Doing Business in Thailand
Advice for those thinking about a move to Thailand with the intention of setting up a small business
2011/08/25 | Doing Small Business in Thailand.
So you have visited many times, love the place and have decided to move here with the aim of settling down and starting a new small business. Sounds easy when you say it quickly; it is not but is well worthwhile if you have the staying power to endure the communication problems requiring the use of a translator who may or may not be an upstanding person.
Firstly you need money. For those over 55 the cost of living as a retiree in Thailand is relatively cheap and if you have enough money in the bank with regular income from other sources I recommend retirement as the option with the least headaches. If you want more and the challenge of doing business won't let you play golf, drink beer and chat with girls all day then go for it.
If you can afford to live like a king then you are probably not going to bother starting a business but if you are on a budget and need to generate income then you will require at least 20 - 30,000 baht/month for cost of living, 1 million baht for a new vehicle [say 500,000 baht for used], 60 - 80,000 baht to cover company setup and associated fees, 20 - 40,000 baht/month for an office and this, of course, depends upon which area you choose as a location.
Working capital depends upon the type of business but if you plan to employ a manager, English speaking PR/secretary and 10 workers a conservative estimate of monthly salaries is 170,000 baht. On top of this there is worker compensation/welfare compulsory payment of 5% and monthly accounting fees which can run to 20,000 baht depending on the capability of your PR/secretary.
Many first time expats seem to think that everything they purchase will need to be put under the name of a Thai person; this is not true. With a non immigrant, marriage or retirement visa you can own a car and motorcycle, rent a house or purchase a condo. Foreigners are not permitted to own land or a house and lot.
When you get to Thailand join a local expat business group or network with other business owners to build up a list of good local contacts. Do not rely on your new girl or boyfriend for anything to do with setting up a new business, renting or purchasing big cost items; it is not difficult to do it yourself with the assistance of Thai professionals and advice from other successful expatriates. Good luck in your new venture!