Starting a For-Profit Transportation Business

There are several ways to set up the legal structure of your assisted transportation service. There are four types of business structures: sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and co-operative. Please seek legal advice to determine which legal structure is the best for your business.   
 
  • 1) Sole Proprietorship: Sole owner who is fully responsible for all debts and obligations related to the business. All profits are the owners to keep.

  • 2) Partnership: Non-incorporated business that is created between two or more people. Financial resources are combined with the business partner and profits are shared. There are several forms of partnerships including general (partners are jointly liable for the debts of the partnership), limited (a person can contribute to the business without being involved in operations), and limited liability (usually only available to a group of professionals such as lawyers, accountants, doctors, etc.).

  • 3) Corporation: Incorporated business that is a legal entity separate from its shareholders. Shareholders are not personally liable for the debts, obligations, or acts.

  • 4) Co-operative: Owned and controlled by an association of members. Co-operatives can be set up as for-profit or non-profits. It is often used when groups of individuals want to pool their resources to provide access to common needs.
    
For more information on the types of businesses, including advantages and disadvantages, visit the Government of Canada: Business & Industry .


In this section, you will find resources to guide you in setting up and running your assisted transportation service as a for-profit corporation. Please seek legal advice to determine whether a corporation is the best legal structure for your purposes. 
Starting & Running a Business
Business corporations are independent legal entities that exist separate from its owners and are distinct from non-profits as they are formed to make a profit and distribute this profit to its shareholders. Corporations can buy, sell, and own assets, make contracts, sue, and be sued. Shareholders are not personally liable for the debts, obligations, or acts of the corporation. Businesses of any size can register as a corporation.

Registration
In Alberta, registering a for-profit corporation is done through a registry agent or an authorized Alberta service provider. Cost includes a government fee and a service fee and requires the following steps:

      1) Choosing a Name
     2) Getting an Alberta NUANS Report
     3) Filling Out Required Forms
     4) Taking the Information to a Registry Agent or Authorized Service Provider

For more information, visit Service Alberta or contact Service Alberta: Registries Information at 780-427-7013
(or dial 310-0000 then 780-427-7013 for toll free).

Licensing 
​Regardless of your assisted transportation service's legal structure (e.g., sole proprietorship or corporation), it is important to check municipal, provincial/territorial, and federal regulations to determine which business licences or permits are required, if applicable. Certain businesses may only require municipal licences and permits, whereas others may require provincial business licences (e.g., charitable organizations). 
  
Please note that with the introduction of Transportation Network Companies (e.g., Uber) many municipalities have developed new regulations surrounding licensing requirements for vehicles for hire. These new regulations may not be reflected in the BizPal online service (see below). Please contact your local municipality for more information.
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BizPal​​  
Service Alberta BizPal is an online service with information regarding online business permits and license information. This service gives entrepreneurs simplified access to information on what permits and licences are needed from all levels of government (municipal, provincial/territorial, and federal). Based on information you provide about your business, you will generate a customized list of permits and licenses (including required registrations) that you may need from the municipal, provincial/territorial, and federal governments. It is free to use and is available 24/7.
Resources
​​Alberta Small Business 
Alberta Small Business is a directory of business resources put together by the Government of Alberta for new and established entrepreneurs. Resources include information on starting, operating, and funding a business as well as regulations for small businesses.  Alberta Small Business has advisors who can provide free advice to small businesses and entrepreneurs.

BusinessLink
BusinessLink is a non-profit organization that helps Alberta entrepreneurs start their own businesses. With support from the Governments of Alberta and Canada, BusinessLink is focused on helping small business owners. The website includes resources on planning, financing, and starting your business. BusinessLink also provides one-on-one support and advice, training and webinars, tools and services to help small business owners succeed.

The BDC is a financial institution devoted exclusively to entrepreneurs. It is a Crown corporation that offers financing, advisory services, and capital, with a focus on small and medium businesses. The BDC also offers articles and tools on topics such as starting a business, business planning, money and finance, operations and more.