If a business provides health care services to their community, then they are going to have a need for medical supplies. Most heal care providers secure these supplies from a third-party provider. There are many large medical supply businesses in the world today, but small companies that provide top-quality niche services will always have some room to make money too. If you love the medical field and have a passion for retail sales, then this could be the business opportunity for you.
Knowing how to start a medical supply business means first discovering what your niche will need to be. Whether you stay at the community level or branch out into a regional business footprint, there is going to be a certain set of supplies that you’ll be able to sell to certain medical providers, such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and direct caregivers. Then you’ll be able to follow these additional steps.
1. Speak With Your Local Health Board.
It might be the public health department, a medical board, or some other institution, but your local health board will need to approve your business. Some types of medical equipment, such as a powered wheelchair, may need a specific license issued in order to sell it. Not all medical suppliers must have a special license – just those with equipment that fits into the specific categories listed.
2. Get Your Permits.
A medical supply business is usually classified as a retail business. This means you’ll need to have the city, county, and state permits that are necessary to allow this. To obtain these permits, you may need to have a commercial location already secured, the necessary insurance to cover your business in place, and the financial structuring of your business solidified. The IRS will also require an EIN [Employer Identification Number] if you plan to hire any employees. Unless you operate directly under your name, you’ll also need to file for a business name.
3. Find Your Storage Space.
Because you’ll be dealing with sensitive inventories, it will be necessary to find a commercial warehouse that offers a temperature controlled environment. It must be clean, free of dust, dirt, and debris, and be maintained at a certain humidity level so the medical equipment is not damaged. If you’re starting small, it may be possible to convert a garage or a closet into such a space as well.
4. Find Your Inventory.
The goal of being in a retail business is to purchase at wholesale and to sell at retail. You’ll need to establish accounts with all of your local medical equipment distributors that sell products within the niche you’ve selected. To begin an account, you’ll need to prove that you are a business entity. Most distributors also have a minimum dollar amount on each order that must be met, so if you’re working with a tight budget, ask about the minimum order right away.
5. Find Some Customers.
A medical supply business won’t stay in business long without a customer base. Once you’ve got inventory in hand [and samples can work just as well as the actual inventory], then start visiting your medical providers in your community or region to discuss the advantages of working with you. Maybe you’ll offer free shipping or specific discounts on volume orders. Just make sure your pricing structure is competitive with other suppliers and that you’ve got a margin in place that will make you some money.
6. Don’t Forget To Market Your Expertise.
People naturally want to do business with others that are experts within their chosen field. This still applies to the B2B world. Show off your expertise through your marketing materials. Start a blog to discuss the benefits of the medical supplies you’re offering. Put coupons, brochures, and pamphlets in strategic locations throughout the city to start a few conversations. Even attending a health fair or a medical convention can help to get you some extra exposure when it is needed.
7. Sell Like Crazy.
Although medical providers will contact you over time when they need orders filled, that’s in the future. At the beginning, you’ll need to be calling people to make sure they have everything they need. Offer to take their inventory or offer suggestions as to how they could save money by ordering strategically through you.
Knowing how to start a medical supply business isn’t difficult. It’s the implementation of the business that will bring certain challenges. Use these steps to get yourself off on the right foot and you’ll enjoy walking this path toward entrepreneurial success.
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