Contributed by Suffolk Chamber of Commerce
29/04/2022 - Mind My Business
If you are considering starting an optical business, this could be a very lucrative idea when done right. If you are a trained and qualified optician, you may be considering going into business on your own. Read on to find a practical guide on everything you’ll need to start up and get your optician business running.
When planning your optician business, one of the most important things to do is find out as much as possible about your potential customers, along with figuring out how much competition you have. You can achieve this by doing some market research. One of the best ways to find out more about your potential customers is to get statistical information from your commissioning body or local NHS Regional Team.
Depending on the qualifications you have, you may choose to offer a wide range of services. If you are qualified to, you might offer sight testing along with dispensing of glasses and contact lenses. However, if neither you nor your employees have the qualifications necessary to conduct sight testing, you may want to consider employing or working with a freelance optometrist to work for your business. This would usually involve the optometrist paying a certain amount of rent in order to use your premises and facilities.
Along with sight testing you may want to offer enhanced sight tests for private clients with a premium service, home visits for clients who cannot visit your premises, examination and treatment of clients with visual impairments, specialist occupational sight and eye exams, referrals to laser surgery and other specialist examinations. You may also offer contact lens fitting, glasses repairs, and more. You may also sell a range of frames that you can get from International Eyewear, a wholesale frames supplier. International Eyewear offer a range of frames that you can purchase to sell to your clients.
You have the option to either set up your own business as an optician or buy an existing business or franchise. Buying an existing business or setting up a franchise with a well-known optical brand can mean that there are products, regular sales, employees, premises, equipment, and customers already in place. However, there are some concerns to keep in mind including the fact that there may be contracts in place with Regional Teams of NHS England, and the condition of any stock of glasses frames and other eyecare accessories that might be difficult to sell if they have gone out of fashion. If you decide to buy an existing optical business, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks and expenses. Make sure that you get access to appropriate legal and financial professionals who can help.
If you are a qualified optician, starting your own business can be a profitable venture. However, there are various things to consider before you get started, so dedicate as much time as possible to the planning stage.
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