The solutions offered by various medications that have hit the market has increased the demand for life changing pharmaceuticals, and so transporting medicines to the patients or clients who need them is a good business to start. In as much as the medical courier business is more than the transportation of medicines from supplier to client; this aspect of the trade is what this particular article will focus on.
Before going into details about our chosen topic of discussion, it would be important to note that the transportation of delicate organs, lab specimens, medical equipment and machines make up the variety of items a medical courier can transport.
The industry is a very large one, with hundreds of billions of dollars being generated both as revenue and as profit every year. This number intends to keep growing as more innovations are made to meet the demands of clients. That being said, we shall only look at the transportation of pharmaceuticals in the reminder of this article.
An on-demand pharmacy delivery service is very different from other delivery service businesses because it deals with items that directly affect the lives of people. So naturally there are licenses, laws and regulations instituted that properly regulate how this business can run without becoming a hazard to people’s lives.
Before going into this business, you are advised to do proper feasibility studies to know exactly what it will take to run a business like this legally and ethically.
One would be required to register the business and go through all the regular procedures of setting up a legal business entity. If the owner is not a medical practitioner, they may be required to have one or more medical practitioners in the team that makes decisions as to how the business serves its clients.
19 Steps to Starting a Medical Courier Business (Pharmacy Delivery)
1. Understand the Industry
With more than $90 billion USD in revenue, above $300 billion USD in profits and a growth rate of more than 3%, it is no wonder that the medical courier business has been experiencing growth in new market entrants. There are more than 197,000 businesses offering this service in the united states alone and more entrants are anticipated moving forward.
One major factor that is currently adding to the growth of this particular industry is the presence of medical couriers who operate on a multinational scale and provide services to clients twenty four hours in the day and seven days in the week.
Another factor adding to the growth of this particular industry is the high demand for the fast delivery of medical samples and so on. Some companies offer no extra charges for certain out-of-range deliveries, thus making the use of these services cost effective, not to mention some customized services it offers certain clients, furthering the growth rate of the industry.
In contrast, the hygiene conditions used for the transportation of these delicate items have become a source of concern for regulatory bodies, who are working to see how industry players can improve on this particular aspect of their business operations. Industry players have not been able to effectively fine tune this aspect of the business and this stands to provide market restraints.
Entrepreneurs seeking to enter this type of business would have to pay close attention to the information at hand, in order to find out market opportunities to leverage. There are great companies currently doing business in this area, hence providing some great level of competition.
However this article speaks on just one aspect of this business which is the transportation of pharmaceuticals this makes up about 20% of the entire medical courier business. Should this be the major focus of the business owner, then they need not bother themselves competing with businesses that transport and deliver other items.
Giving an undivided attention to the specific area of concentration can make the business even more profitable and stress free for the owner, as the business owner seeks to take their very own piece of 20%, which could run into the millions, if the obvious industry numbers are anything to go by.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic make up of this kind of business can be very obvious seeing as this has to do with a very specific type of service. Hospitals and similar medical institutions are places that will need the regular supply of trusted medication for their patients and clients.
Usually, the hospital itself may have their in-house department that could facilitate this particular service, but hiring an external distributor may be more cost effective.
These hospitals go through a great number of drugs on a daily bases, so becoming the major courier of medicine to a host of hospitals in and around the city or state of one’s choice can become very lucrative. Pharmacies are also great clients that would need the delivery of large amounts of drugs on a regular basis.
In addition to this, individuals with a knack for the comfortable or convenient can also have a courier deliver prescription drugs to their homes. Of course proper background checks would have to have been done on these clients, to make sure that clients are not abusing the use of the drugs or that they are not harming themselves with wrong medications.
3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
As was expressed in the introduction, this kind of business goes beyond just transporting pharmaceuticals. One could actually choose to move around lab specimen, delicate organs for transplant, even medical equipment to the various places that need them.
However, in this particular article, we are talking specifically about the transport of pharmaceuticals, of which there are various areas to specialize.
One could simply focus on distributing to pharmacies across the city within which they intend to operate. Since this is the general idea of the business, then to further emphasize ones specialty, the business could specialize in supplying a very unique set of drugs.
While other medical courier services may focus on supplying a general range of drugs, one can focus on being the sole supplier of a very specific range of pharmaceuticals. If these drugs are very important to the medical field, then this serves as a great opportunity to establish ones business presence in the industry.
One could also specialize in getting various prescription drugs to individual clients who may order from their mobile app, online or by phone calls. People are always looking for ways to make their lives easier; it would surprise business owners to know just how far people will go for seemingly insignificant comforts.
