Ownr Review: A Simple Way to Register or Incorporate a Business In Canada
Registering a business in Canada can be both time-consuming and costly. The process is not well laid out on government websites, making it confusing also. Thankfully, companies like Ownr take the pain out of launching a sole proprietorship or corporation. They also save Canadian business owners money with low fees. In this Ownr review, I’ll explain their services, pricing, and where they are available in Canada. Before we dive into the review, let’s take a look at some fundamental differences between sole proprietorships and corporations.
Sole Proprietorship vs. Corporation
When you start any new business, you have to decide whether to run it as a sole proprietorship or a corporation. To help you understand the differences, I’ve put together a list of characteristics of each.
- Owned by a single individual (sole proprietor)
- Generally small in size
- The business is not a separate legal entity (the owner IS the business)
- Unlimited liability (the sole proprietor is 100% personally liable)
- No sharing of profits (sole proprietor alone earns the profit)
- Business is a separate legal entity
- Limited liability (Creditors can only go after assets of the corporation)
- Continuous life (if the owner withdraws or dies, the corporation can continue)
- Tax treatment (Corporations are taxed separately, at different rates than personal)
- More highly regulated than sole proprietorships
- Ownership can be transferred (share transfer)
- Corporations can raise capital through the issuance of shares
What Is Ownr?
Since helping their first customer register its business in 2017, Ownr has gone on to help more than 55,000 Canadians become entrepreneurs. According to the Ownr mission statement, they aim to “enable Canadian entrepreneurs to start, manage, and grow their business.”
Ownr uses technology to simplify the business registration process for sole proprietorships and corporations alike. You pay Ownr a very reasonable fee, and they look after your business name registration or incorporation, depending on the business type.
You can hire Ownr to manage and file the required legal documents each year if you already own an incorporated business.
How Does Ownr Work?
The process of opening an Ownr account is a bit different for sole proprietorships vs. corporations. Here’s a quick look at the steps you need to take for each:
Registering a Sole Proprietorship with Ownr
- Head to Ownr and create an account.
- Search for available business names to register.
- Select your desired business name, and submit it for registration. The approval process takes about one business day in Ontario and Alberta, but up to 15 business days in British Columbia.
- Receive your business name registration documents via email.
- You’re now ready to open a business bank account in the name of your business.
Registering a Corporation with Ownr
- Create your Ownr account.
- Search for available business names (not required for a numbered company, i.e. 111222333 Alberta Ltd.)
- You can choose to incorporate federally instead of provincially, but your name will have to be available in every province in Canada.
- Once approved, you will receive all applicable corporation documentation within one business day.
- You’re now ready to open a business bank account in the Corporation’s name.
Is Ownr Available In My Province?
Unfortunately, Ownr is only available to residents of the following provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario. Provinces are responsible for their business registrations, so Ownr must work with each one to ensure they’re following the proper guidelines.
All of this takes time to get the legal side of things right, so I would expect Ownr to add more provinces in the future. In the meantime, if you’re starting a business in one of these three provinces, you’re in luck.
If you’re registering a corporation, you have the option of doing so federally. Ownr can accommodate federal registration if you reside in Ontario. I recommend this if you plan to do business across Canada.
Ownr charges a flat fee depending upon the type of business you are registering. It starts at $89 for a simple sole proprietorship registration. A lawyer will charge upwards of $1500 to incorporate your business.
New Sole Proprietor Pricing
Service: Registration of Sole Proprietorship
One-Time Fee: $89
Ownr charges a one-time $89 fee to register your business as a sole proprietorship. In addition to a business name registration number and the related documents, you get unlimited business name searches, business document storage, and online chat support. The support can help you avoid the confusion that often comes with the process.
- Unlimited business name searches
- Business registration number
- Business registration documents
- Business document storage
- Ownr Perks (details below)
- Chat support
New Corporation Pricing
Service: Full Incorporation + 1 Year Online Minute Book + Limited Corporate Management
$599 Provincial (Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario)
Ownr will facilitate your business’s incorporation, either federally or in the province where the business operates. You also benefit from unlimited free business name searches, and Ownr will obtain a CRA Business number for you. Unfortunately, Ownr doesn’t include GST/HST program account registrations.
- Unlimited free business name searches
- Incorporation & filings with the Government
- Company Name Registration
- Company Organization Documents & Share Issuances
- Up to 3 User Accounts
- CRA Business number
In addition to the Full Incorporation, Ownr offers some ongoing corporation management services included in the fee.
