Business in Spain

Starting a business in Spain – Get a Gestor to do it!

I often think the best way to write a blog post is to imagine that you have an audience of one, or that one day, at least one person will benefit from whatever you are writing. And this piece of advice might make a big difference to someone’s life in Spain one day:

If you are going to set up a business in Spain, get a gestor to do it for you.

Don’t under any circumstances try to go through all the paperwork and different steps involved on your own. We did, for a saving of approximately 500 Euros, and we wish we hadn’t. In fact a large part of my recent burn out was undoubtedly caused by our decision to do most of the work of setting up Notes from Spain S.L. on our own.

Like any other bureaucratic nightmare here (and there are many!), setting up your own business in Spain requires an endless shuffle around different offices of inconvenience (to coin a new, appropriate phrase), interminable waits, and inevitable errors (filling out the wrong form, in the wrong order, and having to jump back two steps to get everything back on track again).

Despite receiving excellent advice and help in filling out the appropriate forms from the Madrid Chamber of Commerce, it still took us around 3 months to cover all the bases, and in the end we still needed a gestor to complete the final steps. I’d estimate we lost at least a week’s work doing things that a gestor could have done for us, removing immense stress in the process.

So what is a gestor and where do you find one?

A gestor is like a glorified acccountant. He or she will charge fixed fees to complete certain jobs, such as setting up your business, getting your driving license renewed, and doing your monthly accounts. If you run a business here then you have to get one eventually anyway, to process and register your yearly balance of accounts for example, so you might as well get them to do all the hard work for you from stage one.

Where do you find a good one? We found ours by asking Ana, the girl who runs the photocopying shop around the corner. She seems nice, trustworthy, discerning, and runs a good business. Sure enough, she put us on to a local gestoria (gestor‘s office) where unbelievably efficient women of a certain age process our monthly receipts with a minimum of fuss. They tell us what we can get away with deducting tax-wise (lunches, fuel, etc), what income we should be paying ourselves every month, and what forms we may have forgotten to fill out (actually they fill them out for us, we just turn up and sign – what joy!)

OK, to recap: if you are going to set up a business here in Spain then make sure you get a gestor to do it – it might cost you around 500 euros more (bringing the total cost of setting up a business in Spain to around 1,000 euros – you have to pay the Notario for some official paperwork as well, for example), but it’s worth every centimo in time and stress savings. To find a good Gestor or Gestoria ask around in respectable local businesses, or ask other ex-pats who are already running their own show.

One final piece of advice, if you are setting up an on-line business in Spain, make sure the Gestor is prepared to learn about this side of the business world as well. Most will never have worked on this side of things before and may have absolutely no clue about what Paypal is, for example. Make sure they are interested in finding out!

There we go, hopefully someone, somewhere, some day, will benefit from this piece of advice!