Nick-Anthony Zamucen is the President and CEO of Bio-One Inc. Bio-One is the only successful franchised crime and trauma scene cleaning company.
You have a very interesting job. Your company, Bio-One, cleans up crime scenes. How did you decide you want to be in this business?
It actually started from church. I was going to a church in southern Georgia. One day the pastor said that a man in the audience had taken his life. He asked if some of us would pay a visit to his widow at her home. A couple of us went after church. When we walked in the door, the lady was sitting on the couch. She pointed to the back of the door and said, “They said I had to clean it myself.” We had no idea what she was talking about. When walked into the bedroom, we saw what had been a high-caliber bullet shotgun to the head. There was a mess everywhere. The other people we had come with took the lady to lunch and we stayed behind and cleaned it up. I decided that if this was happening in a small town in Georgia, it has to be happening throughout the country. Maybe there’s a market here that we’d never explored. So I decided to start the company.
How long ago was that?
That was almost 2 decades ago. We’ve been up and running for about 19 years now.
How many franchises do you have?
We just closed our 39th franchise. We have 39 franchises throughout the United States.
You’re the CEO of Bio-One. How are you different from other CEOs? What makes you stand out?
Because of the unique nature of our work in the crime and trauma industry, we have to have a different perspective towards our franchises. When people are buying into Bio-One, we are very conscious to make sure that we waste neither their money nor our time. We only accept about 12 franchises a year. The reason for this is because we put about 1000 hours of training into every franchise per year. Our heavy focus on training is probably what makes us different.
Your line of business is obviously very unique. What does your family think about you working in this industry?
When I first got into this business, they really couldn’t believe that we would even consider doing a cleanup of this sort. Dealing with blood and body fluids is not an everyday run-of-the-mill thing to do. As I explained to the family and as I explain to the franchises that come aboard, it’s all about helping first and doing the business second. Somebody has to clean up the scene but let’s not have the families do it. Let’s make sure that the people who are cleaning the scenes are trained and know how to properly dispose of things. We don’t need this stuff getting into the public sewer systems or public landfills. You’ve got to do things right. I explained to the family that it’s more than just mopping up blood. It’s actually doing things right, taking care of people and making a difference in society. That’s how I look at it.
You believe in helping first and doing the business second. How do you survive in a competitive
environment with that motto?
I want to make sure I help the franchises in any way I can before anything else. The biggest thing in the world to us is the franchises’ success. That’s why we help first and do the business second. We don’t take 25 franchises a year. We only take 12 so we can really focus on the success of every single franchise.
Your personal motto is “success breeds success.” You assembled an elite group of successful people that you help to grow their businesses. Is it a group of people from your franchises? Can you please elaborate on that?
I feel the best way somebody can train in something is to do it yourself. You have to be in the game to be able to teach the game. I’ve assembled what I call my success team. A few of them are franchisees that have been with me from the beginning. A few of them are elite attorneys from huge franchised organizations. We also have our CFO. Our CFO is also a forensic CPA, a tax attorney and a franchise owner himself, though not one of our franchises. He understands how franchises work right from the basics to the most elaborate, mind-numbing detail. When you want to build a success team, you’ve got to bring on people that understand every facet. I’m the first person to say that I don’t know it all but I have a team around me that knows quite a bit. We all take our own specialties and run with it, and it makes a great group of people.
In your line of business, people don’t usually expect these sorts of things to happen to them or to their families. In the event that something does happen, how do your customers get to know about you?
We work hand in hand with law enforcement, fire officials, the coroner, and multi housing associations on a daily basis. We typically work with what we call the first responders, the people first on the scene. When a homicide detective gets on scene and he realizes that it’s been a disaster and that somebody needs to handle this, that detective or that grief counselor will reach out to us and lets us know about the situation. That’s where we come in. Law enforcement is where we get a lot of referrals from.
When your franchisees buy a franchise do they have the same business model?
Yes, they do. With any franchise model, if you follow the structure then there’s no reason to over think anything. You just need to implement the game plan that we’ve already put into place. We’ve sold 39 franchises and we haven’t had anybody fail for a reason, because we do things right. We’re not guessing at how we do this.
You can’t just hire somebody off the street to clean up a crime scene. Do they have to go through special training? How does that work?
Our franchisees have to go through a 7 day training process in Las Vegas at our corporate office. They’re only trained by the best in the industry. We get people that are very experienced in the industry to train our franchisees. I’m one of the hands-on trainers that train these guys to make sure they know what they’re doing. This is part of the 1000 hours of training per year that we spend on the franchisees. They have to go through HAZWOPER, HAZMAT training, mold certification training, blood born pathogen certification, sharp certification and waste management and control. There’s a laundry list of courses that they have to take that we put them through to make sure that they know how to evaluate and properly decontaminate a scene within hours. It’s a long training process. I think it goes back to that’s why we’ve never had a franchise fail. We’re very, very detailed about our training.
If somebody is interested in learning more about Bio-One or coming for training, how should they find you?
Publications such as Entrepreneur Magazine have been giving us a lot of press lately. But the easiest way to learn more about us is for people to go to the website at biooneinc.com. You can submit a form that says you’re interested in the franchise, and one of our sales representatives or franchise coordinators will get back to you soon.
Is there anything else you would like to add that I didn’t ask you about the company or franchises?
The only thing I would say is just to reiterate that we’re looking for the right franchisee. Like I said, we only take 12. We have hundreds of people throughout the year that come to us that want franchises. How we come to the 12 that we pick is we make sure we have people that are willing to jump into the mindset of helping first and doing the business second. I’ve always said there’s plenty of money to be made in this industry and we can do it ethically. We don’t need to be one of these companies that take advantage of people at the worst time of their life. We’re looking for those right people that really want to help. They want to be involved in pushing forward the grieving process and making sure the families don’t have to do this themselves. They’ve got to come from a place of empathy and compassion. That’s very important to us.