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#454485 - 01/02/13 10:15 PM ex pat business ownership
4evergr8tful Offline
Hi all, I'm new to this site, so please be patient with me.

My husband and I (currently living in the US) are looking to buy an existing restaurant in San Pedro. We do not intend to change anything around (if it isn't broken, don't fix it), but I was wondering if there are any ex pats on this site that have done the same thing and could provide some guidance.

Also, and this is for any ex pat business owner, could you please provide any information about the cost of hurricane insurance? Is it necessary? The current owner does not have it, but he's only had the business for 18 months. Were there any issues that you ran into as foreign business owners? Any additional, unexpected fees? Any issues with suppliers? Banks? Utilities? I'm still waiting on the Belize embassy to get back to me about licensing, registrations, taxes, employment restrictions, government actions/liens against the property (or at least give me some guidance as to where I can find those answers), etc., but any info that you could provide would be much appreciated.

Blessings!

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#454491 - 01/03/13 03:19 AM Re: ex pat business ownership [Re: 4evergr8tful]
Cooper Offline
Some structures cant be insured at all, such as wooden structures that are not inpected and approved. Most neighborhood wood houses cant be insured. Insurance companies want structures to be over 50% cement. I do know some people that are grandfathered in, and a few others that are paying very high premiums on wood structures. If your restaraunt has insurance you may want to keep the same policy. Check what rates would be for a new policy first. Or before changing insurance companies.
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#454526 - 01/03/13 04:39 PM Re: ex pat business ownership [Re: 4evergr8tful]
Diane Campbell Offline
A few brief bits of info and a little direction on where to go for research.
The Belize Embassy will not have the info you seek about licenses, liens, etc.
You will need a Liquor License (several types available).
You will need a Trades LIcense as well. Information on both can be obtained at the Town Board.
The owner of the restaurant should be able to show you what is needed for operation and you will need the same.
You will need a work permit if you are going to be actively participate in the business. Immigration and Labour will be the departments issuing permissions in this area.
Liens on real estate would be found by way of a title search - this is done in Belmopan by a licensed searcher.
Property tax records are at the Town Board.
Labour regulations can be obtained at the Labour Board office.
Business Tax info is online as is GST info. You can also get informative booklets from the offices of these departments (located in San Pedro).
Social Security info can be obtained from the Social Security Office.
Hurricane insurance - are you buying just a business or a building? If you don't own the building you can't insure it. Depends on cost to replace the building whether you wish to purchase insurance. Possibly the building is not insurable and that is why there is no insurance now - you should check that out. Cost for such insurance depends on the structure itself. Get a quote from a local insurance company.
Suppliers, banks etc - the answers are business-specific and you should be doing this sort of due diligence with the business owner.
You can buy business-interruption insurance. That can be good in the event of a storm. Further you should probably get public liability insurance.
IMHO - You need a broker or business consultant or attorney for this transaction - wishing you luck but with this list of questions it's apparent that you need a professional to guide you through the process.
This message board is full of people who want to help, but every transaction and every business is unique and you will not get the in-depth info you need by way of a message board.


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#454529 - 01/03/13 04:55 PM Re: ex pat business ownership [Re: 4evergr8tful]
ScubaLdy Offline
I have to wonder why the owner is selling after only 18 months in business? There are a LOT of restaurants on the island. You should check on the failure rate. It's a tough business here.
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Take only pictures leave only bubbles

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#454534 - 01/03/13 05:41 PM Re: ex pat business ownership [Re: 4evergr8tful]
Diane Campbell Offline
There are some folks on the island who buy, fix and re-sell businesses.
There are others who start a business thinking it will be a part-time retirement/hobby and then succeed to create a full-on bus-op that is more work than they want (or need) to do.
Ergo - although I would recommend thorough due-diligence, I wouldn't take a negative view just because the business is for sale after 18 months of the current owner operating it.

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