Dr. Tejaswi talks to us about her experience of opening her first clinic, and how she aims to differentiate her clinic in an upscale locality in Hyderabad by offering her patients a premium experience
When did you decide on opening your clinic and how much time it took to implement?
Immediately after completion of our bachelor’s degree both me and my husband (Dr. Anwesh) were keen on setting up a clinic. We soon realized the importance of post graduation and decided to pursue MDS. But we always had big city dreams, so after completion of our MDS, we decided to settle down in a city like Hyderabad. Luckily, I got a job in a large corporate chain and was assigned a clinic located in one of the prime areas in the city (in the same locality which we had shortlisted for our clinic). This experience helped me in understanding the market and the demography.
|Dr. K L Tejaswi||Dr. G Anwesh|
|Vizag, Andhra Pradesh||Warangal, Telangana|
|Conservative dentistry |
|Pinnamaneni Siddhartha |
Institute of Dental
|St. Joseph Dental |
College, Elluru (2012)
|St. Joseph Dental |
College, Elluru (2005)
|St. Joseph Dental |
College, Elluru (2005)
Which factors went in your favor? What required more work?
The support from my family and my husband helped me a lot. Both me and my husband had similar career goals. We had clarity regarding our future and were striving hard to make it possible as a team. After we shifted to Hyderabad, understanding the market and people took some time. Also, with a kid to take care of, it was difficult for us to create a balance between personal and professional life. Thanks to my mother, I am able to manage things.
How did you finance the clinic?
I feel we have invested a bomb in setting up the clinic. The total cost was about 45 lakhs. We invested all our savings and were also supported financially by my in-laws.
Why did you choose the city/location? Can you tell us more about the locality/ local demographics?
We migrated to Hyderabad for better career opportunities and to provide best education to our daughter. We were also keen on establishing a clinic in one of the upmarket areas of the city, and finally settled for Kondapur. The area is close to the campuses of several multinational companies, including Amazon, Microsoft, Accenture, Deloitte, Novartis, Infosys, TCS, and Cognizant. We anticipated a demand for a premium clinic in this area.
What is the space you started with?
It’s in the first floor of a newly-constructed commercial complex, of about 900 square feet. On one side of the complex, there are residential apartments and on the other, we have a large market. This commercial complex has got two different banks and restaurants in its premise with a large parking space.
What equipment did you start with? What was the approximate cost of the equipment and interiors?
|Dental chairs (three)||5,40,000|
|All dental hand & rotary |
instruments, surgical kit,
|Interiors and furnishing||Cost (INR)|
|Glass partitions and door||2,50,000|
|Laptop and desktop (one each)||80,000|
What were the various clearances/legal requirements that you had to clear?
Various clearances required were:
- Registration with the municipal authorities
- Authorization for biomedical waste disposal
- Pollution control certificate
- DHSP (Dental health care service provider) certificate
How much time did it take from planning to starting operations?
It took us almost 45 days. We invested about 16 hours a day and completed the setup. Everything from renting a space to furnishing, working on interiors, and buying and setting up of equipment are included in this time frame. We did take the help of a professional interior designer to design the layout of the clinic. However, the certification procedure took more time (about 3-4 months).
How did you decide on the prices? Can you tell us the price of key services?
I used to work for a large corporate chain in the same area, so I was pretty familiar with the market rates. We benchmarked our rates to that of the corporate chain. We also considered the paying capacity of the people around to finalize our prices. We charge Rs 250 as the consultation fee.
What did you do for marketing your clinic? How long did you do that?
We have registered our clinic in all social media platforms. Other that this we have hired people to distribute pamphlets once in a week for the first 3 months. We also post ads for our clinic once a week in a local newspaper. We hope that after we have built some visibility in the market, we will be more dependent on word-of-mouth marketing for our patient flow.
With almost 12 clinics in the vicinity, how are dealing with the competition?
We are focusing on the quality of treatment and care we provide to the patient and people accompanying them. I believe in providing best services which I usually expect from others when I visit them. So, we are providing quality care to the patient by including various specialists for different treatments. I am trying to incorporate various means by which I can also keep the visitors engaged. In the waiting area, we have a TV with cable, Netflix, and Amazon Prime subscriptions, a coffee brewing machine, and 250 ml Bisleri water bottles. We also have a section with various magazines and two different newspapers for people to read.
Since both of us have an affinity toward nature, we are giving a sapling to every patient entering our clinic as a gift. The kids entering our clinic have been awarded smiles or complimentary gifts as a part of positive reinforcement. This way I am trying to take care of smallest of concerns. We feel giving the best experience to people is our primary goal, as word of mouth is the best way to gain referrals and develop a long-lasting relationship with patients.
Experience of working in the corporate sector was of great help in understanding the psyche of the patient. It trained me to deal with different kinds of people. Understanding every step: from attending the patient to providing a treatment plan, to the collection of payments, everything has added to my experience. I sound more confident and convincing because of exposure from a corporate chain. Also, my husband used to go for consultations so he was more exposed to different and best materials used in different clinics. So, buying equipment was less of a headache because he had the enough exposure. Also, working in various setups helped both of us to develop a network with different specialists. Now we find easier to render patients with treatments performed only by specialists.
How has the patient flow picked up? Is there any seasonality you’ve observed?
We have just started but are able to see a decent patient flow. From my experience, I can say festivals and heavy rains affect the patient flow in the clinic.
How are both of you managing the clinic? Do you also do other consultations/other jobs?
I am managing clinic from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. My husband usually goes around for consultations and joins me either in the evening or morning based on his consultation schedule.
What are the overheads, working capital that you require per month?
Our working expenses are: Rent: Rs. 70,000, Salary for dental assistant: Rs. 13,000, Electricity bill: ~Rs. 8,000, Internet charges: Rs. 1,000, POS machine: ~Rs. 600, Janitor: Rs. 4,000
What were the key learnings for you from the exercise? Were there any challenges that you did not anticipate?
One thing which I found very important is to have patience. Dealing with labor and various vendors brought in a lot of unpredictability. The only aspect that helped me surpass this phase was patience. Also, one needs comprehensive planning to get work done in a short time span.
How has been the experience for you? Any advice you would want to give young practitioners who want to set up their clinic?
I am enjoying my work. It feels good to head a clinic. I feel independent and confident. It’s such a great feeling when you receive compliments not only for the treatment but also for the whole set up and ambience of your clinic. You feel all your hard work has paid off. Few key points which I would like to focus on:
- Always believe in providing the best service to the patient and never force any treatment
- Make them aware of the various problems in the oral cavity with the help of intra-oral camera/ mirror
- Try to motivate them but never force them to take up treatment as they may consider your money minded
- Maintain your calm and always look and sound confident
Escaping rent woes
“Opening a clinic in our hometown proved very useful for us. It struck off one of the key expenses for clinics: Rent”