The Starting Line

Opening an alcohol and drug recovery/rehabilitation center seems noble, and many a person may attempt to open their own without fully understanding the requirements to running a successful center.  A recovery center is a medical institution, and requires legal licensure, along with plenty of regulation and paperwork.  The second issue is keeping the center profitable and open.  We have seen many individuals starting up their own centers, without our consultations, forget to solidify a marketing plan.  Unlike restaurants, people will not just arrive unannounced.  Treatment Consultants assist in launching your center, and we discuss a business plan to keep it profitable in the first months of opening and beyond  For those still wanting to open their own centers, below is a detailed outline of things to take into consideration.

Your Center

The first essential step is to see what sort of facility is needed in your area (or wherever you launch), and what kind of center you want to open.  A feasibility study is crucial for this.  As for the type of facility, this refers to what level of treatment you want your center to offer.  A full continuum center, for example and highly recommended, includes detox, inpatient residential living, IOP, and PHP.  Another option is a simpler residential center or IOP.  The feasibility study help decipher the local areas needs, and what centers would thrive.  For instance, opening the latter choices in Florida would be inadvisable because there are already so many identical centers there that the competition would be daunting.  However, this type of center has higher demand in Ohio.

You should consider the size of your facility.  How many patients can you handle?  You do not want to stock your center with hundreds of beds, and then lack the marketing strategy and budget to fill those beds.  Consider the population and needs of the surrounding areas.

We highly recommend performing the feasibility study, so you may better understand the  demand in your area, and give insight to setting up your budget and the size of your center.

Obtaining Licensure

Rehab centers are comparable to private practices of medicine, so you are required to be licensed to operate a business in the addiction field.  Contact your local authorities for procedures you have to take.  You must also follow zoning laws.  To open a residential recovery center, your facility/livnig location for inpatients must be placed in a commercial zone.

The key to obtaining licensure lies in your program structure and Policy & Procedures Manual (P&P).  Your treatment center and plan to service the community will be reviewed by the licensing board.  Your medical director/consultant must go through your program and P&P with you to ensure you obtain licensure.  The licensing board will reject you if you have faulty documentation or overlook steps in your manual.  You will have to wait to reapply for licensing.  This process can put a long halt on your attempt to open your facility.

This Is a Business

To maintain your facility, you need an income, like a business.  It is important to have a solid business plan and pro-forma.  This will assist estimating and maintaining income, calculating expenditures/revenue, and your marketing budget.  Marketing is the most crucial part of your business plan and pro-forma.  These plans will also help ground how much investment is needed to launch your facility.

Staff and Training

The rehabilition/recovery industry is similar to other industries in staffing needs.  Without a proper staff, a business can fall through.  Below is a small, basic set of staff you need to acquire and train.

  • Executive Staff, such as Medical Directors and Executive directors to ensure that the facility is being run properly

  • Intake Staff (handling inbound leads for treatment)

  • Clerical Staff

  • Medical Staff especially needs previous training and experience, but training within your own facility will be needed.

  • Case Workers

  • Janitorial Workers

  • Managers (not executive level)

  • Administrators for any and all departments within your facility

It cannot be stressed enough that your staff needs to be competent and qualified.


Insurance Accreditation is highly valuable in modern recovery and rehabilitation.  Two companies that we highly recommend are CARF or The Joint Commission (JCAHO). Often they are not recommended, but required to enter into the treatment industry.  The accreditations mean if you commit a patient to your facility and are not accredited, they will not pay out for the services your provided.


As previously stated, marketing is one of the most crucial steps to opening your own center, and one of the most common areas that facilities fall flat. Without a proper marketing budget, it will be impossible to achieve the needed revenue.

Proactive effort is needed to market the addiction field.  The best step is to look into Organic search (SEO) of your brand.  This entails the general population using search engines such as Bing and Google to search for your brand.  The results are usually take several months (less than half a year), but when visible, are phenomenal. To appear in search engines, you need a website.  We suggest hiring professional marketing teams such as us to create your website.  We cannot stress how important this step is. If you are in the first steps of setting your recovery facility, you need to begin your marketing strategy early.  The several months needed for results coincides with the time to obtain licensure and set up for your business.  Beginning marketing at this early stage, you can open your doors with clients ready to enter.  Planning ahead in the addiction marketing arena is crucial and can save you thousands of dollars waiting for business when you open.

Another approach is lead generation, which involves TV, radio, and social media.  This kind of marketing is quicker in results than the SEO, and can bring in a large crowd.  However, this kind of marketing is more costly.  But it can be turned on and off to ensure maintaining your marketing budget and ensuring constant revenue.

Your Marketing Budget

A good spending goal on your marketing budget is $5,000 per bed.  This will help cover costs of lead generation marketing.  $1,500-$5,000 per location you open is a fine monthly SEO budget, but varies based on the location and competition.  $4,000-$5,000 should be the approximate website design and development budget, depending on the size and complexity of your webiste.  If your goal is to focus on and grow a lead generation-based marketing strategy, then you can and should spend more than $5,000 for your budget.

The Drug Rehab Agency Treatment Consultants

If you have gotten through this list and feel overwhelmed and stressed, do not fret.  We are here to assist you.  The Drug Rehab Agency Treatment Consultants are here to assist you through each part of the process.  In-depth consultations are part of our offers, and an offering that is all-inclusive that will manage opening your recovery center.  The majority of clients who contact the Drug Rehab Agency Treatment Consultants choose the all-inclusive offering, so they may focus on other areas. If you still wish to handle most or all of the work yourself, you can contact us for assistance with:

·     The setting up of your Pro-Forma

·     Feasibility Study

·    The development of your program

·     Drafting/solidifying Policy and Procedures Manual

·     The Licensure process

·     Accreditation

·     Forming, refining, and reviewing your Marketing Plans and your Budget

·     Implementing Marketing Plans

·     Staffing/Training

·     In-Network Negotiations

·     Billing/Collection

The Drug Rehab Agency Treatment Consultants opened their own successful rehab center, and have over 20 years of experience in the recovery industry.  Our dedication to ongoing education, and real world experience makes our agency the perfect fit for any person hoping to launch a rehab facility in the United States.