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How to open a pharmacy: A guide for entrepreneurs

12th October 2022 Print

Branching away from a career with the NHS? If so, you’re not alone.

With the cost-of-living crisis mounting pressure on health workers, at least 40,000 nurses have left the NHS in the past year in search of a better salary and improved work-life balance.

Opening a private pharmacy could be a viable career choice but you’ll need to be organised. Read on to find out some of your first steps towards opening a pharmacy.

- Secure your funding

Starting any new business premises can be costly but opening a pharmacy entails a few more expenses. Whether you choose investors or lenders, it’s important to start setting up your new business only once you’ve got enough money to do so.

To work out your budget, write up a detailed business plan. If you’re looking for an investor, you’ll need to be prepared to present a plan and explain how you’ll divide your funds in your new venture.

- Recruit qualified staff

Largely due to understaffing, 808 chemists have closed across England since 2015. If you’re considering opening a pharmacy, you’ll need to be confident that you can find enough staff. 

In any profession that enables people to keep healthy and receive quality care, it’s important to recruit trustworthy, reliable staff with the relevant qualifications.

You don’t need to be a trained pharmacist to open and own a pharmacy, but you’ll still need to employ and work closely alongside one. Make sure that they’ve completed a four-year Master of Pharmacy degree, approved by the General Pharmaceutical Council.

- Complete the paperwork

If you’re planning to open a new pharmacy, you’ll need to ensure that you have all the legal documents required to start a new business.

These include securing building and business registration procedures, tax documents, plus registering and training any employees that you take on board.

Obtaining relevant pharmacy insurance might help to protect your new business against situations beyond your control. Above all, we always recommend being as organised as possible.

- Choosing a location

Deciding on the right spot for your pharmacy is crucial to ensuring a good flow of customers. As part of your research, try to see where other local pharmacies are located, consider the distance from local GP surgeries and hospitals, and check foot traffic, too.

Your pharmacy doesn’t need to be in the busiest part of town – but being visible will be immensely helpful for your new company.

- Show strength and resilience

From handling a wide variety of patient requests to resolving any conflicting situations that might occur, working in a pharmacy requires certain skills, too.

Patience, resilience and empathy will be vital character traits shared among your team. Working in a pharmacy can be challenging and unpredictable but, with determination and the right preparation, your business will flourish.