MMM [Startups] How One Decision Can Slash 150K off Your Startup Costs

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Hey guys, welcome to this week's episode of Monday Morning Marketing! In today's installment, Dr. Parthiv Mehta and I are diving headfirst into the dynamic world of dental startups, uncovering savvy strategies to save big bucks and keep overhead at bay during those crucial initial stages. We kick off by debunking the location attachment myth, urging you to explore multiple landlords' quotes to find the golden ratio of affordability and accessibility. We also uncover the fact that non-dental contractors could be your ticket to savings of up to $150,000! Additionally, Dr. Mehta shares his advice on embracing mistakes as inevitable stepping stones on your startup journey.

Get ready to rethink, re-strategize, and reignite your dental startup dreams in this conversation with Dr. Parthiv Mehta!

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Episode Transcript (Auto-Generated - Please Excuse Errors)

Michael: Hey Parif. So talk to us about startups. What advice, suggestions, or methods can you give us that will help actually with our startup?

Parthiv: So one of the, the biggest advice I could give anybody that is wanting to do a startup is before you actually do it, do as much homework as you can.

Don't fall in the trap of, oh, you gotta do this billion dollar, you know, beautiful wall out there. Or like, oh, you gotta have all these top of the line equipments. Do your homework. listen to people who have done it. Maybe ask every person you don't know that has done a successful startup. What would be the one thing that you would change if you had to redo it again?

And that probably will give you enough To pick up from their mistakes and, and that will, that will help you a lot. keep your overheads low. I cannot stress on that. I like my sleep at night and I've done three startups and every startup I do, my goal is to make sure from the very first month, I'm not stressed about how much bills I have to pay.

And that will only happen if you keep your overheads low and not just be like, okay, I want to have that. $50,000 Sierra chair in there, or I want to have the C B C T with $150,000, whatever the top of the line stuff. I mean, if you can provide that service and if you're confident, for sure, go for it.

But there's a lot of secondary market out there. There's a lot of other options out there that, that could help you save a lot.

Michael: Gotcha. So then how did you do it pr, how did you keep your overhead low from the beginning phases all the way till where you're at now?

Parthiv: So my first practice when I started, I had, I had no money.

So what I did was I negotiated with my landlord. So I went heavy on it. And what I did is I picked five locations that I liked, to the point where I wouldn't regret if I didn't get any of those. And then I went with all the four or five landlords and I said, this is what I'm getting. I put them against each other and said, who's, whoever's giving me the high best deal, I'm going with them.

I got my best offer. I started with them. What I did is I had the space for five chairs, but instead I just started with three chairs. got those running offered services that, that patient wanted. Customer service was absolutely something that I believe in a lot. So that helped a lot.

And I'm in a very high saturation area and it works out great because there's so every half a mile and I have every D S O possible in Texas around me, and it worked out great because there's always patients that are upset about it and that just helped me with my building, my clientele in there.

Mm-hmm. That's how.

other than the chairs that I bought, everything else that I bought was used. Um, my CT was used, my, x-rays. Um, nomad was new. My sterilizer was a, a refurbished one. So everything else, pretty much, other than the chairs and the, in the, and the nomad were pretty much used in there.

And then second practice that I. Was even lower because now I don't even buy brand new chairs. Mm-hmm. Now I buy used chairs as well. So, another thing that I learned in my second startup was dental contractors versus non-dental. So what I did in my second startup was I made my plan, and that's something I learned from my first startup mistake.

I made my plans first. I hired an architect, paid them out of my pocket. They charged $3 a square foot to make a. Give them the money. Get your meps done, mechanical, electrical, plumbing. Pick your color, pick your, flooring. Pick your, it doesn't have to be the final one, but at least if you tell somebody that I want, let's say, call it a sandwich From, from, mm-hmm. Chick-fil-A. If you say, I want combo number four, now, it doesn't matter. With wherever you go, the price is the same. So pick your flooring and say, I want this company's and this finish and this model number.

I want this paint from Sherman Williams. And that's the model number. Put all of those details in there and then give your plans. Bidding to different contractors. And what I did is I gave it to seven different contractors, three dental, four non-dental. Mm-hmm. And there was a difference of $150,000 plus between dental and non-dental.

And I said to myself, and I said, is that worth it? And, and the dental contractors I gave them and showed them, look, I'm getting these. And they're like, well, they're non dental. They don't know what they're doing. Is it really worth your time? And I said, I'm like, hold on. 150,000 for two months. I think it's worth my time.

I, I said, jobless and stay right there. Doing nothing. If I can save $150,000 in two months is worth my time. And. I didn't have any issues with non-dental contractors. We pay a big amount of, because of the fear. Hmm.

