How to Start a Substance Addiction Center

Substance addiction centers can very well be the difference between someone living their ideal life or struggling with substances throughout the rest of their days. These centers offer hope to afflicted individuals and their families. With the right plan and execution, substance addiction centers can serve their intended purpose and provide an entire staff with a reason to get out of bed with a smile on their face.

Learn how to start your own Substance Addiction Center and whether it is the right fit for you.

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Start a substance addiction center by following these 10 steps:

  1. Plan your Substance Addiction Center
  2. Form your Substance Addiction Center into a Legal Entity
  3. Register your Substance Addiction Center for Taxes
  4. Open a Business Bank Account & Credit Card
  5. Set up Accounting for your Substance Addiction Center
  6. Get the Necessary Permits & Licenses for your Substance Addiction Center
  7. Get Substance Addiction Center Insurance
  8. Define your Substance Addiction Center Brand
  9. Create your Substance Addiction Center Website
  10. Set up your Business Phone System

We have put together this simple guide to starting your substance addiction center. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.

Exploring your options? Check out other small business ideas.

STEP 1: Plan your business

A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:

Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.

What will you name your business?

Choosing the right name is very important. Read our detailed guide on how to name your business. We recommend checking if the business name you choose is available as a web domain and securing it early so no one else can take it.

Want some help naming your substance addiction center?

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What are the costs involved in opening a substance addiction center?

A number of costs are involved with opening a substance addiction center. Land and facilities must either be purchased or constructed. An entire medical care team and specialists will need to be hired and trained. Facilities must be comfortable and encourage healing, which can come at a hefty price. Furthermore, some amenities will need to be available to help establish positive routines for patients.

What are the ongoing expenses for a substance addiction center?

Aside from real estate, the largest ongoing expense will be staff salaries. Other ongoing expenses include:

  • Utilities
  • Marketing
  • Land Maintenance

Who is the target market?

The target market for substance addiction centers is incredibly broad. Substance addiction affects people of all genders, orientations, ages, and races. Areas that are known for having drug problems and substance abuse are exceptional areas to target first. The target market will consist of individuals who need treatment and facilities (like hospitals) that already provide treatment for accidents related to substance abuse.

How does a substance addiction center make money?

This business generates revenue by having patients come through the door to receive treatment. The method of payment and payment plan will depend entirely on the business. Monthly installments, insurance, and full payment upfront are typical methods of payment that are accepted.

How much can you charge customers?

The price you can charge patients will depend entirely on the level of treatment and the length of their stay. A 30 day in-patient program can range anywhere from $14,000 to $20,000. This cost covers treatment, housing, food, and amenities.

How much profit can a substance addiction center make?

The amount of profit will depend entirely on how many patients are in the addiction center at any given time. The ongoing expenses will typically be the same from month to month. Enough patients must be in the facility in order to make a substantial profit. Addiction centers that retain 75% capacity often make over $1 million in profit every year.

How can you make your business more profitable?

This business will be more profitable by remaining at 100% capacity throughout the year. In addition to higher capacity numbers, paying off expenses (like real estate) can improve the annual bottom line.

Want a more guided approach? Access TRUiC's free Small Business Startup Guide - a step-by-step course for turning your business idea into reality. Get started today!

STEP 2: Form a legal entity

The most common business structure types are the sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), and corporation.

Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your substance addiction center is sued.

Form Your LLC

Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC

Have a Professional Service Form your LLC for You

Two such reliable services:

You can form an LLC yourself and pay only the minimal state LLC costs or hire one of the Best LLC Services for a small, additional fee.

Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.

STEP 3: Register for taxes

You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.

In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!

You can acquire your EIN through the IRS website. If you would like to learn more about EINs, read our article, What is an EIN?

There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.

STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card

Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.

When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.

Open a business bank account

Besides being a requirement when applying for business loans, opening a business bank account:

  • Separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
  • Makes accounting and tax filing easier.

Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank or credit union.

Get a business credit card

Getting a business credit card helps you:

  • Separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
  • Build your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money later on.

