When starting a pharmacy choosing your business location is one of the most important decisions you will have to make. A great location can lead to a booming business, while a poor location can derail even the best business plan. So you should put good thought into choosing the best location for your pharmacy.
The following factors are important to be considered:
1. Accessibility and Traffic Patterns: The location for your pharmacy should be easily accessible but by pedestrian and vehicular traffic. You will need to ask yourself some questions such as
- Is it easy for vehicles to enter, park and exit back into traffic?
- How many parking spaces are available for your location?
- What is the level of traffic in relation to the location?
- What other commercial establishments are in the near vicinity?
- Is the location along a route most commuters travel on their way home?
- What is the speed limit along the road?
- Is it easy to find?
2. Visibility: it is important that your pharmacy is easily visible. Good visibility can help your customers find your pharmacy very easily. You should consider this when choosing a location. Your signage will help you a lot to achieve good visibility. Do not locate your business in a difficult to find location. Some questions to ask include the following:
- Does the place you are considering easily visible?
- Is there signage, or can you add signage that can be seen from the road?
- Will it be very expensive to rent the most visible location?
- Are your competitors easily visible in their locations?
- Is there a way to enhance the visibility of the location you are considering?
3. Hours of Operation: The time you plan to operate your pharmacy daily should be considered in choosing a location. Your business must be open during the time when your potential customers are within the vicinity of your business. Make sure that your business is open long enough to match the needs of your customers. Some questions to ask are:
- What times are my potential customers likely to make purchases?
- What days of the week are sales likely to be high?
- How is the population of the community during the weekends?
- If you are “on the way home”, are you open for business when patients are headed home from work?
4. Size: You should determine the size of your premises beforehand and that will also guide you in choosing your location. The size should not be too large as you may be paying too much than you require and if the size is too small you might not have enough room to fixture your store and stock your shelves with the right product mix your customers want. Some questions to ask:
- Is the space available enough for my business?
- Is there any possibility to expand when the need arises?
- Can I get the right of first refusal from the landlord when additional space becomes available?
- Does the size meet that specified by the regulatory agency?
- Is it possible to differentiate your pharmacy from the rest with this space?
5. Demographics in the surrounding community: The demography of the population is a factor to consider in choosing a good location for your pharmacy. The demography will also impact of the kind of products you stock. If the demography is made up of older population, the products that will sell there are those used by this population.
- What type of demographics does the neighborhood sustain and can it support your business?
- Which age group is dominant in this community?
- What is the buying power of the population?
- Which gender is more in the population?
- What is the unique status differentiation in this community?
- What is the daily population fluctuation in this area?
6. Co-tenancy: Who are your neighbours? Look for a shopping center with a tenant mix that attracts customers similar to yours, and that will complements your business. Shopping centers with very high human traffic will benefit your business very much. If there is a laboratory service in that location it will provide you an opportunity for partnership. In addition, seek co-tenants with similar operating hours as your business. You don’t want to be in a shopping center where most of the tenants close at 6 p.m. while your business is open until 10 p.m., because there will be significantly less traffic in the evening. Some questions to ask are:
- Which businesses are located within the vicinity of your proposed location?
- What are their operating hours daily?
- Who is their regular customer base?
- What influence can these businesses have on your pharmacy business?
7. Proximity to a health institution: Many pharmacy businesses, to a large extent, depend on prescriptions generated from the health institutions especially with the limited stock position of the health institutions or the exorbitant prices in some health institutions. If you can locate your pharmacy near a health institution, especially government owned, you can benefit from the out of stock syndrome. Some questions to consider are:
- Is this health institution properly stocked?
- What is the pricing regime in this health institution?
- Can patients from this hospital easily locate your business?
- What are the common diseases treated in this health institution?
Are there any other factors you will want to consider when choosing a location for your pharmacy?