The Level of Competition in the Industry
There is hardly any business venture that does not have its fare share of competition. The media courier business is no different, there are quite a number of industry players already making impact in this particular section of the healthcare industry.
It is a mildly competitive sector to operate in, but with proper information, networking and hard work, anyone can still penetrate the wall created by the competition and develop a space for himself.
4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
Well-known brands are not just competitors, there are examples to follow. Most times, it pays to study what these brands are up to, then focus on the part of the market they may be neglecting. One other positive thing observing well-known brands can do for one’s business is to give one a model to follow.
Benchmarking is one of the major strategies that can make a business stand out. This is the process of observing another business with similar value chain activities with the aim of looking for ways to implement key practices in one’s own company. Below are therefore some of the leading Medical Courier Business or brands in the United States;
- Aylesford Couriersswine
- IntelliQuick Delivery, Inc.
- Americord Registry LLC
- American Medical Response
- Watts Healthcare
- Centene Corporation
- Blaze Express Courier Service
- Affordable Courier Solutions, Inc.
- CitySprint Healthcare
The economic nature of this type of business depends on the size of the business at its inception. One can simply purchase a vehicle, get the necessary licenses and run the business from ones home office. If you intend to start from here, then it is very economical indeed. On this level, there is no real need for extra hands as such and operation can be within the direct neighborhood where the owner lives.
However, if one intends to set up a more professional business that stands a chance of growing in to a larger firm, then more work is to be done and more processes considered. But even at that, the cost of setting this kind of business up will not be as high as other businesses in this field.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
In as much as there are franchise opportunities for this kind of business, the truth is that going at it from scratch may be more profitable for the business owner. Due to the fact that this is not a very difficult business to start and run, it should be less difficult to grow what one has started.
Furthermore, this kind of business is in great demand in the healthcare industry, so the possibilities of securing one’s own preferred market share is guaranteed if one works hard at it.
On the other hand, buying a franchise can save the owner the task of establishing trusted value chain activities from scratch. For example a franchise already has trusted suppliers, so the fear of finding a supplier one can trust is duly taken care of. Plus a franchise can offer various types of support that can speed up ones path to profitability.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
One of the major threats to starting a medical courier business that is specific to pharmacy delivery is the authentication of the various drugs being transported. The health of the general public is no joking matter, so when intending to start this business, the first thing one must pay attention to is the originality of the medications being supplied.
There are various ways to ensure the quality of the available goods, so those intending to start this business would have to explore all those avenues.
Usually, drugs that have been cleared by the various authorizing agencies should be safe to transport. So one way to ensure the quality of the drugs being transported is to check if those drugs have been approved by these bodies and that the suppliers are authorized to distribute.
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
Due to the possible exposure to conditions that can warrant lawsuits either from suppliers, manufacturers, partners and even clients, the best legal entity to register this type of business is the Limited Liability Company.
In a situation where harmful drugs are delivered to clients, either because they have expired or not well manufactured, the delivery service that distributes such drugs can also be roped into whatever legal issues that may arise as a result of this.
Or even in a case of an oversight in certain legal procedures that may have to do with processing the purchase and distribution of select drugs.
There are quite a number of events that may expose this business to legal action. Registering as a sole-proprietorship may not give the owner the protection they need in times of legal challenges. So, it is usually concluded that the limited liability company is the best legal entity as it provides protection from negative legal action and offers much room for growth and the generation of capital.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name
What’s in a catchy name? A name is something people can relate with; for some, it is the first meeting they have with the business. Taking time out to select a proper name can save one the trouble of having to distinguish from other businesses that sound the same.
It would also be excellent to have one’s Business title=”business name” data-wpil-keyword-link=”linked”>business name as a dot com, as opposed to having to work around other similar names that have been used to establish internet presence.
If you are therefore considering what names to use when starting your own Medical Courier Business, here are some names you should try;
- Credeo Group
- Dates Healthcare
- Reagent Care
- Cello Care
9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
This type of business cannot be approved without possessing the necessary insurance policies. These insurance policies can protect the business from any threats that may occur in the course of running the business. Since these licenses and insurances are required by the law, new business owners must ensure that they secure their specific insurance policies.
