Building a Business

Ownr Review: Easily Incorporate a Business in Canada with Ownr

Paul Sharpe, CPA, CA
/
November 26, 2021
Avalon's full review of Ownr with a step-by-step guide on how to incorporate your business with Ownr.

Ownr Review: Easily Incorporate a Business in Canada with Ownr

Incorporating your business in Canada can be a difficult process. Without guidance, it’s tough to know even what questions you should be asking.

Often, a lawyer is hired to help guide business owners through the process of incorporation, but this can be costly and time consuming.

Ownr is here to change all of that and make incorporating your business easy and cost effective.

Ownr Review Summary TL:DR Version

Start here for our quick summary of our Ownr review and then read the full article below for details.

Ownr Overall Review - 4.5 Stars

Ownr is an excellent platform to use for incorporating your business, managing corporate filings or registering a sole proprietorship. You can easily save $1,000 by incorporating with Ownr compared to incorporating through a lawyer.

We do recommend checking out Ownr to those who are looking to start a business or incorporate.

The main drawback is that you won't have access to a lawyer through Ownr for legal advice. You'll want to have a good idea of how you want to set up your corporation.

Cost

The cost to use Ownr for incorporation and corporate filings is significantly less than using a lawyer, but you don’t get the benefit of legal advice that comes with a lawyer.

The standard cost of incorporating with Ownr ranges from $399 to $599 depending on which services you choose and where you’re located.

You can save 20% by using Avalon’s affiliate link here.

You can also get up to $300 back if you open an RBC business bank account after incorporating see details (see details here).

Support

Ownr provides a clear step-by-step process for incorporating your business. You can also access templates for various corporate documents and agreements.

What is Ownr?

Ownr is a Canadian business that helps new businesses to register, incorporate, create legal agreements, manage employees and more.

It sets itself apart from traditional service providers like lawyers and notaries by providing an online platform where business owners can easily set up their businesses.

Use Ownr to set up a sole proprietorship or a corporation in a matter of minutes.

Check out this quick 1 minute video from Ownr one how it works.

In Which Provinces is Ownr Available?

At the time of this writing, Ownr is available in the following provinces:

  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
  • Ontario

Ownr is working on expanding its services to other locations, but for now it’s only available in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario.

What Services Does Ownr Provide?

Ownr can help you register a new business (sole proprietorship or corporation), or manage the administration of an existing corporation.

Incorporate a Business with Ownr

Incorporate your business with Ownr quickly using their online platform and for much less than incorporating through a lawyer.

Incorporation services include:

  • Incorporation and filings with the government
  • Business name search
  • Company name registration
  • Company organization documents and share issuances
  • CRA business number registration
  • GST/HST program account registration
  • Access to your incorporation documents through Ownr’s online platform

Corporate Administration and Document Management with Ownr

Owner will ensure that you have the legal documents required to run your business and can act as a home for your important corporate documents.

Corporate administration and document management includes

  • Online minute book management
  • Annual filings and resolutions
  • Secure corporate document organization (bylaws, director appointments, corporate resolutions, etc.)
  • Initial share issuances and company ownership register
  • Management of corporate directors, officers and addresses through the platform
  • New share issuances after incorporation
  • Various legal document templates (employee agreements, NDAs, dividend resolutions, shareholder agreements, vesting agreements, financing documents, etc.)
  • Employee stock option plan management

Register a Sole Proprietorship with Ownr

Ownr also allows you to register your business as a sole proprietorship in minutes.

Sole proprietorship registration includes:

  • Unlimited business name searches
  • Business registration number
  • Business registration documents
  • Business document storage

Which Business Structures Can You Register with Ownr?

With Ownr, you can register a corporation or a sole proprietorship.

Corporations that can be registered with Ownr include:

  • A provincially incorporated business located in British Columbia
  • A provincially incorporated business located in Alberta
  • A provincially incorporated business located in Ontario
  • A federally incorporated business located in Ontario

Sole proprietorships that can be registered with Ownr Include:

  • A sole proprietorship located in British Columbia
  • A sole proprietorship located in Alberta
  • A sole proprietorship located in Ontario

At this time, Ownr can only offer federal incorporations if you’re located in Ontario. Info on the difference between federal and provincial incorporation can be found here.

