Getting into the Urgent Care Business

One may ask: how much does it cost to start an urgent care? An urgent care startup can be greatly profitable, especially if it is placed in a rural community that does not yet have such an establishment. The urgent care business model includes an urgent care marketing plan, finding a location (and possibly hiring construction crews), finding wholesale medical suppliers, hiring staff, and more. The business of urgent care centers is relatively new, but it is growing fast and has a lot of appeal. An entrepreneur wondering “how much does it cost to start an urgent care?” may look into this and launch a lucrative business indeed.

The Current Business of Urgent Care Centers

So, how much does it cost to start an urgent care? For reference, an entrepreneur may first consider what the business as a whole looks like. The very idea of urgent care centers was launched in the year 2000, and may more have been built since then. From 2000 to 2016, over 2,000 medical clinics of this type have been built, and that number is still growing. By 2018, over 2,800 retail medical clinics in particular were in operation across the United States, and the first opened in Twin Cities, Minnesota, back in 2000. What kind of money is this industry seeing? As of 2016, for a fairly recent example, the American retail medical market was valued at $1.4 billion, and it may have a CAGR of 20% up through the year 2025. Someone looking to open such a clinic is certainly getting into a large industry.

What is the average clinic like? Most often, they are small and independent clinics staffed with nurse practitioners and physicians, though these clinics are known to sometimes form small local networks. Often, they are built into strip malls for easy access for patients, though many are also built into large retailers such as Target or Walmart. Some are even found in hospitals, and they offer distinct care and staff from the hospital at large. Some such clinics are open 24 hours a day, and others have more conventional hours.

How Much Does it Cost to Start an Urgent Care

To launch a new urgent care clinic, an entrepreneur may first consider where to place it. Building it in a city means access to a lot of customers, though there may be a lot of competition and higher rent costs. By contrast, an urgent care center placed in a rural community may have a more limited number of patients, but if it’s the first such clinic built there, it may prove popular. The entrepreneur may also choose whether to make it a free-standing building or build it into a strip mall or a retailer.

There is also the matter of hiring construction crews or renovation crews to prepare the interior, such as if the business owner bought an empty spot in a strip mall. And once that is done, there is the matter of finding local medical wholesalers, who can provide everything from medicine to cotton swabs, splints, bandages, scales, and more. The entrepreneur may also look for an autoclave, which is a machine that will use pressurized and heated steam to sterilize medical equipment. These are often used to destroy bloodborne pathogens on scalpels and needles, for example. If the urgent care center will offer vaccines, then the staff may need to find a medical fridge or freezer to contain them, as vaccines are sensitive to temperature.

Marketing also plays a role in all this, with both physical signs and Internet marketing being fair options. For example, the business owner can purchase a sign to place right over their front door, which will attract customers, especially if it has light bulbs inside to illuminate it at night. A new urgent care center can also be advertised through newspaper ads, flyers, and a digital marketing campaign as well. Ads for the new urgent care center may appear on medical websites, for example, and local SEO work can help local residents find those ads more easily. And finally, there is simply the matter of hiring nurse practitioners and physicians as staff to run the clinic and take care of patients who visit.