Open a new business in Spain

Never was so easy to open a new business in Spain

To open a delicatessen shop, a hairdresser or a local real estate development office was never an easy job in Spain specially with regards to all the paperwork involved. According to the OECD, Spanish Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Spain is the second country in Europe with more bureaucratic obstacles when creating a company. In order to give impetus to the small entrepreneurs seeking a job out in the small business, a new law that accelerates the necessary formalities for the empowerment of the different municipalities has been created.


The "Decreto Ley de Medidas urgentes de liberalización del comercio y de determinados servicios" Decree Law of urgent measuresfor the liberalization of trade and services was sponsored by the Central Government, but it is applicable in all the autonomous communities. From June 2012, the opening of a new business may be done in less than 15 days.


The main asset of this Law is to shorten long deadlines that went on between the investment needed to open a business and its effective opening. So far, this implied a significant financial burden for any new project, which had to pay rent or a mortgage, financial investment costs, and the impossibility to start the activity until the end of a long bureaucratic process. This situation, in some cases, even gave the fret with the unborn company.


The measure is valid for retail trades, small craft, textile and footwear industry, plus some services activities.

The new standard means to move from a system of licensing "a priori", to another control "a posteriori". This means that the municipal inspection it is not carried out before the premises is opened but afterwards. I mean the inspection which control hygiene conditions, fire exits structural security, etc. is carried out while the trade is opened to the public. The measure seeks to reduce the opening time of a business, from 18 to 6 months.


Before this measure came into force on June of last year, to open a trade needed two licenses, one building license and another activity license "licencia de construcción y licencia de apertura" and obviously to make matter more complicated each municipality applied and processed these licences with great differences with regard to deadlines, technical criteria and other requirements.


How does it work now?

The application procedure for municipal licenses is replaced by a "responsible declaration" made by the responsible person of the business prior to the opening of the activity.


The owner or applicant manifests explicitly that the he or she is aware of all the Town Hall requirements for its particular business, before the procedure is commenced.


If required by the type of activity, it may be compulsory to present a technical project signed by an architect.

If the correspondent tax is paid, you are ready to inaugurate your new business, only subject to a subsequent inspection by the Town Hall technicians.


To what business does this law applies to?

The measure does not have universal character and is aimed specifically at those SMEs trades and those which dimensions do not exceed 300 square meters. It is valid for new trades and changes in ownership of commercial activities and services procedures.


The "express license" includes, among others business: greengrocers, butcheries, poultry, charcuterie, fish, bakery, pastry, ice cream, shops candies, wine shops, food supermarkets; home furnishing; furniture; electronic devices; textile making; hardware; building materials and sanitation; herbalist and pharmacy; Perfumery; drugstore; DIY; sales of motor vehicles; optics; orthopaedics; musical instruments; antiques; library store; stationery; toys; jewellery and gardening. 


It also includes the small craft industry, such as footwear and textiles. And the services sector, affected by the new licensing are: travel agencies; clothes and clothes repair shops; shoe repair; real estate promotional activities; hairdressers, beauty centres; picture framing and photocopying services among others.

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