Setting up a business
by Josephine Quintero
Many people turn to self-employment or starting a business to make a living, although this path is strewn with pitfalls for the unwary. Many foreigners don't do sufficient homework before moving and setting up a business in Spain.
While hoping for the best, you should prepare for the worst case scenario and be sure that you have a contingency plan in place, including sufficient emergency funds to last until you have established your business in Spain.
Most foreigners find Spain a frustrating but challenging country in which to do business. The bureaucracy associated with starting a business is frightening at first. For foreigners, the red tape is almost impenetrable, particularly if you don't speak the language, as you will be inundated with official documents and must be able to understand them.
It's only when you come up against the full force of Spanish bureaucracy that you understand what it really means to be a foreigner in Spain. Patience and tolerance are the watchwords but the good news is that things are improving and regulations and procedures have become less complicated since Spain became a full member of the EU on January 1st 1993.
In addition to problems with the Spanish authorities, assorted crooks and swindlers are fairly common, particularly on the Costa del Sol in Spain. You should always have a healthy suspicion regarding the motives of anyone you do business with as it's a sad fact of life that foreigners who prey on their fellow countrymen are common in resort areas. In most cases you're better off dealing with a long established Spanish company with roots in the community and a good local reputation to protect.
Despite the red tape, Spain is traditionally a country of small companies and sole traders, and it has around 1.5m family run businesses of all sizes employing some 85% of the working population.
We recommend you seek the professional help of an Accountant or Gestor.