Laura Spaulding, is the owner of Spaulding Decon. She’s a former Kansas City Police Officer, who transitioned to entrepreneurship through a series of tough lessons, school of hard knocks and the joys of the freedom of business ownership.
Today Spaulding Decon cleans up messy, toxic, and at times emotionally traumatic crime scenes. But that’s only a small part of her business.
The bulk of Laura’s business is about home restoration, biohazards, un-attended deaths (elder deaths), suicides, car accidents and indeed crime scene clean-up services.
She launched the business in 2008 and in 2016 started her first franchise mode.
Laura was working as a police officer and one day someone asked her, “do the police come and clean up this mess”.
No, the police don’t clean up crime scenes.
Laura set out to determine how to clean up “hazardous” incidents. She took invested in education to learn how to not only clean but also the business of “hazardous cleanup”.
She took the course, even got a ready-made business plan for her envisioned business, and went to banks.
Over and over again she was told no.
After some investigation, she realized that the banks were declining her business just because she was a woman.
Other business owners, with the same or similar business, were told, YES.
Eventually, Laura got her first loan to start her business, by claiming to use it for window repair for her home.
Marketing Doesn’t Have to be Perfect
Laura’s first business cards were printed on her own printer on business card templates with perforations!
Your marketing doesn’t HAVE to be perfect when you start, but it should be as good as you can!
Laura started her business as a “side hustle” in the Kansas City Police department. Eventually, the police department wanted her to choose between the police department or her business.
She chose her business and moved to Florida.
Learn How to Sell
Laura suggests all business owners learn how to sell. She’s thankful that one of her jobs was in medical sales. She did this all while doing her decontamination business.
This experience helped her understand how to sell.
Being a police officer was also important. The skills of reading people, listening and thinking fast on her feet – she was an undercover officer as well.
Customers Asked her to Expand
As Laura grew her business, it become so successful that her customers asked her to expand.
Laura got a big contract at a bank. The bank client asked if she could do multiple locations for their foreclosed homes. In order to do that Laura had to expand.
Hiring a bunch of admins, Laura outsourced the work to contractors across the country.
In 2016 Laura launched her franchise.
What Laura learned is that for the most part, all calls come into a central location. This way Laura can train staff and have consistent sales and customer support. The franchisees can focus on running their day-to-day business. Laura can help with national marketing, entering leads into a CRM database for franchises to fulfill.
The franchise owners develop local relationships. The franchisor helps with SEO and national marketing.
Social Media – Video Show
Laura says that VIDEO and social media overall works so well. With millions of followers, her “before” and “after” videos and photos are working well to drive leads (and curiosity) to her business.
Laura’s Best Tips
Laura’s big tip for fellow business owners is to learn to PIVOT.
You’re going to be told NO, so many times before you’re told yes. Stop always looking for a plan be. Be ready to pivot.
Discrimination does exist and minorities just have to work harder and not take “no” for an answer more than others.
Laura represents the perfect “hustler”. That business owner who started from “zero” and through self-learning, hustle, and perseverance, built a thriving business.
Ramon Ray is a small business expert, motivational keynote speaker and founder of SmartHustle.com. He’s a global speaker, best-selling author and works with tech brands to help them better reach small business owners.