Looking for help to start or manage your business in Canada?
Ownr is an all-in-one business filing and management service that’s backed by RBCX (formerly RBC ventures).
The platform charges a one-time fee to help Canadians set up their business and offers various technical, accounting, government filing, and tax services for an annual fee.
I recently signed up for the program myself to help streamline my business.
Today, I’m going to go over this Ownr review, outline its services, and explain how it can benefit small business owners. I’ll also explain some of the key drawbacks of Ownr and explain why it might not be the right fit for everybody.
Small Business Solutions
Register your business, manage government filings, contracts, company stock distribution, and more with Ownr’s easy-to-use online business management platform.
- Helps you register a business without the technical headaches
- Simplifies the business incorporation process
- Helps you manage government filings so you stay compliant
- Easily issue and transfer stocks and ownership percentages
- Helps you create custom contracts, disclaimers, and other documents
- Allows you to create employee stock options
- Access discounted products and services from Ownr and RBC partners
- It’s only available in BC, AB, and ON
- No monthly billing options (you have to pay an annual fee)
What Is Ownr?
In late September 2020, the RBC Ventures-backed company, Ownr, officially acquired the private company Founder. The acquisition gave Ownr the resources it needed to revolutionize its business filing and management services and create a full suite of business management tools to help small business owners in Canada.
Fast-forward over two years later, and Ownr is one of the top-rated business management services in Canada, with over 90,000 customers served.
First and foremost, Ownr provides business filing services. The company charges a one-time fee to file for your sole proprietorship or incorporated company. Ownr will handle all of the federal and provincial paperwork for you, so you can save time and eliminate filing problems.
Secondly, Ownr offers a number of business management services, which are included in a plan that you’re billed annually for. Some of the key services offered by Ownr include:
- Managing, issuing, and transference of company shares
- Government filing for changes in your business
- Contract creation (employee contracts, service contracts, etc.)
- Set up employee stock options
These services can be helpful to first-time business owners and seasoned entrepreneurs alike. Filing for a new business and managing all of your paperwork can be both tedious and time-consuming, even if you’ve done it personally for a previous business.
Ownr offers two distinct one-time setup fees for the registration of your business. Then, you’ll be able to select from an option corporation management plan, which will be added to your purchase and billed annually.
Here’s how much it costs to register and file for your business with Ownr:
- Sole proprietorship: $49 (one-time fee)
- Incorporation: $499
If you opt for the full incorporation service, you’ll be given two options:
- Try the Online Minute Book Plan for free for a year (after one year, you’ll be billed $199 per year)
- Sign up for the Managed Corporation Plan for $599 annually (this will reduce your incorporation cost from $499 to $399, saving you $100)
If you sign up for the Managed Corporation Plan, you’ll also have the ability to choose from add-on services, which will increase your annual bill.
Aside from business filing services, Ownr provides two business management subscriptions- the Online Minute Book Plan ($199/year) and the Managed Corporation Plan ($599/yr).
Here’s a quick breakdown of the difference between the two services:
|Online Minute Book Plan||Managed Corporation Plan|
|Best for small start-ups and businesses with a smaller staff||Best for growing corporations that need advanced business management tools|
|Helps you store important documents and manage government business filing.||Offers everything that the Online Minute Book Plan provides while expanding access to legal agreements|
|Allows you to manage company shares and employer share options for an additional add-on fee|
If you’re not sure of which service is better for you, I recommend going with the Online Minute Book Plan. You can always upgrade to the Managed Corporation Plan if you find the need for additional services.
Plus, the Online Minute Book Plan is free for the first year if you’re incorporating your business through Ownr, which allows you to try it risk-free.
Ownr provides a full suite of tools and services that small business owners and large corporations alike can use to effectively manage their business operations. Here’s a full breakdown of all the key services that the company provides to customers.
If you’ve ever registered a business on your own before, then you may remember that it can be rather time-consuming. This is why many entrepreneurs choose to hire an accountant to help them set up their business and complete their business’ registration with their province and the CRA.
Currently, Ownr can help customers set up a sole proprietorship or an incorporated company.
Ownr offers all customers unlimited business name searches, so you’ll be able to find the perfect name for your business without having to worry about your application being rejected due to duplicate names.
Once you select your business name and pay the fee, Ownr will virtually issue your articles of incorporation, company name registration, share issuances, and other company organization documents. You’ll also receive your CRA business number, which you’ll use for tax filing purposes.
Whenever you make changes to your business, you’ll need to file the appropriate paperwork with your local provincial government and the CRA, so they have updated information. If you just own a sole proprietorship, you likely won’t need this service all that often.
However, if you own an incorporated company, then you may find yourself having to make changes more often. For example, you may add a partner to the company and transfer them some of your own shares or promote another member of the company and increase their company share.
All of these changes need to be documented so the CRA knows how to tax the business and its members.
Filing these changes with the CRA and provincial authorities can involve a lot of paperwork and often requires an accountant to help you navigate the complex jargon. Ownr will also review your filings to make sure that all of the information is correct, so you don’t have to worry about mistakes and re-filing.
At some point, most businesses will need to create custom documents that protect them legally and provide clear statements about products and services. For example, it may be important for an eCommerce business to create a product disclaimer, detail shipping policies, or implement return and exchange policies.
Ownr provides small business owners with custom document templates, allowing them to fill in the blanks and create custom fields within the form. While you can often find free templates online, these often exclude key terms and statements that may leave open loopholes that can be exploited.
The ability to create custom documents ensures that your business is legally protected and provides clear definitions regarding company policy and other important details.
Incorporated companies are different from sole proprietorships in that they aren’t owned by an individual or a partnership. Instead, incorporated companies are separate legal entities that have shareholders.