If you’re not located in BC, AB or ON, you can add your email within Ownr and they will notify you once they are available in your location.

Ownr Pricing: How Much Does Ownr Cost?

Incorporating or registering your business with Ownr is very reasonably priced. This is especially true when comparing the cost to the alternative of hiring a lawyer.

Registering a sole proprietorship is $89 + tax and includes unlimited business name searches, business registration number, business registration documents and business document storage.

The cost of incorporation with Ownr varies depending on what province you’re located in and whether you subscribe to the managed corporation plan after incorporation or not.

The one-time incorporation fee includes incorporation and filings with the government, company name registration, share issuances, and access to the online minute book for one year.


If you’re incorporating and you choose the managed corporationplan, you’ll save $100 on the initial incorporation fee.

Compare these prices to the pretty standard cost of $1,500 you’ll pay to incorporate with a lawyer and you can see that Ownr is a much less expensive way to incorporate.

How to get up to $300 back when Incorporating with Ownr

Ownr is an RBC Ventures company and you can get up to $300 cash back if you open an RBC Business Bank account through Ownr.  See details here

Open an RBC Business bank account within 60 days and you can receive up to $300 back depending on province of incorporation.

If you registered a sole proprietorship, you can expect the full $89 registration fee back if you use this offer!

You’ll need to keep the RBC bank account open for at least one year if you want to take advantage of this offer.

To claim the offer, log into your Ownr account and click the “refund me” button in your dashboard.

Pros and Cons of Incorporating Your Business

Looking to start your business but not sure what business structure is best? We wrote an entire article on the pros and cons of incorporating your business. Check out the link or read the summary below.

Advantages of Incorporating Your Business

Limited Liability — Operating your business through a corporation provides a layer of security against personal liability. It makes it more difficult for someone to go after your personal assets if the business defaults on its debts.

Tax Savings and Deferral — In some situations, corporations have a lower tax rate than individuals. Operating your business through a corporation instead of a proprietorship can help to defer and save taxes.

Income Splitting — Income splitting used to be a major reason for incorporating your small business. Since 2018, this has changed significantly due to some new tax regulations, and it is now much less of an advantage.

Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption (LCGE) — The LCGE allows some incorporated businesses to sell at a gain of up to $892,218 without paying any tax.

Estate Planning — A corporation is a separate entity to you, so it continues to live on regardless of what happens to you. This can be helpful when planning to transfer your assets to others.

Disadvantages of Incorporating Your Business

Incorporation Costs — There are costs involved when starting a company. Having a lawyer help draft the documents of incorporation is a good idea, but it isn’t cheap. Ongoing Costs — There are annual legal filing fees to be paid as well as fees to have an accountant file the annual corporate tax return.

Administrative Burden — The corporation requires legal and tax filings each year to remain in good stead with the authorities. This requires attention and is a time commitment for the owner(s).

Losses More Difficult to Use — If your business sustains financial losses, it is more difficult in a corporation than in a proprietorship to use those losses to reduce future taxes.

Pay More Taxes — In some scenarios operating your business through a corporation could actually mean you pay more taxes than if operating as a proprietorship.

Here’s a quick checklist on the differences between a corporation and sole proprietorship.

Should You Incorporate Your Business?

Whether or not to incorporate comes down to your specific situation. There is no blanket advice on the subject that can be provided in an article like this one.

A lawyer friend of mine read our article on whether or not to incorporate and put it to me like this:

“If you’re not playing around and are determined to grow a successful business, why not plan for that success and incorporate from the beginning?”

I’m starting to come around and generally agree with him when it comes to incorporating and building a thriving business, but that doesn’t mean incorporation is right for everyone. Make sure to understand the full picture before making the decision.

How to Incorporate a Business with Owner

Check out this video tutorial and/or follow the steps below!

Navigate to Ownr and Receive 20% off - Use our affiliate link here to navigate to Ownr and receive 20% off Ownr’s fees.

