Registering your sole proprietorship or incorporating your business in Canada can be challenging. Ownr is here to change all that.
In 2017, I initially registered my sole proprietorship business and later proceeded to incorporate it in 2019. Believe me when I say that the business registration involved a bunch of paperwork and the information available on the government’s website was not the easiest to follow.
This is even more applicable when you are incorporating a business. I eventually had to use the services of a lawyer after giving up on navigating the process on my own.
Reserving a business name, registering the business, and completing the legal documentation required for a corporation can be simplified by utilizing a corporate lawyer, however, this cost may set you back by up to $1,500.
This Ownr review covers how to register or incorporate your business easily at an affordable fee. It also touches on some of the differences between sole proprietorships and corporations.
Related: How To Open a CRA MyBusiness Account
Who is Ownr?
Ownr is an RBC Ventures company founded in 2017. Based in Toronto, the company uses its platform to help entrepreneurs register or incorporate their businesses.
As of this writing, over 18,000 businesses have been registered using Ownr. Ownr is currently available in Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia.
In addition to Ownr, RBC Ventures has other companies on its portfolio including Ampli, Wellspent, Prepped, Arrive, and Dipp.
How Does Ownr Work?
Simply put, Ownr takes the pain out of the business registration process. If you are launching a new business, you can choose to register as a sole proprietorship or corporation.
Whichever route you decide to take, Ownr can help you stick-handle the process while you focus on running your businesses’ day-to-day operations.
Here’s what they offer:
Sole Proprietorship via Ownr
After opening an account, conduct a search for potential business names. When your business name has been reserved, simply fill out your business details online and pay the fee for sole proprietorship registration.
Ownr sends off your application for processing and you can get your business license via email within one business day in Ontario and Alberta. In British Columbia, business name reservation takes up to 15 business days.
The name of the business license document you receive varies by province:
- Ontario: Master Business License
- Alberta: Trade name Declaration
- British Columbia: Statement of Registration of Sole Proprietorship
Incorporate a Business With Ownr
To incorporate your business, search for available online business names via your Ownr account. After you have secured a unique business name, complete your business details, and pay for registration.
Ownr finalizes and sends your incorporation application for processing and you can receive your business documents within one business day.
Ownr prepares your corporate formation documents aka digital minute book including First Director’s Resolution, Director’s Consent(s), First Shareholder’s Resolution, Notice(s) of Issuance, Subscription for Shares, Securities Register, Shareholders Ledger, and Corporate Bylaws.
This saves you from the hassle of looking for a lawyer to help you create these documents.
The business incorporation documents you receive will include:
- Newly Upgraded Automated Name Search (NUANS) Report and NUANS report cheat sheet
- Articles of Incorporation and Next Steps
- Corporation formation documents
You also receive your business number from the Canada Revenue Agency.
In addition to incorporating businesses provincially, Ownr also offers federal incorporation in Ontario.
How Much Does Ownr Cost?
The fees for business registration vary by province and includes government filing fees.
$89 + tax (incl. $29 Ownr fee and $60 govt. fee)
$619 + tax (incl. $319 Ownr fee and $300 govt. fee)
$619 + tax (incl. $419 Ownr fee and $200 govt. fee)
$99 + tax (incl. $49 Ownr fee and $50 govt. fee)
$594 + tax (incl. $319 Ownr fee and $275 govt. fee)
$120.50 + tax (incl. $49 Ownr fee and $71.50 govt. fee)
$700.50 + tax (incl. $319 Ownr fee and $381.50 govt. fee)
Ownr and RBC Rewards
When you register your business with Ownr and open a RBC business bank account, you receive a cash back amount based on your business type and province.
If your business is a sole proprietorship, RBC will refund your registration fees if you open a business bank account by December 31, 2020. The cash refund is based on how much you paid i.e. between $89 to $120.50 plus tax.
For business incorporations, you receive $319 back.
To claim your cash back, login to your account and click on the “refund me” button on your dashboard. Note that your business bank account must remain open for at least one year or you may have to pay back the refund.
Learn more about the best business bank accounts in Canada.
After registering your business, Ownr offers 6-month access to a free branding tool, Tailor Brands. You can use it to create your business logo, business cards, and branded content for marketing on social media.
No previous experience is required to use Tailor Brands and you can have a unique logo in under 3 minutes.
Ownr Referral Program
Ownr has an affiliate program that pays you when people sign up through your referral link and use Ownr to register their business.
Your referrals receive a $50 discount and you earn $20 for a sole proprietorship and $50 for each referral that incorporates.
Referral earnings are paid out through PayPal or Stripe account.
Related: Best US Dollar Business Account
Sole Proprietorship vs. Incorporation
There are four main legal business structures in Canada including:
- Sole Proprietorship
A sole proprietorship is the simplest business structure to setup. As the owner of the business, you are 100% responsible for its operations and carry unlimited liability.
In a partnership, the business is owned by two or more owners. Each member of the partnership is liable for debts of the company and a share of its profit.
A corporation is a separate legal entity from its owners. As such, your personal assets are separate from that of the company and you do not bear responsibility for its liabilities beyond your share of the company’s assets. This limited liability may not apply to personal guarantees e.g for a loan.
Corporations can be public or private and may be incorporated on a provincial or federal level.
A co-operative is controlled by a group of members who pool their resources together. It is democratically controlled and prioritizes meeting the needs (economic, social, and cultural) of its members as opposed to solely making a profit. A co-operative also offers limited liability.
Some of the main differences between a sole proprietorship and a corporation are:
Set up costs
Limited. Limited liability may not apply to personal guarantees
Record keeping and Accounting costs
Easier accounting and minimal record keeping
Complicated; involves more paperwork and annual filings
Difficult to raise capital
Easier to raise capital e.g. through the sale of shares; easier to apply for a loan
Business losses can be written off against personal income; income taxed at personal rate which may be high
Tax advantages through small business deduction and income splitting; potential for double taxation (company & shareholders); Not restricted to a calendar year-end for tax filing
Expires upon the death of the owner
Unlimited life until dissolved; ownership interest can be transferred
Owner is in control of all decision making and keeps all the profit
Decision-making can be slow if there’s more than one shareholder
Some businesses only want to do business with a corporation
May be taken more seriously by other businesses and prospects
Provincial and/or federal
Whether you end up choosing to register a sole proprietorship or incorporate your business, Ownr can help you achieve your dreams at a lower cost compared to using the services of a lawyer.
You could easily save $800+ when incorporating a business provincially or federally by using their service.
If you choose to open a business account at RBC at the same time, you could also get all or most of the fees you paid back!
Let us know how your business registration goes in the comments!