South Africa’s extremely high crime rate has opened up a myriad of business opportunities in the security and self-defense industry from armed response to CCTV unfortunately sometimes it’s not enough and over 50 people are murdered in South Africa every day.

What is a crime scene cleanup business
A crime scene cleanup businesses job is to ease a family’s grief by cleaning up what is often left behind after a person has been killed, committed suicide or died from natural causes but has not been found after a while and decomposition has taken place. This includes blood, body tissues, etc. It can take a massive burden off the family already in mourning as well as prevent them from catching a disease the victim might have had by cleaning the scene incorrectly themselves.

Who is this business for?
If you’ve read this far then you’ve probably gathered that you need a strong stomach for this business but there are serious psychological factors to consider as well. After you’ve done and you go home and go to bed and stare at the ceiling how bothered are you going to be? Is it going to have a lasting effect on you? Some crime scenes are brutal. Can you deal with the trauma you just experienced? To get an idea of what you will be seeing, I would suggest you visit some “gore” websites to see what you will be getting yourself into. I would also advise not to ask any questions about the victim or look up news reports. It’s best if you know nothing about them no matter how curious you are. You will be cleaning up a scene once the body has been removed and processed it will be easier mentally to not know anything about the victim.

Operational details
You need to be very careful how the scene is cleaned, you need to not only clean up the blood splatter and related but you also need to decontaminate the scene. Working with blood will expose you to HIV/Aids, Hepatitis B and other diseases. You need to wear a full biohazard / hazmat suit with overshoes, latex or nitrile gloves some people use double gloves all of which must be destroyed afterwards. You will also need a respirator to filter out strong smells in the case of decomposition/ putrefaction.

To clean up you will need a cleaning agent to kill viruses and bacteria, an enzyme that breaks down blood and body tissues making them easier to remove, and sodium chloride to clean up what’s left.

I would advise that you do some research, watch videos, even take a course in procedure or best practices if you can.

You can also do vehicle cleanup after an accident.

What type of biohazard / hazmat suit do you need?
Hazmat suits are categorized in various levels, for this job you can use a level C, which will actually be called a “coverall” or a “disposable coverall”, this is usually made of tyvek or similar material. Remember you have to burn it afterwards. When I got a quote last year a large suit cost R574.73 for 25 including V.A.T (R23 each) and an extra large suit cost R578.15 for 25 including V.A.T (R23.13 each). I would say between R25 and R50 depending on the quality, you don’t want to skimp with your health on the line. A new one has to be used by every person cleaning every different crime scene.

And please dispose of these things properly.

Business Model
As you can imagine this is a sensitive matter and you have to be as delicate and professional as possible but also understand that this is a risky and unpleasant business. If not properly done you run the risk of contracting a disease. So you have to weigh up things accordingly and base your pricing on that. You also need tact when quoting, don’t ask directly what the cause of death was say something like “we need to prepare for the scene” before asking for cause of death and quote accordingly. You might have to work late hours because even if someone dies in the morning, SAPS has to release the scene first after they have investigated before you can get to work.

Marketing Your Business
This is a local business, website, Gumtree, classifieds etc. Standard ad: {service} in {area} e.g. “Crime Scene Cleanup in Saxonwold”. That is how people use search engines like Google these days instead of the Yellow Pages.

Suppliers
Medical suppliers you can get the products (cleaning materials, coveralls, respirator) from. The prices I quoted are from Supra Healthcare.

Image credits: Response Training


You have a business idea, where to next?
How to Start a Business from Business Idea