are three separate fields imprinted on the end panel of our box. Using a permanent ink black marker, write your Client Code (which we will advise you of) and your Carton Number on the face of the box.

  1. Client Code- Only your 5-digit account number should be written in this box. If you are storing

Records off-site for several or more departments, you may wish to assign a suffix number to each department as an identifier and control number; i.e.,

Accounting 12345-1

Research & Development 12345-2

Human Resources 12345-3

  1. Carton Number- Start your numbering system with the number 1 and proceed on to the next number. Never duplicate box numbers within one client number. Please avoid the use of letters or symbols when numbering your boxes; i.e., 123 A, 123B, and so on. 

Please note when you use different department numbers for your client codes, start each client code with the number 1. Example:

Client code 12345-1 Box Number 1

Client code 12345-1 Box Number 2

Client code 12345-2 Box Number 1

Client code 12345-2 Box Number 2

  1. For TFCC Use- this section is reserved for our barcode label only. Please do not write anything in this section as the markings may bleed through our barcode image and cause misreads by our laser scanners.

Please note that in the interest of insuring absolute anonymity for your records we suggest that you do not  write the contents or inventory on the box. When referencing your files the only information we require, and look for, are your client code and box number. Any other information is not required.


For your initial and subsequent shipment of non-TFC boxes, we can supply you with special labels that should be used. These labels contain the same three fields that our boxes do, and should be marked accordingly (Appendix 2).

Please make sure that your boxes are in good condition and can be moved, staged and placed into storage safely, and that they do not fall apart during this process, or while in storage.

The File Center - Record Storage and Maintenance


Always keep like records in a box; i.e. Accounts Payable with Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable with Accounts Receivable, etc. Doing so will make the inventory process easier. All that is needed is a first file-last file inventory showing the type of record, the date, number or alphabetical range and the box number.


Accounts Payable January 1998 1 thru 15 Box 105
Pediatrics March 1995  A – C Box 44

If you mix different types of records within a box, a file by file inventory must be performed. The difference in labor is considerable. Under a first file – last file inventory, 20 –25 boxes can be completed in one hour. With a file by file inventory it will take one hour to complete 2 boxes!
In either situation, the retrieval of your records will be only as good as the inventory. We can provide you with inventory forms to use for this purpose (Appendix 3).


To insure the security of your records, it is imperative that you provide TFC with a list of your personnel that will have the authority to request service from TFC. We suggest that you assign one person a “Coordinator” through which all requests are directed. Then a secondary person as a back up in case of illness and/or vacations, etc. If there are any changes to authorization card please let us know. If a person requests records that are not on the Authorization card, TFC will contact you to verify if this person is authorized. We send you a new authorization card and ask that you add their name to the card and ask that they sign it (for signature verification). It is especially critical to keep the card updated in the case of after hour emergencies. As again, we will not release the records unless they are either on the card or we can contact you to get them approved. We realize that turnover is a reality in today’s economic climate, making it more important to insure security.


When requesting pick up of records from your facility please advise TFC of how many cartons/media tapes will be picking up along with the cartons numbers. TFC will then enter this data into our Record Storage system, which will then print out a work order. Our delivery drivers will take this printed work order with them when we pick up your records. They will verify what they physically pickup with the items listed on the work order. This verification insures that we are only picking up the records that you requested. If there are additional records to be picked up (not on the work order), the TFC driver will write these additional box numbers on the work order. The TFC driver will then ask you to sign the work order to confirm the order and provide you with a copy for your records.

Please advise TFC of any special circumstances that our driver should be aware of prior to the pickup date. Things such as:

  • Use of passenger elevators
  • Times for parking and/or freight elevator use
  • Building passes
  • Use of hand trucks and dollies in your building

These are especially critical if you are requesting more than 25 cartons to be picked up.


When the need arises to request reference service for an entire carton(s) or individual files, you can simply:

  • Call us 815-464-6363
  • Fax us at 815-464-0006
  • E-mail us at
  • Enter the order on the Service Request form on our web site, at

Simply identify yourself, give us your company name, client code, and the box number(s) and/or file name(s)/ number(s), or (tape media number). Also please advise what type of service you require:

  • Standard
  • Rush
  • Emergency

We can also copy and fax documents or e-mail the documents to you (see Imaging section).


Should you require a large volume (10 or more boxes) of records for research or for an audit, the boxes can be placed in our Customer Viewing Room. This is located off our offices in a climate-controlled environment. This provides you with a place to view your records confidentially in a controlled environment. You can also utilize our fax, copier, and phones if required.

