It is relatively easy to start a small escort business in Ontario, and as Ontario is Canada’s richest province with the highest average income, it can also be a very lucrative enterprise—especially if your business is designed to be easily run and managed by a small number of persons. When starting your escort business, you’ll want to clearly define what your business does, who manages it and who receives profits. The simpler the layout, the easier it will be to register and file business reports and taxes yearly. To learn why it’s vitally important to register your business, refer to our article Don’t get busted for tax evasion: Why registering your escort business is the only option.
Step one: Define and describe your business
There are several kinds of business structures applicable for running an escort business, and picking the right one for you is important. For example, someone working independently as an escort and someone running an agency would utilize two different business structures. Ask yourself these questions and your business model will start to take shape for you.
- How do I define my work? What is it, in essence, that I serve? Do I supply the connections between escorts and clients, or am I myself the escort and am providing the company?
- Am I the only one who will benefit monetarily from my business? If not, who else will and why are they collecting profits?
- Am I the only one who will manage my business—schedule clients, hire drivers etc.? If not, will it be another owner doing this or someone I employ?
- Will I be hiring regular employees to take calls, set up appointments, manage any office work on a regular basis etc., or will I maintain my business by myself?
- Will I be hiring independent consultants (freelance escorts) and, if so, how do I expect to manage and pay them?
- Who will fund costs such as buying advertisements in newspapers, renting an office or the cost of running a website?
- Would I ever want to brand my business name or logo?
- Who will be responsible for my business if I run into debt? Is this just me?
- Will I ever want to sell my business?
Another step in articulating your business is to write a one-sentence summary of what the business actually does. As an escort you’re registering a service you provide, rather than a product that you sell, and this service will need to be articulated on various forms and in marketing materials. Make this unique to you from the questions you’ve answered above, along the lines of “We provide company to our clients in a social setting”.
For information on what terms you legally can and cannot use, refer to our article The fine legal line between escort and prostitute: some strategies for an escort to stay out of trouble.
Step two: Choose your business structure
Once you have a handle of what your business is and how it will be run, it’s time to pick out a business structure. Below are quick definitions of the three business models that apply best to a small escorting service in Canada: a sole proprietorship,a general partnership and a corporation.
- Sole Proprietorship: This is the simplest business structure, with a minimal amount of paperwork filing. One person owns and operates the business, and is responsible for all profits and losses. If you are just starting out and/or will be managing your company alone, this is what you want.
- General Partnership: This retains the responsibility of a sole proprietorship, but is owned by two or more persons, called partners. In a general partnership, all partners share equal responsibility regarding funding and managing the business, as well as responsibility should the business run into financial trouble. If you have a small group of persons whose strengths will manage arranging and seeing clients, this is what you should choose. However, as you are equally responsible for losses, it can be a risky investment. Within the escort service world, it makes more sense to join into a general partnership than a limited partnership, where the financial / legal responsibility of the company is not shared equally.
- Corporation: The business is a legal entity owned by shareholders and run by its directors (which will, most likely, be you). While the shareholders may invest money and collect in profits, they are not responsible for losses or claiming personal bankruptcy if the business declares such. However, if the directors are judged to be personally at fault, they may be held responsible for the unaccounted amount. This model requires a good amount of paperwork and applicable fees, and most likely the addition of an accountant and business lawyer as well. A corporation is the way to go if you have been in business for a few years, juggle many consultants and clients, and want to expand and legitimize your work on a higher platform. If that’s not you, don’t become a corporation.
For more information on what these mean specifically in the escorting world, and the processes for each, please refer to our articles:
- Do I want to be a sole proprietor?
- Do I want to be part of a partnership?
- Do I want to be a corporation?
For more information on these entities within Canada, visit Canada Business » Government Services for Entrepreneurs.
Step three: Create your name
Let’s pretend your name is “Jane Doe”. First, decide whether you simply want to call your business your name (“Jane Doe”) or your name and service (“Jane Doe Escort Service”). If you use these names as a sole proprietorship or partnership, you are not required to register your business. However, if you choose to take on a name such as “Jane’s Escort Service”, you are considered to be functioning under a business name (also called a Doing Business As or DBA name) and will have to register it as such. Corporations, which are their own legal entities, must register their business under a business name.
If you’re required to or simply want to take on a business name, have fun creating it. Do you want to be flirty and funny? Try “Jane Doe: The Company Company”. Feel like being a little more discreet and want to stay out of the limelight? Try something demure, like “Jane’s Social Consulting”. Your name can be as simple or as flashy as you’d like, just make sure it’s honest to what you want your business to be. Do you want to push the envelope of acceptability or maintain a low profile?
For more advice on choosing your business name, go to Service Ontario.
Step four: Register your business / business name
Sole proprietorship / partnership
In Ontario you are not required to register your sole proprietorship or partnership escort business if you conduct business under your own name. But if you take on a business name, you’ll have to file a Registration Under the Business Names Act — Sole Proprietorship / Partnership Form. You can also search for and register your name atSearch Ontario.
To register your corporation in Ontario, you’ll have to file your Articles of Incorporation and an Ontario-based NUANS (name search) form with the Government of Ontario – Ministry of Government Services. You can find information on forms and online registration at Canada Business»Government Services for Entrepreneurs. There is a minimum $300 fee to incorporate plus a sliding scale of other filing fees.
Because of the highly intricate legal nature of starting a corporation, it is highly recommended that you seek the advice of a business lawyer and accountant.
Step five: Register for / pay business taxes
- Ontario has combined the former Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) into the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), which now stands at 13% of your business revenue.
- If you are a sole proprietorship or partnership, you’ll have to report your self-employment income on your T-1 General return.
- Chances are you won’t have to pay Employer Health Tax, as this tax is only associated if you pay more than $400,000 in payroll to regular employees. But it’s a good idea to become familiar with this tax at the Ontario Ministry of Revenue.
You can register for an online Ontario ONe-source account and file these taxes at Service Ontario » ONe-source for Business.
Step six: Get necessary licenses and permits
Registering your business or business name and any articles of incorporation will get you a Master Business License (MBL). This proves that your company has been registered with the Ministry of Government Services and has been given a Business Identification Number.