Wondering how to start an urgent care center? We take you step-by-step from start to success.
Urgent Care Business Environment
Urgent care centers have arisen in response to the demand for immediate, but non-emergency healthcare. The healthcare system has welcomed the emergence of urgent care entrepreneurs as a way to unburden ERs and providing a higher quality (and more efficient) quality of care to patients.
Most urgent care startup entrepreneurs are former ER physicians who are familiar with the urgent care model and are willing to operate in a managed care environment. The popularity of urgent care facilities has resulted in the American Medical Association's (AMA) approval of a UCM code that allows physicians to specialize in urgent care medicine.
It's also important to know that startup plans for urgent care centers need to conform to Certified Urgent Care Center standards prescribed by the Urgent Care Association of America (UCAOA).
Tips for Successful Urgent Care Center Startups
One of the most common mistakes urgent care entrepreneurs make is to neglect the business aspects of the operation. Although the center's primary function is medical, urgent care center owners need to be prepared and willing to engage with an array of business-related concerns.
- Office Administration. It's likely that your center will employ a professional healthcare office administrator. But even though the administrator may directly oversee coding, billing and other requirements, you (the owner) need to stay involved in office routines and policies.
- HR. Hiring, firing and other HR functions fall squarely on your shoulders. Again, you may hire a HR professional to handle some of the details, but ultimately you will need to play a central role in all HR activities.
- Accounts Receivable. Urgent care centers live and die according to their ability to collect on accounts receivable. We recommend investing in integrated software solutions that give you total visibility to accounts receivable on a 24/7 basis.
- Financial Oversight. Urgent care center entrepreneurs must be capable of reading and interpreting financial statements. You don't need a degree in accounting, but you need to incorporate financial monitoring into your weekly routine.
Business Plan Mechanics for Urgent Care Centers
If you haven't written a business plan for your new urgent care center, it's time to get started.
At Gaebler, we advise new business owners to keep your business plan simple. Ultimately, your business plan is intended to be a resource for you, the business owner.
If your time is limiting, outline the essentials of your urgent care center's business plan now and make a commitment to come back to it later.
For the most part, urgent care centers target local customers. Your startup plan should start with gathering intelligence about the local community Is the area changing? Does the community have the right demographics to support your new business? Great demographic data can be obtained from the Census Bureau, so that is a good place to start any site location research project.
Check Out Competitors
Long before you open an urgent care center within your community, it's a good idea to see how you will fit in the competitive landscape. We've provided the link below to help you get a list of local competitors in your city. Complete the form by entering your city, state and zip code to get a list of urgent care centers that are close by.
Is the local market large enough to support another urgent care center? If not, you had better be sure that you are doing things much better than the competition.
Talk to People Who Are Already in the Business
As part of your due diligence on opening an urgent care center, be sure to have a conversation with someone who is in the business. If you think your local competitors will give you advice, you're being overoptimistic. The last thing they want to do is help you to be a better competitor.
However, a fellow entrepreneur who has started an urgent care center in another town may be willing to share their entrepreneurial wisdom with you, after they realize you reside far away from them and won't be stealing their local customers. Many business owners are happy to give advice to new entrepreneurs If you are persistent, you can find a business mentor who is willing to help you out.
What's the process for finding an entrepreneur who is running an urgent care center in another city who you can speak with?
Simple. Let your fingers do the walking by using the link below.
Why You Should Buy (Instead of Start) an Urgent Care Center
It's no secret that entrepreneurs have a strong impulse to build companies from the ground up.
Yet a healthier and safer strategy may be to purchase an existing urgent care center.
When you buy an existing company, you get a functional (and presumably profitable) company from day one. And that's not to mention the fact that a purchase let's you avoid the trial-and-error mistakes that are common in startups.
Don't Rule Out Franchising
Recognize that your chances of doing well with your venture are greatly increased when you join the ranks of franchisees rather than going it alone.
Before you consider starting an urgent care center, it's worthwhile to check out whether franchising might be the right move for you.
The link below gives you access to our franchise directory so you can see if there's a franchise opportunity for you. You might even find something that points you in a completely different direction.
These additional resources regarding starting a business may be of interest to you.
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