Opening a Pharmacy

Everything You Need to Know

Opening a pharmacy is a rewarding experience, but it is also a complex and challenging process. There are many steps involved, from research and planning to legal and operational requirements to hiring and training staff.

Here is a comprehensive guide on how to open a pharmacy.

1. Consult advisors and mentors

One of the best things you can do when you are thinking about opening a pharmacy is to talk to other pharmacy owners and pharmacists. They can provide you with valuable insights into the industry and the challenges and rewards of owning a pharmacy.  

You can find pharmacy owners and pharmacists in your local community or online. There are also many professional organizations for pharmacy owners, such as the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA).

Here are three questions you can ask when consulting advisors and mentors about opening a pharmacy:

  1. What are the biggest challenges and rewards of owning a pharmacy?
  2. What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out?
  3. What are the most important things to keep in mind when opening a pharmacy?
pharmacy consulting, advisor, mentors
pharmacy research

2. Research and planning

Before you open a pharmacy, it is important to conduct thorough research on the pharmacy industry and your target market. This will help you to develop a business plan and identify the specific needs of your community.

Your research should include:  

  • Demographics of your target market
  • Competitive landscape in your area
  • Regulatory environment for pharmacies
  • Latest trends in the pharmacy industry
Here are some resources that can help you with the research and planning phase of opening a pharmacy:

Industry publications and websites

There are a number of industry publications and websites that can provide you with information about the pharmacy industry, such as:

Government websites

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) have websites that provide information about the regulatory requirements for pharmacies, particularly for handling and dispensing controlled substances.

State pharmacy boards

Each state has a pharmacy board that regulates pharmacies in that state. You can find the website for your state pharmacy board here.

Business consultants

Many business consultants specialize in helping people open and run pharmacies. Business consultants can help you with everything from developing a business plan to marketing your pharmacy.

Pharmacy software companies

There are a number of pharmacy software companies that offer software solutions to help pharmacies manage their operations. Pharmacy software can help you with tasks such as dispensing medication, tracking inventory, and billing insurance companies.

Once you have completed your research, you can start to develop a business plan. Your business plan should outline your goals, strategies, and financial projections.  

Here are a few of the most popular and highly rated business plan websites that can help you get started:


LivePlan is a comprehensive business planning solution that offers a variety of features to help you create a professional business plan. It includes a library of templates, financial forecasting tools, and a collaboration platform. LivePlan offers a free trial, as well as paid plans starting at $19.95 per month.


Bizplan is another popular business plan website with templates and tools to help you create a business plan. It also includes a section on how to write a business plan, as well as a library of sample business plans. Bizplan offers a free trial, as well as paid plans starting at $19.95 per month.


Enloop is a free business plan website that provides tools and templates to help you create a business plan. It also includes a section on how to write a business plan, as well as a library of sample business plans.

3. Legal and operational requirements

Before you can open a pharmacy, you will need to obtain the necessary licenses and permits from your state board of pharmacy. You will also need to comply with all applicable laws and regulations.  

Ensure you have the necessary licenses, such as State Board of Pharmacy Permit, DEA Number, NPI Number, NABP Number, and EIN.

Prior to opening your pharmacy, contact federal, state, and local taxing authorities to establish accounts for Federal Tax ID, State Tax ID, Payroll Tax, Property Tax, and Sales Tax.

Visit the NABP website where you can find the necessary licenses per state.

legal and operational requirements of a pharmacy

4. Obtain a business bank account and startup capital

Once you have the necessary licenses and permits, you will need to open a business bank account and secure the necessary startup capital.  

To obtain a business bank account and startup capital, you will need to:

Choose a bank:

There are many different banks to choose from, so it is important to do your research and compare the different options. Consider factors such as the bank's fees, services, and location.

Open an account:

Once you have chosen a bank, you will need to open a business bank account. This process is similar to opening a personal bank account, but you will need to provide additional documentation, such as your business license and tax ID number.

Secure startup capital:

Once you have opened a business bank account, you will need to secure startup capital. This may involve obtaining a loan from a bank or credit union or raising money from investors.

5. Select and design your store

Once you have secured the necessary funding, you can start looking for a location for your pharmacy. When choosing a location, it is important to consider the needs of your target market and the visibility of the location.  

Once you have chosen a location, you will need to design your pharmacy space. Your pharmacy should be functional and inviting. It should also be able to accommodate all of your needs, including dispensing medication, providing vaccinations, and counseling patients.  

There are a number of resources that can help you design your pharmacy. Some of these resources include:

Pharmacy design companies:

There are a number of pharmacy design companies that specialize in designing pharmacies. These companies can help you with everything from the layout of the pharmacy to the selection of furniture and fixtures.

Pharmacy trade publications:

Pharmacy trade publications — such as Pharmacy Times and Drug Store News — often publish articles about pharmacy design. These articles can provide you with ideas for designing your pharmacy and can help you stay up-to-date on the latest trends in pharmacy design.

Pharmacy design software:

There are also pharmacy design software programs that can help you design your pharmacy. These software programs can help you create a layout for your pharmacy, select furniture and fixtures, and create a budget for your project.

hire and train pharmacy employees

6. Hire and train employees

Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians are essential members of any pharmacy team. Make sure to hire qualified and experienced staff members who are committed to providing excellent customer service.

You should also provide your staff members with the necessary training to ensure that they can provide excellent customer service and that they are up-to-date on the latest pharmacy practices.

7. Purchase inventory and supplies

Once you have hired your staff, you will need to purchase inventory and supplies for your pharmacy. This includes pharmaceutical products, over-the-counter medications, and other supplies.

You should also consider offering a variety of non-pharmacy products, such as greeting cards, snacks, and beverages. This can help you to increase your revenue and attract new customers.

8. Marketing

Once your pharmacy is open, it is important to market it to attract customers. This may involve advertising, social media marketing, and public relations.

When marketing your pharmacy, be sure to focus on the unique benefits that your pharmacy offers, such as your convenient location, your wide selection of products, and your commitment to providing excellent customer service.

9. Soft opening

Before you have your grand opening, it is a good idea to have a soft opening. This will allow you to test your systems and procedures and get feedback from customers.  

Here are 5 important steps for a soft open:
  1. Invite a limited number of customers: When you first open your pharmacy, it is a good idea to invite a limited number of customers for a soft open. This allows you to test procedures in a less intense environment.
  2. Offer discounts or promotions: Offering discounts or promotions during your soft open is a great way to attract customers and to get feedback. You can offer discounts on specific items or on all items in your pharmacy.
  3. Collect feedback from customers: It is important to collect feedback from customers during your soft open. This feedback can help you to identify areas where you can improve your pharmacy. You can collect feedback by asking customers to fill out a survey or by talking to them directly.
  4. Make necessary adjustments: Once you have collected feedback from customers, make the necessary adjustments to your pharmacy. This may involve adjusting your hours of operation, adding new products or services, or changing your layout.
  5. Plan your grand opening: Once you have made the necessary adjustments to your pharmacy, you can start planning your grand opening. This is a great opportunity to celebrate the launch of your new business and to introduce yourself to the community.
pharmacy soft opening

10. Grand opening

Once you are confident that your pharmacy is ready, you can have your grand opening. This is a great opportunity to celebrate the launch of your new business and to introduce yourself to the community.

You may want to hold a special event or promotion to commemorate your grand opening. You can also invite local media to cover the event.


Opening a pharmacy is a complex and challenging process, but it is also a rewarding experience. By following the steps outlined on this webpage, you can increase your chances of success.
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