Recommended: Apply for an easy approval business credit card from BILL and build your business credit quickly.

STEP 5: Set up business accounting

Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.

Make LLC accounting easy with our LLC Expenses Cheat Sheet.

STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses

Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.

STEP 7: Get business insurance

Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.

There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.

Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.

STEP 8: Define your brand

Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.

If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.

Recommended: Get a logo using Truic's free logo Generator no email or sign up required, or use a Premium Logo Maker.

If you already have a logo, you can also add it to a QR code with our Free QR Code Generator. Choose from 13 QR code types to create a code for your business cards and publications, or to help spread awareness for your new website.

How to promote & market a substance addiction center

Hospitals, police stations, and shelters often have individuals who need help come through their doors. Promoting your substance addiction center at these facilities will help your services reach the right individuals. You may also consider running ads online or sending out postcards. Family members may receive this information and speak with their loved one about seeking out treatment.

How to keep customers coming back

In order to appeal to the public, the addiction center must look inviting. Reaching the decision to receive help with an addiction is not an easy mindstate to achieve. If your facility looks miserable and does not promote healing, you will not attract individuals. At all times, the sense of safety and inclusion is important for all patients. It is also important to note that unlike other businesses repeat customers may not be the best thing for your business.

STEP 9: Create your business website

After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.

While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.

Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:

  • All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
  • Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
  • Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.

Recommended: Get started today using our recommended website builder or check out our review of the Best Website Builders.

Other popular website builders are: WordPress, WIX, Weebly, Squarespace, and Shopify.

STEP 10: Set up your business phone system

Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.

There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use. Check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2023 to find the best phone service for your small business.

Recommended Business Phone Service: is our top choice for small business phone numbers because of all the features it offers for small businesses and it's fair pricing.

Is this Business Right For You?

This business is intended for individuals who have a strong desire to help those who cannot help themselves. This is not an easy business to run or be a part of. Many individuals who come through the center's doors will be at one of the lowest points in their life. The individual who starts this business and hires those to assist with running the business needs to have the drive to change people’s lives for the better.

Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?

Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!

Entrepreneurship Quiz

What happens during a typical day at a substance addiction center?

A typical day will consist of intakes, paperwork, counseling, and cleaning. Substance addiction centers are heavily focused on routines for patients, and the individual(s) running the business will need to stick to a rigid routine of their own. These routines help patients find replacements for their substance addiction, which is necessary before they exit the center and go back to their day-to-day lives.

Some days will be simpler than others due to the number of patients in the facility and the severity of their addictions. However, each day will require face-to-face interactions with patients and making them feel good about their decision to be in the program.

What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful substance addiction center?

In order to build a successful business, some knowledge and skills in handling mental health disorders and substance addiction will be required. These patients need dedicated care and attention as they heal from their past and grow into a person that is not dependent on substances.

What is the growth potential for a substance addiction center?

Due to the nature of the world today, the growth potential for addiction center businesses is on the rise. As mental health and addiction become more heavily discussed topics, the negative stigma surrounding these centers will continue to decrease. This decrease may lead to more people seeking out help with their addiction.

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Take the Next Step

Find a business mentor

One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.

Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.

Learn from other business owners

Want to learn more about starting a business from entrepreneurs themselves? Visit Startup Savant’s startup founder series to gain entrepreneurial insights, lessons, and advice from founders themselves.

Resources to Help Women in Business

There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:

  • Funding
  • Events
  • Guides
  • Support

If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.

What are some insider tips for jump starting a substance addiction center?

Purchasing an old building and remodeling it may be more cost-effective than building a complete facility from scratch. The further the facility is from everyday life, the better it will be for promoting healing and less dependence on substances. This also helps keep individuals inside the program for the entirety of their stay.

How and when to build a team

A team is required from the very beginning. Trained and licensed medical professionals and mental health care providers will be crucial for providing the right treatment plans to patients. As the number of patients grows, an outreach team may be beneficial for the center. This team would be responsible for speaking with individual medical care and community centers to explain the services and benefits the addiction center offers.

Useful Links

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