Dr. Navya talks about her experience of opening a clinic in Trivandrum, Kerala

We got a chance to chat with Dr. Navya, who, along with her husband Dr. Vivek recently opened her own clinic. In a freewheeling chat, she discusses her experience, choices, and considerations that went into the process.

When did you decide on opening your own clinic?

My husband completed his post-graduation one year before me. We had decided to settle in Trivandrum which is his hometown. I was also familiar with the market and knew that my opportunities as a freelancer or consultant would be limited. We had been planning on setting up a clinic even in my final year of MDS, and so, immediately after completing my post-graduation, both of us set out to set up our clinic.

Doctors’ Profile

Dr. Navya M KDr. Vivek B Chandran
Kannur, KeralaTrivandrum, Kerala
Oral Medicine and
Prosthodontics and
Bapuji Dental College
and Hospital, Davangere,
Karnataka (2018)
Sree Mookambika
Institute of Dental
Sciences, Kulasekaram,
Tamil Nadu (2017)
Century International
Institute of Dental
Sciences and Research
Center, Kasaragod,
Kerala (2013)
Century International
Institute of Dental
Sciences and Research
Center, Kasaragod,
Kerala (2013)

Why did you choose the city/location?

After our wedding I shifted with my husband’s family in Trivandrum. We chose the location because it was our ancestral house, so one big expense was out for us. We converted the ancestral house into a commercial space. It’s a 3 BHK property with each room around 10×10 sq. feet in area.

Our permanent residence in the same locality. and the people around are known to our family from a very long time. We felt it was an ideal location to set up the clinic as it has commercial buildings on one side of the road and residential areas on the other. Although it was a densely populated area, there is only one clinic in the vicinity. We felt what else can work better than this. Thus, we found it best to set up the clinic here.

What equipment did you start with? Did you make any compromises, trade-offs to keep costs in check?

Due to financial limitations, we spent less on interior work & furnishing. Instead, we spent more on buying dental equipment. Also, we didn’t want compromise on the quality of our work so we spent substantially on buying materials as well.

To start with, we bought all the necessary equipment like the dental chair, compressor, dental x-ray machines, LED lights, all necessary dental instruments, autoclave, needle burner, and intra-oral cameras.

EquipmentCost (INR)
Dental chairs (two; brand: Confident)3,55,000
All dental hand & rotary instruments,
surgical kit, restorative materials
(GIC, dental stone, Alginate, etc.)
Intra-oral camera25,000
X-ray machine15,000
Interiors and furnishingCost (INR)
Air-conditioner (one)27,000
Signboard (two light boards and
one LED board)
Dental trolley10,000
False ceiling18,000
Glass door (frosted, with clinic name)26,000
Furniture (sofa, chairs, etc.)45,000

What were the various clearances, legal requirements that you had to clear? How much time did it take?

To get a license in Kerala under corporation setup, you need to apply at least 4 months before clinic opening. I had applied for image certification (IMA goes eco-friendly-Kerala), pollution certificate, and for a license. Cost for the image is around Rs 890 per month for clinics with two chairs. Pollution is around Rs 7500 for 5 years; the license is around Rs 2000. The license depends upon a number of doctors and staff working in the clinic. Professional tax for each doctor and staff is applicable, based on which charges for a license may vary.

How much time did it take from planning to making the clinic operational?

We got all the work done including paperwork in 4-5 months. Work related to clinic interiors and furnishing was done in the same period.

How did you decide on the prices?

We fixed our rates by benchmarking against the average market rates of various dental treatments.

What did you do for marketing your clinic?

We enrolled in our clinic in Google business, Justdial, Facebook, Instagram. We created a static website for around Rs 5000. In Kerala, corporation charges for board of 4x2x1 cm size is around Rs 2000 and the LED board is around Rs 3000 for the dimensions of 2x1x1/2cm.

How has the patient flow picked up? Is there any seasonality you’ve observed?

In the initial 3 months, patient inflow was a little lower. Gradually, the patient flow is picking up. During rainy seasons usually, patient flow is quite less.

Were there any challenges that you did not anticipate?

The greatest challenge was to get staff who can understand dental-related work and stay back in the evenings as people staying back after 5 pm is difficult to find in the city.

How are both of you managing the clinic? Do you also do other consultations/other jobs?

I usually manage clinic full time i.e. 9 am-7 pm. My husband Dr. Vivek joins me in the evening as he’s working as an assistant professor in a college. Most of the treatment is managed by us. We also have consultants for orthodontic and endodontic procedures.

What are the overheads, working capital that you require per month?

We pay a salary of Rs 10,000 to our assistant, Electricity bill of ~Rs. 2,000. For renewal of image certification ~Rs 900, Cable connection ~Rs 300, Other material and lab costs ~Rs 12,000.

How has been the experience for you? Any advice you would want to give young practitioners who want to set up their clinic?

As far as I am concerned, I am happy that I have set up my clinic as it’s my property without any rental issue. I earn money more than what is been paid in a college as a fresher. My advice would be if you have your property then better upgrade your skills and set up a clinic. If not then rent a place. Do not invest too much in its interior and other works if you have financial constraints. For me, it has been a great learning experience. Managing everything on my own has boosted my confidence level. Although a lot of patience was required in the initial days, I end up feeling happy the moment patient flow picks up.

About the author

Dr. Shilpy Bhandari is a Hyderabad-based Periodontist and the founder of Dentistry Insider. She has worked extensively across dental clinics of all sizes — from large corporate chains to small, independent setups.

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