- Annual compliance documents, incl. annual return documents, shareholder and director resolutions, and waiver of auditor
- Online Minute Book management
- Secure document storage and legal document uploads (including documents created outside of Ownr)
- Register of individuals with significant control
- Cap table – tracks shareholders and investors
- The ability to amend company name & structure
- Legal Summaries
- E-Signatures and audit trails
Managed Corporate Plan (Best Value)
Service: Full Incorporation + Online Minute Book + Full Ongoing Corporation Management + Add-ons (extra cost)
For an additional $100, you can get the Ownr Managed Corporate Plan. It’s the best value, but it won’t be necessary for all corporations. You get everything from the original plan, plus an ongoing Online Minute Book (usually $199 per year) and their full slate of corporate management services. There are also add-ons which you can purchase a la carte, which I’ll outline below.
- Everything from Full Incorporation Plan, plus;
- Ongoing Online Minute Book (value $199/year)
- Unlimited user accounts (instead of just 3)
- Automated Registered Head Office Address changes
- Unlimited Director Updates
- Website & ECommerce Agreements
- Intellectual Property Legal Agreements
- Contracts (NDAs, Sale of Goods Agreement, Shareholder Loans, etc.)
- Unlimited Phone, Video, and Chat Support
Ownr for Existing Businesses
If your corporation is already registered, you can still benefit from an Ownr membership. You can purchase their Online Minute Book Plan, or their Managed Corporate Plan, for ongoing company management.
Online Minute Book Plan Features:
- Online Minute Book Management
- Annual Filings & Resolutions
- Up to 3 User Accounts
Managed Corporate Plan (Existing businesses):
- Online Minute Book Management
- Annual Filings, Legal Resolutions & Waiver of Auditor
- Up to 10 User Accounts
- Unlimited Company Updates & Government Filings
- Unlimited Access to Ownr Legal Agreement Library
- Unlimited Support
Ownr has partnered with several brands to offer perks to their members. Here are some of the offers you can expect to see when you open an account:
Vistaprint: Vistaprint is an online marketing service that lets you create and order your own marketing and promotional materials, such as business cards, signage, etc. Using your exclusive Ownr code, you’ll get 20% off your first order with Vistaprint.
Telus Business: You can save 10% every month when you activate or renew a Telus Business Plan.
eBay: When you open your eBay business account (online store), you’ll get the first 90-days free, including 350 free listings per month.
Etsy: When you set up your Etsy shop, you’ll get a free Etsy expert, $50 in ad credits, and 50 free listings.
Staples: Get a free 1-year membership to Staples Business Advantage Plus.
Jobber: Jobber is a field service scheduling software and app that makes it easy to organize your home services business by managing quotes, scheduling, invoicing, and more. When you sign up using your Ownr code, you get 15 days free and a 20% discount for 12 months.
Geek Squad: 15% discount on 12 months of Geek Squad tech support.
H&R Block: 20% Self-Employed or Small Business tax preparation fees. Corporations get $100 on your T2 corporate tax preparation fees.
RBC Ventures: get $300 back when you open an RBC Business bank account within 60 days of registering or incorporating your business with Ownr.
Ownr and RBC
Ownr is connected to RBC through RBC Ventures, a division of Royal Bank that invests in and supports Canadian tech startups. Other notable brands that have partnered with RBC Ventures include Wave Accounting, Drop app, and Maple, a virtual healthcare platform.
Through Ownr’s partnership with RBC Ventures Inc., you can get $300 back when you open an RBC Business bank account within 60 days of registering or incorporating your business with Ownr.
Ownr Pros and Cons
I’ve had my corporation registered for several years now, but if you’re just starting out, there’s a lot to be said for registering your business with Ownr. I can attest to how much it costs to pay a lawyer to handle everything on your behalf.
- Save money with simple pricing and a one-time fee
- Easy way to register a business in Canada
- Automated government filings
- Can generate several different legal documents
- Online document storage
- Take advantage of Owner Perks and save money
- New RBC business bank account holders benefit from additional savings
- Only available in British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario
- Only handles sole proprietorship and corporation business structure
- Partnerships cannot be registered
Is Ownr Legit?
You can rest assured that Ownr is a 100% legit company. While they’ve only been around since 2017, the same can be said of a lot of technology startups. The fact is, they’ve served more than 50,000 clients, and they’re backed by one of Canada’s leading financial institutions, through RBC Ventures.
Final Thoughts on Ownr
There you have it, my Ownr Review. If you’re planning to launch a sole proprietorship business or corporation in the near future, I highly recommend checking out Ownr to handle your business registration. If it’s a corporation, consider Ownr for the ongoing management services that they offer as well.
You’ll get the most value if you open your business bank account with RBC, thanks to the partnership they have with Ownr. If you live outside British Columbia, Alberta, or Ontario, or you need to register your business as a partnership, you’ll have to do it on your own. Hopefully, Ownr will expand their product offering and the locations they serve in the near future.