Does flat rate data recovery work? For some shops, it can. But the unfortunately, the issue tends to be something that works for computer repair shops, as opposed to actual data recovery service providers like Hard Drive Recovery Group. Flat rate tends to be something these repair shops tend to advertise mainly because their skillset confines them to a very limited set of data recovery situations. So, it tends to be something they can offer with no issue because they can accept an outcome where they cannot recover your data.

At Hard Drive Recovery Group, we cannot accept this outcome.

Our new and referred customers frequently inquire as to why Hard Drive Recovery Group evaluates each and every hard drive before providing a quotation for data recovery services costs. The short answer is that media evaluations allow our engineers to identify problems, determine the probability of recovery and mainly fully determine the amount of labor and lab time necessary to fully recover the data.

Some shops that offer “flat rate data recovery” tend to say, “No media evaluation required! Send us your drive and we’ll get to work!”

This approach is very emblematic of an amateur, and simply doesn’t make a lot of sense in all but the absolute simplest data recovery situations.

How Flat Rate Data Recovery Services Tend To Work

With flat rate providers, there is a set fee for every “data recovery attempt” that is performed. With a specific set of lower end hard drive failures, these companies can charge anywhere from $100 to $1000. In fact, the higher end priced “flat raters” can make a good business out of restoring these failed hard drives, because their rate is high and their skills with these specific failure types are high. Typically profitable are companies that charge regardless of the outcome of the case. However, many do have a “no data, no charge” policy, which is very similar to Hard Drive Recovery Group.

People who don’t know data recovery well (which is usually EVERYONE who is not working in the industry) are attracted to “flat rate data recovery” because it gives them a level of security – “no matter how damaged their hard drive is, they will not pay MORE than the stated rate”. Certainly, knowing the “exact costs” for data recovery up front is a huge part of the job. In fact, Hard Drive Recovery Group, while not a “flat rate shop”, has never charged more than the provided estimate simply BECAUSE we know how these recoveries work – we’re probably done several of them TODAY, never mind over our 30 year existence.

Typical flat rate providers are rarely able to guarantee a low price for every issue that may arise, and if in fact the recovery is outside either their “flat rate” or well above their estimate, they will often tell the customer that “the drive is unrecoverable”. Works for them in that it saves face. Doesn’t work for you, as you’ve just been told that your data cannot be recovered despite the fact that the reason it can’t be recovered is that you were dealing with an unprofessional data recovery provider.

How Our Data Recovery Rates Compare

When it comes to these types of data recovery cases, we at Hard Drive Recovery Group charge our minimum rate in almost all situations. In comparison to the average cost of flat-rate data recovery, this rate is almost always lower. Companies that offer flat rates, on the other hand, will not inform their customers that their cases are “easy,” nor will they reduce the cost if they receive a hard drive that is in good working order when it arrives at the lab for testing.

We will. In fact, if your drive is easily recovered, we will simply charge you a lower, hourly rate than the estimate we originally provided you. It’s a simple approach, and one that has kept us in business since the 1990s.

However, by submitting your drive to a flat-rate data recovery service, you are agreeing to pay the agreed upon rate in full — with no exceptions. So, with flat rate data recovery, it is always quite possible that you will overpay for a relatively simple data recovery.