Bea van der Wal of the recruitment agency People Work Service is one of our Dutch clients who started a business in Spain. Together with her partner she started Toro Recruitment & Consultancy SL with an office located in sunny Málaga. We had the opportunity to ask her a few questions about her experience with doing business as a Dutch person in Spain.
How did you get inspired to start a recruitment and consultancy business in Málaga?
The combination of the shortage of labour in the Netherlands and the high unemployment rate in Spain made us take this step. My partner and I saw that people around Málaga and Cádiz had difficulties finding a job. From there we thought, maybe we can do something by drawing people to the Netherlands. The plan was to only hire employees for People Work Service, but now we send people from Spain all over the Netherlands.
How did you get in contact with OTIS Advocaten?
My partner and I find Spain a very beautiful country and the culture really appeals to us. We therefore decided to buy a house in the Málaga area besides starting a new business. I soon started to do some online research and I talked to my partner’s accountant. Eventually we came to the conclusion that we needed help from experts. After some searching, I found OTIS and called the Amsterdam office. Very quickly, lawyer and Partner Claudie returned my call and I explained our plans to her. She immediately became enthusiastic and forwarded our request to Nicoline from the Barcelona office. Nicoline is a Dutch and Spanish lawyer and helped us enormously. It is extremely pleasant to be able to communicate about complex things in your own language.
What differences have you noticed between the Netherlands and Spain when starting a business?
The biggest difference is that it can take a lot longer in Spain. The system works differently than in the Netherlands and takes longer. Fortunately, we knew what to expect because of Nicoline‘s good expectations management. Right at the start, she told us the ins and outs of starting up a business and what steps needed to be taken. It was very helpful that Nicoline went through all the steps with us. Not only did she help us legally, but thanks to her we also found a Dutch-speaking accountant in Spain!
What would you do differently if you were to start up a business in Spain again?
When you start a business there are always things you run into, especially when it is located abroad. We started with a Dutch-speaking recruiter, but even though he did his best with the Spanish, he did not have the trust of the Spanish people. We have now appointed two Spanish-speaking ladies from the Málaga region who work from the Málaga office. They understand the culture and the language, which makes it easier to build trust. It is extremely valuable to communicate in your own language. That is extremely important and we seriously underestimated that.
What tip would you give to people who want to start a business in the Netherlands or Spain?
Take an advisor who speaks your own language and who can clarify and advise you, especially in the first period, so that there are no surprises. And start networking, but of course that is always the case. You need a reliable network around you, both in business and in private, who can help you and whom you can build on. I have now gone through the process in Spain, but OTIS is also a real asset for Spanish entrepreneurs in the Netherlands. A law firm with locations in the Netherlands and Spain is really great as an entrepreneur.