Get Started Now - Click the “Get Started Now” button to begin your incorporation.

Choose Your Location - Let Ownr know where you’re located by choosing Canada and your applicable province. Ownr is currently only available in BC, AB an ON.

New or Existing Business - Choose between registering a new or existing business.

Choose a Business Structure - Choose whether you want to create a corporation or a sole proprietorship. If you’re not sure which is right for you, check out our article here.

Choose a Name - Choose whether you want a numbered company or a named company. If you want a named company, you can do a preliminary check to see if the name you want meets the legal requirements of a corporation in your location.

Create an Ownr Login - Enter your information to create an Ownr account.

Account Information - Enter your contact info and some information about your business like what industry its in and what you want the year-end to be.

Directors and Officers - Tell Ownr if you will be managing the business by yourself or if you would like to add some other managers or directors. You’ll be prompted to enter the information of the other managers and owners if you have any.

Choose a Plan - Choose whether you want to incorporate only, or if you want to use the Managed Corporation Plan as well. See here for what the managed corporation plan includes.

Pay - Enter your credit card information and submit payment

Name Reservation and Finalize - Once you’ve paid, Ownr will do a search to make sure you can reserve your corporate name before finalizing and submitting your application.

Pros and Cons of Using Ownr

If you read and watched how to incorporate a business with Ownr, you’ll see that it’s a pretty slick process with helpful guidance. However, there are some drawbacks to using it as well. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.

Pros of Using Ownr

Cost Savings - It’s much less expensive to incorporate your business with Ownr than to go the more traditional route of using a lawyer.

Time Savings - You can incorporate your business in a matter of minutes and on your own schedule.

Great Tools - Ownr provides the tools and information that you need to incorporate and then manage the administration of your corporation.

Access Online - You can access your corporate documents and information through Ownr’s online portal instead of having to drive down to a lawyer’s office.

Up to $300 Back - If you open an RBC business bank account for your new corporation, you can get up to $300 back on your Ownr fees.

Other Perks - Ownr has partnered with a number of other service providers to offer you discounts. You can see the full list of offers here and some notable examples include:

Xero - 50% off the first 3 months of your Xero subscription

QuickBooks Online - 70% off for the first three months of QuickBooks Online subscription

Telus - Save up to 25% on business mobility plans

H&R Block - Save 20% on self-employed tax prep or $100 off of corporate tax preparation fees

Cons of Using Ownr

Limited Locations - As of writing this article, you can only use Ownr if you’re located in British Columbia, Alberta or Ontario.

Limited Business Types - Ownr currently only supports sole proprietors and corporations. If you’re looking to set up a partnership or joint venture, Ownr isn’t for you.

Limited Legal Advice - If you’re incorporating with a lawyer, you will be able to get advice and answers to specific legal questions from your lawyer. Ownr has great tools and support, but no access to a lawyer.

Ownr Alternatives

There are a couple of common alternatives to Ownr when incorporating or starting a sole proprietorship.

  • Incorporate through a lawyer
  • DIY incorporation

Incorporate Through a Lawyer

Incorporating through a lawyer is the more traditional method of setting up your corporation. You will need to reach out to a corporate lawyer in your area to get the process started.

DIY Incorporation

You can also complete the incorporation process on your own through your local government body. This can be done online without assistance from a lawyer.

  • Federal Incorporation - Start the federal incorporation process here
  • British Columbia Incorporation - Start the BC incorporation process here
  • Alberta Incorporation - Start the AB incorporation process here
  • Ontario Incorporation - Start the ON incorporation process here

Incorporating with a Lawyer

Incorporating with a Lawyer is the most expensive, but provides the greatest level of support and advice.

Cost

Incorporating through a lawyer costs about $1,500 on average and you will need to rely on your lawyer or legal team to be responsive to get the job done.

Support

You can get advice from your lawyer on things like share structure, shareholder agreements, how to limit your liability and general best practices.

