What does it cost to start a business in Calgary?

Posted on: Jan 29, 2018

While every business is unique, the administrative start-up costs are similar whether you are going to be doing IT consulting or drywalling. It doesn’t have to break the bank to start a new company, but you do need to budget for it in your business plan.

1. Incorporate or Register a Trade Name/Sole Proprietorship or Partnership

Cost: $52 – $453.50

Registering a Trade Name, Sole Proprietorship or Partnership is straightforward and inexpensive – just $52. You can choose to do a NUANS Report to check to see if you anyone is already using your desired business name, which will cost an additional $47.25. However, you should note that doing a NUANS Report for a non-incorporated company doesn’t protect the name, it just proves that you didn’t start using the name after someone else. The great thing about this type of business registration is that you don’t have to do any annual maintenance However, if you plan to have employees or if you want to issue shares, you will need to look at incorporating a company.

Incorporating a Numbered company at Registries Plus costs just $384.50 (including GST). This includes just a very basic Articles of Incorporation with a simple share structure (or Articles of Incorporation which you provide to us yourself). If you aren’t sure about your needs, we do recommend that you go with a Deluxe Incorporation for $453.50, which includes a Minute Book and a comprehensive guide to corporate record-keeping from the Alberta lawyers at Legal Ease.

What if you start with a Trade Name and then incorporate as you grow? Or if you want to register a numbered company and then change to a Named company later on? All of this is possible, but it can be complicated and costly since a Trade Name cannot be transferred from one person to another and the cost to amend a corporate name or articles of incorporation starts at $110.

2. Get a Business Number from the CRA

Cost: $0

The good news is that this costs nothing. You can add a GST account or Payroll account as well at no cost. The website provides detailed information about which accounts are required, and we do recommend that you read this carefully (or consult an accountant). Once you register, you are required to file regularly, whether you have staff on payroll or GST to remit or not. The easiest way to apply for a BN, GST or Payroll account is to register online.

3. Get a City of Calgary Business License

Cost: $400 – $2000+

The City of Calgary requires you to register your business, either in person, by phone or using their convenient online portal . The types of permits and licenses required will depend on the type of business activity, how many customers will visit the premises, the types of vehicles which are registered to the business, how many employees, etc.

4. Marketing Costs

$300 – $7500+

Your company’s brand is important and how much you choose to invest will depend on the type of business. A professional logo will cost $700 – $2500+. If you are on a shoestring budget, you may be able to find a cheaper logo using Fiverr or 99Designs, or create your own using an easy to use web-based multimedia software program like Canva.

As above, a professionally designed custom website will cost upwards of $5000. The best way to find a local web developer is to talk to local businesses whose websites you like. There are a number of Facebook groups for entrepreneurs which can be a wealth of information when sourcing products and hiring contractors. If your budget is very tight, you can get a website done cheaper if you choose to learn a simple Website development platform like WordPress. WordPress offers many different templates, which even though they are not unique, will offer a professional appearance and a high degree of customization. The most important thing is that you can create an online space for customers to view your work, find out about your services and find your contact information.

It is important to build some of these costs into your business plan, but keep in mind that it isn’t necessarily important to build a national-brand presence right out of the gates – logos, websites, signage, etc. can always be re-done and improved as the business grows. The important thing is to the get the administrative requirement completed straight away.
At Registries Plus, we love helping Albertans to start on their entrepreneurial journeys. Come visit us or give us a call at 403.272-5513 to get started today.