If you intend to start this type of business, it is advisable to first look at the existing laws and zonal regulations in the country or state you reside in to know what is expected of you.
You will need to pay a visit to the regulatory bodies in your country to get all the information you need before you can legally open your medical equipment supply store in your city.
You can start your own medical equipment supply store from a small town in the United States and if you are good at what you do, it won’t be too long before your brand becomes a nationally recognized brand.
20 Steps on How to Start a Durable Medical Equipment Business
Understand the Industry
Medical equipment supply store business is a subset of the medical supplies wholesaling industry and players in this industry purchase medical and surgical equipment, instruments, and supplies, store these items at distribution centers, and deliver these products and related services to medical and dental practitioners, clinics and hospitals.
Revenue is projected to rise over the five years to 2022 as healthcare providers continue to invest in new equipment to keep up with the growing demand for healthcare services. New product development by medical device manufacturers will also contribute to industry growth by offering new solutions to health issues.
The Medical Supplies Wholesaling industry is indeed a thriving business in most countries of the world. In the United States of America, the industry generates over $194 billion annually from more than 13,223 medical wholesaling companies.
The industry is responsible for the employment of over 218,294 people. Experts project that the industry will grow at a 1.9 percent annual rate between 2016 and 2022. The establishment in this industry that has dominant market shares in the United States of America are Cardinal Health Inc. and Owens & Minor Inc.
A recent report published by IBISWorld shows that the barriers to entering the Medical Supplies Wholesaling industry are moderate. The importance of brand identity is minimal because customers are concerned more with quality and price. The low cost of customer switching will further ease the entry of new companies into the market. Switching costs are incidental and associated with changing transportation and communication systems.
Low switching costs encourage greater industry competition because new companies can easily entice customers away from existing operators. It is a fact that an estimated two-thirds of the United States’ gross domestic product (GDP) comes from the general retail industry of which medical equipment retail shops contribute greatly.
This is why the United States of America’s economy is measured with the yardstick of how well the retailing business is fairing. In essence, when there is an unstable economy, purchasing power drops and it impacts the retailing industry negatively which may result in the closure of some medical equipment retail stores.
Over and above, the medical equipment retail business is a profitable business and it is open for any aspiring entrepreneur to come in and establish his or her business; you can choose to start on a small scale in a street corner or you can choose to start on a large scale with several outlets in key cities throughout the United States of America.
Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of those who patronize medical equipment supply stores cuts across all players in the health and medical care industry. In essence, the demographic composition for medical equipment supply businesses is all-encompassing.
So, if you are thinking of starting your own durable medical equipment supply store, you should look beyond marketing your research services to just dental clinics, pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology companies, biomedical companies, etc. in your city, but also across the United States of America and even in other parts of the world.
Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
There is no niche area of specialization in the durable medical equipment supply business since medical equipment supply store is a niche area in the Medical Supplies Wholesaling industry.
The Level of Competition in the Industry
The competitions that exist in the durable medical equipment supply business goes beyond competitions in your city; it is both national and international. This is because major medical equipment supply stores can be contracted from any part of the United States or abroad especially in Israel to supply durable medical equipment. So, it will be right to say the competition in the business is highly competitive.
The truth is that no matter the level of competition in an industry, if you have done your due diligence and your brand and promote your services or business properly, you will always make headway in the industry. Just ensure you come up with reliable players in the healthcare cum medical industry and you know how to reach out to your target market.
But over and above, there are several durable medical equipment supply stores scattered all around the United States. If you choose to start your own business in the United States, you will definitely meet stiffer competition amongst durable medical equipment supply stores in the United States.
Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
Here are some of the most popular medical equipment supply stores in the United States of America and the world at large;
- Cardinal Health Inc.
- Owens & Minor Inc.
- Henry Schein
- Medline Industries
- Sherman Oaks Medical Supplies
- Medical Supply Depot
- Vitality Medical.
If you are looking towards successfully launching a business and maximizing profits, then you need to ensure that you get your economic analysis right and try as much as possible to adopt best practices in the industry you choose to build a business in.
Durable medical equipment supply store is no longer a green business, as a matter of fact, you will come across several such stores in your state. So, if you are mapping out your economic analysis, you should carry out a thorough market survey and the cost of securing a store and warehouse facility, distribution vans, branding, and other costs needed to successfully run the business.
