The Sneaky 'Per-GB' eDiscovery Pricing Trap Your Small Law Firm Should Avoid

25 September 2018 by Anith Mathai eDiscovery pricing small-law-firm

Summary: Paying per GB of data for eDiscovery seems fair. But crafty eDiscovery providers often tack on a bunch of extra GBs and charge for those. Plus, they’ll charge piecemeal for things like processing and customer support. So instead, your small law firm needs fixed-volume pricing, with a per-GB rate as reference. This gives you a fair, predictable bill every month.

Which is more cost effective: Paying ‘per GB’ of eDiscovery data? Or paying for a fixed eDiscovery plan?

The two most common kinds of eDiscovery pricing are:

  1. ‘Fixed volume’ pricing: Storage space is divided into chunks (or ‘plans’)–e.g., 3 GB, 5 GB, 10 GB, etc. And their prices have been set in advance. So, you choose a plan you want and pay a fixed amount for it.
  2. ‘Per-GB’ (or, ‘pay as you go’) pricing: There aren’t any ‘plans.’ You pay a set rate for each GB of storage space you use.

So, isn’t per-GB pricing the smarter bet?

It seems so much more transparent. You pay for only what you use. And you can compare ‘per GB’ rates to find the provider with the best deal.

Unfortunately, per-GB pricing is easy to manipulate. Crafty eDiscovery providers often tack on charges for ‘extras.’

They game the system by offering you a low per-GB rate. But then bill you for things like:

  • Original and ‘produced’ versions of documents: You’ll sometimes convert files from their ‘native’ format (e.g., a Microsoft Word document with .docx file extension) into a TIFF (an image file with a .tiff extension) or PDF. This makes it easier to print/view them. So, now you have the original documents as well as the new (just as large) TIFF files. Some eDiscovery providers will charge you for both.
  • Databases: These are background collections of structured data (e.g., file metadata) that your eDiscovery software uses to help you work with your files. You probably didn’t know they existed, but you’ll be charged for them nonetheless.
  • Audit logs: These are background documents that track the things that happen to your eDiscovery files. I.e., things like which documents were accessed, when they were accessed, who accessed them, etc.
  • Duplicate files: Good eDiscovery software will find and delete duplicate files. But some providers may skip this step so they can charge you for duplicates of the same file.

These extras can be up to 30% of your original case size.

So, you think you’re uploading only 80 GB, but you’ll be charged for 100+ GB.

Crafty eDiscovery providers also charge piecemeal for other essential features.

You’ll see their low per-GB rate and overlook that they’re charging extra for:

  • Your total uploads and downloads: You pay for a 10 GB case (for example) but get charged $50 extra. Because you did a bunch of uploading and deleting over the month. So, even though your case never got larger than 10 GB, you’re charged for all that activity too.
  • Each user that accesses data
  • Processing your data
  • OCR for scanned documents
  • Producing documents
  • Tech support

There’s an added complication.

For most small and solo law firms, the size of a case keeps changing. So, when you’re charged per-GB, how do you calculate what you owe? Say you start with 3 GB of data. Then you delete 1 GB after a couple of weeks. What’s your bill at the end of the month? Do you pay for the largest size your case got to–3 GB? Or its average size–2.5 GB?

And when you’re paying ‘per GB,’ it takes time to set things up.

There’s a lot you’ll need to clarify. Things like per-seat licensing costs, processing fees, and overage. That means emails and phone calls back-and-forth. All before you’ve even uploaded your first file.

So, what’s a better option? Well, it’s ‘fixed-volume’ pricing but with a per-GB rate as reference.

The cool thing about per-GB rates is that it’s easy to compare the prices different eDiscovery providers are offering. And the cool thing about fixed-volume pricing (with set case plans – e.g., 3 GB, 5 GB, 10 GB) is that it’s simple and predictable. So, why not combine the two? Well, the best eDiscovery providers do just this. Check out an example of simple, fixed-volume pricing, with a per-GB rate as reference.

Fixed case volumes (with a per-GB rate) are great because:

  1. It’s quick to get going. You won’t need to negotiate rates (licensing costs, processing fees, overage, etc.). Because the plans – and their prices – have been set in advance. So, just choose the case size that suits you and start working.
  2. It’s easy to compare plans from different providers. You still get a per-GB rate, which you can use to compare your plan with other eDiscovery providers.
  3. Billing is simplified. There’s just one fixed price for your case. So, it won’t matter if your case goes from 2.8 GB to 2 GB to 3 GB, all in the space of a month. If you’re on a 3 GB plan, you pay for 3 GBs. That’s it.

“But with fixed volumes, I’m paying for space I’m not using, right?”

Nope. Good eDiscovery plans prorate prices. So, you’re not wasting money. Say you use an 8 GB plan for only half the month. And then you downgrade to a 5 GB plan. With prorating, you’d be charged for half a month on the 8 GB plan and half a month on the 5 GB plan. This would be impossible to offer with per-GB pricing.

“Where can I get this sort of affordable eDiscovery pricing?”

Try GoldFynch. It’s a next-generation eDiscovery application designed specifically for small law firms like yours. It uses fixed-volume pricing to help you take control of your monthly eDiscovery bill. And it shows your per-GB rate so you can compare its services with other eDiscovery providers. This means:

  • No sneaky hidden costs. You’re charged only for the files you upload into the case, not for any of the derivative files like databases, audit logs, PDF renderings etc.
  • You know what your bill will be exactly. With fixed case volumes, monthly fluctuations in your case size don’t matter anymore.
  • You know that you’re getting the best deal possible. You have a per-GB rate to compare.
  • You pay for only what you use. GoldFynch prorates prices so, if you cance in the middle of the month, you only pay for half the month.

Pay as little as $10 a month. Fixed-volume pricing is that efficient!

Fixed-volume pricing and Cloud computing make GoldFynch the most cost-effective eDiscovery software on the market. It’s just $10 a month for a basic case. That’s $25 less–every month–than the nearest comparable software. And hundreds of dollars cheaper than many others.

And the price is all-inclusive.

It covers free file processing and production, automatic de-duplication and OCR, no extra charges for multiple users, and dependable in-house tech support.

GoldFynch is cool for other reasons too!

  • You don’t have to install anything. It runs off the internet, and you use it through your web browser. So you can start working immediately. No sales calls or emails. And no credit card.
  • It’s easy to use. It’s highly intuitive, and you’ll learn how to use it in minutes.
  • It helps you with eDiscovery essentials, like tagging documents or redacting privileged information. And ‘producing’ files takes just a few clicks.

Want to learn more about GoldFynch?

How else can you keep eDiscovery costs down? Check out these articles.