Issue: November 2007 Issue
Bio Clean Services' Marc Onesta doesn't just clean up crime scenes, he helps get lives back on track.
Four years ago Marc Onesta traded the cubicle for the crime scene. Bored with the 9-to-5 paper chase of his office job, the Winston-Salem, N.C., native decided to try his hand at a different — and dirtier — line of work. Onesta bagged the suit and tie, donned a biohazardous suit armed with disinfectant and set out to clean the messes too much to handle for anyone else.
Today, Onesta's Bio Clean Services operates in six states and is one of the leading professional cleaners in the area. With two full-time and four part-time employees in addition to Onesta, the company specializes in the aftermath of accidents and violence, including crime scenes, meth labs and animal waste.
"Any job that we do is going to be so bad that nobody else wants to do it," Onesta explains. "There's not a lot of certified people able to do this type of work."
What many people don't realize is that police officers and coroners do not clean up after crime scenes, often putting the burden upon the individuals involved. This can be extremely emotionally disturbing, especially for someone who has recently been involved in a crime or death, Onesta points out.
"It's important for people to [know] they can pick up the phone and call someone like myself so they can get their lives back together a little quicker if the cleanup is done," he says. By giving his name to police, funeral homes and other individuals who deal directly with tragedy, Onesta gets the word out that help is available.
But it wasn't always that simple. In the beginning, Onesta found it difficult to market his particular service. "The hardest part of this work is getting your name out there. For the first couple of years it was a struggle," he admits. "Nobody wants to think about hiring somebody like me because nobody likes to think about something bad happening to their family or tenants. Until something bad happens, that's when you get to know somebody like myself."
Bio Clean is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. At crime scenes, biohazardous materials such as blood, tissue and body fluids must be contained and removed while the surrounding areas are disinfected. Buildings that once housed meth labs are particularly hazardous and must be attended to properly. "What happens is the chemicals that are used to make methamphetamines actually coat the inside walls, ceilings, the whole inside of the structure," Onesta explains. Bio Clean also offers restoration services.
In the past six months, Onesta has expanded his business by reaching contract agreements with cleaners in Indiana and Pennsylvania who tackle crime scenes under the Bio Clean name.
But the dirty work never seems to bother him. "I think I was cut out for this type of business. I'm a mentally stable person when it comes to doing a crime scene or a very nasty job," Onesta says. "I'm just able to handle things a little better. Also, I don't have much of a long-term memory for remembering the bad jobs."
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