Buying and Selling

Thu, Sep 24th, 2020

Setting up a business in Spain

While the idea of retiring to the sun and spending your days relaxing on the beach, having leisurely lunches and enjoying lots of free time may be some people's idea of bliss, for others it's simply not financially viable.
Many people want to move to Spain before they reach retirement age and some are not quite ready to give up working but want to ditch the 9-5 and follow their dreams of setting up a business in sunnier climes.

If you are thinking of setting up a business in Spain, there are a number of options.  You can: 

a) Buy an existing business including freehold of premises
b) Buy only the business interests (traspaso) but not the actual premises 
c) Set up a new business

Option 'a' is likely to be the most expensive as you are buying the premises as well as a going concern but with this option at least you are purchasing bricks and mortar which you can then sell on in the future.

Option 'b' is likely to be the lowest cost option but it can come with risks, in effect you are buying the 'good will' of an established name or brand but you do not own the premises and the landlord can increase the rent or even decide not to rent it out any more, leaving you in a position where you need to find new premises.
That's not to say this isn't a viable option, many people purchase business traspasos and enjoy a good turnover with no issues with premises or landlords and without too much initial capital layout.

Option 'c' has its pros and cons.  On the upside you are creating your own brand freely without any baggage but the downside is that you are starting from scratch and have to develop your own customer base. This option is also likely to come with the most administrative and bureaucratic headaches.

I spoke to a British couple who took on the challenge of setting up, not one, but two new businesses here in Almeria province.

Peter and Christine Lehman first moved to Spain in 2003 with a 10-year plan to make a permanent move.  In the end the process took a couple more years than expected but they finally achieved their dream of a new life in the sun.

With a strong background in private and events catering, along with a number of years in the licenced trade, Christine spent the first few years in Spain running the popular Cariatiz bar and swimming pool, on behalf of the local authorities.  Her dream, however, was to go it alone and set up a catering and cookery school business.

Pete, with years of experience in the hospitality industry and himself a keen golfer, landed on a dream opportunity of a franchise for a golf company in Spain, Blue Sky Golf Rentals.  Christine said that this opportunity was 'fate' and enabled them to make the permanent move back to the Mojacar area which they love.

The couple embarked on setting up Christine's dream business and in January 2019, 'Pig and Fig' catering and cookery school was born.

The project was, as Christine explained, a 'slow burner' initially offering local catering.  Setting up the cookery school element involved endless paperwork and licence applications, along with finding reliable contractors and clambering over the inevitable hurdles and time delays.

The couple's top tip for anyone thinking of setting up a new business in Spain would be to find a good legal representative/accountant and to try not to get frustrated with delays and bureaucracy.  

Some 18 months down the line, Christine and Pete proudly run two successful businesses and are, as they put it, 'enjoying a better work/life balance and indulging in their individual passions which are now also their livelihoods.

A perfect example of successfully fulfilling their dreams of running businesses in Spain, the couple were recently featured on the popular Channel 4 TV show 'A New Life in the Sun' and can soon be seen on the upcoming series where the show revisits previous contributors to see how their lives have changed.  

Find out more about both businesses here   Pig and Fig  and Blue Sky Golf Rental

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