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How to Open a Profitable Sober Living Home ~ inspired by owner interviews

Running a sober living home can be a rewarding and profitable venture, but it requires careful planning and a strong commitment to providing a safe and supportive environment for residents. Here are some key steps to follow to ensure the success of your sober living home 

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1. Connect with Discharge Planners

Interview discharge planners at local rehab facilities and ask them what type of sober living they think there is the greatest need for. Ask the following quesions 

  • What gender housing is most underserved?
  • What price point are most clients looking for? 
  • What part of town do clients want to live in? Is that important to them? How about you? 
  • Do you prefer to refer to highly structured recovery homes?
  • How about MAT vs. Traditional?

Getting the answers to these questions will help you determine how you can solve an unmet need in the area and ensure that your sober living meets the needs of your location. 

2. Collaborate. Don't Compete!

Anyone who has been in the business long enough knows that there are far more addicts in need of sober housing than there are open beds. The “treatment gap” is over 90% in behavioral health, and this extends to sober living providers.

So, other Sober Living Homes in the area should not be viewed as competition. In our interviews with Sober Living owners, we have found time and time again that operators who view other sober living owners as peers driven by the same mission – not competitors – have longer, more sustainable, and profitable ventures.

3. Differentiate yourself!

Before opening a sober living home, it's important to thoroughly research the market to determine the best location and pricing for your home. Figure out what other facilities offer and try to find a point of differentiation – how your facility meets a unique and unmet need in the area.  

4. Develop a business plan.

You don’t need to have an MBA, a finance, or real estate background to run a profitable sober living home. In fact, your most valuable asset is your own good will.  

However, it is important to do some back of the hand calculations. We think the best way to do this is to consider what you expect to make per month (monthly revenue) and what you expect to spend per month (monthly costs). In a typical sober living home, the primary driver of revenue is rent! We can calculate our monthly rent revenue by multiplying the number of beds we expect to have filled (on average) by the average rent price:

(Expected avg beds filled * avg monthly rent for residents) = projected monthly revenue

Many smart sober living owners utilize Sobriety Hub software to automate their rent collections. After all, it is the only easy-to-use sober living software 😉

 At the end of the day, we want our projected monthly revenue to exceed our average monthly costs, but it’s normal for the first few months or year to be operating at a loss.  

5. Obtain the necessary licenses and permits.

Depending on your location, you may need to obtain specific licenses and permits to operate a sober living home. This may include a residential care facility license, a business license, and a permit to operate as a sober living home. It can also be helpful to get accredited by your state sober living accreditor through NARR or NSLA.  

6. Create a welcoming and supportive environment.

A key element of a successful sober living home is the atmosphere and culture it fosters. Make sure your home is welcoming, clean, and well-maintained, and create a set of rules and expectations that promote a sober lifestyle and support residents in their recovery. Do you want to run a low-structure home with residents doing whatever they want? Do you want to run a home with more rigid requirements? In any case, it’s important to be intentional about the culture you set, as it ultimately determines your brand and your reputation.

7. Provide access to resources and support.

In addition to providing a safe and supportive living environment, it's important to offer residents access to resources and support to help them in their recovery. This may include access to counseling and therapy, support groups, and other recovery resources. Some homes provide yoga, morning meditations, on-campus 12-step meetings, and a slew of other wellness-based practices.  

8. Market your sober living home.

Once your sober living home is up and running, you'll need to market it to potential residents. This may include creating a website, advertising in relevant publications, and reaching out to treatment centers and other referral sources. Always remember to take it one resident at a time. Even if you aren’t the best networker or businessperson, those with good intentions who take time to ensure that every resident has an opportunity to recover in a safe environment, will be recognized.

9. Check your motivations.

Time and time again, individuals have opened sober living homes for the sole purpose of making money. Any successful sober living owner will tell you that operating sober living homes is not a “get rich” business. In our interviews with dozens of operators, the most successful operations, in the long run, are primarily motivated to help individuals find recovery.

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Overall, running a profitable sober living home requires careful planning, a commitment to providing a supportive environment, and a focus on meeting the needs of residents in recovery.

At Sobriety Hub, it is our hope that we can help Sober Living homes run more efficiently and effectively by utilizing our purpose-built software for sober living homes. Dozens of homes have found our tool extremely useful in providing optimal care for their clients. That’s why so many fantastic sober living operators choose Sobriety Hub.