Nick-Anthony Zamucen, President & CEO of Bio-One Inc., discusses the world's first and only crime scene cleaning company with Franchise Gator.
Bio-One Inc. is the world's first crime scene cleaning franchise. They provide everything from state of the art industry training to ongoing 24 hr support. Bio-One Inc. knows what one needs to be successful in this high demand, and lucrative business! Make a difference in people's lives and be a part of this truly recession proof industry.
How was Bio-One originally started?
The short version is a member of our church committed suicide and the police left his widow with the incomprehensible task of cleaning the remains. A few church members went to the house to check on her and she understandably had yet to enter the room where her husband took his life. The ladies took her to lunch for the afternoon while a friend and I cleaned the room so she didn't have to, and the healing process could begin. After we finished cleaning the room, we realized how many families have to deal with similar situations and eventually must clean up themselves. Thus, Bio-One was born from this need with the emphasis on helping people first and making a profit second.
What was your original vision for Bio-One?
We wanted to help as many people as we possibly could while creating a profitable and sustainable franchise business. I can proudly say we continue to do both.
What do you believe is the single most important factor when choosing a franchise?
I think it is the commitment from upper management to the new franchisee's success. There are a lot of companies out there that rush to put franchises up and try to build brand awareness at the expense of the new franchisees. This is not the Bio-One practice. We value each and every franchisee and are committed to their success. We send them to the finest training school in the nation, give them access to our referral networks, and new franchisee's can call on our management team 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We even give out upper management's personal cell phone numbers to our franchisees to call for assistance any time. If a new franchisee needs to call me at 3 o'clock in the morning because they're on a job a have a question about safety or proper procedural steps...call me, I'm here to help. That's my commitment as CEO.
Why should someone choose Bio-One over other similar franchises?
As of now there are no similar franchises. The closest would be a restoration company and that's a stretch. Considering that is the only franchised business I can compare us to, I would say this: there is no better feeling than to know that you've helped out someone in one of their greatest times of need. Bio-One is called at the worst time in people's lives. When we remedy a situation and assist in the healing process, words simply cannot do justice to the feeling knowing you have just made a big difference.
The second thing that is important for running a successful business is keeping our overhead low and margins high. As an example, a restoration company may bid on and hopefully receives a $7K job. The job may take anywhere from one to three weeks to complete, and includes having to purchase various materials and waiting another three to four weeks to receive payment after the job is completed and signed off on by the insurance adjuster. Now there is nothing wrong with that business model, I just like ours a lot better. We don't typically "bid" on jobs. People call us in a time of need. There is usually no time or tactful way to collect "bids". We complete our work in one to four hours depending on the job and the size of the crew. All the materials needed are in the work truck. Insurance usually covers our invoice so we are generally paid seven to ten days after we submit our invoice. Our company average invoice is between $5K-$8K.
What makes your industry attractive?
Our industry is attractive because it is 100% recession proof. There will always be a need for crime scene cleanup; as the population increases, so does crime.
What types of qualities do you look for in potential franchisees?
We look for people that have compassion for other people. We look for people who really want to live the American dream, be their own boss, and own their own successful company. Bio-One Inc. is more than just money and success; it is about building relationships in your community and with community leaders. If you're not compassionate and don't have a "help first, business second" attitude, this industry is going to be very hard for you. There are many other good franchises that don't require you to be a people person and have compassion.
How do territories work for Bio-One franchisees?
At Bio-One Inc. we don't start you with set territories. Our mindset is "earn what you're worth" regardless of County/Parish/Burroughs. If you want to drive two hours to clean a scene, go ahead. If you have those sort of long distance contacts and don't mind the drive, go ahead. It's your company. I'll never tell someone not clean a scene because of distance. I've had a guy drive 13 hours to go remedy a scene at his old air force base two states away.
With that being said, we do have a few options for franchisee's who want to secure a certain location where Bio-One Inc. will sign an agreement not to place another Bio-One within certain area. Franchisees may purchase specific areas and make them exclusive territories with the cost based on population and need. Lastly, you must have a proven track record of maximizing your current area if the exclusive territory isn't originally purchased at the time of your new franchisee Grand Opening.
What is your favorite advice for new franchisees to help them succeed?
My number one piece of advice is to remember in all business ventures, you will have fruitful summers and cold winters. The key is to have longer summers than winters. There is an ebb-and-flow in every industry, crime scene cleaning is no exception. My advice is keep pushing forward and to never give up. We are here to nourish and pamper your new business and teach you the ropes. Lean on us for advice and encouragement when you feel stumped. We're in this together. Bio-One Inc. is not successful unless you are.
What would you tell potential franchisees that may be nervous about the financial burdens of starting a franchise?