Michael: Yeah, that is true. I feel like a, there's like a price tag sometimes, right? Like, uh oh, there's a dental price tag and then there's a contract price tag.

That's a huge difference. $150,000.

Parthiv: And, and that's, that was significant difference to me at least. Um, And, you know, obviously this was my second practice, so I get it. It was my second startup. So I do understand that, uh, you know, it did give me that additional leeway where I was, I knew part of it because I was a part of my first startup from the, from scratch.

Mm-hmm. but that's one thing. If I had to redo my first startup, I would not go with the dental contractor.

Michael: Gotcha. So your third one, you didn't go with the

Parthiv: dental contractor? No, no, not even when I expanded my first one. When I expanded my first one from five chairs to nine chairs, three years later, I did not go with the dental contractor.

I went with I got five chairs set up with mechanical, electrical, plumbing, AC in an expansion demo, mowing the older place, and I got everything done under a hundred k. Wow.

Michael: Without going. Yeah. Yeah. That's good advice then. Okay. So just the fear is what makes us wanna go with like, okay, they know what they're doing, they know what they're talking about, things like that.

Right. But

Parthiv: probably not. Yeah. That's just, that's just been my experience. I mean, I've had people who love going with dental contractors and that's great. Mm-hmm. You know? Mm-hmm.

Michael: and then I wanted to ask when it came to your team, 'cause this is the overhead of like equipment, right? Pretty much.

Mm-hmm. Uh, chairs. How do you keep overhead low with the team?

Parthiv: So what I did was when I started, we started with. Three employees. One was an experienced dental assistant that had worked with me in the past, knew exactly what we needed to do, what I did, what was my strength. I had a front desk who, knew what to do.

Obviously it was a good learning curve for me because I didn't know what to do. Coming from a corporate background, I thought I knew it all, but it is a whole different animal when it's your own baby. Mm-hmm. So I had to sit with, Different people learned the process, establish my protocols, what I wanted to do, what I wanted my staff to do.

And then I hired an entry-level person who I really enjoyed her conversation and customer service. I'm like, if I really enjoyed that customer service, I'm sure the patients will appreciate it. I just hired her at a base salary, like the lowest possible salary. I'm not even gonna say the salary, but.

She was young. She just wanted to get into dentistry, and I was like, all right, we'll give you a job. Come on over. She stayed hang. She stayed around for like six months. Personality was great. It was kind of like a floater in between, helping turn her around the rooms, picking up the phone calls, learning whatever needed to be done.

And as in when I got time, I continued to train her more and more on what I exactly needed. So that's how I kept my overhead low. And then as we started getting busier, we started adding more and more staff to it.

Michael: Mm-hmm. When it came to any of your other practices, did you follow the same concept? And did anybody like leave like halfway, you're like, oh man, I was just training you and then, you know what I mean?

Parthiv: Well, you know, it, it would be foolish of us as dentists to expect that any of these staff members are gonna stay forever. Mm-hmm. And it's a reality. There's several factors for that, and the most important one being, just the instability in the lives. they don't have, and at least in Texas, they don't have, the same amount of years they need to put into earn a degree that you or I did.

They don't have the same amount of efforts they put into going to school to get the degree. So it's easy for them to switch careers and, and I mean, literally Ch Chick-fil-A probably offers more than what you offer in Texas for dental assistance. Mm-hmm. Or for staff, So it's, a big part is about, being prepared for that.

And if you have your systems and protocols in there, it doesn't matter who comes in and who goes your systems and protocols. You establish them and you tell them, this is what I need you to do. And at that point, anybody comes in and anybody leaves, it is pretty straightforward. This is my protocol. This is what I want you to do in the interview itself.

Can you do this? I'll train you, but can you do this? Mm-hmm. They say yes. Train them. They go on, they leave. That's fine. Get somebody else in the same protocol. Don't get disheartened by the fact and don't expect people to stay here forever. I. Yeah.

Michael: So follow your protocols that you're making pretty much, right?

Parthiv: Right, right. Follow your protocols. Uh, you set your rules. It's your baby. Mm-hmm. Yeah. You decide what they eat, what they, you know, where they play, what they wear. that's your call when you just, you make, that's why you're making your own practice. Right. That's why you're starting your own practice.

'cause you want to be in charge. You may not be right Every time you may learn that, oh, you know what? Crap, I made a mistake. I should have done it this way. But that's, that's the whole point. That's the, that's the whole part that I love about startups and, and that's what I enjoy about it. That you make your mistakes, you learn from it, and you grow out of it.

Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Michael: That's true. Okay, so then besides the dental contractors, what would be the one thing that you would change?

Parthiv: So now I have four locations. You know, everybody wants to run the race. Oh, how many locations? Uh, we're private practice, so we're not just associate driven. I work in all four locations.

I work currently six days a week, and if I had to redo everything, I would probably get $1 million building in the center of Houston and just have like 30 chairs down there. But again, that's just me saying because Right. We're because of where we're at today, but no. Yeah. Um, that'd be nice. That'd be nice.

That'd be, yeah. Yeah. the more you grow, the more you realize, I wish we had done it this way.

Michael: why,

why do you feel like you are like, oh man, instead of having multiple, just one big one.

Parthiv: Doing dentistry is a piece of cake. Mm-hmm. Managing people. is the biggest headache and nobody's gonna take care of your baby the way you would, you would.

So getting a manager, you could get the most experienced manager, you could get every somebody to do, take entire thing off of you. But at least I haven't met those that, take all the burden off of you and still treat it like if it's their baby and can be on the same level as. She. Mm-hmm.

Michael: Yeah. So you

Parthiv: feel like I haven't met those managers.

Michael: You feel like right now with the, the four that you have, if you had one, you'd be there and you'd give it. You're like, I can oversee, Hey guys, I'm here. You know what I mean? Like, I'm here, don't pull any crap on me, kind of thing. Like, we're here owners here, but with four, it's like, he's not here today.

Yeah. So we, we tried our best partie, but this is what happened. You're like, did you, is that how it feels?

Parthiv: Exactly. And sometimes it's like some of those things where, you are like, Come on. really, but anyways, I mean, you know, that's, that's a part of our job and that's a part of the challenge of, owning a practice whether you have one or you have four, um, we're gonna come across those situations.

Mm-hmm. So that's, that's definitely, uh, one of the situations. And probably another one would be, you know, I bought a brand, three brand new chairs. When I did my first startup and then I added two brand new after to match them all five. but that would be something that I would change. I would not have brand new chairs at all.

I would buy used chairs, spend $500 to just change the upholstery on it get them going. I mean, it's, yeah, it's just not worth it. You know, spending $15,000 on a chair is just not worth it when you can get the same stuff for less than. Gotcha.

Michael: So that's what you think, like the, the good number is like 5,000 or less on a chair, especially if it's used a good quality.

Parthiv: Yeah, it's a good quality chair with all the belts and whistles, with the, uh, good l e d, light, couple stools, delivery doctors, doctor, and assistant delivery packages. and I'm exaggerating when I say five K. Typically they, cost around 3,500 on an average, a good quality one, and they come with one year warranty.

And a lot of times, but, you know, if you buy directly from a doctor to doctor, it's even better. The biggest problem that I see amongst us, Dennis, is that we trust the sales people more than we trust each other. Mm-hmm. That's true. You know? So that's good if, if a doctor comes and says he, he wants to sell this to you, you're gonna be like, Hmm.

But what if there's something wrong? But the same thing, a sales guy comes and sells you the exact same thing. You're like, but this guy is, is warrantying it. So we're essentially saying, I'll take a word off a sales guy, over a doctor. I

Michael: don't know. Ah, I never thought about that. Interesting. Interesting.

Okay. Good insight. Good insight part. I appreciate it man. Thank you much so much for your timely, and if anyone has further questions, you can definitely find 'em on the Dental Marketers Society Facebook group, or where can they reach out to you directly?

Parthiv: You know, I am pretty available on my Instagram.

It is Charm Dental Care. that's our company's Instagram that I manage. And also, if anybody has questions and wants to talk to me, I'm happy to get on the phone. that's absolutely available there too. the two probably the easiest ways to, to get me Instagram and phone.

Michael: Awesome. All righty guys, so that's gonna be in the show notes as always. And pif, thank you so much for being with me on this Monday morning marketing episode. Hey,

Parthiv: absolute pleasure. And Michael, I'll tell you this though, every time I hire somebody new that is in the forefront of it, or that's somebody who's helping me with marketing.

I tell them to go up on the, on YouTube and listen to Michael Arias and, and learn from them. And I personally have learned a lot from your startup groups, even though my first startup was before you guys started the group, but I still, I'm a part of it and it's, it's an ongoing journey and you learn a lot.

So thank you so much for whatever you guys are doing and, and supporting Dennis and, and we're, I'm happy if I could help anybody. I'm happy to help. Awesome, man.

Michael: I appreciate your time. Thank you so

Parthiv: much. Yes, thank you again. Take care.