How to start an optical shop?

Optical business is a profitable business. The global eyewear market was valued at USD 102.66 billion in 2015. Overall market of eyewear industry in India is more than 50000 Crore (Approx). Market size of the optical lens and frames are growing too fast in India. Market size also becomes larger every year. India achieved stronger GDP growth than last year. Increasing eye awareness is playing a major role. I have so many optometrist friends those who wants to start an optical but delaying the process due to lack of experience and lack of money.

But we don’t need lots of money to start an optical shop.

Business plan:-

First, make a proper business plan. Location, budget and from where you will buy the products that should be decided first. Also, you need to take a decision about the quality and quantity of products that means the quantity of expensive as well as inexpensive frames or sunglasses. Refraction facility always increases sales though the setup is costly. If the plan is only to sell sunglasses and medical frames for outside glasses prescription only then no need to buy costly  refraction equipment like Autorefractometer, Slitlamp, Keratometer and projector etc. Refraction unit important for Ophthalmologist or Optometrist who can practice at your shop.  Those who are not an optometrist or ophthalmologist they can hire optometrist for full-time or part-time basis. So many optical owners do business on commission’s basis with optometrist and ophthalmologist other than consultation fees. That is an agreement between practitioner and shop owner which vary person to person and place to place. But keeping refractive unit along with an optometrist or an ophthalmologist always better for more growing business.

Place selection:-

Place selection is very much important. The Proper place is required for the optical shop. Your budget always depends on your place selection. If you are going to open a shop at VIP area, definitely you’re your expense will be more as well as order value. Comparatively at small town or village area places are inexpensive than city area. Generally at a small town and village areas order value is lesser than a big city. But sometimes due to more customers the business turnover is more than a big city. If you are Ophthalmologist or Optometrist and you are open an optical where your practice is good then it is less risk because of your practice popularity. Also grow of Optical will be very fast. But if someone opens an optical at the unknown area and the eye specialist also new on that area then generally that takes the time to grow the business. The new place takes time for running smoothly. If refraction unit set up will be in the optical then need an extra room for that.

Initially, the business can be started only for sales without refraction. This is for those who are not from the optical background or not from a medical background. There are so many businessmen those who open the shop near to govt hospital because without refraction also they can get more customer. Shopping malls are a good option for the open an optical showroom because so many people want fashionable eyewear. Also, busy persons can do their eye check up with a qualified optometrist or ophthalmologist.

Purchasing land or rent room plays a major role in the budget. Open optical with own land is good but it’s more costly. Most of the big optical run on a lease basis. If an optometrist or ophthalmologist opens an optical where he practices with few times and patient frequency are good then there purchasing land is the beneficiary. Those who are not in this field lease the better option for that. My so many optometrist friends want to open optical but not yet started lack of money. Rented showroom definitely reduce the cost of new setup.

Few days before I saw an optical which was made by bamboo sticks in a village. So I asked him why the optical like this without any good interior design and etc. He smiled and replied, he sells low price frames and lenses for poor customers. If he buys a place or opens in a mall the profit range will not much more vary. Particularly overall income will be much more increase. His optical location is opposite to a government hospital. So hospital doctor refers poor patients to his optical. He told that like that he open optical shop in 4 locations weekly which helps him to earn more than 25000 INR in a month. This is like a mobile optical shop. Here price matter than decoration and quality of optical products.

License:-

Like other business need trade license for the optical shop. For optical may need optical association trade license.

Interior design:-

Interior design is very important. After all optical business is a healthcare business. So cleanness is very important. Anybody can take advice from an interior designer or other optical shop or from some experienced person. Good interior designs always make a positive reflection on customer mind. Inside optical will be good color, carpeting and good furnishing display cases required. Good looking and big budget optical are decorated with self-illuminated lens case desk. It’s looking good at evening time. White and the red or blue combination work well for the optical interior design of optical. So many models of showroom picture available at Google. Reception or billing area should be

Space inside:-

The space inside of the optical should be enough for patient waiting. Little bit bigger space good for more display so that customer see more products. If anybody doesn’t have enough idea then visit near good optical for the experience.

Instruments:-

Lensometer (Measure the power of an optical lens) is important for every optical shop. Manual and auto-lensometer both are available in the market. Obviously, auto-lensometer is costlier than manual but for manual need a more expert person to use it.  If optical include refraction setup, then need instruments like Trial frame, Trial box, Auto-refractometer, Slitlamp, Keratometer, Projector chart (Visual acuity chart) etc. Now a day’s power and corneal curvature (Keratometer) both can measure by auto-refractometer. Auto-refractometer, auto-lensometer, projector chart can be purchased by EMI (Every month installment) system. The modern trend of eye check up is computer eye testing which is actually eye test by auto-refractometer. Though it is not 100% accurate but attracts the customer. Only for this reason most of the optical keep auto-refractometer. Secondhand instruments also you can use to save money.

Product selection:-

It is very important for optical business. Area wise product survey plays an important role in selling. City people and higher class people like to use good branded frames and sunglasses like Rayban, Gucci, Police etc. The low-cost product  will sell more at the lower economic area.  So branded frames and sunglasses may not be moving well like city area. Also, market survey important about the choice of people in a particular area. What types of frames and sunglasses people want. It includes color, size, and shape of the frame. Also, it’s important to decide how many frames and sunglasses should be the purchase of each type. Big optical chains purchase lots of products each type and profit margin also good. But first time those who are starting a business they need to decide each type of frame should buy 3-4 pieces or more. If dealer ready to take back glass after 5-6 months no issue but if not then it’s better to but less frame. Because if the frame is not sold then it’s total loss. So always purchase from reputed suppliers. Subscribe optical trade magazine will help to update knowledge about new products also contact address of local vendors.

The similar condition for contact lenses also. At urban area, the contact lenses are not widely used. 

Service offered:-

Once I visited an optical where hardly 100 frames are on display. The shop owner told me any single vision and bifocal glasses with regular power can deliver within 2 hours. His story was very nice. He previously works as an assistance of an ophthalmologist. After long experience with doctors, he started an optical. But his mistake was that the shop was near his area. There is another 3 optical present so initial 2 years very few customer or patient come his optical for an eye check up and buy glasses. Every week sales were hardly 2000-3000 rupees. As standard practice weekly once he goes to the city for fittings the lenses. Most of the glasses deliver after 5-7 days. So the business was not profitable. After 2 years he started his own fittings service and he started fitting glasses for other optical also. Within a year his monthly turnover crosses more than 40000 rupees from fittings only.  See for fittings the machine cost was less than 10000rupees. So market survey and aim should be clear that what you are going to serve. His first mistake proper market survey was not done. Second with new eye specialist always take time for customer fluency. Thirdly, long time take to deliver the glasses to the customer. So fitting service and delivery time also important for success at optical. Additionally, fittings service will help speed delivery and more customer satisfaction.

Advertise:-

Last but not least that needs to advertise for the opening ceremony and marketing through the newspaper, radio, television etc. If someone opens an optical where people know him then don’t need much more advertisement.

Opening ceremony:-

An opening ceremony and invite local VIP person always increase the popularity of showroom.

References:-

  1. http://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/eyewear-industry
 
Krishnendu Mandal
Optometrist, Blogger, Blogging since Jan 2016

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