For even larger number of boxes, TFC can stage your boxes in our Record Center for your review. This is especially helpful when your office space is very limited. This service also saves you the cost of delivery and future pickup for refiling. There is no charge for the use of these areas. There is a nominal charge for the use of our fax and copier machines.

If you are going to send a person who is not on the Authorization card, please call us so we can add them to the card. Also please let us know if they can or will be removing any boxes or files, or if they can make copies of the records. Again, we want to insure that we are providing our customers with the best possible security.


A refile is a box, file, or tape that has been in storage at TFC, called back to your office for reference purposes and is ready to be returned to storage. You will notice that each box that you requested for reference has a barcode label affixed to it; and that each individual file that has been removed from a box for reference has been stamped with your client code, carton number, and location number. Do not remove the barcode label on the box, or alter or scratch out the numbers for any reason. The barcode tells our Record Storage System that these are to be returned to storage as well as their identity.

Please note that as mentioned earlier, it is critical that we know exactly what we are going to pick up and that you advise the TFC driver at the time of pick up if you have made any changes to the work order/request. Whether it is an addition to the order or if you will keep a record for a short time longer, please let us know. You can utilize the TFC Refile Transmittal form for this (Appendix 4).


Interfiles are files or a document or file that has not been previously in storage at TFC. It is often a new document which must be inserted into an existing file already at TFC, or it is a new file that must be placed in it’s correct position within an existing box already stored at TFC.

These documents and/or files must also be marked with the correct file and/or box number in which they are to be inserted. In addition, these items must be listed on the TFC Refile Transmittal form as discussed above.


When requesting service for delivery of files/boxes/media tapes from TFC, we encourage you to inform us of any new boxes or refile material you have that is ready to be sent to us for storage or refiling. The main reason is because it is more economical for you. By doing so we can perform both services on one trip instead of two. TFC will only invoice for the larger of either the delivery or the pick up, not both. 


From time to time it may become necessary not to return a box or file to TFC for refiling. Should this ever occur, we ask that you please notify TFC so we can remove the item(s) from our inventory and credit your storage account for any boxes which will no longer be in our system. If you fail to notify TFC, you account will continue to be billed for the storage space that those items take.


TFC will not destroy records unless the request for destruction service is made in writing, on your company’s letterhead, listing each individual container number to be destroyed. An authorized person must sign this request or the request will not be executed.

After the records have been destroyed, TFC will issue a “Certificate of Destruction” and send it to you (Appendix 2).

The File Center - Record Storage and Maintenance

As with a permanent withdrawal, your storage account will be reduced for any boxes destroyed.



Recycling is the most common form of destruction and is the least costly. It is important that the records being recycled have no confidentiality attached to them. While it is unlikely that any records will ever be examined at the recycling center, the extreme possibility does exist. 


For records of a confidential nature, we recommend that these documents be shredded. This type of service is more costly then recycling but it does provide for a more secure disposal of your records. You can choose to have the records shredded “on-site” or “off-site”. To have your records shredded on-site, a special designed truck that shreds documents will come to where the records are located and perform the service.

This normally costs about 50% more than having the records shredded off-site.


For records of a “classified” or “highly confidential”, we recommend disintegration. Basically the records are reduced to a confetti or pulp-type material which is virtually impossible to reconstruct. This method is more expensive than shredding but maybe the best choice for some of your records.


TFC offers different types of imaging services, from scanning files onto a CD, to scanning and posting an image on our web site (pass word protected) for you to view, to e-mailing the image to you.

When requesting an image(s) please advise:

  • Your client Code
  • Box Number(s)
  • File name(s) or number(s)
  • Document name(s) to be scanned
  • How you want the image
  • CD
  • Floppy disk
  • Via the TFC web site (image will posted in a file (labeled as the document name) for 30 days.)
  • Or E-mail to you ( please provide the e-mail address you want the image sent to)
  • When you need the image
  • Standard service is next day
  • Rush service is within 3 hours


If you have any questions about the contents in this manual or in general, please do not hesitate to call us. We very much look forward to working with you and appreciate the opportunity to be of service. On behalf of everyone at the Federal Companies we thank you for your business.

The File Center NARA Approved

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The File Center offers professional, cost effective, solutions to space problems caused by less active records. As an extension of your company's filling and business record management program, The File Center also offers a full range of innovative services to assist in the maintenance of your sensitive business documents.

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