How Carole is building a thriving NDIS business with the right tools and support

Asha Neil

Written on 2 November, 2022
With a history of disability in her family, a background in training, and a passion for making a difference, starting a disability support business was a natural fit for Carole Ann Hine. Her commitment to delivering high-quality supports has helped her build a flourishing family business serving locals living with disability.

Meet Carole - putting a smile on people’s faces in Cairns

Before starting her business, Carole had been working in the NDIS for five years. “We were delivering training in community services and disability support,” she explains.

Covid provided the push she needed. “I was made redundant. I decided it was time to follow my passion and give people in our community real service.” She founded Cairns-based House of Independence in 2020.

“Our business is based around access,” Carole explains. “We support people integrating into the community, which could be going to activities, medical appointments or shopping. We also help them build skills at home. One of the things we do very well is helping people transition into independent living.”

House of Independence has a diverse clientele. They specialise in supporting people with mental health conditions, significant mobility issues, and challenging behaviours.

Carole, who has also raised six kids, says her background and skillset equip her well for this work. “It's about understanding the difference between someone's disability and behaviours, getting them to understand why they need to do things, and giving them options in a way they will take on board.”

Making clients’ lives better is her motivation. “I say to my team, ‘Put a smile on their faces every single shift.’ To help someone feel valued and respected makes our day.”

Her approach has proved successful. From starting with one client, she now has 15 clients and 13 staff.

The other secret to her success? Doing a great job. “We want to make people feel like someone has got their back. We provide regular supports and contact so people feel safe.”

This has helped them build a great reputation. “I've never advertised. When you get results, support coordinators don't need to worry about their clients. I'm a very open communicator, so they know exactly where the client is and what they need.”

The challenge

Rapid growth strained the system Carole initially used to run her business. “I was using my old accounting software. They started a rostering system. It's the worst thing I've ever come across. It was constantly down and locking my staff out. I’d have to reboot it back in the office.

“One time it happened while I was on holidays in Adelaide. Do you think I could remember all those rosters in my head? I lost trust in them.” Carole even resorted to using Excel spreadsheets while she looked for a better option.

The solution

“I had a few people searching and they came across ShiftCare,” she says. “It works really well for me.” She most loves the “ability to automate and systemise my business so far ahead.

“If there's changes, my staff know where they need to be. I can upload information at a minute’s notice and it's at their fingertips.”

Without ShiftCare, Carole says she couldn’t have kept up. “I probably would have collapsed through burnout.”

Rapid reporting

Carole says ShiftCare makes recording and reporting much easier. “When we need to report back to support coordinators, before I'd have to go back through shift notes and compile a written report. I don't need to do that anymore. I just capture shift notes and send the reports. That eliminates a big stress for me.”

Carole also likes being able to upload documents and photos into ShiftCare, along with the professional invoicing. “It's perfect. I just upload invoices to my accounting software for reconciling.”

Super for staff

And her staff appreciate ShiftCare, too. “They love being able to look back on the shifts. Out in the field, they can access everything. We can get something to a staff member so quickly – from the office straight to their phone.”

Importantly, ShiftCare is user-friendly. Speaking while she had a broken hand, Carole said: “ShiftCare allows me to still operate left-handed. The program is so simple to use for someone with an injury or disability. You can even put your notes into ShiftCare verbally.”

Exceptional customer service

With her old system, Carole says she could be “sitting on the phone for three hours” to get assistance. “And they didn’t have any form of online service.”

In contrast, ShiftCare’s support is “second-to-none,” she says. “They provide the best customer service I've ever come across. It’s fast and brilliant.”

Looking ahead

Carole says House of Independence will always be a boutique business. “I want to keep it manageable. I don’t want to become one of those big organisations where my staff or clients become a number.”

She plans to open a drop-in centre for clients this year, and ultimately wants to start a supported in-house living business.

And ShiftCare is part of Carole’s plans. “I can step away and start training staff under me. I plan to semi-retire, travel, and do my job. ShiftCare will allow me to do that.”

Like this story? Share it with others.

You may also like these stories

Start your free 7 day trial.

Deliver a higher standard of care, all from just $9 per user a month.


Support Rating


Hours Scheduled


Clients Supported


Revenue Generated

Would you like to visit our site?