After all this, I’m pretty sure I should ditch the food truck and open my own consulting business for Americans wanting to open a business in Spain. Especially, if they want to do it on the Camino.
Jeff has a real job in Spain. And I will not be running this business as Autonomo – that’s like an independent contractor in the US. Instead, we have initiated, at long last, an S.A. business here. That means we have deeds, license and titles, and all the rest. And it comes with some complexities that we only find out about in drips and drabs. It’s a bit like living your life as a human advent calendar, or Alice in Wonderland. Every day you open a new door, or eat a previously unseen cookie, and the whole world changes. Surprise!!What you thought you knew before is not quite what you understood how things should, or will, work. Confused? Me too.
Friday we signed our final paper. I’m just waiting the ten days to have my business account unlocked. Remember when I said a few days ago that in a week or so I would be glad the account was locked.? There would be something, I couldn’t know what at that time that would make me glad I was unable to order my food truck and purchase other supplies last week? Well, I was correct.
A Pile of Cash
We met our accountant/gestoría at the nortaría to sign our final documents. He’s very helpful. Then he suggested we all go to the bank together to file the papers so I can get my business account really started. I have been transfering money into my personal account here, waiting to be able to transfer it into the business account, unlock it, then order my food truck. But we hit a snag.
Our gestoría asked me how I was paying for the food truck. I told him what I have been doing and he gulped. Even through his mask I could tell.
‘You can’t pay for the food truck with personal funds unless you loan it to the business. Which is fine, it’s paperwork and tracking, but the business must pay you back with interest. And you will pay taxes on the interest.’
Wait, what? I will pay taxes on money that I loan myself and I have already paid taxes on, in two countries? Your head it probably reeling right about now, just like mine.
‘I don’t get it. I just technically opened this business. I have no revenue, yet. So there are no business funds. But I won’t have a business if I don’t buy the food truck, and do all the renovations I have planned on our buildings on the farm.’
He nodded. He gets it.
‘You need a loan from the bank. It’s better for you and less messy than bringing US money into the business.’ Then he turned to our banker and told her we need a loan for a pile of money. She nodded, writing down a bunch of zeros, casually shrugging and saying ‘Normal.’ I guess my She’s excitable reputation at the bank isn’t holding me back from taking out a business loan. Maybe that tags me as a go-getter.
So now we are gathering documents to initiate a loan I didn’t know I was taking out 30 minutes before. The interest rate is good. And it’s fine. I always like preserving capital and using someone else’s money. But we never would have asked for a business loan in Spain. To be honest, I couldn’t imagine them loaning us money on a business with no track record, being opened by two Americans with very little financial history in Spain. But apparently this is all ‘Normal.’ So there you go.
We left the bank. Jeff had not spoken a word. He prefers to let me take the lead in these situations. I stopped at Lola’s and picked up my stamps. We had a brief conversation in español as I tested out the stamps at her encouragement. I really am getting more confident.
We were driving home when I spotted a van with coffee related stuff emblazoned on the sides. I whipped out my phone and took some photos. Getting vendors to call me back or even respond via multiple emails is proving a bit difficult. Especially after they learn you are linguistically challenged. And I totally understand it. They have plenty of other customers who are easier to deal with. They don’t need me. But this has been making it hard to line up a coffee machine and coffee supplier. And I need to do this for the final measurements for the food truck. I won’t go into why, just trust me.
So I came home, still a little shell shocked about the bank loan deal, and looked up the name on the van. And lo and behold, they are not just passing through Melide like so many other vendors located in Santiago or Lugo. Their business is in Melide and they train you on how to make a world class cup of coffee, to boot. I reached out to them and they responded right away. We are meeting at the end of next week to discuss what I will need and how they might train me while I learn café español. Nice people and willing to work with me.
My new strategy of going slow to go fast is paying off. Diego, our contractor, is supplying the bank with all the estimates. And he’s working on our grants from the Xunta, and filing all the paperwork to the correct agencies on our behalf. Our sudden bank loan is in the works. And I might just have a coffee supplier that I wouldn’t have had if we hadn’t been waylaid at the bank. It all works out. How? I don’t really have a clue, but it does. I guess that means we must be on the right path.