Starting an NDIS Allied Health Business? Helpful Tips & Advice
In the long-run, getting support from other professionals – such as administrators, bookkeepers, marketers and HR managers – can be the best way to build a profitable business and avoid burnout! But at the start, you’re likely to wear many hats.
Here are some key considerations for allied health providers setting up an NDIS business.
Setting up your allied health business – the essentials
Plan for success
When you’re starting an allied health business, a good roadmap sets you on course for success. Investing some time and effort into developing a business plan can help you stay focused on your goals and give you a greater sense of control. Importantly, if you’re seeking business finance, banks and credit providers will want to see your plan.
Many busy allied health practitioners balk at the idea of creating a business plan, but it doesn’t have to be a mammoth work! A one-page document may be adequate. Business.gov.au has more information on business plans, including downloadable templates.
Starting an allied health practice also involves a range of registrations. For example, you may need to register for:
a business name – including checking whether the name you want is available
an Australian business number (ABN)
taxes – which will depend on your business structure (more about this below)
a domain name for your business website.
Business.gov.au provides comprehensive information about business registration requirements.
Setting up an NDIS allied health business involves additional considerations, such as NDIS allied health registration. Read our comprehensive article on steps to becoming a registered NDIS provider for more information.
The way you set up your NDIS allied health service has implications for things like taxation levels and legal liability. A sole trader, for example, is legally responsible for all aspects of their business, whereas a company is a separate legal entity to you.
Engaging a business accountant can be worth every cent. They can explain the pros and cons of different structures and help you make an informed choice. A good accountant can also help with issues like cashflow, tax planning, and business growth.
Business.gov.au also has details about types of business structures.
If you’re new to business, consider working with a business coach – ideally one with experience across health or medical businesses. They can help you clarify your goals and develop the skills to run a successful allied health business.
Aside from the financial and regulatory requirements involved in becoming an NDIS allied health provider, some practical things are worth thinking about. For example:
Will you see NDIS participants in the community, or at a practice where clients come to you?
If you plan to operate a mobile service, how will you manage vehicles? Consider vehicle affordability/economy, financing options, and mileage allowances.
For home-visiting services, how will you protect yourself and/or your staff? For example, how will you conduct home visit screening and remain current with COVID compliance requirements?
If you plan to run centre-based services, where and how will you operate? For example, will you purchase a premises or lease rooms?
How will you document everything? Paper or digital?
You might like to engage an advisor who can help with policies, procedures and template files such as incident reports. This will help with day-to-day operations and future audits.
Marketing your NDIS allied health business
Allied health providers are typically great at what they do – like providing therapy to help NDIS participants reach their goals. However, many practitioners find marketing difficult. But you can be the best allied health provider in the country without any clients unless your NDIS business gets known to the right people!
You don’t need a huge suite of marketing materials to get started. A few basics will do. Ideally, you’ll want:
unique, catchy branding including a colour scheme and logo
a basic website that clearly describes your services (preferably one optimised for search engines)
paper collateral such as brochures, letterheads and business cards
digital assets such as a branded email footer
business social media accounts.
For allied health providers, it’s vital that your marketing is compliant with Ahpra’s advertising guidelines. It can be helpful to work with marketing professionals familiar with these.
Many allied health providers begin growing their businesses through word of mouth and personal referrals, so get the word out to professional colleagues and personal networks. You can also build a larger referral base by attending formal networking groups and events.
Staffing your NDIS allied health business
Many allied health providers go into business to generate a better income by harnessing the skills of other health professionals. If you plan to have staff, there are several factors to think about, including:
Employment terms – will you hire people as employees or contractors? Full-time, part-time or casual?
Employment contracts – these should clearly outline the agreement between you and your employee/s
For NDIS allied health services – roles and responsibilities of health professionals in disability
Employee screening – such as police, working with children checks, and NDIS Worker Check (NDISWC)
Equal opportunity and diversity
Recruitment and onboarding processes.
See Business.gov.au for more about hiring.
The allied health market currently favours employees, with Allied Health Professions Australia explaining there is growing demand across the aged care, mental health, and disability sectors.
Consider ways to attract and retain quality talent, such as flexible working conditions, performance incentives and a positive workplace culture. A human resource professional, ideally one with allied health workforce knowledge, can provide personalised advice.
Protecting your allied health business
You’ve invested time, energy and money into your business, so you’ll want to protect it. For a start, you’ll need professional indemnity and public liability insurance. Some allied health organisations – including the Australian Physiotherapy Association, Occupational Therapy Australia and Dietitians Australia – provide specific insurance coverage with membership or discounted policy rates.
Depending on how you run your business, you might need insurances for vehicles, property, equipment and more. With figures from the Australian Cyber Security Centre showing cybercrime is on the rise, it’s worth learning more about cybersafety and cybersecurity insurance.
A qualified financial planner or insurance agent can provide advice tailored to your needs.
Streamlining your NDIS allied health business
Clearly, starting an allied health business involves more than setting up your shingle and waiting for the flood of clients! For the best chance of building a sustainable and successful business you love running, you’ll want to streamline as many processes as possible.
Accounting software, for example, can allow seamless collaboration with your accountant and faster tax preparation – with fewer clunky paper documents! A quality communication tool facilitates easy connection with staff and referrers.
For allied health professionals working in the NDIS space, ShiftCare’s intuitive, easy to use platform cuts paperwork and boosts efficiency, so you can spend more time doing what you love – helping NDIS participants achieve their goals and growing your business.
Specifically designed for the needs of NDIS allied health providers, ShiftCare’s web-based portal and app allows you to:
plan rosters and appointments quickly and easily with a simple drag and drop function, saving you time and energy
simplify and speed up documentation by adding progress notes and care plans directly into the app, with user-friendly features like speech-to-text conversion to accelerate record keeping
reduce invoicing time by up to 90%, thanks to preloaded NDIS pricing, the ability to preset your own pricing, and automatic invoice generation
optimise processes through integration with your accounting software (including Xero, MYOB and QuickBooks) for a seamless experience that saves you time and money.
With over 9,000 users and with subscriptions starting from just $8/month, ShiftCare is helping allied health providers (like The Hub’s NDIS Manager Peter Bartlett) automate their allied health business operations.
Are you looking to start an NDIS allied health practice?
Discover how ShiftCare can help you run a smooth and streamlined business.