How I Created A $1.2M/Month Crime Scene Cleanup Business

$1,200,000
revenue/mo
1
Founders
5
Employees
product
Bio-One
from Greenwood Village, Colorado
started February 2008
$1,200,000
revenue/mo
1
Founders
5
Employees
3.99M
alexa rank
337
followers
261
followers

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Hello reader and thanks for stopping by. Let me start off by saying I hope you’re not reading this during the day when you should be working on your business.

Don’t use me as a distraction for you to not take action, the action that will either put you on top of your competitors or start your company on the right path.

By the way, my name is Nick-Anthony Zamucen and this is how I approach business, my life and all that is important, which is everything. Everything matters. I founded Bio-One Inc., Best Option Restoration (BOR), Uncle Vito’s Pizzeria and St. Home Care, which all are franchised companies.

For the purpose of this article, we’ll focus on Bio-One Inc. and how I created the world's first multi million dollar crime and trauma scene franchise.

how-i-created-a-1-2m-month-crime-scene-cleanup-business

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

I started Bio-One Inc. over two decades ago.

Bio-One is the nation's leader in Crime & Trauma Scene Cleaning with over 90 franchised to date and growing. Bio-One isn’t like any other business you get into, it’s not all about profit.

Let me explain a bit more. When a suicide, homicide or an undiscovered dead body is found, there are many people who get called to the incident. The police, coroner/medical examiner, fire department, detectives and the last responders are companies like mine, Bio-One the crime scene cleaners. Not all scenes we clean are crimes, but the term crime scene cleaner gives some mental picture of what gets done. We clean and remediate what is commonly left behind from EMT’s, police, fire departments and coroners to name a few.

Bio-One also handles hoarding situations, blood spills, meth labs, rodent droppings and lately a lot of fentanyl remediation. Bottom line is this; when the toilet doesn’t flush you call a plumber. When the lights don’t come on you call an electrician. When you see something you’ve never seen before, perhaps something no one should ever see and you don’t know what to do, that’s when you call us over at Bio-One, we are the “Oh shit, what now”, phone call.

I got into the crime and trauma scene business by sheer fate. I was attending a small Baptist church and our Pastor had said at the end of the sermon that a fellow member of the church had unfortunately taken his life and the pastor didn’t see his wife in attendance. He then went on to ask if some of us in the church would go see how the widow was doing and offer her some love and support. So, me and a buddy did just that.

It’s easy to be happy when you land a big job or get a big order or meet the perfect client. It’s easy to be happy when things are going good. You need to practice controlling your emotions when things aren’t.

As my buddy and I arrived at her house, we were greeted by many from the church. Everyone seemed happy to see us, which was surprising considering we were in our early 20’s and not overly frequent members of this church. We walked through the front door we saw a woman sitting on the couch disheveled and in a daze. This was obviously the widow. Her and I locked eyes for a moment and she pointed to the bedroom door and said to me, “they said I had to clean it myself.” I had no idea of what she was talking about so I strolled across the room and opened the door…then quickly shut it.

What I saw for a brief moment was pinks and browns on the walls and bed sheets. A blob of what looked to be some sort of strawberry ambrosia jello on the floor and on the TV (yes, is was brain). The ceiling fan had what looked to be hair on it with a dried yellowish substance like glue sticking to it. I could go on, but I think you get the point. See the Coroner and/or Medical Examiners take the bodies away, but leave everything else behind. They take the big stuff, we take the little stuff.

After I shut the door I walked over to one of the women from the church who was sitting with the widow and whispered in her ear, “why don’t you take her to lunch, so Rex and I can take care of this for her.” Then I handed her $40 to move her along. I figured I had seen movies like Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs, so the mess didn’t really bother me. A quick wipe up seemed pretty straightforward and easy. Boy, ignorance is bliss. If I had known the potential dangers I was getting myself into, I probably would have thought twice about cleaning up after a gunshot suicide. But, at the time I was just trying to help a lady who needed help. Hence, the motto “Help First, Business Second” was born. At the time I didn’t know it, but that decision to help someone in their greatest time of need, would change my life forever.

To be completely honest, we did 1000 things wrong. We had no personal protective equipment on. I had a pair of pink dish gloves on I found under the sink. Rex, my buddy, didn’t wear anything on his hands. We didn’t have the proper chemicals to clean blood with nor did we know what the hell to do with the bio matter for proper disposal. I found a bucket under the sink next to the gloves and filled it with Comet (like Ajax if you know what that is) and warm water.

