I’m interested in buying a business in Costa Rica. What would be the first steps?

Chris44 is looking for some answers in the category Starting a business.
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2 Answer(s)

Hi Chris,

There can be many advantages to starting or purchasing a business in Costa Rica. First it is a very foreigner friendly country with long established democratic rules policies and procedures, and most important the rules are the same for foreigners as they are for locals.Another point is that often a product or service that is developed and successful in North America is not yet available here. In general most cases, buying or starting a business in Costa Rica is less costly than the North American market.

Now! How to get started?  PROPER DUE DILLIGENCE!

Carefully review the following information sources when buying a business in Costa Rica:

a. Public Corporate Records – have your corporate law attorney carefully check articles of incorporation, bylaws, type and amount of capital stock, and powers of attorney.

b. Private Corporate Records – Check current stock ownership, and stockholder and any resolutions not on public record.

c. Accounting Records – Have a certified accountant check these records investigate the actual income and expenses, fixed and liquid assets, short-and long-term liabilities and taxes.

d. Tax Obligations – Have certified accountant check these records including yearly income, sales, corporate stamp, property taxes, monthly sales taxes, and travel and hotel lodging taxes, road taxes and commercial license fees, municipal services such.

e. Permits and Licenses (Municipal and National) – Every business needs the health department permit and a municipal business licenses. As well as special permits which may include beers, wines, and liquors; permit for late hours functioning; registration with the Tourism Board for lodging tax, etc.

f. Employment Records – Check written contracts specifying employment and employee particulars with responsibilities and salaries, along with up-to-date social security and worker’s compensation insurance payments, mandatory vacation, Christmas bonus, and severance pays.

g. Property/Real Estate Title – Check for the presence of liens, encumbrances, mortgages, and judicial claims, details such as measurements on the property title should agree with the actual measurements on site.

h. Lease Contracts – Confirm all names on the contract, conditions for use of the property, and the rental payments and potential legal increases, as well as any other terms and conditions. Confirm with a lawyer any terms or special conditions for transfer of names.

Please contact Hauser Consulting if you would like a free consultation.

Info +(506) 6006-0502
Phone +(506) 2201-1484
Fax: +(506) 2224-1302


HauserConsulting Professional answered on May 17, 2015.
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I think the most important thing is to spend some real quality time in CR. Not just a week or two each year. I would spend many months and at different times of the year before you go all in. Talk to lots of expat business owners, there are MANY. Lots of them learned the hard way.

Figure out where you want to live, where you want to your business to be. Think a lot about seasonality.

If you have not run/owned your own business before, be careful. Owning your own business is not a piece of cake even in the US or when things seem to be going well. Over the life of a business there will be fat and lean.

The more Spanish you know the better. Not an absolute necessity but it will make life better.  Start lessons now! Not after you get there.

¡Buena suerte amigo!

ColoFrank Professional answered on May 24, 2015.
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