If you are considering starting a durable medical equipment supply business, then your concern should not be limited to the cost of setting up the business and sourcing for supplies, but also on branding and on how to build a robust business network. The truth is that if you are able to build a robust business network, you are sure going to maximize profits in the business.
Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to choosing how you intend to start a business. Basically, you should be guided by your overall business vision and mission statement.
If you are looking towards starting a durable medical equipment supply store, you have the option of either starting from the scratch or buying the franchise of an existing medical equipment supply store brand.
Besides, starting a durable medical equipment supply store from the scratch is less stressful when compared to other small-scale businesses. With a medical equipment supply store, you should just try as much as possible to secure a store and warehouse facility that is close to a major road and then leverage every marketing tool within your disposal to market the business.
Please note that most of the big and successful durable medical equipment supply stores around started from scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand. It takes dedication, hard work, and determination to achieve business success.
Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
If you decide to start your own durable medical equipment supply business today, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well–established medical equipment supply stores all across the United States. The only way to avoid this challenge is to create your own market.
Other major threats you are likely going to face is economic downturn and unfavorable government policies, and the arrival of new durable medical supply equipment stores in your location.
Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
If you are considering starting a durable medical equipment supply business, the legal entity you choose will go a long way to determine how big the business can grow; some durable medical equipment supply stores design their business for the regional market, some for the national market, and international market.
Generally, you have the option of either choosing a general partnership, limited liability company, or a sole proprietorship for your durable medical equipment supply business. Ordinarily, sole proprietorship should have been the ideal business structure for a small-scale medical equipment supply store especially if you are just starting out with moderate start-up capital. But if your intention is to grow the business and supply different types and brands of medical equipment to clients all across the United States of America, then choosing a sole proprietor is not an option for you. Limited Liability Company, LLC, or even general partnership will cut it for you.
Setting up an LLC protects you from personal liability. If anything goes wrong in the business, it is only the money that you invested into the limited liability company that will be at risk. It is not so for sole proprietorships and general partnerships. Limited liability companies are simpler and more flexible to operate and you don’t need board of directors, shareholder meetings, and other managerial formalities.
These are some of the factors you should consider before choosing a legal entity for your durable medical equipment supply store; limitation of personal liability, ease of transferability, admission of new owners and investors’ expectation, and of course taxes. If you take your time to critically study the various legal entity to use for your durable medical equipment supply store – business, you will agree that a limited liability company; an LLC is most suitable. You can start this type of business as a limited liability company (LLC) and in the future convert it to a ‘C’ corporation or an ‘S’ corporation especially when you have plans of going public.
Upgrading to a ‘C’ corporation or ‘S’ corporation will give you the opportunity to grow your business so as to compete with major players in the industry; you will be able to generate capital from venture capital firms, you will enjoy separate tax structure, and you can easily transfer ownership of the company.
Choose a Catchy Business Name from the Ideas Below
When it comes to choosing a name for your business, you should be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents. Typically, it is the norm for people to follow the trend in the industry they intend to operate from when naming their business.
If you are considering starting your own durable medical equipment supply store, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;
- Freeman Lee® Durable Medical Equipment Supply Store, Inc.
- Beth Martinez® Durable Medical Equipment Supply Store, LLC
- Lazarus Morphy and Co® Durable Medical Equipment Supply Store, Inc.
- Med Shop® Durable Medical Equipment Supply Store, Inc.
- Michelle Monk® Durable Medical Equipment Supply Store, LLC.
- Shannon Stev® Durable Medical Equipment Supply Store, Inc.
- Larry Chris® Durable Medical Equipment Supply Store, Inc.
- Durable Medical Equipment and More® Inc.
- Jude Rawlings® Durable Medical Equipment Supply Store USA LLC
- South Gate® Durable Medical Equipment Supply Store, Inc.
Discuss With an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
In the United States and in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policies that are required by the industry you want to operate from. Thus, it is imperative to create a budget for insurance and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your business.
Here is some of the basic insurance policies that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own durable medical equipment supply store – business in the United States of America;
- General insurance
- Health insurance
- Liability insurance
- Risk Insurance
- Workers compensation
- Building/Property insurance
- Overhead expense disability insurance
- Business owner’s policy group insurance
- Payment protection insurance
You can contact the following insurance companies in the United States of America to purchase the needed insurance policies for your durable medical equipment supply business;
- Allstate Insurance Group
- Liberty Mutual
- Progressive Insurance Group (PGR)
- Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC)
- New York Life Insurance Company
- Lincoln National Life Insurance Company
- MassMutual (Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company)
- Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company
Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
If you are considering starting your own durable medical equipment supply business, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection and trademark. This is because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run it without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.