If there’s just one member in the company (i.e., the founder), then they will have ownership of 100% of the shares.
However, if the incorporated company is founded by multiple members or partners, each will need to agree to a certain distribution of shares, which will need to be officially documented.
Ownr not only helps incorporated businesses handle share distribution, but it also makes it easy to transfer shares in the future. This often happens when one member decides to sell their share in the company or passes away, leaving their shares to another individual.
At some point, most businesses will need to create contracts between employees, customers, and partners. When the need for this arises, Ownr can help you customize:
- Employment contacts
- Subcontractor agreements
- Service contracts
- Affiliate contracts
- … and more
The ability to customize your business’ contracts ensures that you’re never caught off-guard and are legally protected in the event that the other party tries to take advantage of you or your business.
One of the strategies that larger corporations use to retain valuable team members is to issue them company stock. This allows the employee to collect additional income and ensures their long-term commitment to the company.
For an additional $999 per year, Ownr will handle all of your corporation’s employee stock options.
Now that you’ve had a chance to look over the key services provided by Ownr, let’s review some of the key benefits:
- Ownr ensures that your business is legally compliant
- Ownr can cut help you save on accounting and legal fees
- Ownr automates tedious filing and other accounting tasks
- Ownr securely stores your business documents on its cloud servers
- Ownr offers special rebates and discounts with its partners
Whether you operate a small sole proprietorship or operate a major corporation, your business filings and paperwork need to be up-to-date. Your taxes, permits, regulatory papers, share distribution, and other documents can all be stored, reviewed, and regularly updated with Ownr to ensure that your business is fully compliant with all provincial and federal regulations.
While Ownr can’t completely replace an accountant, the platform can handle a lot of the services that you would otherwise have to pay an accountant for. Accountants often charge upwards of $80 to $100 per hour (or more) to file paperwork and handle other technical tasks.
If you frequently use an accountant for your business, there’s a good chance that Ownr could dramatically reduce your accounting fees by taking care of certain items.
Managing a business the old-fashioned way takes time and often a lot of it. Ownr can save you a good deal of time by automating tasks such as:
- Business filing
- Share issuance and transfer
- Writing contracts and agreements
- Handling director and officer updates
- … and more
This means that you’ll spend less time pouring over documents and web pages and more time actually running your business. Time is a valuable commodity, and the more time you can free up for yourself, the more money you’ll be able to make.
If you’re running a business, it’s important to keep all of your legal documents and business paperwork in one place. Ownr subscribers will be able to store and view all of their important documents on their cloud storage account, allowing them to easily access them without having to dig through unnecessary paperwork or files on your laptop.
You can also print these documents out from your Ownr dashboard if you ever need a physical copy.
Lastly, Ownr subscribers will be able to take advantage of special perks and promotional offers thanks to Ownrs network of partners. Some of the top perks Ownr’s offering include:
- 75% off QuickBooks for 3 months
- 20% off TELUS smartphone plans
- 20% off Vistaprint orders
- $300 back if you sign up for an RBC business account
As you can see, these deals are actually good, and can allow you to save a good bit of money on business accounting software, marketing resources, and other essential business products.
Although Ownr provides a lot of value to subscribers, there are some areas where I’ve found it falls short. These shortcomings are, unfortunately, deal-breakers for some.
If you want to use Ownr’s subscription service, you’ll need to pay a single annual fee. Currently, Ownr doesn’t offer any monthly pricing options, which means that some would-be customers simply won’t be able to justify the costs.
That being said, I do appreciate that Ownr offers to set up your business in exchange for a one-time payment, even if you don’t subscribe to Ownr’s business management services.
Given that it’s a relatively new company itself, Ownr is only available in British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario. If you’re trying to start a business in one of Canada’s other provinces, then you’re out of luck.
If you want to use Ownr to manage your business, you’ll only be able to do so through the desktop site. Currently, Ownr doesn’t offer an iOS or Android-compatible app, which can be limiting if you’re on the go and don’t have your laptop with you.
To wrap up, let’s take a few minutes to look over some of the frequently asked questions I’ve seen regarding Ownr and its services.
It depends on the type of business you’re trying to register and how involved it is. If you’re just registering a sole proprietorship, for example, then it may only take 15 or 20 minutes. However, if you’re trying to incorporate a company, you may want to set aside at least 45 minutes to an hour of your time to handle the extra paperwork.
Ownr charges a one-time fee to help you register and file your business. After this, you’ll be able to choose between monthly business management plans. The only free trial that Ownr offers is for the Online Minute Book Plan.
If you use Ownr to incorporate your business, then you’ll get a free year of access to the Online Minute Book Plan to help you manage your important business documents. After this, the plan will renew at $199 per year. This free trial is only available to customers who are incorporating their business, not for sole proprietorships.
Unfortunately, Ownr only allows you to manage one business per account. If you own multiple businesses, then you’ll need to create separate Ownr accounts to handle each one.
Signing up for Ownr’s Managed Corporation Plan will run you a minimum of $599 per year if you don’t pay for the additional add-ons, so it’s definitely an investment. If you’re a small business that’s just starting out, then you may not need this expensive plan.
Medium-sized businesses (especially corporations) can really benefit from Ownr’s services, though, and they can save you a good deal of time and money that you’d otherwise have to fork over to an accountant.
Either way, Ownr still offers a great deal on the one-time fee to set up your business, even if you don’t subscribe to the company’s business management services.
Once your business has established income and credit, you may be eligible to apply for a business credit card, which can help you build business credit and take advantage of cashback deals on key business expenses. Keep on reading to see my list of the best business credit cards in Canada.