Opening a Center

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Where Do I Start?

You have made the decision that you want to open your own treatment center. This is a commendable move! We want to help. Let us take some time to go over what it takes and what is ahead of you. The hardest part is the first requirement. You need to be licensed by the state. With all of the paperwork and legal regulations on the industry, this step can seem a little overwhelming. Now that you have your license, and a house, you need to attract clients, bill insurance, get paid, pay your bills, stay open, and grow to a profitability point. National Treatment Management Resources can help you start off profitable within the first month of operation.


We start with analyzing the feasibility of your center within the geographic area you wish to locate. We look with you at the type of center you wish to open, including what levels of care you wish to provide. For example, if you do not have the means to offer detox, we search the area for centers or hospitals that you can send your clients to, that do offer detox prior to entering your residential house. If you are going to offer all five levels of care, we need to take a look at what the competition level in the area looks like. Full continuum of care is detox, residential inpatient, PHP, and IOP. Another part of the analysis is taking a look at the need for your service in your area.

Generally, a center should license and open for 6 beds. Unless you come in with a stellar marketing plan that can fill more quickly, your profitability will take longer to obtain. Our feasibility study will benefit your business as a whole and help you make crucial decisions on how you wish to operate.

Obtaining a License

Your local government requires that your facility have a state license to operate a substance abuse treatment center, as well as conditional use permits, or opening in a commercially zoned area in your municipality.

The licensing process is going to require review of your policy manual as well as your standard operating procedures. Licensing boards will want to know what type of treatment you plan to provide along with how you intend to provide it. We help you get your Process and Procedure Manual together and program squared away. You do not want to have your documentation cause you to get denied on your license application. A denial will cost you time and money.

Creating a Business Plan

Starting any business required a business plan and “Pro-Forma”. This will spell out what your expected income and expenditures will be, give you the plan to move forward and a place to start your budgeting. At this point, the marketing budget starts to come into play, as without a marketing budget, you cannot attract the revenue stream to stay afloat. The pro-forma will also help you understand the investment needed to start a rehab business.

Staffing and Training

Your center’s staff is going to have the biggest impact on your business. With all of the best planning and business set up, people are going to remember how they were treated by the staff. The minimum staff needed to start a center includes:

  • Executive Staff
  • Medical Director
  • Executive Director
  • Intake Staff (handling inbound leads for treatment)
  • Medical Staff
  • Clerical Staff
  • Janitorial Workers
  • Case Workers
  • Managers
  • Administrators

Hiring the right staff and making the right training decisions carry a lot on impact on your marketing. The reviews that are left on business listings are often the deciding factor when people are making treatment decisions.

Accreditations CARF and Joint Commission

Accreditation from CARF or The Joint Commission (JCAHO) will become very valuable as you grow. Many insurance policies require this accreditation, which opens you up to receiving more clients and turning fewer away.

Marketing Execution

Budgeting for marketing is going to pay the biggest rewards in getting your business off the ground, and in the long run. People looking for treatment need to find you, and feel that you are the place to meet their needs. Statistically, most people search for any product or service on Google first. Your long term SEO strategy must be accounted for and budgeted. SEO and organic marketing take about 4 to 6 months before the results are fully realized. Once the SEO strategy is in full force, the results can be incredible. This is why it is important to have your website built, and running SEO very early on. Having a company with the experience (like NTMR) in creating addiction related sites is a good idea and can get the job done right the first time. Being able to plan ahead in the addiction marketing arena is key and can save you thousands of dollars when you open.

The second approach is lead generation. While we are working on bringing your site to full organic SEO, you will need to work to generate leads. You will want to budget for a lead generation service to fill the remaining beds. Lead generation is done through TV, Radio, Paid Search, and Social Media. Lead generation costs more per intake than organic search, but can be turned off and on quickly to ensure a proper intake rate.

A good rule of thumb for budgeting marketing spend is $5,000 per bed you have. This will help cover costs of lead generation. A monthly SEO budget should be between $1,500-$5,000 per location you open and varies based on the location and competition. (Florida, California, and Texas are more difficult). The website design and development budget should be around $4,000-$5,000 depending on the complexity of the site. Obviously, it can be more than $5,000 if you are looking to build a massive lead generation platform.

National Treatment Consulting Services

There is a lot to digest in these paragraphs. This is why it is helpful to work with an agency such as ours. We have seen what works and what doesn’t. We have grown our experience over the years and have the expertise that will help you open strong and stay strong. Consulting services we offer include but are not limited to: 

  • Business plan and pro-forma Creation
  • Feasibility Study
  • Program Development
  • Policy and Procedures Manual
  • Licensure
  • Accreditation
  • Marketing Plan and Budget Creation
  • Marketing implementation
  • Staffing and Training
  • In-Network Negotiations
  • Billing and Collection

We opened our own treatment center over 25 years ago. We have seen many centers open, close, or succeed. We are taking our expertise and offering you the chance to make it in this highly competitive industry.

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