How to Become an Unregistered NDIS Provider

Rob Scott

Written on 30 May, 2022
ndis yoga
NDIS registration can be time-consuming and expensive, not to mention all the paperwork and bureaucracy involved. While many providers benefit from NDIS registration, it’s not the right choice for every business — and fortunately, you don’t need to be NDIS registered in order to provide disability support services.

We’ve previously looked at becoming a registered NDIS provider. Today, we’ll break down everything you need to know about how to become an unregistered NDIS provider, from insurance and invoicing to finding new clients.

Why Become an Unregistered NDIS Provider?

As an unregistered NDIS provider, starting your business is quick and simple. You don’t have to pay licensing or audit fees, and you can set your own prices independently of the NDIS.

There are some cons to being an unregistered NDIS provider. You may find it harder to build trust among prospective clients, and you won’t be on the official NDIS Provider Lists. As such, you should prepare to invest more in marketing. 

That said, for some businesses, the choice between being registered or unregistered is simple. Foregoing registration cuts down on costly bureaucracy so you can start operating sooner.

What You Should Know Before Becoming an Unregistered NDIS Provider

Being an unregistered NDIS provider will save you a lot of paperwork and audits, but that doesn’t mean you’re unregulated. There are still several NDIS protocols that you have to follow.

In particular, you’ll have to adhere to the NDIS Code of Conduct and have processes for handling complaints. You also need to issue NDIS-appropriate invoices so that your clients can claim for your services.

You don’t have to use NDIS Worker Screening, although you can choose to. You will, however, need a system for vetting staff. 

Some states have additional requirements, so make sure to check the guidelines on the NDIS Commission’s website.

How to Become an Unregistered NDIS Provider

1. Create a Business Plan

A business plan can set you up for success. It will help you ensure your business is financially viable, as well as support you in applications for funding. It can also guide you in important business decisions, such as whom to market your services to and what equipment you should invest in.

Make sure your business plan includes:

  • What services you will offer

  • How you will price those services

  • What will set you apart from other NDIS providers

  • How you will attract clients

  • Your ideal client and catchment area

  • If you need staff, and if so, how many, what jobs they will do, what type of contract you’ll offer and how much the staff will cost your company, including benefits and super payments

  • If you want to have premises and, if so, how large they need to be and what facilities they need to have

  • Your budget — don’t forget to account for insurance, staff recruitment and training, equipment, software, premises and any amendments to them (such as installing accessible toilets), marketing and other costs associated with becoming an NDIS provider, as many of these costs still need to be paid by non-registered providers

You can read more guidance on developing a business plan on

2. Tick Off These Administrative Tasks

Now you’ve created your business plan, there are several administrative tasks you need to take care of. Make sure to do everything on this list:

  • Choose your business name and logo

  • Apply for your Australian business number (ABN) — you can do that here, and you will normally receive your ABN immediately

  • Take out business insurance (and make sure to read the fine print carefully!)

  • Draw up service agreement templates, and make sure you have an easy-read version, too

  • Create (or download) an NDIS invoice template

  • Design your processes and workflows, including ones for recruiting and vetting staff, onboarding new clients, communicating with both staff and clients, and handling any complaints 

  • Speak to an accountant or sign up for accounting software

  • Decide whether you’ll use your existing phone line and number or have a business phone

Once you’ve ticked off all these tasks, you’re ready to begin working with clients.

3. Market Your Services and Attract Clients

You can’t operate as an NDIS provider without clients, and you won’t get clients without marketing. Here are some of the easiest ways to promote your new business:

  • Create a website — No matter how clients hear of your services, they’re likely to visit your website before signing up. Plus, with 4,400 monthly searches for “NDIS providers” in Australia, having a well-designed website can help potential clients discover you. Not sure what to include on your website? Read our guide to creating a website for disability support providers.

  • Run social media campaigns — Signing up for business accounts is free on most social media platforms, and it’s an easy way to market your services to people who choose to follow you. Plus, you can run paid ad campaigns that direct people to your services. When getting started with social media, it’s worth focusing on just one or two platforms instead of spreading yourself thin.

  • Network — From introducing yourself to Support Coordinators to participating in online NDIS communities, networking can help you build more authentic connections and relationships of trust. Although it can be time-consuming, it often pays off in the end. 

When you first start your business, you’ll likely spend more time marketing your services than any other activity. Fortunately, once you’re established, marketing will become easier as you begin to see referrals and reap the rewards of your networking.

Taking the Stress Out of Running an NDIS Provider Business

Whether you’re NDIS registered or not, running a disability support service business can be complex. From client onboarding and goal setting to staff matching and quality control, there’s a lot to stay on top of. 

Here at ShiftCare, our NDIS provider software is designed to simplify the admin so you can get on with providing quality support. It makes scheduling, client communications and invoicing quicker and easier. Try it for free today.

What are the key responsibilities of an unregistered NDIS provider?

Unregistered NDIS providers are not exempt from regulations. They must adhere to the NDIS Code of Conduct, manage complaints efficiently, and issue invoices that comply with NDIS standards. While NDIS Worker Screening isn't mandatory, implementing a robust staff vetting system is crucial.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of being an unregistered NDIS provider?

Being unregistered saves you from certain audits and some administrative burdens. However, you still need to follow several NDIS protocols and ensure you have effective processes for handling complaints and issuing appropriate invoices, which can be complex without the structured oversight that comes with registration.

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