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Starting a mobile DJ company

Expert: Julie King

Justin asked:

I am thinking of starting a mobile DJ business in North Bay Ontario. What is required for the business aspect of this as far as licensing/ registration? If I then move to Kitchener Ontario as planned in the near future, will this affect anything? If another person is brought with me to assist or to do a gig does he or she need to be registered as an employee?

Julie King answered:

Congratulations! There are few things as exciting as starting a new business. You have asked some excellent questions that show that you are already on the right track.

Business Registration

On the topic of business registration, as the sole owner of your new company you can either:

- register a sole proprietorship with the Ontario government; or

- you can incorporate.

Registering a sole proprietorship is the simplest option. In fact, you can even operate the business in your own name without formal registration (but many people choose to register the business to get a more interesting name). Sole proprietorships can have tax advantages in your first years in business, because if your business loses money (which often happens) you can use that loss to reduce regular income earnings (and therefore pay less tax).

However, one of the main advantages of an incorporated company is that you will have personal liability protection. It also has stronger protection for your business name. In the long term it has tax advantages as well.

Once you decide on the form of business that you, you need to consider licensing and where you will register the business.

Business Licenses & Business Support Centres

Each municipality creates its own licensing requirements. Laurie Wood from the City of North Bay confirmed that a mobile DJ business will not require any special license from the municipality.

Most communities actively encourage business development and large communities often have business support centres where new business owners can get free or low cost assistance.

North Bay has the Business Centre, which is located in City Hall on the 6th Floor (200 McIntyre St. E.). They are open Monday to Friday from 8:30 to 4:30.

Should you decide to register a sole proprietorship, the Business Centre can help you register your company with the Ontario government and acquire your Master Business License. (You will need this to open a business bank account.) If you decide to incorporate you should use the service of professional such as an accountant or lawyer.

Possible Grants & Loans

More importantly, the Business Centre can also assist you with business planning and they may be able to help you access government grants and loans. They have two consultants on staff: one for young entrepreneurs between the ages of 18-34 and another for entrepreneurs who are 35 years of age or older. When we spoke with their office they noted that there are a number of grant and loan programs available, particularly for young entrepreneurs.

The Business Centre recommends that you drop by; they can give you some initial information that will help you get ready to meet with one of their consultants.

It is noteworthy that grants and loans are often regionally based. FedNor, which is responsible for economic development in the north, will likely have more programs available than you will find in Kitchener, which is considered to be a prosperous area.


As a business owner you have the choice of hiring an employee or hiring someone on a freelance basis (they must meet the legal test of not being considered to be an employee, which should not be too difficult in your case.)

If you decide to hire employees you will need to get a Business Number (BN) from the Canada Revenue Agency with a payroll account. A consultant from the Business Centre should be able to help decide whether to hire someone as an employee or as freelancer.

Relocating Your Business to Kitchener, Ontario

When you register your business with the province or incorporate, there is no problem moving your business. Obviously you will need to update the address that is on file with any government agencies that you deal with and you will also need to check with the City of Kitchener to confirm that they don't have any special licensing requirements for your type of business.

Other Considerations

There are many other things to consider when you start a business. To help new business owners we put together a Starting a Business Guide, which has many useful articles.

In particular, you might find value in Ten Steps to Your Own Business and Prepare a Business Plan (a very useful process that you will need to go through if you apply for any grants or loans).

I hope this information is helpful to you and wish you great success with your new venture!

Yours truly,

Julie King
Publisher & Managing Editor

Where Canadians Surf for Success!

About the author

Julie King is the co-founder and managing editor of CanadaOne, Canada's first small business portal.

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