How Can I Start An NDIS Business?

Starting in 2013, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is Australia’s way of supporting people with disabilities. It gives approved participants the means to pay for key disability services via government funding. These NDIS-funded services, in effect, act similar to Australia’s more universal Medicare system. As a registered NDIS provider, you’ll have access to:

You’ll also be helping to improve the daily lives of one of Australia’s most vulnerable demographics. Discover today how to become a registered disability service provider. Joining over 25,000 NDIS businesses already providing disability support.

Setting up Your NDIS Business

Before even starting the registration process, it’s important that your business meets the NDIS industry standard. Depending on your service type, the NDIS expects different levels of quality already in place before you can be registered.

All aspiring NDIS providers should aim to be business-ready before applying. And like all service providers this starts with:

1. Identifying the Demand for Your Services or Products

While the NDIS as a whole can potentially cover a wide range of services, your business should aim to specialise. The best way to be successful is to identify an open business opportunity in the disability support services market, either locally or nationally. 

For an NDIS business wanting to offer some form of assistive support, some examples that NDIS already covers include:

  • Aged Care Providers
  • Assistance Animal Services
  • Customised Prosthetics or Support Devices
  • Mindfulness Therapy Services
  • Social Support Services
  • Specialized Homes for Individuals
  • Special Education and Tutoring Services.

However, if none of these spark your creative juices you might want to look through the NDIS’s own list of valid services. This may help you realise what your client base could look like.

2. Setting up a Business Plan

Great! Now that you have a business idea, it’s time to come up with your blueprint. As part of making any successful business, it’s important that you lay out a concrete plan for what your business is going to look like. 

While planning, you’ll want to look at your fellow Australian businesses for inspiration. Be sure to note down what they’re doing right, what they could be doing better, and what they might be doing wrong. By your final plan you should know:

  • What your business name is
  • Who your target market is and what they need
  • What aspects of life your services will support
  • Your initial and future financial planning and budget
  • What you’ll be doing differently from your direct competitors
  • What your business structure will be
  • How you’ll market a meaningful business to your target audience

3. Business Registrations and Licences

Before you can think about starting NDIS paperwork, you still need to do all the traditional business paperwork. These registrations ensure that your business will be completely legal and gain no unnecessary penalties. 

Having everything in place before you apply to become an NDIS business could save you a bunch of time down the line. Some elements to consider include:

  • Having an Australian Business Number
  • Registering your Business Name if it differs from your own personal name
  • Tax Registration
  • Acquiring any appropriate insurances
  • Any mandatory licence or permit depending on your business type.

4. Hiring Staff and Ensuring Compliance

Unless you’re a sole trader, you’ll be expected to have employees of a higher quality than other comparable non-NDIS businesses. This can be difficult at the best of times, even with a regular business, but aiming for an NDIS business only gives you more hurdles to jump through.

From your pool of potential applicants, you’ll need to cut down to just those with the relevant qualifications and expertise. From those qualified individuals, you’ll then need to ensure that they can all pass the incoming NDIS Worker Screening check. 

The worker screening check involves:

  • Multiple forms of ID check
  • A police check
  • A flat application fee, which you might have to pay. The exact fee varying from state-to-state and reach as high as $145 

From those left, you want only the best and most qualified to ensure your business success.

Now that you have your ace team, you’ll also want to implement a high quality management system. This ensures that your business will continue to meet standards as you go through all the necessary NDIS checks.

Registering as an NDIS Provider

With all the groundwork laid out you should be well on your way to becoming an NDIS registered business. Starting with:

1. Applying to the NDIS Commission

This step is all online as you first register through the NDIS Commission Portal, filling out the required online application forms as requested. Before filling out the forms you will need on hand:

  • Your business’s contact details
  • The corporate structure of your business
  • Business address and operating locations
  • List of key personnel
  • The services you’ll be providing

2. Self-assessment

To help streamline the application process you’ll also have to fill out a self-assessment as part of your online form. This form will ask about how your organisation is meeting the provided requirements and may include supporting evidence if available. 

You’ll also be asked to disclose any prior bankruptcies, convictions, or other relevant information that would influence participants’ decisions. This form will stay valid for a whole 60 days after first starting, giving you plenty of time to ensure all your details are correct.

3. Selecting an Approved Quality Auditor

After the initial online application you will receive an ‘initial scope of audit’ document by email that will ask you to provide either a ‘verification’ or ‘certification’ audit depending on your type of service.

  • Verification audits represent lower complexity services, such as therapeutic services or assistive technology, with the focus being on whether you meet the set standards.
  • Certification audits represent higher risk complex services, such as daily carers or developmental teachers, with greater focus placed on the core capabilities such as risk management and delivery environment. They will also be more expensive to audit.

Either way the burden will lie on you to finance the entire audit journey with an NDIS approved auditor. 

Luckily the NDIS has an entire page dedicated to these auditors for you to choose from. Your chosen auditor will work through the entire audit process with you. Helping you understand the findings, answering your questions, and submitting the finished audit to the NDIS commission themselves.

4. Application Outcome

From here the NDIS commission will undergo a suitability assessment on your business and all key personnel. Successful applicants will now officially be an NDIS registered provider with a valid certificate of registration. 

You’ll also receive the period of registration before it needs to be renewed which will require another audit to ensure maintained quality. Lastly, you’ll also be given a set of conditions to follow to maintain your certificate.

Unsuccessful applicants can request a review within three months of the original decision. In the chance this is still unsuccessful then you can seek an even further review from the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

Marketing Your NDIS Services

If you’ve made it this far, congratulations on becoming an NDIS service, however that’s far from the last step. Being certified can only go so far by itself. But, if you’re having trouble marketing your NDIS business then here are several places to start:

1. Creating a Website

In this modern age, your dedicated business website is one of the most important things for a budding business to succeed. A unique and easily accessible design means you’re more likely to be remembered and to be shared.

Luckily there are plenty of websites dedicated to helping you make your websites with free or cheap website templates for you to pick from. Just try to not stay too close to the already famous.

2. Joining the Online Directories

As a registered provider you now have access to all the exclusive collections of NDIS databases for you to become a part of. And as a budding business you want to be on all of them. 

These online directories also better allow you to be compared directly to your competitors through online business reviews, so make sure to remind your satisfied clients to leave reviews.

Some examples of these online directories include:

3. Social Media

We all know that a strong social media presence can do wonders for a brand and it’s no different for an NDIS one. Being able to reply in real time to your target market helps you create better connections, better promote your services, and develop a stronger brand that people will remember. 

Just remember that your business media account is not your personal one and that while you can have fun with it, it’s vital that you stay professional.

4. Engaging with the Local Community

Perhaps most important of all though is to support your local community. As a local business working within a set location a large amount of your customers will come through word of mouth. 

Networking with support coordinators and proving your consistent good quality will perpetuate your services as they come back to you again and again while recommending you to their fellows.

There are no more steps!

And now we come to our end. If you’ve been following along, congratulations! You’re either an already functioning NDIS provider or well on your way to becoming one! 

While all this might seem impossible at first, all these services are important and not a single one of these key steps can be skipped. Improving the quality of life for a range of participants is immensely satisfying, as is operating as an NDIS business. Don’t falter and you’ll be sure to succeed. 

Interested in becoming a registered NDIS Provider, but unsure how to start?

Avaana provides expert advice to potential providers. They specialise in helping eligible businesses get NDIS registered with ease.






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