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Myself and my wife, are considering changing the rat race of the UK and heading out to Greece for a slower paced life style.

At the moment we are favouring Rhodes due to some great holidays and the pace of life being very appealing.

We have come up with a business concept idea that i think could work - although more research is needed and i feel that at least one of us would have to find a job initially if not while we proved we could get the idea of the ground.

As neither my wife or me have ever lived abroad and have never run our own business I can say that looking on the web has thrown up a lot of things that are giving us second thoughts but I figured the best next step would be to ask if anyone out there has done what we are contemplating and could give some advice and guidance and let us know if it's something we should seriously consider continuing with. This being a current pipe dream but one I can't seem to let go off.

I work for a large banking institution in IT and the future of which is in doubt as jobs must go in the next 2-3 years so it may present a good opportunity to get out while we can, and my wife she works for a company who's future is also in doubt.

We are both early 30's have a mortgaged property in the uk with 5 years already payed off so would be looking to use the capital of the house to buy \ rent a property on the island - but like other posts on the site it appears many of the websites are showing extremely expensive prices so could also do with advice on where to start with a view that the house \ flat could double up as non customer facing business premises also.

We want this to be more that a dream but need some good advice on where to start and how to start up business and any potential pitfalls t watch out for - can we do a start up for a small amount of outlay and as non Greek speaking what should we consider first?

PS I'm starting learning Greek but as a 31year old I find this harder to do that when learning other languages at school - so I hope an immersive surrounding would help me pick up things better.

Feel free to contact me via email.
 

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Hi

My friend and I are in exactly the same position Recently started looking into movig to Greece maybe we could swap contact details and share any useful information we come up with.

Chrissy


Myself and my wife, are considering changing the rat race of the UK and heading out to Greece for a slower paced life style.

At the moment we are favouring Rhodes due to some great holidays and the pace of life being very appealing.

We have come up with a business concept idea that i think could work - although more research is needed and i feel that at least one of us would have to find a job initially if not while we proved we could get the idea of the ground.

As neither my wife or me have ever lived abroad and have never run our own business I can say that looking on the web has thrown up a lot of things that are giving us second thoughts but I figured the best next step would be to ask if anyone out there has done what we are contemplating and could give some advice and guidance and let us know if it's something we should seriously consider continuing with. This being a current pipe dream but one I can't seem to let go off.

I work for a large banking institution in IT and the future of which is in doubt as jobs must go in the next 2-3 years so it may present a good opportunity to get out while we can, and my wife she works for a company who's future is also in doubt.

We are both early 30's have a mortgaged property in the uk with 5 years already payed off so would be looking to use the capital of the house to buy \ rent a property on the island - but like other posts on the site it appears many of the websites are showing extremely expensive prices so could also do with advice on where to start with a view that the house \ flat could double up as non customer facing business premises also.

We want this to be more that a dream but need some good advice on where to start and how to start up business and any potential pitfalls t watch out for - can we do a start up for a small amount of outlay and as non Greek speaking what should we consider first?

PS I'm starting learning Greek but as a 31year old I find this harder to do that when learning other languages at school - so I hope an immersive surrounding would help me pick up things better.

Feel free to contact me via email.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Chrissy, yes I'd like to do that.
Currently looking at a few websites but as i'm a new member i don't think i can post url's as yet..
 

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Yes I am the same. Went to the place in the sun exhibition yesterday, got a couple of contacts there. My email address is [email protected]

Send me your email address and I can forward the details to you.

Chrissy

Hi Chrissy, yes I'd like to do that.
Currently looking at a few websites but as i'm a new member i don't think i can post url's as yet..
 

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Hi

We came to Greece in 2001, originally just to sail for a couple of years, but have ended up staying and running a business here.

It is not easy but it is possible. I wish we had had more advice beforehand as we've made loads of mistakes, some expensive ones :)

We had both run businesses in the UK but I think that was as much a disadvantage as an advantage as things do not work the same way here at all so perhaps you are better not to have any preconceived ideas.

When we came we rented out our house for a few years and that is one of the things I think we did right.

If it is possible for you to do that I would consider it, and rent here, then only sell when you are sure things are working out for you.

Here are some bits of general advice:

1. Greece is not a meritocracy. It works largely through personal contact (who you know) so you need to be sociable and prepared to network. Foreigners are at a disadvantage in many ways as we don't have all the family connections a Greek would use when trying to get things done.

2. The country is very bureacratic and still a cash society. You can waste days dealing with paperwork and making payments. We use Internet banking as much as we can but it isn't always possible. There is a nice aspect to this as well, as the person you go to pay will often ask you to sit and have a coffee with them and chat.

3. The contributions to TEBE, which is the health/pension scheme for people who run businesses are quite high and you have to pay even if you don't make a profit!

4. Greeks can get vey jealous so I would suggest you do not open a business that competes with any existing Greek business or you could find it very difficult.

5. Speaking Greek is a big advantage.

I am sure there is loads more I can tell you. Do ask me.
 

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Hi

We moved to Greece July 2009 (this year) took us 2 years to plan, and was very expensive (for us as we had no equity or capital)

Getting a job to pay the bills is near on impossible, not because of work but the rates of pay do not cover costs of bills.

So running your own business would have to be somewhat successful, I am lucky (or unlucky if you like) to be able to commute to UK to work, so we have a decent income to live from as rent and utilities are cheaper.

We are in our 40's and wouldn't change what we have done as our quality of life is so much better.

