Just curious, how long should I keep a customer's information after they cancel an account with me?
I'm just starting out so I haven't even got my first customer, but I know this will be something I need to know for the future.
Most larger companies I know will keep the information indefinitely. Even if the data base they are using gets cleaned out they archive the old stuff. I would do the same if I were you. Doesn't mean you have to have it easily accessible when it gets old.
I'd agree with keeping the information indefinitely, however, as a second option, I'd keep it as long as it's necessary for your taxing authority. US IRS requirements, if memory serves, would be 5 years at a minimum. You'd need to verify that though.
Since it likely doesn't take up much room in your database, I'd suggest keeping all past customer's information. You never know when the customer may decide to return someday.... and it may help if you've kept a record of them.
Rob Moore - Founder/President DemoWolf.com - Video Tutorials for hosting companies, since 2005
Just keep it indefinitely incase you ever have to file taxes. It would also prove to be more convenient if the same client ever came back so they could just reuse their old billing account to sign up again.
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Thats an important point to remember-you might have to deal with a future dispute with the customer and having information would be useful because they might not be in a cooperative mood when dealing with you.
If you leave the business and are in something completely unrelated there might be a reason to get rid of it.
I agree with everyone here. It is very important to hold on to previous customer's information for future reference. Just keep a separate file to store it in case you ever have any disputes and you need to go back and view the information. I'm sure that all the businesses we have ever been customers of have our info on file somewhere for a very long time.