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So, You Want to Work in Mexico?


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#1 mlfoto

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Posted 08 October 2011 - 10:42 AM

We have just posted a new blog about Starting a Business in Mexico. Much of what we learned was because of the generous and accurate advice we received from a couple of members of this forum.

So, thanks to the CMC members. You know who you are.

Also, we appreciate the ability to announce our posts on this forum. We hope we are viewed as an additional voice in the Cozumel/Mexico information blogging world, instead of a competing voice.

http://www.latinjour...ness-in-mexico/
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#2 Coz2wonder

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Posted 08 October 2011 - 10:56 AM

I do like the blog.

I think that it complements the knowledge, and intellectual level of most readers of this forum.

It can create discussion, or take the discussion deeper if interest is shown.

In other words, real people, doing real things, and creating a real life as an ex-pat.

Thanks.
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#3 mlfoto

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Posted 08 October 2011 - 02:24 PM

I do like the blog.

I think that it complements the knowledge, and intellectual level of most readers of this forum.

It can create discussion, or take the discussion deeper if interest is shown.

In other words, real people, doing real things, and creating a real life as an ex-pat.

Thanks.


Thank you. This great forum is the reason you will not see a forum on my blog/web site. Why fix what isn't broken?

We have enjoyed putting together Latin Journeys with the goal of reporting on our life and travels in Mexico and beyond, both for expats and visitors.

I am working on an online magazine that will be about Cozumel exclusively. It will have feature stories, with an emphasis on the photos, restaurant reviews, and an advice column. I think it will fill a niche and be different than the other sites about the island. It should launch around November 1. Stay tuned.
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#4 strucman

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 01:09 PM

I too like the blog. Lots of great information. Yours and your partner's feelings about the States are very similar to our own.

We are leaving Sunday for the Island and I know it's really short notice, but could you provide the name of your island attorney? I have a few ideas for businesses of my own for when we make the move and would like to have a better idea on what is required by the time we leave. I'm also hoping to get some idea on what will be required in the way of permits and local authority involvement.

Thanks so much in advance.
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#5 Coz2wonder

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 01:20 PM

as per your request I pulled this from the list of Service providers, and this was my original post.

Gisela has been our personal and business lawyer for several years now, and she has a new web site she just launched.

The site provides information about herself, her services and all of her contact information (if your on, or off the island).

http://www.cozumellawyer.com/

File away in case you ever need her services.
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#6 mlfoto

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 06:37 PM

I too like the blog. Lots of great information. Yours and your partner's feelings about the States are very similar to our own.

We are leaving Sunday for the Island and I know it's really short notice, but could you provide the name of your island attorney? I have a few ideas for businesses of my own for when we make the move and would like to have a better idea on what is required by the time we leave. I'm also hoping to get some idea on what will be required in the way of permits and local authority involvement.

Thanks so much in advance.


Follow Coz2Wonder's advice. We did. Gisela is great.
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#7 CZMDM

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 11:56 AM

Starting a business here is very easy. All it takes is money, a lawyer and a notary. Learning your way through the legal system and dealing with employees, learning Spanish, dealing with hacienda, INS audits, audits brought on by competitors...........this takes years of on hands experience. Whatever your educational background is, whatever you life experiences are up to this point.......none of that prepares you for the quirky-ness of the island.

Any doubts...ask Charles about how business works down here being an ex-pat with no local partner.

One of my foremost points about working here would be the use of employees. Hired incorrectly you could be paying for them (literally) after your business has run dry. If you have say 10 employees and a hurricane hits and you don't have work for 6 months........too bad, the employees still have to be paid and cannot be laid off.

There are tons of problems with businesses here. The very least of which are starting one.

I have never lived in a place where I have seen so many, many businesses blow so much money only to leave the island broke. I think that anyone who has lived here knows that for every single person you see with a successful business, there are 100 others who crashed and burned. I can remember dozens of failed business attempts here. It is not easy.

Year after year my wife and I have watched entire groups of people who seem to drift into the island with stars in their eyes and after a couple of years that group leaves and another group begins. It's almost like watching the changing of the seasons.

