Do you have a policy for how long you retain client data after they no longer work with you? I have old files, emails, contracts, etc., for clients that I haven't spoken with in several years. I also have records from client companies that no longer exist (I work primarily B2B). Is there an ideal amount of time after which you just delete old records? If the company shuts down, do you delete everything sooner? I would keep items that can be used for my portfolio, but I don't know the value or liability in keeping anything else. I have had clients leave and then return a year or so later, so I do want to keep records for at least a year.

1 Answer 1


As regards myself, I kept all data/messages/documentation/source code (software is my business) since I have been freelancing, say 20 years ago.

Every now and then, the client may return after years, and this is useful. In some cases, an NDA was concluded with the client; but regardless, in all cases I keep that material strictly confidential.

For safety, or if you are bound to the rules of the General Data Protection Regulation, you can mention this in your general sales terms, your offers/contracts or your GDPR declaration.

Note that "the company shuts down" is usually an event that you are not informed about.

  • 1
    In this case, I am aware of when my clients closed their businesses. In the case of one, the owner died. In other cases, they shut down due to the pandemic. I design, build, and host websites, so I have a lot of code, graphics, backups, photos, etc. They take up a lot of space.
    – LMK Web
    Feb 17, 2023 at 15:53
  • 1
    @LMKWeb: terabyte disks are cheap.
    – user4521
    Feb 17, 2023 at 17:33
  • 1
    True! I actually hadn't considered a hard copy backup since most everything is currently in the cloud, but that's a great idea to get them out of my line of sight without deleting entirely.
    – LMK Web
    Feb 21, 2023 at 14:41

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.