Setting up a dental clinic in India #1

As a fresher dentist, I always wondered if there was a step-by-step guide to help me prepare for private practice. College was a different ball game. You did not need to worry about the Biomedical Waste disposal certificates and the chair and compressor brands. You were essentially given an already running government practice.

But once you set out to open your own shop, a lot of challenges pop up. First thing is where. The location of a dental clinic can make or break the deal. Then comes the infrastructure and various approvals. The next part is marketing yourself which is seemingly the most complicated part. Then there are the small little worries like the plumbing, furniture and dental chair servicing, installation etc that require your attention. In all this, you forget that it is a business and like all businesses you need to keep a record of investments, expenses – both fixed and one-time; and of course, the earnings.

Let us begin:

The location.

You need to be very careful while choosing the location of your clinic. It has to be a place with high visibility and also an area where there are fewer dentists than the required number. There is obviously some saturation in our profession and hence, you need to pick a place that avoids unnecessary competition with senior, proficient doctors. 

There is a catch though: if you open a clinic in an area where there are no other dentists, you might need to depend completely on word of mouth publicity. The spillover traffic from large clinics and hospitals can help you with your initial business. 

So, my advice would be to open your clinic where demand exceeds supply but do not go too far away from the main city or main market. Actually, if all the dentists are clustered around in the same area, it is a prudent decision to start your practice there as you will be benefiting from the area’s reputation as a dental healthcare hub.

 Now there are some cities where there are dental colleges in abundance and as a result, all areas are dental hubs. Only in such cases, my first advice is valid, which is to open the practice away from all the chaos.

Never fall in the trap of opening a practice inside a residential establishment. India still does not understand the concept of a quiet family practice. We, as people, need the healthcare provider to be situated in a crowded, central location. People still do not trust fresher doctors practicing in residential areas. And why should they? No one knows you or the level of your skills. If you are shying away from exposure, there must be some complacence or incompetence – or so they suspect. Always go for a commercial property with area of more than 250 sq ft. minimum.

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