Mixing your own Spanish Cocktail.. called Business with Pleasure!

Buying a Bar or a Business in Spain Could Be Your Ticket to a Permanent Working Holiday!

As the saying goes’¦.

‘Get a job you enjoy and be on holiday the rest of your life!!’

Thinking of moving to Spain? Well, you are not alone! According to a recent UK Poll, over a third of the British Population said they would consider moving abroad’¦. And it’s not hard to work out why’¦…

Top of a long list of reasons was ‘to experience a better quality of life’, the second spot went to ‘the desire to learn a new language and experience a new culture’ and third in the big top three was ´to improve on my career opportunities´.

Hundreds of thousands have made the move already and never looked back. Recent figures calculated that foreign residents now make up 8.5 percent of the Spanish population and the British feature highly in those figures. The Spanish Costa’s are awash with British run businesses and nowadays the expats are not just choosing to live and work on the sunny shorelines of the coasts, but are successfully integrating themselves into the more traditional pueblo towns and villages of the inland regions as well.

Yet for many the dream of living year round in Spain is overshadowed by the practicalities of relocating abroad and finding work in a foreign country. However if you are concerned about working in Spain, don’t let this put you off following your heart and jumping on a plane. There are many opportunities here on the coast and thousands of Brits have successfully made the move! Just think, it could be you next! The sentiment voiced most frequently by those who have made the move are ‘I just wish I had made the move ten years earlier!’

Most of us who relocate tend to head towards the sunny shores of the Spanish Costas. Here you can find stunning and affordable beachside or mountain accommodation, you can send your children to Spanish, British or International schools, you can enjoy wonderful food and wine at home or in restaurants on a nightly basis, you can sport an almost year round tan and you can certainly enjoy the equivalent of English Summertime in Spanish Wintertime ‘¦. And most importantly with the right direction and effort you have the potential to make a good living and become successful.

Many worry that the language barriers will be a problem and it’s true to say that speaking Spanish will certainly help you in your new life. To start with however, and on the Costa Blanca and Costa del Sol in particular, many can and do get by without speaking a word of the language. Most British expats come here as non Spanish speakers and learn as they go along. There are many Spanish Schools on the Costa del Sol which cater to every level and run classes throughout the day and evenings, meaning you can work them around your schedule, and most Town Halls also run lessons for foreigners wishing to learn the language. You’ll also find that in terms of administrational matters, most companies here employ at least one English speaker meaning that there will always be someone to answer your questions and help you.

Probably the most popular choice for those considering the ‘big move’ is to buy a bar or restaurant. Owning your own bar is the perfect way to enjoy your new Spanish lifestyle. Often couples or families decide to run bars together meaning lots more quality time with your nearest and dearest. Be warned though, working with your loved ones is not always a romantic walk in the park! Deciding who wears the trousers could cause problems in the relationship, whilst working and living together 24/7 doesn’t work for everyone. However if you do think you can work together and set out boundaries from the beginning, family run businesses can not only be very successful but incredibly rewarding as well.

Another plus side is ‘becoming your own boss’ and of course running your business the way you want to! The downside of this of course is that you very rarely work standard office hours and you can’t call in sick! Owning your own bar is a bit like a marriage. It takes a lot of work, a lot of patience and at times you will want to walk away! You must be prepared for the long hours, long nights and weekend work, just because you stay open until the early hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get to lie in bed the next day. Even if you don’t open until lunchtime, your bar will need to be cleaned, books will need to be updated, stock ordered, rota’s written, staff organized, food prepared and so on!

If you are serious about buying a bar it’s worth considering the different types of establishment, as the options are actually a lot more varied than you would imagine. A coffee bar or a small local bar can enjoy far more sociable hours than a disco bar or live music venue for example. The location and nearby competition will determine the hours you will need to work and how much extra time and budget you will need to put into promotions and special offers, and of course many bars do tend to close earlier or even close down completely for a month or two in the winter depending on how well they have done during the summer months. As with any new business the first year is always difficult, but most prospective bar owners tend to find building up their business a very enjoyable and pleasurable experience in the long term.

