Guide to buying a restaurant, commercial or cafe bars in Costa del Sol, Spain - Part 5


This article is provided as a general guide to things to look for, things to avoid and do's and don'ts of buying a bar in Spain.


Introduction | Moving to Spain | Cost of Living | Starting Your Business | Where to Buy | FAQ


Q. We would like to run a bar in Spain, but have no experience would this cause a much of a problem?

A. As with running any business, experience is always an advantage, however, many of our clients have purchased a bar/catering business in Spain with little or no experience and are running them very successfully. With all our clients we do provide a good back up support, advice and a helping hand if required. We have many first time bars, which we would suggest would be more suitable.

Q. Do we need to speak Spanish?

A. Due to the majority of our businesses being British owned and run, situated in tourist and ex-pat areas, the majority of our customers will be British, therefore whilst learning the language would be an advantage, this is not seen as a necessity and you do tend to pick up the language quite quickly. There is an abundance of language schools and tutors available if you want to learn quickly.

Q. Can I bring my pets to Spain?

A. Yes, don't panic, domestic animals can enter Spain from the U.K. without any quarantine, so it's unlikely you will have to leave them behind. However it is necessary to obtain an international health certificate or pet passport. You can gain more information from your local vet and the U.K. ministry of agriculture. You need to allow approximately one month to organise this.

Q. Where will I live?

A. There are numerous options available; most clients like to rent close to their business due to convenience and cost. The type of accommodation price in Spain differs to your requirements and range, from studio apartments designed for two, to villas. We can assist you on finding the right accommodation to meet your requirements. Most of the accommodation offered come furnished with TV's, washing machines etc. some with community pools and parking. We can advise on areas, prices etc. We can also put you in touch with agents who specialise in this field.

There is normally a finders fee payable to the agent of 1 month’s rent
2 month deposit is normally required by the landlord for security
Most long term contracts are normally 11 months renewable
Rent is paid 1 month in advance


Q. Is the cost of living similar to the UK?

A. A recent survey showed that supermarket shopping to be 25% cheaper than in the U.K. Whilst electricity bills are similar, the consumption is far less per household due to the warmer climate and longer days, gas in southern Spain is of the bottled variety and at only 5 pounds per bottle is ½ the price of the U.K. Water is metered and is 50% cheaper than the U.K and many landlords in rented accommodation include this in the rent (please check). Alcohol and tobacco are considerably less with typical savings of up to 75%.

Petrol and diesel is 45% cheaper. The general climate ensures that outlay on clothing is minimal as shorts and t-shirts are worn for 8 months of the year!!

Q. What extra costs will we have after the purchase of our Business in Spain?

A. This varies considerably depending on the individual. Typical costs include licensing and paperwork (as detailed earlier). Stock - this depends on the type of outlet, for a bar this is very little, as stock can be purchased and delivered daily and also many rep's will give you opening deals. Removal costs can also vary depending on what you bring with you.

Moving to Spain is much easier than you think, some clients leave England with only their suitcase and board the plane. Some drive over with their boots and roof racks full to capacity, catching a ferry to France or northern Spain. This can mean a long journey. Other people use a removal service of a specialist carrier, it is advised to shop around, however, when we moved to Spain we realized that companies based in Spain were much cheaper. Remember that you pay per cubic meter which is around £100, discounts may apply to full house removals, however, which ever way you use to move to Spain, remember most rented accommodation comes fully furnished and why pay to have out dated old furniture and appliances brought to Spain when the purchase of new ones is only a little more than shipping the old ones over? We do realize that personal items and antiques can be irreplaceable. So think long and hard about what you want to bring with you, we can put you in touch with removal companies if you require.

Q. What about medical care?

A. The Spanish National Health Service is free to U.K. senior citizens and the service is excellent however, as in the U.K., non-emergency cases will be placed on a waiting list. Purchasers of businesses in Spain are obliged to join the Spanish N.H.S. Payment for this service are included in monthly national insurance contributions. There are also many types of private medical health care, which many people decide to join. We do however advise people visiting for purchasing businesses in Spain to bring with them an E111 form to cover yourself until all paperwork is completed; these are available in the U.K. from your post office.

Q. Can I open a bank account in Spain?

A. In all Spanish banks there is a full range of services available, deposit accounts, cheque accounts, mortgages, debit/credit cards etc. Almost certainly at least one member of the staff will speak English. All utility accounts such as electricity, water and telephone can be paid direct debit or over the counter. If you like we will help you through the process of opening an account.

Q. What type of education is available for my children?

A. All state education in Spain is free and compulsory for children aged 6 years and above (you do have to purchase books and stationary). Spain is home to many nationalities and most Spanish schools have a large number of non-Spanish pupils. In our experience British children attending Spanish school have a basic understanding of Spanish in 4 months and are fluent within the year. Children will also like to know that school hours are from 9am - 2 pm with plenty of holidays. There are a number of British / International schools in the U.K. with G.C.S.E subjects being taught and exams taken. Nurseries or guarderias as they are known in Spain are plentiful. This is an ideal way to introduce your child to the Spanish language. Hours and costs vary though prices are very low compared to Britain.

Q. Is my driving license valid?

A. Yes, however, once you have applied for residency you have 6 months to register your license with the local transport authority (DGT), there if required, you can obtain a Spanish driving license and this does make life much easier. All U.K. cars must also be registered with your lawyer who can do all this for you.

Q. Can I draw my pension here?

A. Pensions can arrange to have their pension paid in euro cheques directly into their Spanish bank. Banks are not allowed to charge commission on pension cheques. To establish your eligibility get an E 121 form, from the DHSS in the U.K., with this form you register with a local INSS (Institute National de Seguridad Social) office over here. Alternatively contact your financial adviser.

Q. Can I rent a car?

A. There are an abundance of car hire firms who can provide you with a car to suit your requirements. You will need to provide your driving license and passport as identification. For a small car expect to pay 120 euros in summer, or for an 8 Seater, 433 euros. Rates are a little less in the winter.

Q. What about electrical appliances?

A. The electricity current in Spain is 220V, 50HZ, as the rest of Europe. Plugs have two round pins, again like the rest of Europe. Adaptors can be purchased both in England and Spain.

Q. Is siesta just a myth?

A. No, generally Spaniards work Monday to Friday 9am - 2pm and then 4.30pm or 5pm for another 3 or 4 hours, most shops open within these hours and for us British, can be very frustrating. Some larger supermarkets may open all day; some shops in tourist areas may open on Sundays. A lot of government buildings don't open in the afternoon, so it's early rising if you need to get anything done. Spain is the home of the fiesta and there are 14 official holidays in Spain with regional additions, unlike Britain, everything closes and the Spanish party!! These are often bridged into long weekends if the holiday falls near a weekend; all you can do is party along with them.

Article Republished September 1st 2009 -

Other Chapters
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Introduction - Commercial Businesses in Spain
Part 1 - Moving to Spain
Part 2 - Cost of Living on the Costa del Sol, Spain
Part 3 - Starting Your Own Business
Part 4 - Where to Buy
Part 5 - Frequently Asked Questions


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