What Are the Startup Costs of a Pharmacy?

What Are the Startup Costs of a Pharmacy?

Pharmacies play an important role in society. While no one wants to be ill, the fact is that disease and illness are naturally occurring parts of life. When sickness strikes, people need access to medical care, including medicines. Pharmacies help provide that much-needed access. Because of the role they play, it can be a good business to get into. Starting any business costs money though. So what are the startup costs associated with a pharmacy?

Market Research

The first step you should handle is to do your homework and research as much as you can. Conducting as much market research as possible to uncover several consumer insights including demographics, psychographics, traffic patterns, and more. Also when looking at potential neighborhoods, consider the healthcare needs of the residents. Are you servicing an older community, or perhaps one with an abundance of new families and children?

Startup Pharmacy Cost

Although the profits can be significant, owning a pharmacy requires a relatively large investment to get a pharmacy going, and opening the pharmacy on average will cost $400,000 to $700,000. Expect to need $1 million to $2 million dollars for your first year and your largest expense will be maintaining your prescription medication supply. You should always have enough on hand to meet monthly demand while ensuring that no medicine expires before it is dispensed. You will find out your salaries and payroll will come in a distant second.

Licensing and Regulatory Compliance

Pharmacies are subject to a lot of licensing requirements and regulations that they need to stay in compliance with. There are requirements at the board, state, and federal levels. The specifics may differ depending on where you’re located. If you operate locations in different states, you’ll need to comply with additional multistate licensing requirements. Different licenses are good for different amounts of time and will need to be renewed every one, two, or three years, depending on the license. All of this costs money. It may not be as much as some of your other expenses, but you’ll still need to set money aside for your licensing.

POS Software

As a business involved in the purchase and sale of medications, you’ll need to have a way to complete transactions on the customer-facing end. POS software will be necessary for this purpose. You can expect quality software that helps operations run smoothly to cost more, but the extra help can be worth the cost. Integrated POS software can help you manage inventory. That can be crucial in avoiding situations where you tell your customers you have their medications only to find out that you’ve run out.


You’ll need a place to run your operations out of, which means you’re going to have to find a place to rent. Some pharmacies operate out of grocery stores or other convenience stores. When you choose your location, take into consideration what, if any, other pharmacies are in the area. You don’t want to choose a place in an already saturated market. It’s also important to look at how accessible the location is and what medical providers are nearby who might supply you with customers. Rent will likely be one of your bigger expenses, paid on a monthly basis to your landlord. Above all, make sure you choose a location you’ll be able to afford.

Starting up a pharmacy can be expensive, but there’s a good reason for it. Licensing and regulatory compliance, POS software, and the cost of renting your location are just a few examples of some of the costs that you’ll need to account for. Don’t forget the cost of personnel and the medications themselves either. All of these things play important roles in creating circumstances that allow your pharmacy to have a shot at being successful.

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