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Starting a Laboratory Business: Pros & Cons

You’re making a wise choice to join the laboratory industry. Thanks to humans’ desire for new discoveries and the many industries your services can assist, there are sure to be opportunities for years to come. But as with any business, enter the market with as much insight as possible, so you’re prepared for any situation or challenge. Here are important tips, pros, and cons to consider.

 

Things to Consider Before Starting a Laboratory Business

When starting a laboratory business, your planning phase determines the company’s viability long term. It’s a competitive industry where your reputation greatly determines your client list and bottom line. Here are aspects you can’t ignore.

Understand the Purpose of Your Laboratory

Don’t offer too wide a range of services. It will be difficult to acquire the equipment and employees to maintain such a laboratory and still be profitable. Rather pick a niche, whether it’s for research, diagnostics, or clinical purposes. This guides you in acquiring the right premises, equipment, and team.

Create a Business Structure

Based on your purpose, plan a structure that guarantees a profit. This should include your target clients, the type of personnel you’ll need, and how they will work together. Also pick an appropriate business structure type, such as:

  • Sole proprietor
  • LLC
  • Corporation
  • Partnership

Set up a Budget

Laboratory equipment is expensive, so managing your capital wisely from the start is essential.  Calculate startup costs, monthly overhead costs, and aspects like marketing. Then determine if you’ll need investors or loans to support the business while you establish your brand and scale the company.

Evaluate Lab Space

Consider the ideal location of your business, so you’re close to your target clients. Also, make sure the space you rent or purchase can accommodate the equipment and people. It must be spacious enough to allow easy and efficient workflows and movement of your team.

Invest in the Necessary Equipment

All labs usually need general equipment and items for cell culture and biochemistry. For more specialized items and machines that you won’t need every day, consider partnering with other laboratories. Acquire them together in order to help your cash flow.

Choose a System that Suits Your Needs

Create a system that will optimize productivity and help manage your quality of work. This can include aspects like:

  • Software
  • Workflows between employees
  • Managing inventory

Research your options and then implement an efficient system from the start to benefit outcomes. Doing thorough research beforehand will prevent the costly process of switching to other systems later on.

Pros of Starting a Laboratory Business

It’s clear why setting up a lab is such an appealing venture.

You are Your Own Boss

Instead of sacrificing time for someone else’s dream, you can be in charge and achieve your own life goals. Many people find it exhilarating to be at the helm, carry responsibility, and make important decisions.

Ability to Study Substances in a Controlled Environment

It’s certainly interesting to study specimens and use advanced methods to make discoveries. A laboratory is the best setup to do this in since everything happens in a controlled manner.

Even if you’re working with dangerous or toxic substances, the risk is low as long as your safety guidelines are in place. Especially now, when many laboratories are switching from paper to ELN to make the environment more sustainable. This gives you the chance to be at the forefront of discoveries that could help others, without putting anyone in danger.

You Get to Do What You Really Love

For individuals with an interest and the necessary training in fields like chemistry, microbiology, pathology and forensics, a laboratory is a stimulating work environment. You can pursue your passion of working in your chosen niche and the work varies, so it won’t become boring. Going to work will be pleasant, even though there’s hard work involved. And if it’s your own laboratory business your passion can support your entire lifestyle.

Cons of Starting a Laboratory Business

Do consider the drawbacks of this profession, so you have a realistic expectation of what it’s like owning a laboratory business.

Expensive to Maintain

At the outset, to benefit your startup, you may not be able to claim a large salary yet. Setting up the business is expensive and monthly costs are also high. It may take a while to scale the business enough to earn the income you dream of.

Require a Lot of Space

One of the reasons the costs are so high is because of the amount of floor space you’ll need. Workers need comfortable workspaces to perform their duties and equipment can be large. Therefore, it’s not a viable option to run this business from your home and you may struggle to find enough space at an affordable price.

High Risk of Contamination

Safety is a big concern in any laboratory. It’s interesting to work with certain substances or test people’s blood. But you’ll live with the constant risk of contaminating other samples, or a team member being affected by the samples you work with. You need strict safety policies in place and must enforce them at all times.

Planning a lab as a startup business is exciting and if you succeed in delivering high-quality work—with the right space, team, and equipment—you can live out your passion and make money. Simply keep our warnings and tips in mind, so you maintain a safe space for all involved.

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Author : Chloe Stamenkovic

Chloe Stamenkovic is a life science research analyst collaborating with Reader's Digest, eLabNext, Dataversity & others. Having strong molecular biology, analytical & data science modeling skills she manages project initiatives to elevate the knowledge in technology solutions for laboratories, in order to increase efficiency in the lab. She focused on all topics regarding biotech but most recently specializing in topics such as digital health, lab digitization, ELN/LIMS, AI, Machine Learning, and automation's role in developing novel therapeutics.

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