On the other hand, if you want to protect your company’s logo, unique concept, and other documents or software that are unique to you, then you can go ahead to file for intellectual property protection. If you want to register your trademark, you are expected to begin the process by filing an application with the USPTO.
Get the Necessary Professional Certification
When it comes to operating a durable medical equipment supply store, you do not need to have any special certification before you can be allowed to open and operate your business in the United States of America. All you need is informal training that will expose you to the in and out of managing the business.
On the other hand, if you come across any form of certification that can aid you to conduct your durable medical equipment supply business, then by all means try and pursue such certification.
Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
It is a fact that you cannot successfully run any business in the United States without the proper documentation. If you do, it won’t be too long before the long hands of the law catch up with you. These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own business ;
- Business and liability insurance
- Federal Tax Payer’s ID
- State Permit
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business License
- Business Plan
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
- Company Bylaws
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
Raise the Needed Startup Capital
Starting a durable medical equipment supply store can be cost-effective especially if you choose to start on a small scale. Securing a standard store facility and stocking your store with a wide range of medical equipment and other products from different manufacturing brands are part of what will consume a large chunk of your start-up capital, but if you choose to start the business on a large scale, you would need to go source for fund to finance the business.
When it comes to financing a business, one of the first things to consider is to write a good business plan. If you have a good and workable business plan document in place, you may not have to labor yourself before convincing your bank, investors, and your friends to invest in your business.
Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for start-up capital for your durable medical equipment supply business;
- Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- Sell shares to interested investors
- Apply for a loan from your bank/banks
- Source for soft loans from your family members and friends.
Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
When it comes to choosing a location for your durable medical equipment supply business, the rule of thumb is that you should be guided by the demand for such supplies and easy access to labor in the location you so desire to start the business. Of course, if you are able to secure a central location for your durable medical equipment supply store, it will enable you to cut the cost of transporting your supplies to your customers.
It cannot be overemphasized that the location you choose to open your durable medical equipment supply store is key to the success of the business, hence entrepreneurs are willing to rent or lease a facility in a visible location; a location where the demography consists of robust players in the health and medical industry. If you make the mistake of renting or leasing a facility in a not too visible or hidden location simply because it is cheap, then you must be prepared to spend more in promoting the business.
It is important to note that a business facility in a good location does not come cheap hence you should be able to allocate enough funds for leasing/renting in your budget. If you are new to the dynamics of choosing a location for your business, then you should feel free to talk to a business consultant or a realtor.
Most importantly, before choosing a location for your business, ensure that you first conduct a thorough feasibility study and market survey. The possibility of you coming across a similar business that just closed shop in the location you want to open yours can’t be ruled out.
Having said that, these are some of the cities in the United States of America where you can locate your durable medical equipment supply store;
- Brattleboro, Vermont
- Tucson, Arizona
- Silver Spring, Maryland
- Rowland Heights, California
- Portland, Oregon
- Richmond, Virginia
- Green Bay, Wisconsin
- Plano, Texas
Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
On average, there is no special technology or equipment needed to run this type of business except for Point of Sales (POS) Machines, shelves, and software applications. You will also need computers or laptops, internet facility, telephone, fax machine and office furniture (chairs, tables, and shelves) amongst others and all these can be gotten as fairly used.
As regards leasing or outright purchase of a store facility, the choice is dependent on your financial standing, but the truth is that to be on the safe side, it is advisable to start off with short–term rent/lease while test running the business in the location. If things work out as planned, then you go on a long-term lease or outright purchase of the property, but if not, then move on and source for other ideal locations.
When it comes to hiring employees for a durable medical equipment supply business, you should make plans to hire a competent Chief Executive Officer (you can occupy this role), Admin and Human Resources Manager, Merchandise Manager, Store Manager, Sales and Marketing Officers (distribution van drivers), Accounting Clerk, and Cleaners. On average, you will need a minimum of 3 to 6 key staff members to run a small-scale but standard durable medical equipment supply store business.
Service Delivery Process of the Business
When it comes to buying and selling stuff, there is no hard and fast rule about it. Basically, it is the duty of the merchandize manager to help the organization/store stock goods (a wide range of durable medical equipment supplies). They go out there to source for good purchasing deals and they also ensure that they do not only purchase at the right prices that will guarantee them good profits but also they ensure that they purchase medical equipment that are in demand in their business location.