I used to be a free lance diamond broker working in Manhattan, Boston, Chicago and LA out of Naples, Fl.. Compared to working in Cozumel, Manhattan is a cake-walk.
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#8 nauticab

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 11:13 PM

right on mike.
the HUNGRY people, who do their homework, who test the market and focus on getting LOCAL customers are the ones who stick.
those who blow their bank acct on their dream and have 6 months of living expenses (lavish expenses that is) are the ones we see come and go.
love the ever so present "ooo, we are going to retire and open a restaurant in cozumel!"
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Cabrilla's Sport Center
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#9 cvchief

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 12:31 AM

I want a retire and open a cantina. I can make a bowl of peanuts as good as anyone!
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#10 Charles

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 05:12 AM

I would agree with Mike and nauticab's statements back under the good economic times. When things were good, there were still constant train wrecks and if only I could have gotten $100 dollars for everyone I knew was doomed to fail.

Now in these times, it seems widely accepted that overall, the year of 2011 was worse than 2006, the year after Wilma. Now you see long term successful businessmen, Mexicans that didn't have the decked stacked against them in business regulations and tax laws, those with long time personal and political connections and they are closing. Even people that own the property and don't have rent to pay, who needs the aggravation.

A number of places you see that have struggled for years, why are they still open, they can't afford to pay off the long time employees and they would stand to lose their homes or any other property in labor settlements.

There is an entirely different set of economic conditions than what existed back in the 1990s, when nauticab began, when I could start a successful business from scratch. We started on day one with $30 pesos to our name, we didn't have round trip cab fare to the muelle. We had to get a monthly rental car which we could pay at the end of the month. Consistent sales of above $125,000 dollars annually from sales of materials we constructed by hand.

I computed that I contributed over $400,000 pesos in taxes and licensing fees, before we began our legal saga to recover our investment built from scratch worth well over $100,000 dollars. Many people hear and know of the corruption you can face, I just happen to be among the few that have the court records, the mindless judicial decisions, completely contradictory statements sworn to and prepared by a Notario Publico who later became under indictment himself. One sustained complaint against the judge and his consistently illogical and deliberately discriminatory decisions completed by the Human Rights Commission. The three complaints I filed against corruption of three ministerio publicos none of those complaints got beyond step two, all three resigned and/or got transfers off the island before the investigation could continue.

Try to get something that would appeal to cruise ship passengers if you want to start a business. You'll need deep pockets to create something large enough for their cut to be interesting. They are bound and determined to go back to the old days on their commissions when they could extort excessive fees by at least providing you money laundering and bogus tax write offs. Great if you have to pay taxes in the U.S. Remember, the ship's get 65%, you get 35%. Given 65% off the top, of the gross, you have to provide a low cost, high value experience and be able to do real volume sales looking at a net 1-2% profit margin.

Chief, I'd make sure your rental condo is completely in the clear before you start your cantina. They like people with potential assets that can be seized if there should be any business or tax irregularities, real or completely imagined. That was one of the reasons it made sense/cents to pay $6,600 dollars a year to rent a car worth about $3,500. And we always played by the rules. Since most of the beer licenses are owned by the beer companies, you have to play by their rules or you're paying wholesale more than your competitors sell retail. All the island needs is a couple more gringo bars
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#11 Coz2wonder

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 09:54 AM

when I read through this thread, it reminds me of how, and why an organization like the SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION was formed.

Lots of knowledge about the community, hands on expertise from volunteers in many different fields, helping businesses succeed.

I would much prefer helping flush out, and develop business concepts, then watching them fail.

There is no reason that I can think of that 'WE' can not leverage our successes, and our pitfalls.

Turn it around, and make it better for those who come after us.
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#12 hillbilly

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 07:04 PM

Ok so I gotta ask. We are going to move there in November. House is there, paid for and money in the bank with retirement to live on. What I want to do is handyman kind of stuff ,not as a job per say or as a business just help some people get some quality built cabinets or furniture that does not have old pallet wood for the drawer sides. You know what I mean as all the little furniture stores are a little rough. We are bringing tools down as we need to build some stuff for our kitchen and want to redo our closets. Thought we might do some bartering in exchange for dive fees or such, maybe some spanish or cooking classes and maybe even have stuff available for the guys to get together and use some of our stuff to create something for their own house as I am a really good teacher. No employees no nothing just be there if somebody wants some stuff.
All will be done at our house so really we are not going to get in trouble are we?
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#13 Charles

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 02:47 AM

All will be done at our house so really we are not going to get in trouble are we?