One factor which tends to frighten potential bar owners is the fact that they have no previous experience, and without knowing the industry they think they will never be able to achieve their dream of running a bar in Spain. Don’t let this put you off. The truth is most expats find themselves working in industries in Spain in which they have had no previous experience. The wonderful reality of life here on the Coasts is that if you have enthusiasm and are willing to work hard and learn, there is no reason why any new business should not be a success. People on the Costas are generally very open and supportive. You will find that people are more than willing to give you and your business a chance and more often than not they will really go out of their way to support and help you.

If you are seriously considering buying a business over here then a good tip is to get to know the commercial real estate company from whom you buy your business. A good commercial agent will help you as much after the sale as before the sale, and should give you contacts and advice with regards to running your new business. Your agent will also be able to advise you as to the best type of bar and geographical area to suit you. For example, whether you have children will obviously affect the areas in which you are looking and if you are planning on offering food you will need to ensure you and the premises you buy have the right training, equipment and licenses.

It’s certainly worth making two or three field trips before you buy. Do some research into similar businesses in your area. In general, competition is healthy, but if you are thinking of opening a themed bar or restaurant or something a little different then picking the right location is essential. In the same way, research your clientele. Is the area right for the sorts of people you want to attract to your business or should you look elsewhere? The Spanish Costas cover a massive area and most of them are expanding everyday. While the resorts of Torremolinos, Benidorm, Fuengirola, Ibiza and Marbella are still popular, these days potential buyers and business owners are exploring lesser known towns and villages and many inland areas. As previously mentioned speaking Spanish is not a necessity but if you do speak the language and are after a more authentic lifestyle you might prefer to buy in a more Spanish area or look for a cheaper inland property rather than one on the pricier coastal areas.

Many are put off by the expense and administration of buying abroad and it’s true that buying in Spain can be a complex process. However it’s all just a case of making sure you have the right people around to help you. In the first instance it’s essential to ensure you have a good lawyer or gestoria in Spain. A gestoria will be able to guide you through the paperwork involved in setting up a business in Spain and will even accompany you to the various meetings you will have to attend.

Start up costs can be very varied, as it depends on the type of bar or business you buy. An established bar in a good area, with up to date paperwork and in good condition may cost you more in the short term but will certainly be of benefit in the long term. Again a good commercial agent should be able to advise you on all of these costs as well as putting you in touch with reputable lawyers and gestorias. You should also remember to factor in other costs such as shipping and removal costs, stock costs and rental costs while you look for a permanent home. It’s definitely worth talking to those who have made the move and surfing the Spanish websites to find out what to do when arriving in Spain. You will find for example that the first thing you’ll need to do is pop down to your local police station to queue up for your NIE number (equivalent to a social security number) and open a Spanish Bank Account. You will also need to look into local facilities such as schools and doctors and may need to take care of small administrational matters such as changing your UK car number plate to a Spanish plate. However, once again a good reputable real estate agent should take care of all these things for you.

If the day to day running of a bar is just not your glass of Rioja then don’t be afraid to chase your Spanish dream. Commercial businesses come in all shapes and sizes from corner shops and supermarkets to real estate agencies, gyms and hotels. Some people decide to start businesses from home while others look at some of the franchise options currently available throughout Spain. If you are planning on moving to Spain and looking for employment it is a good idea when you arrive to start collecting the many free local papers which list jobs and to join a good reputable recruitment company. These days the Costa del Sol is becoming a more and more professional environment and employers are crying out for skilled and experienced employees. And if you fancy brushing up on a few skills or learning something new there are a number of English speaking adult education courses at colleges across the country.

Whatever your dream, it’s highly likely you can achieve it in Spain, just don’t forget that Spain is still a Country where people work to live, so mix a little pleasure with your business and enjoy your new life as well!

David Fairweather is co-founder and CEO of Bars in Spain SL.

Bars in Spain SL specialise in the buying and selling of bars, cafes and restaurants, and all types of businesses, property and land. They also operate a well structured Real Estate Franchise System (A-Plus) and provide advice and information on relocation and all aspects of managing, marketing and operating a business in Spain.

To find out more call 0871 250 2000 (UK) or 0034 952 499 400 (Spain) or visit www.barsinspain.com