Costa Rica News – You’ve seen shows about people moving to a tropical place, buying a home, and turning it into a bed and breakfast with an open air office with an ocean view. It seems so perfect, so simple. But is it? It may be a perfect career, but simple it most definitely is not.
Lack of planning coupled with an overwhelming amount of paperwork makes failure common. Even in the U.S. only half of the businesses last 5 years actually succeed. In Costa Rica, the statistics are probably way worse. Before jumping into a plan to open a café in Costa Rica, get some sound international business advice and build up enough start-up cash to cover twice what you expect to need.
Here are some other things to consider:
Getting a residency status is almost impossible. Can your business survive you being gone every three months to renew your visa? There are also many laws that hurt foreign business owners such as not being able to legally work in the company you own.
Your business can be set up as a general or limited partnership or a corporation. It’s best to consult a lawyer about the pros, cons, and costs of each. A corporation can cost between $300- 1,000 to register.
Devote at least an entire day to open your bank account. Expect bad service and an impossible amount of paperwork, including written references from other bank clients.
After the formation of your legal status as a company and opening your bank account the next step is obtaining a “Uso de Suelo” from the local government. Hire an interpreter if you don’t speak Spanish. You can also hire a guide who knows the whole process of opening and starting a business.
The next person to hire is your accountant. This person can save you money in the long run. They can also save your precious time by going to the tax administration and filing your monthly paperwork on your behalf.
Final piece of advice – expect the unexpected and plan for delays. Supplies are trucked in on narrow mountain roads and construction workers many times forget to show up. Come with a “Pura Vida” attitude and time frame.