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#56607 - 09/05/02 04:57 PM Might sell everything and move...
yosemite Offline
Spent 10 years in the motorcycle business and then about 15 with computers/IT and I am seriously considering selling everrything and starting a scooter-rental shop/home in Belize (AC?)...

I would be delighted in any feedback/opinions/speculation ;')

TIA,

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#56608 - 09/05/02 07:18 PM Re: Might sell everything and move...
susangg Offline
Anyone who comes to Belize and particularly Ambergris Caye with the idea that they will earn enough money IN Belize to be able to afford to live there is very likely to be disappointed.
As for "selling everything" unless the "everything" is something you don't want and plan to sell anyway, its not a wise move. Even less wise if you plan to bring all the proceeds with you.
If you want to live in Belize you need to be prepared to support yourself there (at whatever level of "luxury" you have selected for yourself after having done the research to determine what that is) with funds derived elsewhere. It is the rare expat who has been able to develop an income within Belize to live on, and those who have done this paid their dues for many years in the red (ask any of the expat hotel owners about their experiences.)
If you do intend to attempt a business scratch startup, you had best do a market analysis to determine the demand and also research the likelihood of obtaining a residency and work permit and a business license for same. (And if you plan on buying an existing business, better read the books carefully and make sure there are not two sets of books...)
A permit is is not easy to obtain if your proposed business is anything related to retail or services, since these are things that Belizeans can also do.
Be aware that if you are given a business permit and a local person decides that you are competing with his business, you may find your permit revoked suddenly with no legal recourse.
If you have the money to invest in rental property that is probably your best bet at developing a business that may eventually result in the ability to sustain yourself but expect several years of running in the red before that happens, unless of course you are able to purchase one of the more successful tourism concerns that are currently for sale (with cash, of course; and of course most of them are grossly overpriced.)
I assume that you have read "Adapter Kit Belize" (Lan Sluder's book that is a must-read for anyone who is considering living or investing in Belize.) If you haven't, better get it first.
The bottom line is that Belize is a delightful place to live, if you have funds coming from elsewhere with which to do it.
_________________________
Susan Guberman-Garcia, Attorney at Law. Phone: 510-792-2639
Fax/Voicemail:: 510-405-2016 Email: susangg@garcia.mpowermail.com

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#56609 - 09/05/02 07:41 PM Re: Might sell everything and move...
yosemite Offline
Good advice... Am in touch now with a realtor and a trade organization (name escapes me).

Are you aware of any services that rent scooters or small on/off-road motorcycles for tourists?

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#56610 - 09/05/02 08:32 PM Re: Might sell everything and move...
trina Offline
I pretty much agree with Susan above. A lot of folks have told me that the best idea is to get a Belizian partner. Makes the paperwork and legalities a lot easier. This is easier said than done. Obviously make sure you know the person very well and for a long time. I would definetly have a "Plan B"; don't burn any bridges behind you, have an "out". Also, have you been to Ambergris, and if so, how many times?

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#56611 - 09/05/02 09:38 PM Re: Might sell everything and move...
CMNate Offline
Remember, Ambergris Caye is an island. Golf carts, bikes, and walking seems to be the mode of transportation (with water taxis here and there). Gas is expensive there and motorcycles and scooters can be loud (not environmentally friendly). Have you travelled there yet (just checking)? Definitely a must, before you go too far in your planning.

Nate

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#56612 - 09/05/02 10:41 PM Re: Might sell everything and move...
rickcheri Offline
It is our understanding that AC is NOT giving out anymore permits for any kind of transportation devices. Your best bet would be to purchase a "golf cart" business and use the permits for your scooters. Last time we were there we went to a golf cart association meeting. You would have to obtain "permits" for each scooter....VERY hard to do!!

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#56613 - 09/07/02 12:09 AM Re: Might sell everything and move...
silkpainter Offline
Rick/Cheri are dead on about the permit for vehicles situation.
BUT, everyone always needs a good mechanic or computer guy. Much lower overhead and you can work as little/much as you want. A permit for this would be to get your residency or a business owner's work permit, business name registration in Belize City (25 bz.), a taxpayer's I.D. number (done easily by registering with the tax office) and a San Pedro Town Council trade license (fee is obscure and based on your rent). That's all that I know of. Anybody on the board correct me if I'm wrong. And, if they give you a hard time, come on over to Caye Caulker. The 5 computers on this island are always breaking down and like I said before, a good mechanic is hard to come by. But, don't expect to be able to set up a scooter rental business on Caye Caulker, they have even tighter restrictions on bringing vehicles to the island, it could take you 2 years to get even one permit.
--Silk www.caribbean-colors.com
_________________________
-Lee Vanderwalker-Alamina
http://www.caribbean-colors.com
http://www.caribbean-colors.blogspot.com

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#56614 - 09/07/02 04:36 PM Re: Might sell everything and move...
yosemite Offline
Great information everyone, especially about the cart/vehicle licensing...

I have not visited Belize and am really in a 'research' mode right now. I am realizing that I have not found much satisfaction (other then financial) as Director of IT for an entertainment company and we separated ways some time ago... I've been considering what 'talents' I have that would be useful and remember greater satisfaction with work that had more tangible progress (you can look behind you after a few hours and see some positive results ;')

My role in the 'scooter rental' concept was primarily as the mechanic. With any luck I would have enough work to hire/train locally. I assumed marine engines and other small motors would help supplement income.

Initially I had not considered AC, and was looking at the mainland, considering the archaelogical sites, tourists and scientists/students, but I saw a few pictures that reminded me of the lovely warm waters near Sanibel/Ft. Myers on the gulf side of Florida (where I had lived for a few years)...

Property is reasonable in Belize, the 1/2 acre in-town and 10 acre out-of-town limits don't really effect me, the required Belize Incorporation and legal fees are reasonable as well (appr. $3500)...

Thanks again for the feedback, it's invaluable ;')

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#56615 - 09/07/02 05:55 PM Re: Might sell everything and move...
KC Offline
Ahhhhh... Sanibel. My second most favorite place in the world.

:-)
_________________________
"You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."

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#56616 - 09/07/02 07:02 PM Re: Might sell everything and move...
Lan Sluder/Belize First Offline
Actually the 1/2-acre/10 acre limit without an alien landholding permit is no more. That law was repealed a while back. There are still some local restrictions on ownership, mainly on some cayes.

--Lan Sluder
_________________________
Lan Sluder/Belize First
http://www.belizefirst.com

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