The American healthcare system is a truly vast and diverse industry, and there is more to it than a doctor’s office or a hospital’s ER. Every day, countless Americans visit urgent care centers, which are medical clinics that can treat a variety of non life-threatening illnesses or wounds. Americans often search for these clinics online to find nearby locations, and an online search such as “urgent care center near me” may show the name, hours, and address of such a clinic. But what about an urgent care start up? This is a business, after all, and entrepreneurs may decide to build a new urgent care center in an area where citizens may have few medical options. One may ask: what does it cost to start an urgent care clinic, and what about urgent care profit margins? An urgent care business model may vary from case to case somewhat, but an urgent care start up checklist should include several basic business strategies at the very least. What might be included on an urgent care start up checklist? And what about this industry as a whole?
On Urgent Care Centers
An urgent care start up checklist will cover marketing, building costs, staff, and more, but the good news is that urgent care centers are very popular today and are being built nearly every day. Ever since the early 1990s, many hundreds of these urgent care centers and walk in clinics have been constructed, and this includes retail clinics, too. Some urgent care centers are built into strip malls, but others may be found inside retailers such as Target, Walmart, and the like. Many can be found today; in fact, in 2018, there were 14 times as many retail clinics operating as there were in 2008. And within the last 12 months, nearly 19% of American households had visited a retail walk in clinic. As of 2018, an estimated total of 2,800 urgent medical care centers were in operation across the United States, a number that may continue to grow.
An Urgent Care Start Up Checklist
What must be done to build and run an urgent care center, or a walk in clinic? This will take a lot of work, but some basic steps can be taken to get started. The entrepreneur may decide where to build it, and rural communities in the U.S. often lack dedicated medical sites. If one is built in such a remote town, it may see a lot of business. A city is also a fine place to build one, with such a large population in a concentrated area. Retail clinics may get a lot of business with their pharmacies, as many shoppers may want to visit the pharmacy to get prescription drug refills during their shopping trip. Meanwhile, many urgent care centers are built into strip malls, being easy for people to see and providing convenient parking access. Yet other walk in clinics are built into hospitals, providing distinct care from the hospital at large. This is helpful for patients who don’t actually need the ER for care.
All of this will cost money, and banks are sometimes reluctant to offer loans to small businesses like these. So, an urgent care start up checklist may include approaching specialized business lenders, which are more willing to work with startups and small companies. An entrepreneur with good personal or business credit may get approved for loans with manageable interest rates.
This effort will also involve building the clinic itself, which may mean renovating an old space in a strip mall or installing a pharmacy in a retailer. Remodeling crews can help with this effort, too, and then the entrepreneur may purchase wholesale medical equipment from local wholesalers found online.
Marketing is also key. The urgent care center may not only have a sign over its door, but the owners may also place ads in local newspapers and magazines, and a digital campaign may be launched, too. Many businesses have their own websites, and a new urgent care center may do the same (and pay for ad space online to bring web users there). Even social media can help, and a new clinic may have its own accounts to promote itself with.