How to Start a DNA Testing Service

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If you have a knack for science and customer service and have some training in laboratory work, you have the perfect combination to start your own DNA testing service. You can choose to conduct testing as a straightforward paternity service or may want a larger business, which includes the testing of forensic samples. Regardless of the size of your dream business or the amount of tests offered, you can take the steps to lift your entrepreneurial dream off the ground.

Things You'll Need

  • Business plan
  • Marketing plan
  • Standardized operating procedure
  • DNA testing supplies: Interfering cellular materials Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) systems, microscopes, etc.

Draft a business plan. The first thing you need to do is to make a business plan for your testing service. This should lay out exactly what your business will entail and how you will achieve that reality. You need to start out with simple questions such as whether you will be an actual walk in DNA testing office or will people send samples into your company for you to test at your remote location? Also, what kind of DNA tests will you offer, and will you provide testing for government agencies? You should also decide how you will structure the ownership of the business. Visit growthink.com for help in writing your business plan.

Obtain financing. Decide if you will fund the costs to start your business with your own money or whether you will need obtain a business loan. Shop around to see what kind of financing offers you can obtain from various banks. Contact the Small Business Administration (SBA) to inquire as to whether they have loans available that you can take advantage of. NY Job Source (nyjobsource.com) also has a list of lenders that you can start with to find a loan. You will need to apply for a business bank account and business insurance as well.

Find a location and obtain supplies. If you decide to have a standalone testing service, find a suitable location to set up shop. Otherwise, find a low-cost site to set up your remote testing lab. You will need all of the proper laboratory equipment for the various DNA tests which you want to offer. This should include equipment to purify and prepare the DNA samples and remove interfering cellular materials, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) systems to reproduce DNA for subsequent analysis, and equipment to analyze the genetic material. Microscopes, computer software for analysis, solutions, and standard lab supplies should also be ordered.

Create a standardized operating procedure. Write or adopt a manual that explains all of your rules and regulations. You need to explain the standard operating procedure for your testing to include the chain of custody of the samples, methods to assure cleanliness, and rules for the employees to follow. Hire employees that meet your criteria for lab technicians and reliable employees.

Apply for the necessary permits and accreditation. You will need to apply for all applicable permits regarding your testing business. Your office will need to be inspected and kept continuously up to code to keep your permits for operation. Furthermore, to gain customers, you will need to get accredited as a lab recognized as following the proper procedures to ensure creditable testing results. Contact the proper accrediting agencies such as the American Association of Blood Banks, American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors, and College of American Pathologists. Also see what your state’s department of health requires.

Create a marketing plan. Create a marketing and advertising plan for your delivery business. You will need both a name and a logo for your business, and will need an enticing and professional sign to draw customers into your store.

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