How to Start a Lab Business: a Helpful Comprehensive Guide
Having a successful lab is a lucrative business option but planning one requires time and meticulousness. Our quick reference guide offers an in-depth look at what you need to do before your laboratory doors open to clients the first time.
Starting a Laboratory Business in 8 Steps
Going through the following steps methodically will set the stage for enjoying success as a laboratory. Gain a good reputation—and benefit from word of mouth—by making time for the following.
Choose a Lab Business That Is Right for You
You need to pick a type of laboratory that you will understand how to manage efficiently. This requires that you have the necessary training and experience.
Also consider your primary type of client and their needs. Research if there’s a certain gap in the market you can fill, so it’s easier to gain momentum from the start.
Develop a Business Plan
Your business plan is a tool to obtain funding to establish your lab. For one thing, it can prove you’ve done enough research and preparation and you’re committed to making the business work. This will prompt more trust in you as a lab owner and investors will find it easier to trust you with their money.
Information to cover in your business plan includes:
- A specific need and how your lab will meet that need
- Clear company description, including your goals
- Reports showing your market research
- The way you’ll structure the organization, including the management team
- Plans for sales, marketing and funding
Set a Budget
In order to talk to possible investors, you need a clear picture of the costs involved. Create a budget that includes startup costs and monthly expenses that can include:
- Employee salaries
Because lab equipment is so expensive you need enough capital to carry you until you can scale and make a profit. Venture capitalists or obtaining a business loan can be part of your plan for funding.
Find a Location for Your Lab
A key resource is having the right type of space to operate your lab in. Questions to ask when comparing different premises:
- Does it have appropriate utility infrastructure? A lab may have unique requirements in terms of plumbing and electricity.
- Is there enough space for workers to perform duties without feeling cramped or having their work quality suffer because of a lack of space?
- Will the space make it easy to connect with your target audience, by being close to where they operate?
- Do samples need to travel far distances between the lab and clients? Will this put pressure on the workflow or put samples at risk?
Assure Safety in the Lab
In planning and equipping the lab, make sure you adhere to relevant health and safety guidelines. Strict safety rules can prevent unnecessary accidents and downtime. Also, you need to ensure that solutions are easily available if something should go wrong on site. Therefore, consider all safety aspects, including:
- Spacious work areas to avoid team members colliding during their workflows
- First aid kits
- Eyewash stations
- Correct storage for fragile or dangerous items
- Sufficient ventilation
- A security system to prevent unwarranted access to your own or clients’ assets or data
Purchase Lab Equipment
When you have a space, you can acquire equipment. Your budget must allow for the lab equipment, but also office resources, such as desks, printers and filing cupboards.
Certain items are worth buying second hand to save money. However, with expensive lab equipment it’s best to buy new and have the benefit of warranty cover. You can buy from manufacturers or third-party sellers who distribute different brands and often have special offers.
Choose the Necessary Software for Your Lab
Your lab management software is another key resource that requires careful consideration. Thanks to specialized software you can streamline processes and avoid human error. Helpful features include:
- Lab inventory management
- Data analysis
- Automation scheduling
- Data management
- Information management
Based on your services, pick software with features that simplify your specific workflows. Compare different software products and pick according to your needs. Don’t pay for features you’ll never use.
Find the Right Lab Partners
By building relationships with the right individuals and groups, you set yourself up for more referrals. You can also benefit from other people’s advice and experience. This is the value of joining trade associations and forums.
How Much Does It Cost to Start a Lab Business?
A rough estimate of basic startup costs for a laboratory test business is $20,000 - $40,000. However, for an accurate calculation of your laboratory business’ needs, include the following in the budget:
- Equipment and supplies
- Setting up of storefront
- All inventory to start operating the lab
- Marketing, both digital and print media
- Licenses and permits
Enter the exciting industry of research and testing by establishing a well-organized and dynamic laboratory. By following these 8 steps, you’re setting yourself up to enjoy your new venture and build a well-respected business.