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How to Negotiate a Better Rate

Negotiating better rates with NDIS providers can be a challenging task for participants. However, by understanding the Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits, how provider prices are currently set, and tips for negotiating prices you could succeed in achieving better rates and value for money. Whether you’re looking for a new provider or renegotiating your current agreements, this article can help you achieve a better outcome for your NDIS plan.


Woman with disability at a cafe talking with another woman
Woman with disability at a cafe talking with another woman

What’s going on with provider rates & the government?


In a recent statement, NDIS Minister Bill Shorten, has criticised the high rates charged by NDIS providers. According to Shorten, some providers are charging exorbitant prices, which are making it difficult for people with disability to access essential services.


“If one provider is over-charging for their service, it means a participant cannot afford another service they might need.


Participants should be treated as valued clients, not as an ‘ATM’”.


He argued that the NDIS was never intended to be a profit-making scheme for providers, and it’s time to address the issue of high fees, which he likened to a “wedding tax” with prices sometimes doubling or tripling. Shorten also highlighted that the government should intervene and ensure that people with disability have access to affordable and high-quality care.


While his comments on change and better regulation around provider rates are all well and good, what can be done in the meantime to ensure a fair rate?


Understanding the Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits


The NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits has been designed to make it easier for participants to better understand the rates charged by NDIS service providers. Through the pricing arrangements, participants can better evaluate the services they receive and the rates at which they are being charged. This this transparency also allows participants to make informed choices about which service providers to work with and create a competitive market for services.


Although the pricing arrangements lists the maximum rate a provider can charge for their supports and services (not the set price), many providers will charge the maximum rate. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are trying to rip you off. There may be several reasons a provider is charging that higher rate, including:

  • Being able to pay their staff, rent, utilities, insurance and other operating expenses

  • Ensuring they can provide high-quality services (i.e., they may need ongoing professional development and training to stay up to date with the latest research and practices)

  • Investing in specialised equipment or tools to deliver their services effectively

  • Their level of skill and experience in the industry

When discussing rates and negotiating the best price, take the time to understand the cost factor on their end to ensure you can both come to a reasonable agreement.


Negotiate Better Rates


With the increasing competition among the number of providers in the industry, some providers are lowering their prices to attract more clients. In these circumstances, it means that participants can secure affordable services that meet their needs without having to pay high prices… but what about the providers who are still charging the maximum price?


Although it shouldn’t necessarily be up to the participant to ensure they have a fair rate, negotiating with your providers can help you to make the most of your NDIS plan funding and use it how it is intended.


To help you on your negotiating journey, here are our top five tips:


#1 Research and prepare


Before negotiating with NDIS providers, it’s important to research their pricing structure and familiarise yourself with the industry standards. Have a look at the NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits to better understand the maximum rate that can be charged then compare that to provider’s you are considering to better understand how competitive their rates are. If there is a provider you really want to work with who is charging more than other providers for the same service, you could use this information to negotiate a lower price.


#2 Be clear on your needs


Clearly communicate your needs and expectations with the NDIS provider before starting negotiations. Make sure you understand which services are covered by your NDIS plan and which require additional funding.


#3 Take your time


Don’t rush the negotiation process. Take your time to understand the provider’s pricing structure and consider any alternatives they may offer. This way, you can get the best possible deal.


#4 Be flexible


While negotiating, be open to compromise and alternative solutions. For example, you may be able to negotiate a lower price if you agree to a longer-term contract or a reduced frequency of services.


#5 Know your worth


Understand the value you bring to the provider and use this to negotiate a fair price. With more and more providers popping up every day, the industry is becoming increasingly competitive.


It’s important to remember that a provider’s goal is to provide quality support. By negotiating better rates, families and individuals can access the services they need and maximise their NDIS funding.


Read more about the benefits of working with an independent, professional Plan Manager. Alternatively, contact our friendly team on 1300 322 273 or support@first2care.com.au.

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