5 Crucial Factors to Consider in Pharmacy Interior Planning!

The key to a successful pharmacy layout is ensuring that the layout is designed to promote customer satisfaction and appeal, as well as efficiency for employees. Improved productivity makes it easier for customers to get what they want in less time, and it takes less time for employees to perform their jobs effectively and promptly. If you are unsure about the overall efficiency of your current pharmacy layout, consider the following five factors to help you in your determination. An experienced pharmacy planning consultant can guide you through the proper steps so that nothing is overlooked.

#1: How much space do you need?

While pharmacy planning is complex, it can be broken down into smaller segments to help you better understand what works–and what doesn’t. One of the most significant factors to consider is how much space will be required to accommodate everything inside. It is important that your list will be all inclusive, including the toilet(s), storage, patient services room(s), office(s), etc. in addition to the dispensing and sales area. An experience pharmacy design consultant will request an itemized list and begin allocating the proper space for each. If you plan a compounding lab, that will require extra space due to the new USP800 regulations for non-sterile compounding.

#2: Why does the shape of your pharmacy matter?

The shape of the space will have a huge impact on the layout. For example, a 40 ft x 50 ft is more desirable than a 20 ft x 100 ft space while both have the same 2,000 sq. ft. Many states are now requiring customer accessibility to a toilet. That presents a challenge in a narrow width because you do not want a patient traversing through the dispensing area or other secure area that conflicts with the Board of Pharmacy restrictions. Furthermore, a prescription department that is long and narrow can hinder proper work flow requiring more steps by the staff. Many new pharmacies are located in shopping centers where the dimensions are not always ideal.  The Landlord wants to have as many store fronts as possible so many new pharmacies have no choice. We suggest a space at one end if possible. We have been able to overcome some of the disadvantages through experimentation.

#3: How important is the layout or floor plan?

Once the space has been determined, the very first step is to create a detailed functional floor plan or Layout. its’ counterpart is Design which will be discussed later. Layout is designating every square foot to the best advantage. A grid style layout is much better than utilizing angles and curves shown and promoted in many websites. Most new pharmacies are much smaller than their predecessors and it becomes more critical that the space is used wisely. A grid-style layout is placing most everything either parallel or perpendicular to the exterior walls. Over-use of angles can waste as much as one third of the available space. Curves have never proved to be worth the extra cost and the limitations they have when it’s time to expand or make simple adjustments. The layout should show even the least significant items such as a shredder, storage shelving, office equipment, break room, etc. Leaving open spaces or rooms make one think that the pharmacy planner did not bother to consider the best utilization of each room and department.

#4: What OTC departments should I include?

The ratio of Rx volume to non-Rx volume has changed drastically over the past few decades. Fifty years ago, the average independent pharmacy Rx to non-Rx volume was about 50/50. Today it is around 93/07 with some exceptions. The percentages revealed include some very large pharmacies that continue to do business. The decision should relate to the owner’s personal passion, the available space and having a department that clearly differentiates your pharmacy from the competition. My personal opinion is to concentrate on health-related departments and services. Most new independent pharmacies are much smaller than their predecessors so I would utilize the space wisely by adding a large nutritional department and get proper training on the advantages of specific products and how they correlate with their prescriptions. I am not a huge proponent of displaying dollar items, a small gift department or other category that may give the perception that your pharmacy is just a smaller version of the chain drug store.

#5: How much attention should I give to design effects?

Layout and Design have often been used with the same meaning. However, as noted earlier, design pertains to aesthetics or what the store looks like. Layout is more important to get right at the beginning because it becomes more difficult to make changes later while design pertains to colors and the appearance of the non-selling areas. We suggest using pastel colors on the walls as it gives the appearance of having more space while dark colors make the space appear smaller.  Dark colors can be used effectively as trim or accent such as letters, graphics, etc.  Spending a lot on décor may be a waste of money without making a contribution. In fact, a boutique appearance can be counter-productive. The consumer has certain expectations of how a pharmacy should look. An inviting atmosphere drawing the customers’ attention to the merchandise rather than a colorful floor or bright colored walls is more desirable. If using tile, I suggest a lighter color with a subdued pattern while either carpet or wood should be a medium range, not too dark or too light. The bottom line is to avoid flooring or painted walls that draw attention.

In conclusion, there are many facets that should be addressed simultaneously so that everything inside the four walls work in unison. There is one best layout and design for each pharmacy providing efficiency and an attractive interior that encompasses all the right things that work for you and not against you.

Would you like to save thousands of dollars without sacrificing quality ?

The traditional route that most existing and future pharmacy owners have followed has often resulted in spending more than necessary. You now have an alternative method that will save you money and valuable time. Once the space is selected, the owner would typically contact a fixture company that offers a layout service with the aim of selling their fixtures. They may charge a fee or note on their drawing that the plan shall not be shared with others. If so, a charge may be forthcoming. Fixture Companies are usually the most practical way of acquiring fixtures along with delivery and installation. However, it may be difficult to fully understand what you are getting until after the installation is completed. We have seen quotes that simply list a lot of part numbers that are impossible to decipher. You may not know whether you paid a fair price until it’s too late.

We have developed a better method. It only makes sense that if you receive two bids for the fixtures, using identical specifications, much like obtaining bids for the construction, you will get a much lower price. We have seen quotes with identical specifications from two established companies that saved the client much more than our fee. Why pay more than necessary?. Why pay more than needed? A better option is to hire an experienced pharmacy planning consultant that has your best interest in mind from start to finish. A customized layout that coincides with your business model will be the beginning. Once the floor plan is approved, CAD construction drawings and a complete list of fixtures and casework with easy to understand specifications are provided. Would you purchase a vehicle or other large ticket item without comparing costs?  Why not do the same when purchasing pharmacy fixtures. You will feel contented that you paid a fair price and received precisely what you needed. Our fee is always lower than the savings realized by minimizing professional fees, construction as well as fixture costs. Pharmacy Planning Solutions is your best resource. We have your back as we never expect a financial reward from the decisions you make. It’s really a no brainer!!

Highly experienced pharmacy planning and design company

We are best known as a highly experienced pharmacy planning and design company. In most cases, a licensed architect will be required before a permit can be issued. However, you can express your preferences to the architect. We have been asked by one client to submit a rendition of the exterior elevations. After viewing the surrounding buildings, most had a very steep gable style roof, brick veneer with some Hardie plank. We want to help our clients in every way possible so we presented a simple but attractive exterior. All independent pharmacies should have an inviting exterior but it is unnecessary to create an extreme exterior design. The end result may take your hard-earned dollars and deposit them in someone else’s bank account.  In the past 24 months we know of two planned pharmacies that have scratched their plans to build a new building because multiple bids exceeded $300 per square foot.


If you Google pharmacy designs on line you will find a wide variety of designs.  Wood may look better initially than metal but the purpose of any display is to sell more products. There is no evidence that wood shelves will sell more products. In fact, I think otherwise based on previous studies. Aside from being more expensive, wood shelves do not have built-in price tags or label holders. If you need an additional shelf, the cost goes way up because most wood shelving is labor intensive. Modular type metal shelving cost much less, have label holders on the front edge for standard 1.25” shelf labels provided by most suppliers. Metal shelves have brackets welded to the shelf and may be slanted and have holes to accommodate wire binning where needed. I have owned a custom wood shop and a fixture company that provided both wood and metal. Another often over-looked advantage of metal shelving is when adjustments are required the task is much easier to accomplish. If you need additional shelves they will look like the existing. Neutral colored metal shelves draw no attention to the display. Laminated wood tops, gates, end panels, checkout counters and accent areas can be wood grain. Since our company sells neither we do not profit from either as we provide total transparency to existing and new pharmacy owners. More details are outlined in Chapter 28 in my Book shown on our Book References page.

Effective and Efficient Pharmacy Interior Layout, Store Planning and Design from an Industry Expert

Whether a small or large pharmacy, or a non-sterile compound lab, planning and designing a new pharmacy or renovating an existing one is a complex and complicated process. There are many steps that must be followed in a proper sequence and details that need attention in order to create a welcoming and efficient pharmacy that customers will be eager to visit time and time again.

Continue reading Effective and Efficient Pharmacy Interior Layout, Store Planning and Design from an Industry Expert

2 Tips for Improving Your Back End Pharmacy Layout

Research and studies have shown that the layout of an Rx’s and Scripts department can have a direct impact on many aspects of its’ day to day operations, including both employee efficiency and customer satisfaction. The better designed the layout, the more efficient the employees—and the happier the customers. There are many ways you can improve the pharmacy workspace. Let’s take a closer look at 2 tips that will benefit your pharmacy as a whole.

Continue reading 2 Tips for Improving Your Back End Pharmacy Layout




that fits your passion, industry trends and the local environment. This will be a time-consuming task but well worth the effort. Each facet will have a lasting impact on your business. Your business model will include all the departments and services you plan to provide and be helpful in selecting the right amount of square footage required. Lenders will definitely require a comprehensive business plan.


Facts seldom mentioned by others

Many national pharmacy organizations, businesses, publications and individuals provide Community Pharmacy Owners many ways to succeed by publishing how-to books, hold forums, seminars and post blogs. However, they rarely mention the critically important physical attributes outside the four walls. Yet, the chains deem them as some of their greatest assets. My observation in no way diminishes those highly important factors inside the four walls, which have been discussed in detail by many in the business.

Continue reading Facts seldom mentioned by others

It is vital that your pharmacy layout is created by an experienced professional

I was contacted by a pharmacist who had signed a lease for space next to an urgent care center. The pre-built space included more than required. The landlord would not agree to reducing the size. Therefore, the pharmacist owner and another party had decided that the best option was to leave the excess space unfinished in the back of the building. Fortunately, the pharmacist called me for a second opinion. After visiting the site and reviewing the owner’s business model, I agreed that the extra space was not needed. I went to work looking at all options, as that’s what we do. There are many facets in developing the best layout and they must all fit together in the best way possible.NEW_BUILDING-optimized

The timing was great since the concrete slab had not been poured, allowing us to locate utilities to fit the layout. With the approval of the landlord and making sure that the architect agreed to changes, I went to work on finding the best layout. With my experience in construction, I know it usually costs much more to expand toward the rear opposed to the side.

The reconfiguration of the layout would allow the pharmacy to sublet the unneeded space as the existing window on the front could be converted to an entry door. The 1,000 square feet would be ideal for a tenant in the health-related field. A three year lease at $20.00 PSF would yield a $60,000 income rather than overhead expenses.

The pharmacist approved our layout and the back-up CAD drawings were submitted to the architect and the pharmacy opened in a few months. The original layout is shown above our more detailed layout. It also included many flaws far beyond wasting space. Our vast experience in hundreds of pharmacies has taught us to create a layout that works for you and not against you.

Continue reading It is vital that your pharmacy layout is created by an experienced professional

Julya Friedman

“Mr.Thomas is an expert in his field. We are so glad to have worked with Mr.Thomas for our pharmacy’s furniture/equipment needs. He was able to tell us exactly how our layout should be to meet standards and his advice was vital to our pharmacy start up. His knowledge and experience in this field is unsurpassed and we are grateful for all of the information he provided us. He is truly an expert and we look forward to working with him for our future pharmacy needs.”
Julya Friedman, Pharm.D. GPS Pharmacy Solutions Matthews, North Carolina

Sean Barclay

Roland was extremely helpful with our new pharmacy build out. Not only did he help us with the custom casework for our space, he also helped to design the layout of our pharmacy. Despite being on the other side of the country Roland was always available for us to talk with and also responded to emails very promptly. In the construction world it often feels like contractors are only concerned about the money side of things, but Roland is definitely outside this mold. He worked with our budget and helped us to get the best product for the best price possible. His customer service continues well beyond the job with follow up emails and phone calls to make sure everything is going well. We highly recommend any company which Roland Thomas represents.

Sean Barclay, PharmD, BCPS
Meta Pharmacy Services
Las Vegas, Nevada


I got a lot of help from Roland Thomas of Rx Planning solutions here in Charlotte. He specializes in the retail pharmacy business. I have copied him on this email. He has been awesome to work with and has a wealth of knowledge about our industry. He also helped a buddy of mine with his brand new pharmacy in Simponsville, SC.

Douglas Yoch, PharmaD
Stanley Specialty Pharmacy
PCAB Accredited Compounding Pharmacy
Charlotte, NC

Hi Roland,

On behalf of Xubex Community Pharmacy, I would like to thank you and your staff for the wonderful job you’ve done setting up our new store. It was a great experience and your thought on the project and the attention to the details made this project a success. We are extremely happy with the design and the layout of the store. Your efforts made this job painless and we appreciate your hard work. We would most definitely use your services for future stores.

Mehrdad Hariri, R.ph., C.Ph.
Xubex Pharmacy
Casselberry. Florida