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Best Daily Practices for Opening and Closing a Pharmacy

how to open and close a pharmacy

March 26, 2020

Inside: Establish a safe and effective routine to make your independent community pharmacy ready for patients. 

Even though you’re not making a profit when your store is closed, the time you spend preparing before opening and after closing can make an impact on your pharmacy’s business. By using this time effectively, you can become more organized and efficient throughout the day.

However, according to the Portland Police Department, the time when a business is opening and closing for the day is also the time it is most vulnerable to burglaries. Because of this, it’s important to optimize these procedures for safety as well as efficiency.

Create a list of tasks that must be accomplished before opening and after closing every day and include it in your standard operating procedures. Here’s how to open and close your pharmacy daily.


Opening Procedures

The time you spend in your pharmacy before it opens can set the tone for the rest of the day.

By giving yourself time to prepare the space, you ensure that your patients are walking into a calm, welcoming atmosphere that’s ready to take care of their needs. On the other hand, if you don’t take care of these tasks before the store opens, the rest of your day could end up being disorganized and chaotic.

Arrive early

Even if you’re not a morning person, you should plan to arrive between 30 to 45 minutes before the pharmacy is set to open. You need to make sure you leave yourself enough time to get everything done so you’re not scrambling to finish your opening tasks as your patients start to arrive.

As you get your routine down to a tee, you may be able to reduce that time frame.

Work with a partner

Because your pharmacy is at a greater risk of robbery in the time before you open the store, you should never work alone. A second employee should always be present as you open up the store. That employee can keep watch as you unlock the pharmacy door and be ready to call the authorities should something bad happen.

Additionally, with a second person on hand, you can accomplish the rest of the opening tasks more quickly.

Turn everything on

Get everything up and running so they are ready for your patients as soon as they arrive. Turn on all the lights and boot up computers.

Also, be sure to turn on your air conditioner or heater as soon as you walk in the door so the store is a comfortable temperature by the time the store opens.

Tidy up

Do a walkthrough of the store and make sure everything is in order. As you make your way through the store, do the following:


Check out the outside of your store as well as the inside. Sweep away any leaves or debris that may have accumulated on your sidewalk throughout the night to maintain a welcoming curb appeal.

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Check the cash drawer

Take a few moments to ensure you have enough petty cash in the register. A good rule of thumb is to start with $200 of cash, distributed throughout bills and coins of every denomination.

You want to make sure you have enough money in the register to give patients their change. If you find you often run short on nickels or one-dollar bills, increase the number of coins or bills you start with every day.

Review the day

After you’ve made sure the store is clean and ready for patients, take a moment to check in with yourself so you are ready for patients.

Review the day’s schedule so you know which employees to expect. If you’re running any special sales or promotions, refamiliarize yourself with them.

This quiet time before patients start streaming in is a good opportunity to revisit ongoing issues and mentally prepare yourself for the day


Closing Procedures

The more thoroughly you work to close up the pharmacy in the evening, the less work you will have to do the next morning.

Like when you’re opening the store, time spent closing up is also at higher risk for robbery. For safety, you should work with at least one other person.

Perform these tasks every night to make sure your pharmacy stays secure and organized.

Lock the doors

As soon as closing time hits, you should lock up the front doors. If there are still patients browsing in the pharmacy, you don’t have to kick them out, but you want to stop additional patients from coming in after hours.

Make sure one employee remains close to the door so they can let the lingering patients out once they’re finished with their shopping.

Reconcile your register

After the store is empty of patients and the door is locked, balance your cash drawer. Pull a sales report from your point-of-sale system and compare that to the amount of cash you have in the register.

When you’re done counting, keep the amount of petty cash you need to start the next day in the register and prepare the rest to be deposited in the bank.

For accountability purposes, balancing the cash drawer should be a two-person job, with one person counting and the other person preparing the bank deposit.

Sanitize the store

You should do the bulk of your cleaning tasks in the evening, including:


The more cleaning you get done after the store closes, the less work you’ll have to do tidying up the next morning.

Power down

Before you leave, shut off all your computers and electronics, and turn down your heat or air conditioning so it won’t run on full blast all night while there’s no one there. While it may seem silly to shut down computers every night, over the long run it will save you money on your utility bill.

If you have outdoor lights, you may consider leaving them on for the convenience of pedestrians. Leaving one or two lights on inside the pharmacy can also help prevent burglaries.

Lock up

The last thing to do before you leave is to secure the pharmacy. Prescriptions should have an extra layer of protection, like a locking gate that covers the pharmacy window. You may even consider storing controlled substances in a safe.

Ensure that all doors and windows are all properly fastened. As you walk out the door, arm your security system if you have one.

You and the other employee should leave together to ensure you both make it to your ride safely.


An Independently Owned Organization Serving Independent Pharmacies 

PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy side of their business. The company is a member-owned organization that serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, expert contract negotiations, proprietary purchasing tools, distribution services, and more.

PBA Health, an HDA member, operates its own VAWD-certified warehouse with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products.

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