When starting a pharmacy, you face a huge number of choices from the very beginning. You may feel strongly about your independence as a business owner and be willing to take on the wide-ranging risks involved in building an independent pharmacy that basically stands on its own (and on your shoulders). Another option is to contract with a franchise chain-store company, pay their franchise fees and let them assist you with starting a pharmacy utilizing their proven business model.
While there's no guarantee that either of these methods will yield the level of success you envision, there's no question that any help you can get along the way could prove extremely beneficial. Speaking with some pharmacy owners with stores in your general vicinity about their experiences in starting a pharmacy could provide invaluable information about what to expect with your upcoming project.
If opening a franchise store, you'll hopefully be able to depend on your parent company for guidance and assistance every step along the way. If going the independent route, it would make sense for you to hire the services of a proven, professional pharmacy design firm right from the very beginning of the project in order to gain from their experience and knowledge.
Important Things to Consider and Tips to Ponder
There are plenty of things to consider in starting a pharmacy, and you can think of this list of tips as startup essentials.
Before making any definitive moves, complete your due diligence by conducting some in-depth research. In addition to the previous suggestion of visiting with area drugstore owners to gain from their relevant experience and knowledge, contact some organizations like The NCPA (National Community Pharmacist's Association) and The APA (American Pharmacist's Association). They can be a valuable resource not only during your startup period but also after your pharmacy is up and running.
- Decide what type of pharmacy you want to have. You can buy a franchise, take over an existing pharmacy, move into an existing business occupancy and turn it into a pharmacy, or build a pharmacy from the ground up. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages. Weigh all the pros and cons you can uncover.
- Make contact with a lawyer to learn about the pertinent legalities regarding the starting of a pharmacy and also look into hiring a firm specializing in pharmacy design.
- Decide on the style of the pharmacy you're planning, and bear this in mind as you're designing your floor plan and purchasing your shelving, fixtures and back end prescription filling equipment. The trend today is for smaller, independent pharmacies with a warm, welcoming atmosphere to offer their clientele a much more personalized and service-oriented shopping experience than the large, chain-operated drugstores so prevalent in many areas. Strive to create this uniqueness as you build your store from the start.
- Plan ahead with the design and placement of your fixtures and shelving, and don't make the mistake of forgetting to budget for these items up front. Studies have shown that most shoppers visiting a retail store will not return if they don't find the atmosphere inside aesthetically pleasing. Much of your new store's aesthetics will come down to the quality and installation of your display shelves and fixtures. Don't skimp on these items by waiting until the end of the build to budget for and select them.
There are so many things to consider in building a successful pharmacy that it doesn't make sense for you to proceed without obtaining professional help with the project. Do it right the first time, and best of luck with your endeavor.