Scenarios

Some potential lawyer incorporation scenarios include:

  • Incorporating with a lawyer could be a good option if you’re not worried about the cost and are concerned about getting the best advice when you incorporate.
  • It can also be a good choice if you are planning a more complicated corporate structure.

DIY Incorporation

DIY incorporation provides the least amount of support and advice as you’re just using the online forms or tools provided by the government in your location. However, it can be the least costly option of the three.

Cost

The actual incorporation process can be less expensive than the other two options when choosing the DIY option. For example, a BC incorporation will cost around $380 to complete using the DIY option.

Ownr can actually be less costly if you take advantage of their promotions, plus Avalon’s affiliate link can save you an additional 20% on Ownr’s services.

Support

As you might expect, DIY incorporation offers the least amount of support. You’ll be on your own to fill out the forms and complete the incorporation process.

Scenarios

Some potential DIY incorporation scenarios include:

  • DIY incorporation can be a good choice if you are experienced in running a business through a corporation and don’t need any guidance.
  • It could be suitable if you are planning a simple corporate structure.
  • It can also be a reasonable method if you want to keep costs down.

Incorporating with Ownr

Incorporating your business with Ownr falls somewhere in the middle when it comes to support.

The standard cost of incorporating with Ownr is slightly higher than the DIY option, but can become the least costly if you take advantage of some discounts and offers.

Support

Ownr provides a clear step-by-step process for incorporating your business. You can also access templates for various corporate documents and agreements.

It provides more support than the DIY option, but less than going with a lawyer as you can’t ask Ownr for legal advice.

Cost

The cost of incorporating with Ownr is pretty comparable to the DIY option and much less than using a lawyer.

The standard cost of incorporating with Ownr ranges from $399 to $599 depending on which services you choose and where you’re located.

You can reduce the cost by 20% by using Avalon’s affiliate link here.

You can also get up to $300 back if you open an RBC business bank account after incorporating see details (see details here).

Scenarios

Some potential Ownr incorporation scenarios include:

  • Incorporating with Ownr can be a good choice if you are looking to save on the cost of incorporating via a lawyer.
  • It is a good option if you’re looking for a way to manage your corporate documents and filings online in one place.
  • It is also suited for those who don’t have a lot of legal questions when incorporating.
  • It’s also great for simple corporate structures.

Ownr Coupon - Save 20% on Incorporating with Ownr

You can save 20% when you incorporate with Ownr by using Avalon’s affiliate link here.

The 20% discount also applies to Ownr’s other services including managing your corporate documents and filings or setting up a sole proprietorship.

We do receive a commission if you use the link above and sign up with Ownr.

Ownr Review Conclusion

Overall, the ease of use and low cost of using Ownr make it an excellent choice for business owners who want to incorporate their business.

If you want to incorporate and you plan on a fairly simple corporate structure, which is fairly common for small business in Canada, Ownr may be a good choice for you.

The main drawback is that you don’t get the same guidance or legal advice that you do when you incorporate with a lawyer.

If you decide to incorporate with Ownr, it’s still useful to consult with your accountant before incorporating.

Ownr Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How Much Does Ownr Cost?

  • Register a sole proprietorship with Ownr for $89 + tax
  • Incorporate in BC with Ownr for $699 + tax
  • Incorporate in Alberta with Ownr for $599 + tax
  • Incorporate in Ontario with Ownr for $599 + tax
  • Incorporate Federally with Ownr for $499 + tax (only available for Ontario residents)
  • Managed your Corporate documents and filing with Ownr for $599 + tax per year


Which Provinces Does Ownr Service?

Ownr currently provides services to those located in BC, Alberta and Ontario.


What Types of Business Structure can you Register with Ownr?

A the moment, only sole proprietorships and corporations can be registered with Ownr.


Who Owns Ownr?

Ownr is owned and operated by RBC Ventures Inc.


How Long Does it Take to Register a Business or Incorporate with Ownr

It takes about 15 minutes to complete the registration or incorporation process. Once that’s complete, it can take another day for the registration process to be completed on Ownr’s side.

Article by
Paul Sharpe, CPA, CA
.
Originally published
November 26, 2021
.
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