The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is the Australian government’s way of supporting people with disabilities. More specifically, it funds costs for eligible Australians with permanent and significant disability and their families/carers.
But, while the NDIS may help fund participants, providers still need to put in the work and money to get their business off the ground. A process that is not cheap by any means.
Discover today how much it’ll cost for that initial start to become an NDIS provider.
As gold-standard providers of products and services to NDIS Participants, Registered Providers must meet the registration requirements set by the NDIS Commission. This includes gaining approvals, meeting suitability requirements, and undergoing a complex audit.
Avaana helps simplify the details for eligible businesses applying for NDIS Registration.
Generally, Registered Providers (as opposed to Unregistered Providers) have greater opportunities for business growth and enhanced reputations for providing services to people.
Registered Providers also have the ability to offer Plan Management Services and the implementation of restricted practices to eligible NDIS Participants. Available for both private companies and not-for-profit organisations, NDIS providers receive a variety of benefits that can help their business grow.
Registered providers will also have to follow a precise price guide that details the amount of funds available for any one service. These price limits will vary depending on the service, with regular changes to the pricing guide being decided by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).
Benefits of Registration:
- Advertisement on the NDIS website
- Exponential business potential
- Be instantly viewed as trustworthy and able to provide quality services across the disability care sector
- Receive opportunities to work directly with agency-managed Participants
- Receive payments fast via the NDIS portal
- Have the ability to offer a range of products and services across various support categories including Plan Management and Restrictive Practices
Follow the guide below to understand more about the costs associated with NDIS Registration so you can start to plan a budget to reap the benefits of being a Registered Provider of NDIS support!
Understanding the NDIS Provider Registration Process
The most important aspect of the application for registration is to have all of the necessary paperwork to ensure your business is NDIS compliant.
Registration groups are dependent on the types of service your business will offer as an NDIS Registered Provider. You’ll also find that the process for preparing NDIS compliant policies and procedures, along with undergoing a business self-assessment and an external NDIS audit, will differ dramatically depending on the support registration group.
The following steps outline the process for Registration Application with the NDIS Commission:
The Registration Process
1. Start an online Application
Businesses wanting to become Registered with the NDIS must begin with an online registration through the official NDIS provider portal. The 60-day timeframe for the online application process includes:
- Providing a full organisation profile. Including information about your business’s corporate structure, key personnel, contact details, and contact address
- Choosing which supports your business wants to offer
- Undergoing a business self-assessment using the the NDIS Practice Standards
There are a wide range of services that providers can offer, with the main supports categories being:
- Assistive Technologies
- Assistance with Daily Life
- Assistance with Social & Community Participation
- Community Nursing Care
- Education and Employment
- Health and Wellbeing
- Home Modifications
- Increased Community Participation
- Maintaining Relationships
- Personal Care
- Products and consumables
- Specialist Disability Accommodation
- Support Coordination
- Therapeutic Support
Service providers must ensure key personnel complete any relevant training required and have experience in the service areas offered.
Click here to view a list of registration groups and their audit requirements to help you decide which supports your business will offer to NDIS clients. Some registration groups may also require key personnel to complete extra training modules.
All this paperwork will provide evidence to show your quality of service, so ensure that you double and triple-check all information as you go.
After lodging an application, you will receive confirmation on the type of desktop audit, or document review, required for your business and the NDIS Practice Standards required to become a Registered Provider.
2. Choose an audit team to complete your initial audit
You must next engage the services of an approved quality auditor and provide them with your NDIS compliant policies, procedures, and key personnel checks for their review. These audits can be completed by your choice of either government agencies, private organisations, or third parties.
Depending on your business type the initial scope of audit will differ depending on whether you offer high-risk services for people.
- Depending on the types of complex supports your business offers, you will need to undertake either a verification audit or certification audit
- Certification audits for complex services are charged at a higher rate than verification audits
As part of the auditing service, your potential auditor will take into consideration all relevant factors while working alongside you to achieve the best possible result from the audit process. After undertaking your business audit, the auditor will submit their review to the NDIS Commission for final suitability assessment.
3. Be assessed by the NDIS Commission
The NDIS Commission will review the external audit and assess your application to determine whether your organisation is suitable for Registration as an NDIS Provider.
The NDIS Commission will notify you of your registration status, and if successful you’ll receive your certificate of registration.
Costs associated with Registration
Now that we understand the process for becoming a Registered Provider, the next step is to understand all the essential costs involved so that you’ll be assessment ready.
External Quality Audit
Undergoing an external quality audit is an essential part of every application for NDIS Provider Registration. The exact scope and cost of the audit required will be dependent on the type of support offered and the registration groups that those supports fall under.
As part of the auditing process you’ll be expected to show how you meet all the requirements of the relevant modules which can also run up additional costs.
The NDIS has a whole page dedicated to auditing organisations for you to choose from.
- Verification audits are for low-risk supports to people such as therapeutic supports and assistive technology devices. A verification audit costs between $900 – $1,500.
