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The paperless environment the IT industry has promised over the years hasn’t quite happened yet but solution provider DIAMP Network sure is trying.

From freshly printed Excel spreadsheets, to 50-year-old hand-written notes, DIAMP (Digital Imaging and Management Professionals) transforms paper documents into searchable, digitized images for a range of clients—from large law firms and government agencies, to small businesses.

Having tested and proven the model in the Dunedin, Fla., region it calls home, DIAMP started offering franchising opportunities to companies in 29 states and the District of Columbia, said Kenneth Age, president and founder of the seven-year-old business.

"We opened the door with the goal of becoming a successful franchise," he said. "We’re relatively inexpensive to set up. Franchises can start small and then grow. There’s no big overhead, and it’s easy to learn."

DIAMP, which has four employees, expects some franchisees to be companies adding complementary services to existing offerings, as well as new businesses hoping to break into the market for digital imaging, Age said.

"We’re removing the pain and agony of making financial mistakes," he said.

DIAMP also will provide franchisees with business, marketing and sales tools, as well as its sales approach. Unlike most competitors, DIAMP charges a flat per-job fee or does a certain dollar amount of work per month to help clients stay in budget. "The problem with a lot of companies is that they charge a per-scan or per-image fee or royalty," Age said. "I wanted to eliminate that to keep the price down for my clients."

The law firm of Richards, Gilkey, Fite, Slaughter, Pratesi & Ward P.A. was spending about $1,000 per month for an air-conditioned storage unit. It took time to retrieve documents from storage, and when immediate delivery was necessary, it cost $15, said Judy James, legal administrator at the firm.

"I was of the opinion that the storage fees were phenomenal," James said. "I talked to the attorneys about doing something else, and we talked about scanning documents internally. An attorney at another firm told us about Ken and DIAMP."

So far, DIAMP has scanned, digitized and shredded 10,689 files and 1,743,643 images, making up about 800 boxes of paper.

Another local client has 2,300 boxes filled with documents it wants digitized and stored. DIAMP is now storing the boxes for less than the customer was previously paying a storage facility, and plans to do a capped-spending amount of work each month, until the economy improves, Age said.

"More clients are taking this approach," he said. "I have several high-profile customers on a budget. We’re reducing their overhead by cutting their storage costs and gradually scanning and storing their documents."

To help weather the slumping economy, DIAMP is expanding its client base of real estate-related clients into areas such as medical and trucking. No matter what vertical market they address, all clients have slightly different needs, Age said.

After an initial consultation with the user, such as an attorney, DIAMP meets with support staff to discuss the type of documentation, how users access the paperwork and the results they want, Age said.

"It’s not one-fits-all and never has been," Age said. "Every customer is slightly unique, and so we’ve always tailored our services to meet their preferences."

Alison Diana is a freelance writer in Merritt Island, Fla. She can be reached at: