Skip to main content
Chemist in a biomedical laboratory

Independent with a laboratory

Every large company has its own laboratory, where substances are synthesized or examined. In a private laboratory, private orders are accepted, such as water tests of domestic wells, groundwater tests or determination of soil quality. If you have a chemical or chemical-technical education, then starting a business with a laboratory is no problem.

Before you become self-employed with a laboratory, however, you must consider some points, because this step must be well thought out. Therefore, you need a business plan, this can be helpful if you need to apply for loans or grants. A business plan should contain, for example, the current market situation and a financial plan.

The financial plan must also include the expected financial requirements for the laboratory, and this is not too little when starting a business with a laboratory. Of course, the rental costs are also very important. The equipment of the laboratory must also be calculated, but here it depends on the specialty. If you want to start your own business with a laboratory for working with hazardous substances, you will need special flooring, furniture, showers, air extraction systems and possibly access locks. In addition, a laboratory for hazardous substances must be approved and supervised by the labor inspectorate.

The business startup consulting

Before each start-up with a laboratory belongs not only the business plan, Internet advertising, but also the business start-up consultation.

How can a start-up consultancy help you?

Get expert advice on writing a business plan. You know what you want to do with your lab, you don't know how to get started. You will receive assistance with bank meetings. This is important because many banks look very carefully at who you give a loan to. During the consultation you can talk about your ideas and you will get constructive but also critical feedback right away. This makes it easier for you to take the step into self-employment with a lab.

A startup consultant knows the market and knows about the competition. He can also help you with marketing and advertising. Describing yourself is not easy, but a stranger always finds the right words.

Of course, there are costs associated with start-up consulting, but they are worth it. Because a start-up with a laboratory without professional advice will cost you many times more.

Subsidies startup with a laboratory

If you want to become self-employed with a laboratory, then there are many subsidies, these vary depending on the industry, state and authority. You can easily apply for the subsidies. So that nothing can go wrong with the application, it is advantageous if you have the support of a start-up consultant. The subsidies are divided into three areas, subsidies for living expenses, subsidies for consulting and coaching and financial support for start-ups through loans or credits.

Of course, there are also many offices that help you with subsidies if you want to become self-employed with a laboratory. These are, for example, the employment office, the KfW Bank or other regional banks.

In order to be well prepared for a meeting with the bank, you should find a professional and experienced start-up consultant. You can apply for funding for start-up coaching, and the consultant will help you with this. The consultant will inform you which subsidies you can get for your industry and state. Also, the consultant will help you create a business plan so that your loan application will be approved by the bank.

To enable you to continue paying your current payments, you will receive a subsidy from the employment office. This ensures your livelihood for a few months during the start-up. Here, too, a start-up consultant will be able to help.

The right health insurance for start-ups

The right insurance is of course also very important if you are self-employed with a laboratory. You can choose between statutory insurance or private insurance. Before you choose one of the two, you need to weigh the advantages and disadvantages.

Private insurance is suitable for young and healthy young entrepreneurs, because here the insurance amount is not calculated according to income. The sum insured is calculated according to age, scope of benefits and state of health.

Before you decide, you should decide what services you need and at what point it can become expensive for you. You should also find out which insurance company offers favorable rates for your insurance needs. However, you can also switch directly to a private insurance. As a self-employed person you have to take care of your health, therefore you need an insurance cover that is adapted to your needs. This way you will not have to worry in case of illness and you will recover faster.

If you are a little unsure and have questions, consult an independent professional.

Business liability insurance

In no case should you do without business liability insurance, because it covers financial damage caused during work. With this insurance, financial ruin can be averted. Unfortunately, many young entrepreneurs do without it, they think with a household insurance their business is also insured. But this is not the case. That is why business liability insurance is very important.

Even small things can become a problem, for example, if a customer falls over an icy step and breaks his hand. With a business liability insurance the damage is covered and you save yourself unnecessary problems. Business insurance is also not that expensive, if you pay € 15,- per month, then you have a coverage of € 2Mio. You should take out business insurance at the beginning of your self-employment, so you are already on the safe side from the beginning. Business liability insurance covers personal injury and property damage, but not financial losses.

If you would like to protect your assets, then you can also take out professional liability insurance. If you have any questions or need further information, please contact an independent advisor.

The business plan

It is very important for a startup with a laboratory, you will need it if you need to apply for a grant, funding or a loan. Before you create with a business plan, you need a good template, on the internet you can download some sample templates. Now you need to write your business plan.

At the beginning you structure your business idea, for this you design a sketch, mindmap, with a central point with individual strands of thoughts. To these strands you add the details, when you are done with that, your mindmap looks like a tree structure. Now you need to describe your business idea, for example, have you identified a specific need or what target group do you want to address? You must not forget this point. Here you should ask yourself if you want to become an entrepreneur.

Do you want to take responsibility for others? You have to make decisions, there is no one above you. Does your family support you? If you can answer these questions positively, then you can proceed with your business plan. Next, you need to do a market analysis, can you sell your product. With the location analysis, you need to determine which location is suitable for your business idea. With the financial plan, you will determine your short, medium and long term capital needs. When you are done with your business plan, have it checked by a professional.

Customer acquisition on the Internet

You also need to consider this if you want to start your own laboratory and be successful. How can you attract customers for your product or service?

You can do this with advertisements in newspapers or with a company website. With your own website, you increase the chances of making your product known. Because as a study shows, about 79 percent of all Germans are online or 55.6 million people of which about 10 people can be your customers. Of these, about 70 percent inform themselves about services and goods. The largest group, that is about 93 percent are interested in a product if it costs more than 4,500 €.

Unfortunately, only about 55 percent of medium-sized companies have a web page. This is a big disadvantage for starting a business with a laboratory. Interested people find information on large portals, they find the product at a competitor and they buy the product from a supplier that can be found on Google.

Your internet presence

Of course, you can do something so that this situation does not occur, and that is with a company homepage. Here you have two options.

So that you are successful self-employed with a laboratory, you can develop your company website with an agency. Your online strategy, structure, content, customer approach and search engine optimization will be discussed. With this option, you have to expect high expenses. However, you will receive expert knowledge and professional support.

The second option is the cheapest and simplest. You design your website with a modular system, for this you pay a certain amount once a year. If you design your homepage yourself, then the text is very important.

In print advertising, the text must be short, it should introduce the product in keywords. This must be so, because here is not much space and also still very expensive. But this does not apply to the Internet advertising, on the Internet is very much space and also cheaper. You can create your company website with five or fifty sub-pages. Here the motto is "The more the better!".

If you do not have time or experience in writing texts, let professionals do the work, then you will have the certainty that your company will be found on Google.

The external appearance

You need to prepare it well, and for that you should remember Corporate Identity. But what is corporate identity? You will find out in this section. With corporate identity, you need to keep two points in mind.

The first is, with a perfect external appearance you create a perception, this is very important in the first customer contact. Because that's when the customer decides whether to use your services. This also applies to partners, suppliers and banks.

Corporate identity sets rules and obligations that you must follow. If you don't, your company will be perceived as unserious and you will lose important customers and your good name as an entrepreneur. You also risk fines and warnings.

Corporate identity also includes the way you behave towards customers, employees and suppliers. If customers feel they are being treated well, they will be happy to come back to you again and again. Therefore, you should establish guidelines for proper customer contact.

Important, in the corporate identity is also the visual external appearance and they internal and external communication. The external appearance includes the design of the website, logo, business cards and stationery. In communication it is very important how you pass information to your employees and how you contact customers and suppliers. These points decide what success you will have with your company.

The right laboratory

If you want to be successful with self-employment with a laboratory, then a good laboratory is very important. But you also need to think about the cost, location, qualified staff, location and size, and the necessary permits.

Experiments and controls are carried out in a laboratory, which is why regulations such as the Ordinance on Hazardous Substances or the Biological Substances Ordinance as well as the Genetic Engineering Act must be observed.

In biotechnology parks, rents are favorable for start-ups, and you will also receive funding from the university if you set up your laboratory in a biotechnology park. This has many advantages for you, for example, you can access an already developed infrastructure and establish contacts with other companies. In addition, you can rent a laboratory at a biotechnology center for a reasonable price and your start-up idea can be planned and implemented more easily. This is possible thanks to the support of public funds.

Of course, many young entrepreneurs want to take advantage of this opportunity, so there are long waiting times. But this is an advantage, because in a biotechnology center, start-ups have a 90% chance of survival. In Germany, there are many innovation, technology and start-up centers, as well as science and technology parks.

The perfect location

If you want to start your own business with your laboratory, then you need to find the perfect location. Therefore, you should conduct a location analysis. You should not select the location according to the proximity to your home. Because in this way you will neglect the transport links, the competition or the rental costs. The location is very important for a business start-up, because you lay the foundation for a successful self-employment.

In order for you to find the right location for your research site, you should not forget about some factors. If you receive larger deliveries at certain intervals, then good accessibility in terms of transport is very important. You should think about a physical proximity to the laboratory if you want to produce. Now comes the most important point, the financial. You must include the investment costs in your planning. Is renovation or modernization necessary? Ask a start-up consultant about investment subsidies. For example, investments are subsidized in the new federal states, especially in structurally weak areas. You also need to find out how high the rent or lease costs are, will there be additional costs for you. You must take this into account in your financial plan.

There are differences between large cities and the surrounding areas when it comes to the laboratory business tax, so you should inform yourself very well.

Authorizations, permits and approvals

These are just as important as the business plan and the location analysis before starting a business. What does permit obligatory or permit free mean?
A permit is required if you operate a private hospital, a gambling hall or as an insurance broker. Permit free means you can immediately apply to the Trade Licensing Office. It may happen that you may have to submit some documents. For certain industries, in addition to a permit or license, you also need a master craftsman's certificate.

If you want to make structural changes to your laboratory, you must contact the building authority or the building inspectorate for the necessary permits. Various structural changes and extensions are checked and approved by the building supervisory authority. For more information, contact any building department. For medical practices or laboratories, you will also need a permit from the health department.

So that you can concentrate on your start-up with a laboratory, there is the "Single Point of Contact" initiative on the Internet. Here you will find sufficient information material for each federal state.

Once you have all the permits and approvals, you can take the next step and register your business. Again, there are some authorities you need to visit.

Register the company

In order to become self-employed with a laboratory, you must visit the Trade Licensing Office, the Tax Office, the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the Commercial Register or the Employer's Liability Insurance Association. If you need employees for your laboratory, you must also add the Federal Employment Agency to your list of offices. Where you register your company depends on what you do and on the legal form.

There are various options here, such as the sole proprietorship, a partnership or a corporation. Before you choose a legal form, you should know that there are differences and some requirements. An important point that you must definitely consider is the start-up capital, formal aspects during the establishment and the accounting after the establishment. Therefore, you should think carefully about what is important for you.

If you have any questions or need more information, you can contact a lawyer or a tax advisor, this will save you a lot of time and the necessary formalities.

You also have the option of quickly and easily taking a legal form test. This way you can immediately determine which legal form is suitable for you.

What opportunities does a biotechnology center offer?

A business incubator offers buildings and space for various uses, such as offices, production facilities and laboratory and research facilities. Some centers also have many focal points, such as for information technology, medical technology or media.

Of course, there are also advantages and disadvantages in a biotechnology center. If you want to start a lab in a business incubator, then you will only benefit. Because the rents are very favorable, also the infrastructure and the service is very good. You can get advice and information at the many consulting and information events. You can also exchange ideas and collaborate with other companies.

Not every business incubator is suitable for every young entrepreneur, because you can not rent a laboratory cheaply in every center. There is also no unlimited rental period, in many centers you can rent a lab of up to five years. You also have to expect a longer waiting period in some centers.

On the Internet you can find a lot of information on how and where to find business incubators. Before you decide on a business incubator, you should look at several centers and plan a lot of time for this. Find out about possibly increasing rents, deadlines and possibilities of use.

Contracts

They are also important when starting up a business with a laboratory. They regulate contractual relationships, such as articles of association, contracts for managing directors and employees. In addition, you must define your general terms and conditions for your customers and sales contracts. You can find templates and sample contracts on the Internet, but you should still consult a lawyer, he can also check contracts for errors.

Contracts are so important because you are covered in the event of an emergency. A contract defines the rights and obligations between you and the contracting party. That is why you should always draw up contracts with a professional, so you avoid any risk.

If you conclude a partnership agreement for GbR, GmbH, UG and Co, then you should have it checked by a lawyer. But you also have to conclude a contract for a managing director, this is then the managing director contract.

You also need rules of procedure for your company. They are not absolutely necessary, but they are recommended. Because in the articles of association you have already defined the essential points, in the rules of procedure you can add supplementary details. Therefore, you should establish rules of procedure.

Author: hilla. Translation. Image: RAEng_Publications / Pixabay.