How to Start a Pharmacy Delivery Service [12 Step Plan]

Starting a pharmacy delivery service could be a great way to increase your earnings. This is a multi-billion dollar industry that should only grow in the years to come. Getting in now could be the perfect entry point.

However, starting a pharmacy delivery service isn’t the easiest thing to do. There are lots of things that you’ll need to do to make it happen. Don’t worry if you’re not sure where to get started. We’ve got you covered.

When starting a pharmacy delivery service, you should begin by coming up with a business plan and getting the licenses you need to operate. Then you’ll want to build a convenient online medicine store and figure out your delivery zones.

1.Start with a Business Plan

Starting with a business plan is always the first step towards building a thriving company. By creating one, you’ll figure out exactly how you’re going to turn a profit and what it will take to begin doing so.

A successful business plan should include the following components:

  • Your projected revenue and expenses
  • An outline you can use to request funding
  • An overview of your company and its structure
  • A description of the services that you’ll offer
  • Your analysis of the pharmacy delivery service marketplace

Understand your target audience and the competition

You’ll need to stand apart from the competition in order to turn your pharmacy delivery service into a successful one. But in order to do that, you first need to understand your target audience.

For example, pharmacy delivery services tend to see older clients more often than they see younger ones. That means you may need to target your services to address the unique needs of this age group.

Or, maybe you plan on standing out by appealing to a younger demographic. That could work for you too.

Either way, once you figure out who your target audience is, you need to look at how that market is currently being addressed by your competition. Once you figure that out, you can position your delivery service to outperform the competition by offering services they don’t.

2. Make Sure You Get All The Licenses You Need to Operate

Pharmaceutical drugs are heavily regulated. So you will need to make sure that you have all of the licenses that you need to run your business before getting started with it. Generally, pharmacies need to register with the IRS, the federal government, and their state government.

However, pharmacy delivery services are still a relative niche offering. Many states will require you to get special licenses to handle pharmaceuticals. But if you’re not prescribing them yourself, you may not need much beyond that.

Ultimately, it’ll be important for you to just check in with your state government to see what they require. At the minimum, you will need to make sure that all of your drivers have valid license.

3. Build a Convenient Online Medicine Store

Pharmacy delivery services stand out from retail pharmacists because of how convenient they are. Your online store is an extension of this convenience. Your customers will use it to place their orders and refill their prescriptions faster than they would be able to do so in a store or over the phone.

That’s why it’s super important to create a great online medicine store when building your pharmacy delivery service. There are a bunch of different features that you’ll want to include in yours to help it stand out. Here’s a look at some of the most important ones:

  • A simple navigation bar that lets users get where they want to go on your site quickly
  • Your company’s contact information and a form for customers to fill out to provide you with their information
  • Mobile compatibility
  • Strong branding
  • SEO-focused blog content

4. Figure Out Your Delivery Territory and Routes

At this stage in the process, it’s important to establish the territory that your pharmacy delivery service will cover. It can be tempting to try and cover an especially large territory from the beginning. But attempting to do so could overwhelm you before your business gets off the ground.

A better strategy is to start small and expand as you grow. Try to focus on covering the specific parts of your region where you think the bulk of your target audience lives. By doing this, you’ll maximize your potential customer pool without overexpanding too early.

On top of this, you’ll also need to establish the routes that your drivers will follow. It’ll be important to come up with routes that optimize your delivery times. To do that, you’ll need to divide your territory into sections based on your understanding of your area of operation and the most efficient way to travel through it.

5. Begin Building Your Brand and Advertising

Now you’re ready to start establishing your pharmacy delivery service’s brand and sharing it with the world. Creating a brand can feel somewhat daunting. However, it doesn’t have to be super complicated.

You’ll want to begin with a solid understanding of who your company is trying to reach. Once you know that, you can pick a name, slogans, logos, and color schemes that you think will appeal to that audience.

Once you have the foundation of your brand formed, it’ll be time to begin advertising. There are lots of ways to do this. But keep in mind, you should prioritize the advertising channels that your target audience uses most often.

For example, you wouldn’t want to advertise on live television if you were targeting young adults. But you probably would want to advertise on live TV if you were targeting older adults.

Here are some strategies you can use to share your new pharmacy delivery service with the world and get people interested in it:

  • Start social media accounts and begin posting value-rich content on them
  • Create a blog
  • Run ads in local papers
  • Run email marketing campaigns
  • Print and distribute flyers and brochures
  • Run promotions for new customers

6. Purchase Business Insurance

When you start a pharmacy delivery service, you open yourself up to a number of risks. Insurance can offer you financial protection from these risks. Here are some of the types of plans that you should be looking into for your pharmacy delivery company:

  • General business liability insurance
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Car insurance for your drivers
  • Health insurance for your employees
  • Credit, risk, and deposit insurance

8. Purchase Equipment

You may need to purchase quite a bit of equipment in order to start your pharmacy delivery service. But the most important equipment will be your delivery vehicles. Often, vans are a good idea as they allow you to transport a lot of medication at the same time.

