Business Name Registration BC: All You Need to Know
Starting a business you’re passionate about is one of the most exhilarating feelings in the world. Not only will you be able to offer value to the world on your terms, but you’ll also get to build something that’s just yours. Therefore, to ensure that you don’t lose your business down the line because of some mishap or something you missed in the registration process, let’s look at how to go about business name registration in BC.
Understanding Business Name Registration in British Columbia
Before getting started with business registration, you should first understand the business regulations that govern the industry and location of your business. Once you do that, you should also acknowledge that each province in Canada has its own set of rules and regulations governing business name registration. Today we’ll focus on BC, Canada.
In British Columbia, the process of business registration is overseen by the British Columbia Registry Services (BCRS). This is an agency that deals with everything to do with corporate and business registrations.
Let’s now look at the steps to follow when dealing with the business name registration process.
Guide to Business Name Registration in BC, Canada
Step 1: Decide on the Legal Structure
We recommend deciding on the legal structure of the business you want to register before choosing a name because each structure has its own implications on liability, taxation, and registration requirements.
Some popular legal structures in Canada include Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Corporation, and Limited Liability Partnership.
Step 2: Review Existing Trademarks
It’s important to review existing trademarks before settling on a name to ensure you don’t choose one that infringes on the intellectual property of other businesses. Doing so would result in legal action and cause you unnecessary headaches.
So, how do you review existing trademarks? The first thing you can do is to check the names registered in British Columbia. You can do that here.
The second way is to check the Canadian federal trademarks.
Once you do this, you can then move ahead with your name search.
Step 3: Choose a Unique Business Name
The third step is to choose a unique business name that aligns with your business’s values and aspirations. Ensure that the name is unique and distinguishable.
Since you’ve already reviewed existing trademarks, you won’t have to worry about infringing on existing copyrighted names or trademarks. You can conduct a name search on the BC Registry Services website.
This will enable you to confirm that your desired name is not already in use.
Step 4: Apply for a Business Name
The next step in the process is to submit a name request application to the British Columbia Registry Services. This will allow you to find out if the business name you want is valid for registration.
The good thing about submitting a business name request application in Canada is that you can do it in several places. These include:
- Online using the Name Request on the BC Registry Services website
- In-person at the Service BC website
Kindly note that your chosen business name may also require approval from your municipal hall and the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch if you plan on serving alcohol.
Step 5: Choose Between a Trade Name and a Corporate Name
One thing to note about registering a business in British Columbia, Canada, is that you can choose to operate your business under a trade or corporate name.
You’ll go with a trade name registration when you want to form a sole proprietorship or a partnership. A trade name is essentially the name you’ll use to do business. It’s also known as the “Doing Business As” (DBA) name.
On the other hand, you use a corporate name when you want to run a legally incorporated company.
Step 6: Register Your Business
Finally, it’s time to register your business. Here are the Canadian government agencies to consider during this process.
a) BC Registry Services
Here’s where the type of legal structure you choose for your business comes in because the type you choose affects how long this process is going to take.
For example, a sole proprietorship or partnership takes up to 2 days, and incorporation can take up to several weeks. Nonetheless, you’ll need to register your business as a sole proprietorship or corporation within 56 days of receiving your Name Request Number (NR number).
Once you register your business, you’ll get a Business Number (BN) which you can use as an identifier to remit taxes to the Canadian government, making WorkSafeBC payments, EI premiums, and Canada pension premiums.
If you plan on hiring workers in your business, you are required by Canadian law to register with WorkSafeBC. We recommend registering with WorkSafeBC at the same time you’re registering your business to ensure you are covered.
Speaking of being covered, here are the types of business insurance in BC to aid you on your wonderful journey.
c) Ministry of Finance
Whether you are registering a sole proprietorship or an incorporated company, you’ll need to register with the Canadian Ministry of Finance for Provincial Sales Tax (PST) remittance.
d) Canada Revenue Agency
You’ll need to register with the Canada Revenue Agency for GST/HST remittance and payroll deductions.
GST stands for Goods and Services Tax, and HST stands for Harmonized Sales Tax. These are consumption taxes levied on the supply of goods and services in Canada.
Benefits of Business Name Registration in British Columbia, Canada
Now that we’re done with the steps to follow when registering a business name in Canada let’s look at the benefits of going through this process. Still, you couldn’t simply start conducting business without going through the name approval and business registration.
Here are the advantages.
1. Legal Protection
Registering a business name protects you from any legal action by other people or businesses using the same name as you. By registering your business name, you reduce the risk of brand confusion or infringement.
It also allows you to go ahead with building your brand without worrying about having to start over again should a legal dispute over your business name take place.
The second advantage of registering your business name is adding credibility and professionalism to your enterprise. Your customers and partners are more likely to trust you if you are a registered business.
3. Seamless Banking and Financing
Having a registered business will make it easier for you to open bank accounts and obtain financing for your business. If you plan on obtaining loans for your business ventures, we highly recommend registering your business first to allow you to build banking relationships.
4. Access to Permits and Licenses
Finally, you’ll need a registered business name to obtain specific permits and licenses to facilitate the kind of services or products you offer.
Final Thoughts on Business Name Registration in BC
Registering your business name in BC is a great first step on your journey of building a successful enterprise in Canada. Remember to follow the steps we’ve outlined above, and don’t hesitate to get professional help if you want guidance when navigating the complexities of the process.
Frequently Asked Questions About Business Name Registration in BC
1. What should you consider when undertaking business name registration in BC?
When undertaking business name registration in BC, it’s important to follow the steps we’ve outlined above, including reviewing existing trademarks, choosing a suitable name, registering the business name, and registering the business.
Another important thing to note about business name registration is to avoid using a name for your business before completing the process. This means that you shouldn’t invest any money in the name if your sole proprietorship or partnership isn’t registered or if your company isn’t incorporated.
2. How do you check if a business name is available in BC?
Go to the British Columbia Registry Services (BCRS) website and perform a name search to confirm that the name you want to use is available. We recommend having a list of about 5 names to give you options in case some of the names you want are unavailable.
3. How much does a BC business license cost?
The cost of a BC business license varies based on the type of business you’re running and the location of the business. Nonetheless, the range lies between $40 and $200.
We recommend checking with your local government and the city’s licensing department to get accurate and up-to-date information on the cost of a business license.
4. How do I pick my business name?
Here are some tips to help you choose a good business name:
- Choose a name that represents your brand properly
- Choose a name that authentically aligns with your business values
- Review existing trademarks to ensure the name you want isn’t already taken
- Avoid picking a name that’s similar to your competitors’ names
- Choose a business name that’s easy to spell and pronounce
- Choose a memorable name
- Pick a name that’s web-friendly
- Test the name of choice with others to get insights and feedback
- Register the business name once you’ve made your pick
Featured Image by Scott Graham on Unsplash