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.
If 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 Yellowpages.com will run you over $1,000 per month. A billboard may cost upwards of $500 per month, CleanupDirectory.com $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.
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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