Pharmacies are often an integral part of the local community. Being able to pick up prescriptions, seek medical advice or purchase small essentials is so useful to so many people. 

Starting your own pharmacy requires a lot of planning and consideration, as well as lots of legal loopholes to jump through. Here are some things for you to consider before you open your pharmacy. 

Build a business plan

As with any business, you will need a solid plan before you even think about opening. Start by conducting research in the area you want to be in. You may find that there are already several different pharmacies, making the competition quite tough. Don’t forget to include the big chain shops such as Boots or Superdrug as they will also be competition. 

By having a strong plan, any funding you apply for will be able to understand your business model. This will increase your chances of being approved for loans and grants which will be vital start-up money. 

Get your licenses and permits in order

Before you can dispense any prescription medication you must be registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council – this is a legal requirement. This registration must be renewed yearly, so it is an ongoing process. You will also need to register your pharmacy’s premises with the council. This is so they can be sure it meets their required standards. 

NHS contracts make up a large part of a pharmacy’s work, so you will also need to apply for that. By completing their assessment, your business will be added to the pharmaceutical list and will be eligible for NHS contracts. This application and assessment is a complex and lengthy process, so it may be necessary for you to seek expert legal advice

Think about services and products

It is rare that pharmacies only dispense medication and have a stock of over-the-counter medications. You can find pharmacies selling a range of different products. To maximise your profits, think about what other goods you want to sell. 

A lot of smaller purchases can be classed as impulse purchases. You may want to have a range of healthy snacks to tempt peckish customers. It is always beneficial to have specific sections if you have room, too. For example, having a shelf of baby essentials such as nappies, wipes and formula. 

You may also want to offer private services, such as weight loss clinics, flu jabs or even stop-smoking classes. The wider your range of offerings, the more customers will come into your pharmacy

Hire the best staff

Businesses are nothing without good staff. When it comes to hiring, make sure you have a robust interviewing process. One of your top priorities should be double-checking any qualifications or training that applicants say they have undertaken. 

Qualifications and training are the most important things, but you should also consider the people skills of potential employees. Working in a community hub such as a pharmacy means you will be interacting with potentially unwell people regularly. It is important that customers feel comfortable and able to share medical details with staff.