If you have a passion for cleaning, then you might want to know how to start a crime scene cleanup business. It isn’t the easiest job in the world and it will require you to have a strong stomach. Why? Because you’ll be cleaning up bodily fluids, handling hazardous materials, and disposing of materials that cannot be properly cleaned. You may even be asked to restore parts of a home that need to be removed.
The good news is that you don’t need to have a college degree to begin a business like this. The bad news is that you could very well be cleaning up the blood and other bodily fluids from a murder victim. That’s why many who get into this business have a background in law enforcement or health care services. Are you ready to get started? Then here’s what you’re going to need to do.
1. You will need to become certified.
Because you will be handling hazardous materials with this type of business, you’ll need to become certified to clean them up. OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, runs classes in many communities that will provide this certification. Independent contractors may also offer these classes. You’ll need to know how to properly use personal protective equipment and how to prevent blood-borne illnesses.
2. Speak with your local law enforcement agencies.
If you’re going to be cleaning up crime scenes, then one of the best referral resources that you’ll have is from your local law enforcement. They may require you to go through specific training and require you to get additional certifications as well. You may also need to speak with Department of Health officials about any special certification or licensing requirements that they may have for your business type as well.
3. Get your business officially licensed.
Once you have obtained all of the needed certifications and met all of the licensing requirements, it’s time to make your business official. Speak with your county clerk of regional administration office about getting your business officially recognized with a license to operate. If you plan on hiring people, then you’ll also need an employer identification number. Remember to register your business with your Secretary of State if you are forming any business type besides a sole proprietorship. Certain cities may also require a license to conduct business, so check local statutes as well.
4. Make sure you have the proper insurance.
You will need to have at least two types of insurance for a business such as this. The first is having a general liability policy that will provide at least $500,000 worth of coverage. If you can afford it, then push that amount up to $1 million. This will protect you from any problems that may arise over the course of your job. Consider increasing specific limits, like loss by fire, due to the nature of the work that you’ll be doing.
You will also need to have a surety bond in place to protect yourself against negligence, either your own or from an employee, whether intended or not. You may not be legally required to carry a bond, but it is still a good idea to do so. If nothing else, it will show your community that you take your work seriously.
5. Get all of your protective gear lined up and into inventory.
Hazardous materials handling requires the use of a hazmat suit. It also means that you’ll need to be wearing full PPE gear, including a respirator, protective boots, safety glasses, face shields, and heavy gloves. You will also need to have certain contracting gear, such as shovels, saws-alls, and chemical cleaning products. Most crime scene cleanup companies operate out of a van or a truck so that they can properly transport and dispose of the waste that has been removed from a scene.
6. Find places where you can get referrals.
Death is a tragic event for families, but it is the source of your profits. That means you’ll need to talk to certain businesses about getting referrals for work. Not every job may be a crime scene, so you’ll want to talk to funeral homes and local attorney offices to see if they’ll place you on a referral list. Most will if you’re willing to kick back a small percentage of your fees to them in return, between 3-5% in most cases. The health department is another good place to get your business onto a referral list.
7. Start booking your appointments.
If you have a background in janitorial work, then you’re ready to begin booking appointments. This job is more responsive than proactive, so you may not know when your next job is going to be. For those who have never worked a janitorial position before, working as an apprentice for 2-3 months before opening the doors to your business can help you be able to complete your job more efficiently.
8. Finalize your relationship with the local disposal service.
You probably won’t be allowed to just take the items that are removed from a crime scene location to the local landfill. Police officials may need you to remove items so that it can be stored as evidence. Otherwise you will need to follow your local community’s regulations on the disposal of hazardous items. That may mean holding onto them for up to a week because many areas allow for hazmat disposal just one day per week.
If you want to know how to start a crime scene cleanup business, then you’ll need to follow these steps so you can get some work booked. It may take a strong stomach and some long hours at times, but the reward is a job with a high wage that helps people be able to restore their property to its previous condition so it can be used again.