On top of delivery vehicles, you will also need to take steps to ensure that you protect the prescriptions that you deliver while they’re en route. For example, you might need to set up a refrigeration system in the back of your vans to keep the medication from spoiling.

Other items that you might need include:

  • GPS systems for your drivers
  • A delivery dispatch communication system
  • Dollys to move large boxes of medication
  • Bags to put the medication you deliver in
  • And related items

9.Decide Which Software You’ll Use

Nowadays, it takes at least a few different types of software to run a successful business, regardless of the industry that you’re in. Here’s a look at the type of software you need to run a pharmacy delivery service.

Accounting Software

Accounting software will help you manage many different aspects of your business. For example, you can use it to track accounts payable and receivable as well as to get a clear view of your profitability.

There are many different types of accounting software to choose from. Each has its own set of pros and cons. But here are some of the best options for pharmacy delivery services:

  • QuickBooks Online
  • Xero
  • FreshBooks
  • Wave

Payroll Software

Payroll software could help you save a ton of money. It costs much less than a full-time bookkeeper and automates some of the most time-consuming payroll tasks. Here are some of the best payroll software options for companies in this industry:

  • ADP
  • Paychex
  • OnPay
  • Sure Payroll
  • Gusto

Delivery Route Management Software

Delivery route management software will help you provide your customers with the absolute best delivery experience at all times. It will provide you with the information that you need to optimize the routes that your drivers take.

Here’s some great delivery management software for your consideration:

  • Routific
  • RouteXL
  • Route4Me
  • OptimoRoute

10. Decide Which Payments You’ll Accept and How You’ll Process Them

At this point, you’re ready to start thinking about how your customers will pay you. Generally, it’s best to try to let your customers pay in whatever ways they want. Doing so will make it easier for customers to use your delivery service. That, in turn, will make it more likely that they use it again in the future.

That means you should try to accept all types of debit and credit cards. It could also be a good idea to accept cash. Keep in mind, many customers will also likely pay on your website. So you need to set your website up for this.

To accept all of these different types of payments, you need a payment processing partner. There are lots of good ones to consider, but here are some of our favorite:

  • Payment Cloud
  • Stax
  • Helcim
  • Dharma Merchant Service
  • CDGcommerce

11. Request Funding

You may be running a bit low on funds by now. If so, one option that you have is to request funding from an external party, such as a bank. A bank may be willing to provide you with one of the following types of loan agreements:

  • Merchant cash advance
  • SBA loan
  • Short-term loan
  • Business line of credit
  • Business term loan

Each of these can provide you with the funding that you need to accomplish your growth goals. However, the bank won’t just approve you for the loan automatically. While applying for one, you’ll need to prove that you’ll be able to pay the loan back.

Often, this means showing the bank your business plan and your profit projections. The institution may also ask for your personal credit information so be sure to have that handy during the application process.

12. Hire Employees

Finally, you’re ready to hire your employees and begin booting up your operations. It’s probably best to begin by hiring your delivery drivers. Your ideal candidate will be someone with both previous professional driving experience and previous experience in the pharmaceutical field.

After hiring drivers, you’ll want to begin onboarding your office staff. But the exact positions that you hire for will depend on how you’ve shaped your business and how large it currently is.

The Bottom Line: Is Opening a Pharmacy Delivery Service Worth It?

Unfortunately, it’s hard to say whether opening a pharmacy delivery service is worth your time and energy. This industry is still relatively new. There’s very little information available online about how much pharmacy delivery services make in a year.

But ultimately, your profitability will depend on the number of customers that you have. If you have a lot, then there’s a good chance that you can make a great salary as a pharmacy delivery service owner.

On the other hand, if you struggle to get customers initially, then your business may not be profitable right away. But that doesn’t mean that it won’t be profitable in the long run.

One figure to keep in mind is 21.8%. That’s the average profit margin for independent pharmacies. Since you’re operating a delivery service, you may not make exactly that. But this should give you a good sense of the type of profit margin that you will have to work with.

If you think that you can live comfortably on a 21.8% profit margin, then starting a pharmacy delivery service should definitely be worth it. But if you don’t, or if you already make more elsewhere, then starting this company may not be a good decision.

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