Starting an Urgent Care Practice

Americans young and old alike sometimes need medical care, and different illnesses or injuries call for different types of care. Major illnesses and serious injuries or conditions call for a visit to emergency care, such as a hospital’s ER. For more minor and non life-threatening cases, though, a patient may be brought to an urgent care clinic instead, and an urgent care center may be found in nearly any town or city in the United States today. Ever since the 1990s, if not earlier, urgent care centers have provided basic care for patients with many different afflictions, and this leads to a robust urgent care business across the United States. An entrepreneur who wants to launch one may first think: “how much does it cost to start an urgent care?” Asking “how much does it cost to start an urgent care?” to business consultants is a good idea, as it may cost more to build such a center in one place than another. The general query of “how much does it cost to start an urgent care?” and everything it entails is of course something to take pretty seriously, but a person can start by considering the size of this industry as a whole.

Urgent Care Clinics in the U.S.

Before asking “how much does it cost to start an urgent care?”, an entrepreneur may first consider how large this business has become. Fortunately, Americans from coast to coast always need medical care, and of course any medical facility will be in high demand at all times. For example, walk-in clinics in particular were conceived in 2000, and many have been built ever since then. By the year 2016, over 2,000 such facilities could be found across the United States, and more are being built all the time. Related to that is the concept of the retail clinic, also devised in the year 2000. This is when an urgent care clinic is built into a large retailer such as Target, Wal-Mart, or Walgreens, often complete with a pharmacy and staff. This makes such clinics convenient for shoppers who need to get prescription drug refills, and the first retail clinic was in Twin Cities, Minnesota, in 2000.

Not surprisingly, this leads to a large industry. In the year 2016, for a recent example, the American retail medical market was valued at $1.4 billion, and it may have a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 20% through the year 20205. Meanwhile, as of 2018, the number of retail medical clinics in operation today is 14 times higher than 2008’s figure. By 2018, some 2,800 such clinics were open and running across the United States. But what about building one?

Construct a Clinic

Urgent care startup may begin with where to place such a clinic, and there is more than one option for this. Some of these clinics are standalone buildings, but many of them are built into strip malls for easy access and parking, and an entrepreneur may look for open spots in local strip malls for building a new urgent care clinic. Found across the United States and Canada, strip malls are a favorite among shoppers and consumers. Another option, as mentioned above, is to simply build one in a retail store, even if it is not a major brand name. This addition to a retailer may prove popular, as many people will already be there for shopping and may visit the pharmacy during their stay. A third route is to build such a clinic in a hospital, and it may be noted that hospital clinics offer separate staff and care than the hospital at large. This is an intuitive and convenient place to put a clinic, and it may attract many patients, especially those who visit the ER but don’t actually need emergency-level medical care.

Rural communities are an ideal place to build these clinics, as many of them don’t even have one, and residents may greatly appreciate having a clinic in their area for the first time. A strip mall may be renovated for this purpose, or a brand-new building may be constructed when construction crews are hired to assemble it. That, or a local retailer may have a pharmacy built into it.