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The Truth About Crime Scene Cleanup

There are a lot of misconceptions about the Crime Scene Cleanup Industry.  From illusions of a six figure income to nationwide certification, and a workload requiring several technicians to “I can quit my day job” because I’ll be so in demand, misconceptions abound.  Here, I will make every effort to provide you with the honest truth about the Crime Scene Cleanup Industry.


Crime Scene Cleanup TechniciansIf you choose to become an owner of a crime scene cleanup business, to make a decent income you will have to work as a technician.  True with almost any startup business, you can’t be afraid to get your hands dirty.  As for the amount of money you will make, this will vary from market to market.  Generally speaking, after factoring in all of your startup expenses, don’t plan on making much your first year in business.  As year two approaches, given you’ve reinvested at least 10% of your income in marketing and advertising, you may make $20,000 to $30,000.

This is not a conservative guess, as I could easily see you only making $10,000 in year two.  Contrary to popular belief, there isn’t as much work as everyone would like to think there is.  Crime scene cleanup companies come and go as quickly as the seasons change.  Unless you are financially well-off, do not plan on quitting your day job until you’re sure you can succeed in this industry.  Maybe, just maybe, after four or five years, you might see a respectible income.

How Much Business is Available?

If you live in a large metropolitan area, chances are there’s a lot of business to be had.  However, chances are there are a lot of crime scene cleanup businesses too.  The only way you will get a portion of this business is if the ones in need of service can find you.  What type of advertising will you do?  A top spot on will run you over $1,000 per month.  A billboard may cost upwards of $500 per month, $14 per month and a newspaper ad $400 per month. Companies with operating capital will spend money on advertising and will get the majority of the available business.  Too often, startup companies don’t have the money to invest in advertising, therefore never receive any business.

The nature of the business is sporadic at best.  You may go a week with no calls and land three jobs the following week.  A crime scene cleanup company that can service a large muti-state area will have a better chance at succeeding.  As more and more crime scene cleanup companies pop up, there’s less local business to go around.  Depending on your market and the amount of advertising you do, I would say that you could expect an average of one to two jobs per week.

National Certification

There is no such thing as a national certification in the crime scene cleanup industry.  With the exception of a few quick classes you need to satisfy OSHA regulations, the Federal Government has nothing to do with the industry.  In most states, a crime scene cleanup business is classified as a janitorial company.

If you want to start your own crime scene cleanup business, you will need to attend a week long training program.  When searching for a company to provide this training, please remember that there are no nationwide certifications, except for the ones offered by the company completing the training.  I know Bio-Trauma 911, Inc. and ABRA both have excellent training courses and both offer certifications, however they’re not required.  A couple of states, California for one, may require a certification to transport hazardous waste, but this can be obtained through a local office in your state.

A crime scene cleanup business can be a challenging and rewarding career.  More than likely, unless you are an exception to the rule, it will not afford you the opportunity to retire young and wealthy.

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9 Responses to The Truth About Crime Scene Cleanup

  1. Neil O'regan says:


    I have been trying to research what certifications are needed in my state (Massachusetts) in order to start a crime scene clean up company but cannot locate the information that I am looking for. Does anyone out there know how to find this out?


  2. bstone1775 says:

    To my knowledge, there are no state certifications required by the State of Massachusetts. You will want to visit OSHA’s website to learn about specific regulations regarding the crime scene cleanup industry. In addition, please visit this site for more information regarding infectious waste in your state “Regulated Medical Waste Resource Locator”

  3. aalem says:

    how can u get to this job

  4. bstone1775 says:

    I would recommend reading “Crime and Trauma Scene Cleanup for Business Owners”, which can be found at

    This will provide you with the information you need to decide whether or not you want to work in this industry.

  5. Paul says:

    I’m starting a crime scene clean up service in South Florida, does anyone know what type of licenses are required and which waste transporter permit do I need

  6. Lisa says:

    As a professional crime scene cleaner, I find it unreliable and discouraging for someone to post all the negatives about the real income that can be made in this industry. In any successful business, you have to have drive, hard work, commitment and usually other income in able to move forward. But to just say all the negatives isn’t encouraging for beginners. There is good money in this business, but it takes some time to get the work coming in, internet advertising and you need two, better yet, three technicians. There is overhead expenses, payroll, taxes, and you need to know how to price accordingly, but not too high either. All those big companies started small too, and I doubt they had thousands to spend on advertising when they first started.

  7. Silvia says:

    Does anyone have advice on how to land a technician job? All my work experience involves office type jobs and I’m trying to get into crime scene clean up. I’ve sent out a few resumes but I think my work experience is working against me. I’ve been around crime scenes, I’m very emotionally stable and hard working. Would appreciate any help.

  8. Michael says:

    The article is spot on in its depiction of the state of the industry now. Depending upon where you are in the country, might make a difference in making it easier for you to get started. Lisa, you are correct, us big companies started small, but back then we had little or no competition. Today, California has around 300 companies, Florida has approximately 175 and Texas isn’t far behind. The article if you read it again was dispelling the rumors and falsehoods surrounding the industry.

  9. Phyllis says:

    Hello Lisa,

    Thank you for leaving a positive response, I’ve been wanting to start up a crime scene clean up business for about 13 years now,I wish I had done it a long time ago when the idea of this business first came to me.
    I know that I’m not going to be successful in the beginning as with any business & I do know it’s going to take a lot of hard work to get there, and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get there.
    It’s just so disappointing when your trying to research information about this business to see so much negativity about it and to see your reply to the article was refreshing.
    I am open to any information or tips you can give me ( I would be very grateful ) Once again thank you very much. Phyllis D.

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