You'll want your tools for your own work, but you will need to stay very low to remain under the radar. I'd suggest not looking for anything, in any way, but something might fall in your lap. You would still have installation to do and any public visibility, even the suspicion. Garage sales happen and people manage to sell used furniture that no longer suits or fits. But it only takes one phone call, an innocent accidental slip, oh my, how nice, where did you get that? Life is a fish bowl and everyone is watching. I'll clean up my side of the street and I'll still pick up glass bottles in gutters that may hurt tires. I feel concerned enough that I won't rake up the debris on the other side of the street in front of a vacant lot. I'd gladly pay someone to do it, the street is too crowded with cars during the day to ask a street cleaner to do it (30 minutes at double his daily wage), but a gringo that is not afraid to get his hands dirty, will surely attract attention. It is sad when you have to watch your back from basic human decency. The classic was the home owner who was checked out after being reported for painting his home. Why didn't he hire someone to paint? He likes to paint, is good at it, it is his house, why should he hire someone to do a job he can do far better himself.

Hillbilly, you might get something for a friend, but learn to be careful about friends. In these really tough economic times, people will jump on any excuse. Mexico used to be a country that much of the economy was all off the books, now the government keeps increasing the restrictions on the smallest of businesses. The man that sells you the wood, the nails, the stain are all being forced into more accounting and keeping everything on the books.
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#14 hillbilly

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 07:42 AM

Thanks Charles. That makes all the sense in the world to me. Last thing we want is to rock the boat and have something happen to our fidi or to us while we are there .
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#15 chunter

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 09:58 AM

Thanks Charles. That makes all the sense in the world to me. Last thing we want is to rock the boat and have something happen to our fidi or to us while we are there .

Just wanted yo know how things are going. My man has two metal hips but is always busy doing handyman work. I am afraid he would go crazy not being able to do something. I would be very happy helping the humane society. We love Cozumel and need warm weather. This forum is the best .
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#16 sailsgal

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 10:51 AM

Many things to help and keep busy...network with people when you are here, all good things...
Yes you need to keep busy and although helping others is always a good idea, you have to step lightly
or backs get up and new rules are made overnight and trouble can be at your door for things we would think are really stupid.
We have lived here 5 years now, love it and the lifestyle, own a legal business, but still can;t do certain
things at times which makes me crazy, but those are the rules....enjoy the island.
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Susan aka Sailsgal
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#17 Coz2wonder

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 01:46 PM

We just had a visit from immigration's last week. They inspected our place of business, our documents and we came out fine.

Immigration's has every right to inspect, question and verify what a foreigner is doing here.

For those who are working illegally, selling illegally without proper documents, you are making life difficult for those of us who do it right.

We all become suspect...
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#18 strucman

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 12:08 PM

Thanks again to all of you for your words of wisdom.

I did send Gisela a retainer and have sadly determined that I probably won't be able to set up the business I was hoping for. The next thing my wife and I have been considering was to buy some reasonably priced homes that we could clean up and rent. I know there are tons of vacation rentals already, but, like many of you, we only need to earn enough to cover our modest expenses. Is this still doable considering the state of the economy and increased level of scrutiny that everyone is describing? My wife and I love the island and what we know of the people, but would consider other locations that are more open to outsiders and the businesses they bring if Coz is changing as much as it sounds.
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#19 Charles

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 03:16 PM

Read #7 post by Mike and my previous posts. Anything that generates any form of income is subjected to Mexican laws and taxation. Foreigners need to form a corporation. Many of the vacation rentals are illegal and when it all hits the fan.... it will not be pretty.

Realistically if you want to live in Cozumel and have a life, your income has to come from somewhere else. These are Mexican restrictions, not just Cozumel. When I researched other countries a few years back, in contrast Panama was very friendly towards foreigners opening businesses, made it easy and even tax exemptions.

Some types of work are restricted to Mexicans. I would and have trusted Gisela very much, I was basically her first significant client on the island (I taught her everything I knew about crazy Cozumel and Quintana Roo law which conflicts with Mexican).
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#20 Ali

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 01:13 AM

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