Owning a business can be incredibly rewarding, but it is also an incredible amount of work. Fortunately, a pilot project in the Tri-Cities (that’s Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, Port Moody for those outside of the Lower Mainland) aims to help ease the burden on business owners for one particular issue proprietors in PoCo-Co-PoMo face: business licences.
One is better than three
If you own a business in the tri-cities that isn’t a fixed storefront, chances are you do business in all three municipalities. Problem is, in order to legally do so you need a business licence for each municipality as well – which frankly, is cumbersome, expensive and annoying. Enter: The Tri-cities Mobile Business Licence, which allows business owners in the Tri-Cities to register for one licence instead of three.
Darla is a photographer and has been happily snapping in Coquitlam for over 20 years. “I do a lot of my work in the studio, but I do travel. I was very excited and I was all for getting a mobile business licence in the Tri-Cities. I was one of the first to jump on board,” she says.
One big community
Darla’s studio is a little picturesque cottage, perched on an acre on top of Burke Mountain. “It’s a great spot to be with all the development in Coquitlam – it used to be in the bush but now it blends nicely into the sub division,” she says. As the Tri-Cities continue to grow, the borders between the communities blur. A business licence that covers all three municipalities just makes sense. In fact, for over 40 years there’s been a single body representing all the businesses in the adjoining communities – The Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce.
Darla says, “Quite honestly, I think most of the people in the tri-cities think of themselves as a tri-cities community. There’s probably a camp that thinks, ‘It’s Coquitlam, its Port Coquitlam, it’s Port Moody,’ but I think in general it’s one big community sort of sprawled into each other.”
Business, not bureaucracy
Each municipality in that big community individually relies on funds generated by business licences to keep the lights on, but there’s no reason why the burden to distribute that money should rest on small business owners’ shoulders. The Tri-Cities Mobile Business Licence allows owners to concentrate on their business, not bureaucracy.
BC has been working hard to cut red tape for business owners – in fact, we’re the best in the country – having removed 155,000 regulatory requirements since 2001, a reduction of 42%. The Tri-Cities aren’t the first to implement a mobile business licence either – BC has 58 communities who are participating in the program.
But does it really make things easier for business owners? Darla says, “Because I had a business licence already, when they sent me the renewal they gave me the choice. All I did was I called and I paid for my business licence by phone. It’s quick, easy.” For those who are starting a fresh business, it’s almost as easy, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody all have information on their websites on how to get started.
Burnaby, Delta, New Westminster, Richmond, Surrey and Vancouver just joined the mobile business licence party as well – get details, here.