Our business advisory team receives a number of calls from business owners who provide services or support to participants of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) or are considering becoming NDIS providers. Here are the top questions business owners have been asking about the NDIS - and answers from an NDIS expert.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is designed to provide funding to eligible people with disabilities so that they can spend more time with family and friends, achieve greater independence, access new skills, jobs, or volunteering opportunities in their community, and improve their quality of life. At the SBDC, we are frequently contacted by business owners interested in becoming an NDIS provider.

We asked Gudrun Gilles, a consultant with more than 40 years of experience in the disability and human services sector and a member of our SBDC Enterprise Skills panel with her company The MARQ Group, to help make sense of NDIS considerations for small business owners.

What should you know before you consider becoming an NDIS Provider?

“When considering becoming an NDIS provider - a person, business or organisation who delivers NDIS funded supports to participants - it's essential to recognise that this role is a component of your broader business framework and not the entirety of it,” said Gudrun. “As a provider, you are required to be consistently compliant and able to demonstrate adherence to the Code of Conduct and the NDIS Practice Standards as applicable to the supports and services offered by your business.”

“Embracing the role of an NDIS provider means committing to a core mission: to enhance the autonomy and life experience of people with disabilities. The scheme is designed to affirm their right to self-determination by providing personalised support that caters to individual aspirations and requirements. This encompasses a spectrum of assistance, including daily personal activities, social and community engagement, employment opportunities, therapeutic interventions, and the provision of assistive technologies, all aimed at increasing the capabilities and participation of NDIS participants.”

Gudrun emphasised that a business should have genuine intent to serve this community and be able to offer appropriate and adaptable services. “The goal is not just to operate a profitable enterprise but to contribute positively to the lives of NDIS participants.”

What is the best way to get started as an NDIS provider?

“To become a registered NDIS provider, it's essential to first understand the scope of the scheme and the types of services it funds,” said Gudrun.

Gudrun explained that becoming an NDIS provider involves a multi-faceted approach, including the need to:

  • Understand the NDIS and the requirements for being an NDIS provider. “Assess the services and supports your business provides or plans to provide and how these fit within the NDIS framework. This crucial step determines the nature of your registration – whether you will operate as an unregistered, verified or certified provider.”
  • Scope your registration type. “This is not only important for meeting the compliance requirements under the NDIS but also for shaping the services you offer to meet the specific needs of your target market effectively.”
  • Make sure your business meets all broader industry and operational requirements. “In addition to NDIS-specific compliance, your business must adhere to all standard industry and business regulations. This may include professional association memberships, selecting appropriate business structure and model, and other relevant registrations and compliance obligations.”

“Whether registered or not, all providers offering services to NDIS participants must follow the NDIS Code of Conduct. This means always treating participants with respect, ensuring their safety, and providing high-quality services. Providers must be able to demonstrate how they achieve this in their business.”

Gudrun mentioned changes underway regarding the NDIS, including provider registration requirements and noted that it’s crucial to stay updated with regulatory changes.

Photo of Gudrun Gilles from The MARQ Group.
Gudrun Gilles has more than 40 years of experience in the disability and human services sector.

What tips do you have for people thinking about engaging a third-party provider to help them get set up as an NDIS provider?

“A number of third-party providers offer to supply templates and processes to help new NDIS providers meet regulatory requirements. As part of their service, they should also offer to update these materials in response to regulatory changes, such as those resulting from the NDIS Review and the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation of People with Disability.”

“It’s important for business owners who decide to use third-party materials for initial registration to integrate and adapt these policies and procedures to reflect their unique business culture and operations, not only to maintain compliance during audits but to ensure they deliver high quality supports and services.”


Tip: If you decide to change your business structure in the future, this will impact on your NDIS registration as well as your tax obligations with the ATO. Speak to your accountant to find out more about what this change will mean for your business from a tax perspective.

What kind of government-initiated help is available to help with the registration and service delivery process?

According to Gudrun, here in WA the State Government-initiated projects such as the NDS Quality and Safeguards Sector Readiness Project and the WA Association for Mental Health NDIS Quality and Safeguards Sector Readiness Project aim to aid service providers in complying with the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission's standards.

“The Department of Communities has established the Office of Disability, which provides disability sector stewardship and advice on State and Commonwealth systems and drives work and innovation to advance inclusion and participation of people with disability in Western Australia.”

Gudrun noted the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) sets a framework for NDIS providers that encompasses various obligations and operational guidelines. This framework includes setting clear guidelines and payment rates for services, which are detailed in the NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits documents.

Providers are supported with resources, market information, and policy updates to help them navigate the NDIS system, adjust to changes, and align their services with the needs of participants. This includes technical documentation, user guides, and information sessions available through the NDIA.

Find out more

To learn more about becoming an NDIS provider, read the NDIS for providers publication or book your place in our upcoming Becoming an NDIS Provider workshop, presented by Gudrun Gilles.

Through the workshop, you can explore whether you need to become a registered provider based on your business and which services and supports to register for as a provider. You’ll also learn about the registration process, compliance requirements and what you need to be aware of if you come from a different sector such as mental health, early care and education, justice or aged care.

For general information on starting a business, see the starting and growing section of our website or contact our free business advisory service.

Starting and growing
09 April 2024