It would be advisable to check with one’s local state department, for the specific insurance policies to help the smooth running of this type of business. Some of the basic insurance policies that you should therefore consider purchasing if you intend starting your Medical Courier Business in the United States of America are;
- General Insurance
- Payment protection Insurance
- Overhead expense disability Insurance
- Credit Insurance
- Deposit Insurance
- Risk insurance
- Liability Insurance
- Health Insurance
- Workers Compensation
- Business owner’s policy group insurance
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
Except one is developing some of the drugs personally, there is no real need for intellectual property protection in this type of business. The products being supplied are manufactured by other organizations and have nothing to do with those that distribute them.
On the other hand, in order to ensure that another company does not steal one’s company logo, one could copyright the company logo, because this logo is the sign of credibility to all the stakeholders in the company, especially clients. Should another business use the exact same logo to front their business, this kind of protection can open the other company to a lawsuit.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
The state requires that someone with at least a diploma in pharmacy be involved in the business. So one person or the other should be trained in pharmaceutical related practices. The owner could be the one with this certificate, the manager or other support staff can as well have this type of certification. This is to ensure that proper pharmaceutical measures are taken to guarantee the safety of the public.
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
Some of the basic legal documents that you should have in place if you intend running your own Medical Courier Business in the US include;
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Operating Agreements
- Business License and Certification
- Business Plan
- Insurance Policy
- Employment Agreement
- Non-disclosure Agreement
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Employer Identification Number (EIN)
- Consulting contract documents
- Company Bylaws
- Memorandum of Understanding
13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
For the most part, getting financing for a business is one of the most challenging aspects of the process. Imagine every other thing is done, all feasibility studies have been done, if the facts prove the venture to be a successful one to embark on, sooner or later funds will come in for the idea to take shape.
But if the facts prove the venture to be unprofitable, then little or no funds may come in from people, except the founder has access to funds of his/her own. Therefore, some of the financing options you can explore when seeking for start-up capital for your Medical Courier Business include;
- Personal savings, investments and reserves are great ways to get capital for your business.
- If you are lucky to own any properties, they could be sold to generate the money for the business.
- Equity funding is another way to raise capital for your business, investors can buy shares.
- Friends and family who believe in your business can support, by making soft loans available for you.
- Debt financing is also doable, banks and other financial institutions can load you the money you may need.
- Investors are constantly looking for whom to support through partnership, you can start your business as a partnership.
- Business angels and grant organizations are also helpful in this aspect.
14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
This type of business will usually have an administrative side and a storage/Logistics department. The location for the storage and logistics department does not have to be in the same place as the administrative office. This may be due to space and other legal ramifications.
Therefore, if the storage facility is separate from the administrative office then the conditions that make for a perfect location for each would be different. The storage facility can be located away from the busy life of the city, so that large trucks can easily make their deliveries without the hassle of traffic from city commuters. This will also serve other advantageous purposes such as security.
The administrative office on the other hand can consider the very same features that any upscale business desires for the place where clients and other stakeholders can visit to make orders, have meetings and even tender in complaints. These are some of the key factors that you should consider before choosing a location for your Medical Courier Business;
- The accepted rules and regulations of the specific area
- The location demographics
- The number of pharmacies in the location
- The demand for the services of a Pharmacy
- The purchasing power in the area
- The business activities of the area
- The location’s road networks and accessibility
- Security, Parking and Traffic
15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
This kind of business depends strongly on administration and logistics. Inventory would have to be properly grouped and documented. Depending on the size of the business, there might be need to hire some type of warehouse to keep the products before delivery is made.
On the logistics side, there would have to be drivers, facility managers, movers who would be in charge of taking the products from the supply truck into the warehouse. These movers would also have to be in charge of moving the products when they need to be supplied to clients.
Proper warehouse administration would have to be employed; this duty would be done by the administrator of that particular department. Various technicians should ensure that the condition of the storage facility is conducive for pharmaceuticals to remain useful till their delivery dates.
Things like electricity, warehouse temperature and so on must be considered. Cleaners should keep the storage facilities clean and there should be security to protect the inventory. Generators, Moving trucks, Shelves and Forklifts are just a few equipment needed for the proper reception and storage of these items.
On the office administrative side, there would be need for the usual administrative staff which may include, Secretary, Personal Assistants, Managers, Marketers, Lawyers, Drivers, Cleaners, Accountant, Administrator, Treasurer, Security etc. There will also be need for computers, files, file cabinet, office furniture, tables, chairs etc.
The Service Delivery Process of a Business
Before this type of business is made open, the company needs to establish contracts with suppliers of quality pharmaceuticals. Proper background work should be done to ascertain the authenticity of these drugs before they are approved for delivery to clients. Clients should be able to contact the business through various communication means, telephone calls, emails, texts, social media, mobile apps and so on.
