Starting a business in Fort McMurray is pretty exciting. There are lots of niches to fill and opportunities to be had. But before you open for business, you need to “check all the boxes.”
Build a solid legal foundation
Build a solid financial foundation
Get the proper insurance
Here’s what getting your contractor business up and running in Fort McMurray is going to require:
Step 1 of Starting a Business in Fort McMurray: Financial Matters
Open a Separate Account for your Business Money
Before you spend a penny on anything business related, set up a business account.
You need to make sure to keep your personal and business money separate.
Hire an Accountant
Seek out an accountant in Fort McMurray.
He or she will know about the laws and taxes that apply to businesses in Fort McMurray. Hire one that specializes in working with your type businesses (construction, oil and gas, retail, etc.).
Meet up with your accountant regularly, especially when you’re first starting up. You want to learn the language of accounting, the terms and jargon they use.
Accounting is often referred to as “the language of business,” and terms like “accounts receivable” and “equity” and “profit and loss statements” are going to become part of your daily life as a business owner.
Register your Business with Revenue Canada and Get a Business License.
According to Revenue Canada, “You may need to register with several different levels of government for many different reasons.”
Again, this is all about protecting yourself and running a legitimate business.
Go to the Registering your Business page on the government’s website to find out more and get started.
Set up Some Accounting Software and Learn How to Use it!
It’s all about the money, right? So your new favourite thing is going to be your accounting software.
With it, you can handle and keep track of all your business’s financials.
You need to choose software that suits your needs because not all accounting programs will give you the same abilities.
A platform like Freshbooks will help you pay bills, create invoices, and track your revenue, expenses, and cash flow.
Higher-end software like Zoho Books gives you the ability to payroll, inventory control, sales analysis, and have reporting features.
You’ll need to do some research to figure out which one does everything you need it to do.
This article should make the choice a bit easier: Best Accounting Software for Small Business of 2017
Step 2: Legal
Find an Attorney
Get one who specializes in setting up businesses. You’ll work with them to figure out which corporate structure is best for you.
In Fort McMurray, the oil and gas industry almost always requires contractors to be incorporated. Setting your business up right will save you time and money in the long run.
Corporate structure? What’s that all about? Here are a few articles to get you thinking about how you want to set up your business:
- Choose Your Business Structure from Entrepreneur.com
- How to Choose the Best Legal Structure for your Business from Business News Daily
- The Complete Guide to Choosing your Business Structure from BPlans.com
Go over your corporate structure with your lawyer to make sure you don’t leave yourself open to liability.
Protect yourself, your family, your assets, and your employees with a solid legal foundation.
Get Licenses and Permits
Find out which licenses and you need as a contractor in Fort McMurray by searching it up on Google.
Type in “Drywalling Contractor License Fort McMurray,” “Scaffolding Contractor Fort McMurray,” “General Contractor License Fort McMurray,” etc. into Google and it will brings up the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) Licensing and Permits web page.
If you click through to the Business Licensing page, you’ll see an overview of process.
How much is that going to cost? Use the BizPal tool on the Service Alberta website to find out which permits and licenses you’ll need in Fort McMurray.
*Choose Wood Buffalo as your city/municipality.
Step 3: Get Business Insurance
As with thinking up a great business name and buying tools to do your job, getting insurance is another necessary step. It’s one you’re going to have to research and discuss what kind of coverage you need with your insurance agent or broker when you find one.
It may or may not surprise you that a lot of contractors don’t have insurance. They may get by for a while, but then disaster strikes the contractor is personally liable.
Avoid ending up with serious financial consequences by getting proper insurance coverage.
Business Insurance Info from The Insurance Bureau of Canada
Step 4: Marketing
Once you’re registered, insured, and full of legal and financial knowledge, you’re ready to start marketing.
You can start with a website and build from there, or you can hit the ground running by taking advantage of 5 online marketing tools:
- Mobile-friendly, seo-optimized website
- Social media accounts
- Pay per click (PPC) ads
- Content marketing (familiarly known as blogging, podcasting, vlogging, creating tutorials)
- Marketing automation
Nyche Marketing offers services for all 5 of the elements above. Interested in building a website? Setting up and running social media? Pay per click ads?
Build your credibility
Take advantage of Fort McMurray Construction Association.
You’ll find current info on “construction procurement opportunities and industry activities for a membership of General Contractors, Trade Contractors, Manufacturers and Suppliers of Goods and Services to the Construction Industry.”
You can access essential resources through their website:
- Links to the Alberta Construction Safety Association
- Construction Trade Definitions (2017)
- RedLink: A tool that can be used to help get your company noticed by industry
- E-Learning and CSTS courses specific to your trade
- Help setting up a benefits plan
- Advertising opportunities
- Click here for the full list of benefits you get if you sign up as a FMCA member.
Get a listing on the BBB Accredited Business Directory
Accreditation with the BBB means a lot to potential customers because it protects buyers from unethical businesses.
It’s also a means of promoting your business because you’ll have a BBB listing that anyone can check. Take advantage of anything that will set you apart from your competition.
List your Business on Fort McMurray Online
There are plenty of places to list your business online for Fort McMurray. No matter what kind of business you have, you can get listed on Fort McMurray Online.
It may seem simple and old-fashioned looking, but anything that helps customers find you is worth a try.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on listing your business on Fort McMurray Online.
Get listed on contractor-specific directories
Download this free Top 5 Must-Have Contractor Directories to get listed on today!
You can use it as a checklist: check them off once you’re listed on each one.
Some Last Words on Starting a Business in Fort McMurray
Of course there are so many more things you can do when you’re starting a business in Fort McMurray, but hopefully now you have a better idea at the steps involved.
My personal advice for anyone starting a business is to never let off the gas. You may be tempted to coast once things get up and running, but you need to stay hungry.
Always look for the best opportunities, the ideal customers, and keep an eye on the competition.
You’ll get out of your business what you put into it, so keep at it!
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Looking for an online marketing expert? Try Nyche Marketing!