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Owning your pharmacy: The $500,000 Question: Buy or Build?

This is part 3 of a 6-part series focused on how to get started opening a new pharmacy.

After you decide you want to own an independent pharmacy, you face another major decision. Will you start from scratch to build the pharmacy of your dreams, or will you acquire an existing pharmacy and reshape it with your vision?

Both options have advantages and drawbacks.

Here are some things to consider — based on years of experience — to help you make this decision.

Check out your market

Market research will help determine if either is an option.

If there are only chains in your target market and no existing independent pharmacy, then you’ll have to build. That is, as long as you are committed to that particular market.

If you think you want to build but can’t find any suitable space in the market to lease or buy, acquiring an existing pharmacy may be the only way to go.

So, step one: assess the market.

If you build...

An average pharmacy startup needs $500,000 to build out the space, purchase inventory and have the necessary working capital to cover expenses until cash really begins to flow. (And the exact amount can differ by market.)

No matter how many customers walk through the doors in those first months, you’ll still have expenses to pay. Reaching positive cash flow can take six months to two years.

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