There is risk in any business. I would ask them to focus on positives and not negatives. Your chances of successful business ownership are far greater with proven models that franchises offer. I find that people usually doubt themselves rather than the business opportunity. Bio-One Inc. has a set model that has been proven year after successful year, but a sense of ownership or confidence is something that has to come from the candidate. I know I'll do everything I can to make our franchisees successful, because my success is 100% dependent on their success. The one thing I cannot do is embed them with the confidence to take the first step, that must come from them. The single worst thing in life, I feel, is the thought of letting something pass you by because you were too scared to make a decision to move forward. Don't let this be you.
On average, how long does it take to start a new Bio-One franchise?
We have a game plan of 90 days. A new Bio-One should be open and operating in no longer than 90 days. I sold a Bio-One in 2010 and within 17 days of the gentleman buying the Bio-One, he was called for a $13,000 job and was paid nine days later. Not bad to have his first job a $13K job that took him and one other employee less than four hours. I want all the franchisee's to get this kind of a jump start.
How has your industry changed in the last 10 years? Twenty years?
The crime scene cleaning industry has been around for roughly 17 years. In that time, few companies have survived the changing settings of this dangerous yet very lucrative business. This industry is always evolving, regulations change, state requirements change, insurance requirements change, companies come and go because they cannot keep up. The reason why Bio-One Inc. is the leader in the industry is because we don't just keep up, we're proactive in the regulation of crime scene cleanup. We get involved in the business of public safety. Our franchisees are taught the hands-on side of the business from the founder of this industry to ensure proper knowledge and an understanding of the dangers associated with this field. There are some companies that want you to learn this trade on the internet and give you a pep talk to go start your own business, just to leave you a few thousand dollars lighter and extremely frustrated. Bio-One Inc. walks with you step by step and guides you through this exciting world to make sure you're profitable and successful.
What trends do you see in your industry over the next five years? Next 10 years?
We forecast that federal and state regulations will get tougher for people trying to start a crime scene cleaning company on their own. Specific schooling and classroom training will become mandatory and have to be proven before licenses will be issued. Insurance will also become an issue if proper training has not been met. Crime will continue to go up with the nature of population so the good news is our services will always be in need. We are one of the few continually profitable, recession proof, and sustainable businesses in the market today. As population grows, so does our bottom line.
What is the biggest concern about your industry that a franchisee candidate should be aware of and investigate?
Because of our continual evolving business, regulations get tougher about every three years. States become more aware of our industry and tend to place restriction on who may own crime scene cleaning companies or what sort of licensing you must have to legally operate one. This is where Bio-One Inc. comes into play for you. We keep you up to date as well as keep a close eye on your company's compliance with local, state and federal authorities. We understand that regulations always change, but very few things do over night. Bio-One Inc. always wants to stay out in front to not get caught behind the eight-ball on any issues, no matter how small they may be.
What makes a Bio-One franchise more attractive than your competitor's?
Simple: higher margins and very little overhead. Owning a Bio-One franchise opens you up to the opportunity to not have to work 40 or 50 hours a week to make a good living. We are not saying that owning a franchise is easy and requires no work, that couldn't be further from the truth. If someone tries to sell you on that, run in the opposite direction as fast as you can. Bio-One Inc. has a proven methodology for success, but it does take hard work and time. When the proper networks and referrals are in place, the calls come in, and you don't need to be on a crime scene cleaning job for hours upon hours to make good money. The margins are very high for the time you are actually on scene.
Describe the ideal Bio-One candidate.
Our ideal candidate needs to have the drive to really want to succeed. They must have compassion for others and be willing to learn in a constant evolving industry. Someone that has worked for a restoration company or has a civil service background such as police, fire, EMT or paramedic. We also like people that might have a background in construction or with a contractor's license. They must have a minimum of $50,000 liquid capital, and be able to invest up to $75,000 with a net worth of $150,000. Lastly, they have to be willing to do this full time; no part time owners here.
Describe the working environment of your franchisees.
This is a home based business. You don't need a fancy store front or elaborate office space to become successful. Your success has nothing to do with the show of the home-base. When Bio-One meets the victim's families or police organizations, it's on their turf. All our work is done onsite and never taken home with us. Additionally, this keeps with the very low overhead to run the company. Mostly you will have a cell phone that will never be more than five feet away from you even while you're in the shower. When that phone rings, think money in the bank. Remember, our invoice average is $5k-$8K. If you miss a call, you missed on potentially thousands of dollars. We work 24/7; crime has no set hours and doesn't take days off. This franchise is not for the person wanting to work 9-5 and take weekends off.
How much experience in this industry should a franchisee candidate have?
We don't expect our franchisees to have any experience in this field. If they have worked for a crime scene cleaning company or a meth lab cleanup company, that could be beneficial but certainly not required. We send all our new franchisees to school for proper hands-on training then we arrive at their city for the start-up part of the business. We help with licensing, set meetings with appropriate city leaders and attend those meetings, help start the marketing and prepare the new franchisees for their grand opening. Frequently we come back into town for the ribbon cutting with the local chamber of commerce. Experience is on our shoulders, we're in this together. Bio-One Inc. is a team effort.