Once the medical equipment supplies are bought, they are properly arranged in the store for customers to see and purchase. On the other hand, they are also expected to deliver orders made by clients.
So also, stocks are taken after the close of business every day and accounts are balanced. This will enable them to place demand for supplies that are finished.
It is important to state that a medical equipment supply stores may decide to improvise or adopt any business process and structure that will guarantee them efficiency and flexibility; the above stated durable medical equipment supply business process is not cast on stone.
Write a Marketing Plan Packed With Ideas & Strategies
Running a business requires that you should be proactive when it comes to marketing your goods or services. If you choose to launch a durable medical equipment supply business, then you must go all out to employ strategies that will help you attract customers, or else you will likely struggle with the business because there are well-known brands that determine the market direction for the industry.
When you are drafting your marketing plans, make sure that you create a compelling company profile. Aside from your qualifications and experience, it is important to clearly state what you have been able to achieve in time past. This will help boost your chances in the marketplace when marketing your business.
Here are some of the platforms you can utilize to market your durable medical equipment supply business;
- Introduce your durable medical equipment supply business by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and medical clinics, dental clinics, optics clinics, and other key stakeholders in the United States of America.
- Advertise on the internet on blogs and forums, and also on social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn to get your message across
- Create a basic website for your business so as to give your business an online presence
- Directly market your durable medical equipment supply store.
- Join local durable medical equipment supply store associations for industry trends and tips
- Advertise our business in international and national newspapers, local TV and radio stations
- List your business on yellow pages ads (local directories)
- Encourage the use of word-of-mouth marketing (referrals)
Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Products
One key factor that will help supply your medical equipment at rock bottom prices is to purchase your supplies directly from sources as against going through third parties. The truth is that if you source your medical supplies directly from manufacturers you will get them at a premium price.
You can also try as much as possible to work with independent contractors and marketers; it will help you save costs for paying sales and marketing executives. So also, if you are able to secure a business partnership as it relates to getting referrals, then you will be able to get the right pricing and of course maximize profits from your business.
Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
The durable medical equipment supply business is not so much a competitive industry because of the few players in the industry, but you must come up with a unique and highly creative strategy to be able to outsmart your competitors. Part of what you need to do in order to stay competitive in the industry is to ensure that you go for highly sought-for durable medical equipment from known brands.
In other to stay competitive in this industry, you must ensure that your clients get more value from buying from you and always ensure that you pay attention to details when carrying out your job. The truth is that if there are fluctuations in the quality of the products you supply, then customers can choose to shift allegiance and settle for other options available.
Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers
When it comes to business, no matter the industry that you choose to pitch your tent in, one of the easiest ways to increase customer retention and perhaps attract new customers is to produce results and satisfy your customers always. If your customers are satisfied with your products and service delivery, they can hardly source for alternative service providers.
If your services and customer service fluctuate, you are likely going to struggle to get your customers coming back. Ensure that you offer your customers incentives if you want to retain them and of course continue to generate repeated sales from them and also to attract new customers.
Part of what you need to do to achieve this is to track progress, results, or outputs with the aim of improving on them quickly as the case demands. When it comes to managing your customers and building a loyal clientele base, you should purchase customized CRM software.
With a customized CRM system, you can easily stay in touch with your clients (you can carry out quick surveys, you can introduce new products and prices to them without any hitch, you can felicitate with them on their birthdays and other anniversaries, you can keep track of their progress, you can send bulk SMS and customized emails and above all, you can easily receive compliant and feedback from them).
Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
If you are in business and you are not conscious about boosting your brand awareness and communicating your corporate identity, then you should be ready to take on whatever society portrays your business to be. One of the secrets of larger corporations is that they are willing to spend fortunes year to boost their brand awareness and to continue to communicate their corporate identity the way they want people to perceive them to be.
Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand and create a corporate identity for your durable medical equipment supply business;
- Place adverts on both print (newspapers and health magazines) and electronic media platforms
- Sponsor relevant international and community-based events
- Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your durable medical equipment supply store
- Install your billboards in strategic locations all around your city or state
- List your durable medical equipment supply store in local directories / yellow pages
- Advertise your durable medical equipment supply store – business in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site
- Position your Flexi Banners at strategic positions in the location where your durable medical equipment supply store is located.
- Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your vehicles are branded with your company logo.