People are always going to get sick.
That’s why buying a drug store may be an excellent opportunity for an entrepreneur who’s looking for a successful business to buy that doesn’t have too much risk.
Of course, buying and running a pharmacy isn’t an instant guarantee of success. The business still needs to be managed effectively and strategically, and that begins when you’re still searching for that perfect drug store for sale.
Should you buy an independent or a franchise drug store?
The first major consideration when searching for the right pharmacy is whether to buy an independent
There are pros and cons to both options, and the “right choice” really comes down to how much you’re willing and able to invest, what works best in the area where you want to run your pharmacy, and a number of other factors.
Buying a franchise allows you to hit the ground running with an established reputation and business model. This can be a great option if you’re new to the industry or have never run a business before.
A franchise will already have their processes down to a science and your responsibility is primarily to follow those instructions with only slight adaptations for local circumstances.
Buying an independent drug store may not include the same formal stepping stones to success, but it definitely has its own advantages. One important factor is the smaller, more loyal customer base you’re likely to work with. Serving a community and becoming familiar with repeat customers can be personally and professionally rewarding.
Location is key
This is true in almost any industry, but it’s especially vital when you’re looking to buy a drug store. The reason is simple: people will only travel so far for a pharmacy. Wherever your new drug store is located, the vast majority of your clientele will be people who either live or work within just a mile or two of the store.
Therefore, it’s important that your location be close to enough to a population that will be able to comfortably sustain the store.
Make sure the store and signage will be easily viewable from the highest traffic roads, and that there’s adequate room for plenty of quick traffic flow in and out of the parking lot. Speed and convenience play a role in keeping your customers coming back.
Once you locate a pharmacy for sale that seems to be in the right location for your needs, the next logical question is, “why are they selling this store?”
If it’s in an optimal location, you need to find out what prompted the sale.
If the store has been struggling in any way, it’s important to determine if that’s the fault of the current owner and/or staff, or if there’s something bigger in play.
For instance, have there been any recent changes in the local market? Have a lot of people moved away? Has a large local employer moved or laid a lot of workers off? Are there proposed changes to local zoning or regulations that have taken a toll on the number of customers coming to the store? In all these cases, you’re bound to face the same issue, and struggle to stay afloat.
On the other hand, if you can tell the current owner or staff is simply squandering a great opportunity by offering poor customer service or in some other way shooting themselves in the foot, then buying the business at a good price and actively marketing the change in ownership could very well bring annoyed local customers flocking back.
Get professional help to investigate everything
No matter how much experience you do or don’t have buying a business, it’s recommended that you gather a team of professionals who can help you locate the right opportunity and negotiate the complex buying process.
This team will likely include an attorney, commercial real estate broker, and an accountant. Additional advisers may be appropriate depending on local regulations and legal requirements specific to the handling and distribution of controlled substances or offering medical advice.
With the help of these professionals, you should be able to thoroughly investigate the past and current health of the drug store you’re considering buying and develop a reasonable expectation for how well it’s likely to do under your leadership.