We scrubbed walls with steel wool pads and basically spread everything around trying to dry it with paper towels. I had foamy pink juices flowing down my arms and on my head from scrubbing the ceiling fan. It was just a mess and so were we. We were way out of our league and very luck we didn’t get hurt or hurt someone else in the process. We were young and dumb. It took us about 6 hours to clean a scene that should have taken a trained professional 2 hours. Again, we were just trying to help and we had never done this type of work before. This was our introduction into crime and trauma scene cleaning.

Later that night we were starving, so we were sitting in a sandwich shop when Rex turned to me and said, “what do you think happens throughout the country when a suicide happens and the coroner takes the body? Do the families really have to clean the mess themselves?” A light bulb went off in my head and Bio-One was born.

Describe the process of launching the business.

I began to franchise Bio-One about eight years ago and we have over 90 franchises nationwide. Franchising is an animal in itself. It is truly unlike any other way business or business structure out there. When one buys a franchise, they’re buying a business model, a branded logo, and a support system. What one does not buy is a promise of success or any guarantees. Look, a business is a business is a business. You still need to work the business, breathe the business and live the business.

Business is a spiritual game. When you’re business is doing well, you’re flying high personally, can’t be stopped, can do no wrong. When business is good you’re in a great mood. Now, when business is slow or not moving as fast as you want, God forbid it’s dyeing, one generally feels like the world is crashing down. You feel terrible if your business is in a funk. See you are your business and your business is you. This is a life and death game, be sure you understand that before you enter the game.

The key to business is making sure you remember why you started in the first place. We tend to forget this when things get tough.

We are in every major market. Bio-One handled the Las Vegas Mandalay Bay shooting, the Pulse Nightclub massacre and just about every domestic terrorism incident in America. We are the only bio company recommended and credited by the FBI, Department of Justice and Homeland Security.

We also handled most of the Ebola outbreaks occurring a few years ago in Dallas, Atlanta and Miami. When people don’t know who to call, that’s usually when my phone rings asking, can you help us with this?

My answer is, secure the scene Bio-One is on the way. We’ve have been dealing and recovering many fentanyl scenes lately. It seems to be the new designer drug of choice.

Describe the process of franchising and scaling the business.

When you decide to franchise your business, it’s usually for a few different reasons.

  1. You want to expand your brand while using other people’s money and efforts to do so. Or…

  2. You feel you have made a system that is replicable and want to make money teaching people how to sell, service, or serve your particle widget.

For me it was neither of these two. I had started and sold three crime scene cleaning companies and all three times, the new owners had come back to me and asked me to step back to have me help them run the business. I would create the company, sell it about two years later and within six months of the close date, the new owner would offer me a large equity stake in the company to help them turn the company back around. I was amazed all three times that the new owners could screw it up so bad so quickly. Two out of the three times I stepped back in and took half the company back and helped them scale and eventually sell for a handsome profit.

How I began franchising is a long story I’ll paraphrase the best I can without leaving out too many details. I was golfing in Scottsdale, AZ with some old business partners. I had created and sold a few businesses over and over again so I had some free time to play a few rounds of golf. This particular day I had been playing a round with an attorney who was very interested in my story of building and selling and coming back in and scaling and re-selling.

After the round we were having a drink back at the clubhouse and he said, “you know, what you’re doing is basically franchising.” I had no idea what a franchise was outside of McDonalds. He went on to tell me the three pillars of a franchise where, a brand, support and royalties or some sort of payments.

I later found out that he was a franchise attorney and we spent the next few hours talking franchising and how I’ve created a model that I can teach people and they pay me a large sum of money upfront and a percentage of the action for the term of their franchise agreement, which is generally five to ten years. I thought this is genius.

Well, franchising can be a great model for the right company, but it’s not without it’s headaches. There is massive legal paperwork; tremendous regulations from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), not to mention the individual States regulations on what a franchisor can and can not do with the people that buy your franchise in their particular State. There’s a lot to learn, too much to cover in this piece but it can be lucrative if done correctly.

I’m now on my fourth franchised organization and the game to me is winnable. Franchising has made me a millionaire several times over. I have sold over 350 units throughout all my companies and have gone international with two of those companies and about to be a third.

The Internet has changed the game when it comes to selling franchises quite a bit in the last decade. You can now buy leads from lead portals, work directly with brokerage houses, rely on your personal website through SEO conversions, use social media to target leads, etc. The days of running around the country to franchise trade shows are almost over. Trade shows still exist but it’s a very antiquated way of trying to sell a franchise. From what I see, only the new franchise concepts looking for a needle in a haystack go to franchise trade shows. I applaud them for taking action to get out there and go. Unfortunately, they’re normally left frustrated, disappointed and broke.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

For people who really want to help their community and make an impact in people's lives, there really is no better franchise then Bio-One.