They make their order and receive conformations that such order has been received. A timeline is given to the client when they should expect the delivery of the ordered items. Proper paperwork is done within the company to approve the delivery of the products and the couriers are dispatched momentarily in accordance with delivery timeline.
Once the items are received, the client signs that item has being received. Payment is either done before or after delivery, depending on the items ordered or the location from where the pharmaceuticals are to be delivered.
16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies
One could say that when one makes an investment in any business venture, the marketing aspect is one of the most important things they invest in.
The marketing plan does not just present the service to the prospective buyers, but if the plan is adhered to throughout its expected timeline, it could fully capture the hearts and minds of the prospective clients and transform them into loyal customers.
This is one of the major reasons why top management must give time to developing the best marketing strategy, as most of the businesses profitability depends on this one major area. Some marketing ideas are listed below;.
- The old school act of placing adverts on Radios, Tv’s and in Magazines is still potent today, explore these options.
- Local directories whether digital or hard copy still represents the go to medium for quick information; ensure your company is listed.
- The yellow pages are still relevant in this digital world, pull all the stops, ensure your business is listed here as well.
- There are numerous medical expos and fairs across the country, ensure to attend them to build your network.
- Engage digital marketing.
- Promote your business on your website.
- Facilitate promos, discounts and perks that can inspire more companies to do business with you.
17. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
Innovation is the key to winning against competitors in this highly competitive industry. This business requires getting products from suppliers to clients. Top management would have to figure out new ways to make such a service more efficient and effective.
It could be said that taking advantage of technological advances would go a long way to make this a reality. The courier service may go a step further to make sure clients appreciate their services a lot more by offering more expert advice on the various drugs that are being supplied.
This information could be made on the website or on the mobile app, especially if these drugs are delivered to individuals. In as much as most of this type of business is about service, the company can bring its services to individuals as well, just like intel and computers.
Intel was able to win the hearts of consumers around the world, so much so that individuals now trust a computer that has Intel products inside. Even though intel is a business to business service provider, they were able to gain a greater market share by impacting the individuals who use their computers.
The same way, individuals can also trust the drugs they buy from pharmacies if they know such drugs come from a particular courier service. This has the potential of making pharmacies and organizations around the country desirous to be affiliated with one’s medical courier service.
The competition who may still major in the business to business approach, may not have such power. Other innovative ideas can come from multiple sessions of brainstorming.
18. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers
Customers love a bargain, but nothing beats excellent service. So it could be said that the very best way to retain customers in this type of business is to ensure that these pharmaceuticals are delivered on time, based on the agreed duration between the client and the service provider.
It would be very disheartening if the business is known for delivering later than expected. Most clients for this kind of service can be fickle, so dissatisfaction with delivery timelines can be a turn off.
One way to ensure that delivery is always on time is to partner with pharmacists around various locations. Now like it was stated earlier in this paper, to go into this type of business, one may decide to have an actual pharmacy or simply focus on the courier aspect.
If one simply focuses on the courier service for pharmaceuticals, then the business should be efficient in delivering products to the clients. Because they can easily partner with the neighborhood pharmacies in locations around the city, state or even country, this kind of partnership poses no threat to the pharmacies in question as they are simply working with a courier service and not another rival pharmacy competing in the same market space.
Now with the pharmacies in line with courier services, whenever an order is made, the business can simply get the drugs from the closest pharmacy, which saves time. This, of course is speaking about individuals, organizations and other pharmacies that make orders from the courier service.
Another thing that may put customers off in this type of business is if clients receive the wrong order. The courier service must pay attention to orders to make sure clients who place orders receive the exact medication they have requested.
19. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
Most times, people gravitate towards that which is popular rather than that which is best. Popularity is definitely a tool for achieving various business objectives especially in the competitive world of pharmaceuticals. Knowing that once one has made this type of business a major success, many major pharmacists may begin to copy the service.
One must make sure they dominate every platform that stamps their supremacy in the minds of the public through strategies to boost brand awareness. Below are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand and advertise your business.
- This kind of business can really do well through Digital Marketing; ensure you have the best minds to take advantage of all digital and electronic media space.
- Billboards are still able to catch the attention of passersby, ensure your billboards are placed at strategic points within the city.
- Official cars should be branded for advertisement, especially when doing deliveries and dealing with suppliers.
- Establish days when your staff members wear branded clothes to the office.
- Develop ideas with your digital personnel, to drive more traffic to your website.
- Develop application for your customers, this will help advertise and promote offers.
- Word of mouth is still in vogue, encourage it.