The Mobile Business Licence allows businesses such as builders, decorators, caterers and those with mobile businesses to run their business across multiple municipalities and regional districts.
Article

Understanding Mobile Business Licences

Updated April 2017

To operate a business in BC you are required to obtain a business licence in the municipality you are working in. Each municipality’s licence is set up in a different way. Some have resident and non-resident licences; others have licences broken down by business type.

The thing that remains the same is that you will only be licensed to do business in that municipality. If you intend to carry out business across multiple municipalities you will be required to obtain licences from each of those municipalities.

That is unless you own and operate your business in the one of the 15 regions in British Columbia which have a Mobile Business Licence.

What is a Mobile Business Licence?

The Mobile Business Licence allows businesses such as builders, decorators, caterers and those with mobile businesses to run their business across multiple municipalities and regional districts.  Also known as an Inter-Community Business Licence or Inter-Municipal Business Licence. It’s intention is to help streamline and simplify the licensing process, reducing the cost for business owners and making it easier to do business in BC.

How the Mobile Business Licence Works?

Because each Mobile Licence Agreement has been created independently by the participating local governments, there is some variation on how the licence works across each of the participating areas. Variances include the types of businesses included and the price.

Typically, when purchasing a business licence from your local government, you will be offered the opportunity to purchase an additional Mobile Business Licence. This will allow you to operate in the municipalities and districts participating in the agreement.

Using Okanagan-Similkameen as an example, by purchasing your base licence and a companion Mobile Business Licence for an additional $150, you will be allowed legally work in all 19 municipalities and regional districts participating in the agreement. Without this agreement you would be required to go to all 19 communities separately and purchase 19 licences. That said, as each municipality could operate with different regulations and bylaws, so you will still be responsible for ensuring that you comply with those laws individually.

The Benefits of a Mobile Business Licence

  • Reduces the cost and time of buying multiple licences.
  • Saves you the burden of remembering to renew each licence, if purchased at different times.
  • Simpler process gives less room for errors and non-compliance.
  • Provides access to a larger target market, across more than one municipality.
  • Allows consumers a greater choice of service providers and businesses, enabling your reputation to grow your business, no matter the location.

Where can I get a Mobile Business Licence?

The local governments participating in each of the agreements include:

How to Apply for a Mobile Business Licence

Mobile Business Licences can be purchased from the participating city halls listed above. Before going to apply for your licence you must ensure you have the following information:

  • Business name, address and phone number
  • Start date of your business
  • Type of business (commercial, industrial, home based, other)
  • Total floor area of business (for farms, this does not include total acreage)
  • List of municipalities in which your business will operate

Please note that depending on the area in which you apply for the licence, applications can take up to two weeks to process and approve.

How Do I Get a Mobile License in My Community?

The Small Business Branch is working in partnership with local governments, the Union of British Columbia Municipalities and key stakeholders, including the Small Business Roundtable, expanding existing agreements and establishing new Mobile Business Licence agreements in British Columbia. However, they need your help.

If your business would benefit from a Mobile Business Licence but you do not have an agreement in your region, speak to your local municipality and ask them to investigate it. The more requests and interest that they receive, the more notice they’ll take.

Want Further Information on Mobile Business Licences?

For more information, including eligibility, visit the Ministry of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction website or contact the business licencing office at any of the participating municipalities.

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