Starting an NDIS Business: A 6-Point Checklist

Asha Neil

Written on 26 September, 2022
Launching your own NDIS business is daunting. It implies greater risk and responsibility — but for many service providers and plan managers, it’s the first step towards building the future they want.

Being your own boss allows you to focus on the services you want to provide, plus it gives you greater control over your work life. With our guide, you'll find it easier to spot NDIS business opportunities and set your company up for success.

How to Start a Disability Support Business

Although having your own NDIS business might seem like a daydream right now, you can turn it into a reality by following these six steps:

1. Create Your Business Plan 

A business plan is your road map to success. It will reassure you that your NDIS service provider business is viable, allow you to plan for potential issues that could come up, and guide you through making key business decisions — such as whether to become an unregistered or registered NDIS service provider.

Make sure your business plan includes:

You can also use the National Disability Services' self assessment tools via the NDIS Provider Toolkit to help you create your plan.

2. Design Your Processes

What will your day-to-day look like? How will this differ for complex and less complex services? Will this be scalable? Make sure you've planned for:

  • Rostering

  • Accounting

  • Documentation 

  • Client onboarding

  • Incident management system

  • Progress notes

  • Support plans 

  • Plan reviews

The right software will help you handle all of this, so check out our guide to NDIS software for small providers.

NDIS Business Opportunities and How to Take Advantage of Them

The disability sector offers multiple business opportunities, but many NDIS service providers find they cannot effectively take advantage of them. They lack the staff or the tools to act quickly.

This is why thorough planning is essential. You'll need efficient, scalable processes and a quick hiring process (or access to agency staff) to respond to new opportunities.

3. Register as a Business 

Applying for your Australian business number (which you can do here) is a quick and simple process. Make sure you know your business name and professional contact details beforehand.

This would also be a good time to sign up for public liability insurance. You'll need this before you begin working with NDIS participants.

4. Register with the NDIS (if relevant) 

One of your biggest decisions will be whether to work as a registered NDIS provider. Non registered NDIS providers benefit from reduced costs. However, registered providers have access to participants whose plans are managed by the National Disability Insurance Agency.

Plus, even non registered providers have to adhere to NDIS practice standards as set by the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission. You can find out more about these on the website of the NDIS Commission.

You could start operating without registering, and then when you're more established, become a registered NDIS provider. We've written an in-depth article to guide providers like you through making this decision.

The online application form to become a registered provider is straightforward, but there are some additional steps you'll need to take. In particular, you'll need to hire an approved quality auditor and undergo a certification audit for your registration groups. You can read more about the process here.

5. Hire Staff 

Not all NDIS providers hire additional staff members. You might prefer to work as a sole trader, especially when you’re just getting started.

However, as you grow, hiring staff could help you ensure quality service delivery. Especially for complex services, it's important to have qualified, competent service providers you can roster at short notice.

Whether you decide to hire staff now or not, make sure you know how you'll source additional service providers if you need them. This might be as simple as saving an agency's phone number.

Sole Traders: Starting a Small Business as a Support Worker (NDIS)

Operating as a sole trader may allow you to take better advantage of NDIS business opportunities, as you'll have reduced costs.

Most of the process of launching your NDIS provider business will be the same, regardless of whether you hire staff or run a solo gig. However, if you’re going it alone, it’s even more important that your processes are efficient so that your limited time isn't wasted on paperwork.

6. Start Marketing and Attracting Clients

No matter how good your plan is, the success of all NDIS businesses hangs on one thing: attracting potential customers.

Make sure you have an accessible and well-designed website, as well as social media accounts. Network with Support Coordinators and the local community. 

Don't overlook the value of online networking, either! Social media groups can be an excellent place for creating a positive impression. You may also consider running adverts online, on the radio and in the local press.

For more tips on how to market and promote your NDIS business, read our blog on ways to Successfully Market Your NDIS Business in 7 Steps.

Tools to Thrive as an NDIS Business Owner

Running your own business means taking on responsibility for a wide range of tasks: marketing, accounting, hiring support workers, rostering, compliance with NDIS practice standards and much more. That's why it's important to have the right tools.

ShiftCare's NDIS software is designed to make administrative and compliance tasks easy, so you can focus on delivering services that improve the quality of life of participants.

You'll be able to schedule your team members in minutes, track NDIS funds and service provisions, access important client documentation, and share information with support workers, NDIS participants and family members alike. Plus, our clients find our bulk claims feature means they can cut down the time they spend billing the NDIS by 90%. This frees up valuable time for them to spend on more important things, like providing disability supports and growing their businesses.

To see how NDIS software can support your NDIS business, try ShiftCare for free today.

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