- Certification audits are required for high-risk supports, e.g. live-in carers and specialised childhood educators. Supplementary modules fall under registration groups that are additional to the core modules and are significantly more expensive; with costs running upwards of $3,000.
As part of the certification process you’ll undergo the entire audit cycle again after your initial certification expires. One of these being the 18-month mid-term review, and the other being the tri-annual audit every three years.
Like any organisation, it’s important to plan for the worst- and that means getting adequate insurance cover. Based on your exact supports your business will provide as a Registered Provider, your chosen insurance should cover for:
- Workers’ Compensation Insurance
- Product Liability
- Commercial Vehicles
- Employee Fraud
Depending on your coverage, insurance can potentially run into the thousands, so always consult with a financial planner or insurance broker before buying any business insurances.
A crucial initial step is to ensure all staff are at the adequate levels expected by NDIS Participants.
Being an NDIS worker means ensuring the completion of requisite training and qualifications as well as passing Police, Working With Children, and Disability Worker Screening checks as required. In most instances the business will be required to bear these initial costs as a requirement for Registration.
Depending on your service these training standards will vary. Most businesses will be able to get away with just the free training courses online. All things depending, NDIS training can run up to $500 in cost. Police checks in turn will generally cost around $50 state depending.
Last on our list of tasks are the initial fees coupled with figuring out where and how to fill out the online application forms. Vital and important to applying, this step will cost you exactly $0.
Yep! No matter if you pass or fail there are no costs involved in the online application process until the auditing stage.
Optional Costs for NDIS Providers
With all the mandatory fees out the way, now we get to the fun part of sprucing up your business with all the optional costs. Depending on the type of organisation these will help you manage your resources, keep up with demand, or even just help get your name out there.
Marketing and Advertising
Starting with the most important one, marketing is vital to staying afloat in this competitive marketplace. It’s also vital to even getting started as you get support coordinators and the community to notice you.
Multi-fold, this step’s cost will differ dramatically depending on your client base and how far you want to go. Some example of marketing costs might include:
- Hiring website developers, copywriters, or graphic designers to develop your website, advertisement, or blog
- Signing up with a marketing agency to market your business for you
- Hiring ad space either online or in the paper
In all, depending on how extreme you want to go, your marketing campaign and team might cost you thousands a month. So, be sure you know exactly how far you want to market yourself and take every opportunity to put yourself out there to minimise the cost.
Perhaps less vital in our current age, but for many it can help to have a place of work. If you’re either a sole trader or provide onsite visits, then this might even be completely optional.
Now, depending on your scale, an office space can run from a mere $150 per week to $1000’s per week. When deciding on a space, try and factor in location, office hours, and office staff all into your decision.
If you’re getting an office space, you’ll also need to pay for all the desks, computers, uniforms, stationary, and all of the other overheads that come with physical space, and this isn’t even including all the service-specific assistive equipment costs.
These factors will all vary dramatically depending on the quality and scope of practice you’ll be providing, making it difficult to account for when giving a general guide. However, a rough estimate is that it’ll cost $1500 per employee, not accounting for bulk discounts and price rises.
Continuing with the trend of office overheads are the admin costs. Using digital record management systems can significantly help your business to run more smoothly; however this often means paying for expensive software program licences.
Luckily, as an NDIS business you can benefit from all the NDIS specific management software! Some of these programs include:
With pricing models changing frequently it can be difficult to choose the best model for you. Luckily all of our provided examples also come with free demos!
Strategies to Minimise Costs
With all of these costs it’s important that businesses work smarter, not harder, minimising the costs wherever possible.
Here we’ll provide 3 strategies to help your business save money:
1. Collaborating with other providers
You’re never alone in this and you need not provide every service yourself. Many providers will offer community-based services. Working in tandem with other providers will also ensure that you both generate good will and keep your name moving positively within your local communities.
“The poor man will have to buy the same shoes over and over. The rich man buys one pair of shoes once ever”.
While it might look enticing to skim costs and save wherever possible in the short-term; it will almost always turn out better to buy high quality first rather than low quality forever.
3. Using Government Resources
As an NDIS Registered Provider you’ll potentially have access to a wide range of government grants and resources from the NDIA. Every so often the NDIA will invite key disability-related services to be a part of grant services to help elevate them.
These grants are advertised by Services Australia on the AusTender website, where you can also view all of the latest Australian business opportunities.
Time to get started!
All in all, it can be expensive to become an NDIS provider as you must be able to pay for the staff, the advertising, and especially the auditing. So, it’s especially important that you make sure to plan around all the costs as you design your budget and blueprint.
But, as with all important things, if you follow the steps and work within the lines then you’ll find the benefits enormous. Being a disability support worker really can change your life for the better and leave a legacy of happy clients behind. Start planning today and become part of an illustrious collection of businesses working together to make the world a better place!
Contact the friendly team at Avaana for more information about the NDIS Registration Process