Does Your Business Need an Outside Laboratory?
There are times when outsourcing your lab work makes sense.
You may want to do certain tasks in-house and outsource more complex testing to a commercial facility. This decision will depend on your business model.
Learn some of the reasons outsourcing your lab work makes sense.
Regulations and laws
State laws in Michigan and other states regulate what certification and safety standards you need to operate a laboratory at your business.
There are also federal regulations that vary by industry. Double-check with the appropriate authorities that you meet all the necessary guidelines.
For example, for a medical testing laboratory, there are laws in place for health and safety. You also need approval for clinical drug testing on people.
Recruitment and training, and staffing
When you run your own lab, you need to recruit and train the appropriate staff. Hiring in the scientific community involves strict adherence to protocols.
Double-check credentials, experience, and knowledge before making an offer. Background checks and other precautions prolong the onboarding process, so double-check everything. Also, you may need to hire someone who specializes in this type of placement, such as an agency, to ensure you do things the right way.
You need investment funding to fund your lab. Unless you have investment and savings from your main business, you’ll need to approach a bank for a small business loan.
You can apply for grants if you plan to do nonprofit work or turn to crowdfunding sites such as Kickstart. However, you have to budget carefully since it could be quite a while before your lab breaks even or turns a profit. You can research online for advice from lab managers who started their business from scratch. If you have patent-pending technology or other intellectual property, you may attract venture capital firms to your cause.
Every new business needs insurance. Scientific businesses need additional insurance to hedge against lawsuits, liability, and safety risks.
Look for insurance companies that specialize in labs and other scientific endeavors.
Equipment costs and labor are the major expenses for most laboratories.
You need chemicals, machines, and PPE to protect your staff. Most labs require a mass spectrometer, conical flasks, fume cupboard, beakers, burettes, sodium hydroxide, hydrochloric acid, acetone, and other supplies.
You will need a detailed inventory in order to negotiate costs and budget your first year’s expenses. Fortunately, there are many auction sites online.
Look for auctions selling equipment from labs that have closed down to get great deals. However, be careful with buying used machines that may be contaminated.
Whatever work you keep in-house, you’ll need purified water to avoid contaminants that can skew test results. A water deionized removes salt content and other contaminants by filtering water through ion exchange materials.
Carefully weigh your options and determine which work you will keep in-house and what it makes sense to farm out to a reliable, affordable commercial lab.