We’ve historically keep the startup costs under 90K, so almost anyone can buy a Bio-One franchise. We train at our offices in Denver, Colorado and get new franchises up and running within four weeks. We believe in helping young entrepreneurs thrive in a niche business environment. Bio-One is also part of the SBA Franchise Directory and an approved franchise eligible for the SBA Express Loan, our code is S2617.

With over 90 locations nationwide, there are few people in the country Bio-One can’t or won’t respond to. We continue to grow and add two to three new franchises a month and we plan on adding another 150 franchises before we are sold out. With the average invoice of $7000, it makes our franchise an attractive investment.

We’re about a third of the way sold and we plan to cap out in about six to seven years. I would highly encourage someone, if looking to make a difference in his or her community, work with law enforcement and be a local hero, to take a look at Bio-One and see if you’re a good fit.

It’s about helping people in their greatest time of need. Our company motto is Help First, Business Second and we mean it. We not only teach every franchise to have empathy of the surviving families but to approach each scene as a unique way to help someone’s life for the better.

See, Bio-One franchises don’t get called because someone’s getting married and life is beautiful and everyone’s rejoicing. No, quite the opposite, we get the call with crying mothers saying their child has killed themselves and they don’t know what to do. Or, the family has found their loving grandmother dead on the couch from heat stroke and she’s been lying there for two weeks. Bio-One is not for the faint of heart or the heartless. You need to want to not only help people, but really love the people you help. This is a business of caring and empathy to the highest degree.

It’s not all pain and tragedy though. Some of the greatest moments of my life have come from grieving survivors, hugging and thanking me for our services. They tell me we were sent from God and we must be angels walking on earth because it takes a special human to do this type of work. Sure, the money is nice and the freedom of working for yourself is the only way to live, but the thank you’s, warm hugs and human connection of support is the best paycheck one could ask for.

Not everyone qualifies for a Bio-One franchise, but those that do and make the commitment to come aboard, it is truly life changing.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

Look, business is tough, it’s the toughest game you’ll ever play. It affects you emotionally, financially, spiritually, and mentally.

It can be a daily struggle and oftentimes you wonder why you even began the game. You need to push through those days. They happen to everyone in business, even me and I’ve been doing this most of my adult life.

Business is 20% mechanics and 80% psychological. If you can’t get your mental game under control and remember why you started the business and how you want a better life, then you’re going to kill your business.

It’s easy to be happy when you land a big job or get a big order or meet the perfect client. It’s easy to be happy when things are going good. You need to practice controlling your emotions when things aren’t.

Business has cycles. It’s good one day and bad the next five, then good for a month then a week of terror. Welcome to business, it’s not for the weak.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

how-i-created-a-1-2m-month-crime-scene-cleanup-business

For me, I'm Tony Robbins guy. Always have been, probably always will be. I don’t think there is a better mentor to have then Tony. Not only have shared the stage with him, but I consider him a personal friend.

Tony Robbins and I have a very similar background. Our mothers were both married several times, we had an abusive upbringing, lack of support in the household, both went hungry often at night and we’ve both made a commitment to ourselves that we would never live the rest of our lives the way we were taught in our past.

Tony’s big on saying, “The past doesn’t equal the future” and I couldn’t agree more. It’s not the events in your life that cause you to derail, or live less than your capable of, it’s how you choose to respond and the meaning you put on those events. We’ve all had crappy things happen to us in life, no one is immune to that. You’re not living if nothing to happening to you. Life has a unique way of smacking you right in the face, just when you think the coast is clear. It’s how you respond to that smack in the face is what matters, not the smack…you probably deserved it. I know I have in my life.

There’s equilibrium to life I feel. When you’re flying high, you tend to get pushed down a bit (or a lot) and when you feel you’re at your lowest, the sun rises again and you figure out a way to keep pushing. There’s always darkness before the daylight, there’s always winter before spring. Life is cyclical, just like business and if you can keep that in mind, and weather the storms, you’ll come out a better person for it. Remember for good or bad, nothing lasts forever. Stay pragmatic and keep emotions even. Remember, life is always happening for you, not to you.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

The key to business is making sure you remember why you started in the first place. We tend to forget this when things get tough. We think that the illusion of security (aka: corporate job) will bring you back to normal.

Perhaps, but who wants normal? Normal means average and average sucks. Focus on being great, doing great things and living a life people only dream about. It’s up to you. You Hold the Key.

how-i-created-a-1-2m-month-crime-scene-cleanup-business

Where can we go to learn more about Nick-Anthony Zamucen and his companies?

-  
Nick-Anthony Zamucen,   Founder of Bio-One

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