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Advice on setting up shop in US vs Europe (Spain)???
Thread poster: sconley500
English to Spanish
Jun 16, 2003


I was hoping for a bit of guidance here.

I´m setting up a translation business and corresponding website. We´re a three person core team. Two of us live in Madrid, Spain (and we´re the one really running the business end of it). Our other associate lives in the US.

I´m American-born and my wife is Spanish so we´re legal in both places without a problem.

Does it make sense to set up a US based sole propieator business with a bank account there, etc and run the business as if we were in the States? Or should we set it up here in Spain?

We plan on doing business in both places and I´d like to facilitate payment as much as possible (Euro vs Dollar). Should we establish the business in both places and charge Euros for European customers and dollars for the US customers?

As you can see, I´ve got lots of questions on this so any guidance anyone has would be greatly appreciated!!!



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Carolyn Denoncourt  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:01
Member (2004)
French to English
+ ...
Start with accounts in both Europe and US Jun 16, 2003

Hi Stephen,
I suggest you start with your idea to have bank accounts in both Europe and US and charge US customers in their currency, and European customers in their currency. Converting money is an on-going business cost which you can minimize by not having to do conversions with each job. With accounts in both places you can accumulate larger amounts before needing to do a conversion.
I think you will find that the other costs of doing business (taxes, overhead, etc.) end up being quite similar between Europe and US. I also suspect you will find you have far more customers in Europe than you do in the US, so you will probably find setting up business in Europe works better for you in terms of time zones.
Those are just my suggestions from my experience. Good luck with your endeavors.


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United Kingdom
Local time: 19:01
Member (2005)
English to French
+ ...
Carolyn's right! Jun 18, 2003

Hi there,

I am running a small agency from London. The business is mainly based on a network of free lancers working from... everywhere. My clients are absolutely aware of it.

I found that my clients usually like the idea of doing business with a "real" company set up in their own country. Several explanations to this: you know that - at least - their invoices are genuine, you can check their pedigree, and if things go wrong, legal disputes will be solved in the country.

I initially registered for VAT in the UK not because I had to, but because it gave me a status in Europe (you have a VAT number = you are a real company, in the client's mind)

Therefore, if you have the possibility to have two distinct companies, covering both the US and Europe, go for it!

Last thing is, you'll find it will make your life much easier when it comes to collect money. Fees for transfering small amounts between banks are a notorious rip-off.

Best of luck!

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