If I can offer any info please email or post here, I can only say if you dont have children and you are in your 30's then go for it!

Jane :)
 

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Running a Business in Greece

There is a government programme to help immigrants learn Greek and free lessons in many places. You will need to learn at least some Greek.

Running a business here is often far more complex than in the UK. Let me give you an example:

Many years ago I opened a small shop in Scotland. I needed a till so I looked around for a good buy (nowadays probably ebay has them), bought it, worked out how to set up the VAT codes I needed and how to use it, and off I went. I needed some books to keep financial records. Went to a stationer and bought them and used them.

We needed a till in Greece. You have to go to a specialist shop with your AFM (VAT number) and other details and have it programmed for you. You then have to take the slip from the first transaction you do to the local tax office for verification. After that your accountant must be given all the till rolls. Books? Yes you buy them from a stationer but they also must be taken to the local tax office where they are put through a stamping machine and I had to hand-write numbers on every pages of each book in their presence. :)

Here are some things I wish I had known before we started our business:

Greece is still very much a cash society. Most bills are settled with cash; cheques are regarded as 'promisary notes. Internet banking is available but not everyone trusts it. You can spend a lot of time dealing with cash payments.

Greece is not a meritocracy. It works through family and connections. Greeks spend a lot of time cultivating connections which is strange to us but without them things are a lot harder. A well-connected accountant and solicitor are essential starting points.

The legal/administrative rules for businesses are based on the assumption that everyone is trying to cheat the system (which largely they are!) so they try to tie you in as many knots as possible.

It is hard to do something new here. If you don't fit into a category that they know of it can be a bit of a struggle to do what you want.

Be very wary of opening a business in direct competition with Greeks. We know of people who have done this and had to cope with everything from being bad-mouthed, being reported regularly leading to checks for every possible licence they need (pretty common), to actually having items sabotaged. This is not just xenophobia (which is a Greek word haha) - they do it to other Greeks as well.

Having said that there are a lot of opportunities simply because most Greeks do what their parents did and are not innovative. If you are thinking of a business that involves other foreigners you will have a much better idea of what they want and how to treat them than Greeks do.
 

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Good Luck! Greece a great place but it needs brave couple to tackle the \greek authorities setting up a business. paper chases and dead ends abound... it is all worth it evenings in cafes and tavernas (great for a family too) but days and days will be spent trying to get correct paperwork. Learn the lingo or make friends with a local who will help out!






Myself and my wife, are considering changing the rat race of the UK and heading out to Greece for a slower paced life style.

At the moment we are favouring Rhodes due to some great holidays and the pace of life being very appealing.

We have come up with a business concept idea that i think could work - although more research is needed and i feel that at least one of us would have to find a job initially if not while we proved we could get the idea of the ground.

As neither my wife or me have ever lived abroad and have never run our own business I can say that looking on the web has thrown up a lot of things that are giving us second thoughts but I figured the best next step would be to ask if anyone out there has done what we are contemplating and could give some advice and guidance and let us know if it's something we should seriously consider continuing with. This being a current pipe dream but one I can't seem to let go off.

I work for a large banking institution in IT and the future of which is in doubt as jobs must go in the next 2-3 years so it may present a good opportunity to get out while we can, and my wife she works for a company who's future is also in doubt.

We are both early 30's have a mortgaged property in the uk with 5 years already payed off so would be looking to use the capital of the house to buy \ rent a property on the island - but like other posts on the site it appears many of the websites are showing extremely expensive prices so could also do with advice on where to start with a view that the house \ flat could double up as non customer facing business premises also.

We want this to be more that a dream but need some good advice on where to start and how to start up business and any potential pitfalls t watch out for - can we do a start up for a small amount of outlay and as non Greek speaking what should we consider first?

PS I'm starting learning Greek but as a 31year old I find this harder to do that when learning other languages at school - so I hope an immersive surrounding would help me pick up things better.

Feel free to contact me via email.
 

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Hi All

Finding this thread looks like i may have hit a good starting point. My wife, Angie, and i are looking to move to Greece for a change of lifestyle. (Aren’t we all! ) Both of us have stable jobs, a mortgage, 2 dogs…. Etc. I am in IT management and Angie is an office administrator.

What we need at the moment is information. I am nervous that we chase the greener grass and fall flat on our faces. If anyone can offer information/help I would truly appreciate it.

My main questions are:
Jobs: What are IT/Management jobs like out there. Where are the best locations for IT jobs, keeping in mind we do not want to swap one rat race for another. I.e. Away from the main centres. I know that may be a bit of an oxymoron but one does not know unless one asks. I am happy to consider contracting, as I have much knowledge in some of the latest technologies, and work away from where we live.
Place to live: Related to the last point but more importantly, in relation to social networking. We have already made a life changing move before and we did it without support. It was HAARRDD. When we move this time I would like to be able to move to a location where others have already settled and will be willing to help guide those first tentative steps.
Time frames: How long does it take? Open ended question I know, but I would be interested in hearing how long it has taken you.

We would love to hear from you to learn of your experiences and any advice you may have will be appreciated.

Thanks

Clint
 

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Hi

We made the move last year, I personally recommend you get an IT job based in UK where you can work from home. Couple of reasons, to get a job in Greece you will need to read and write greek (especially in IT) second the wages are dreadful, for a top skilled worker you are looking at an average of 900-1000 euros per month!

I am commuting to UK for work because the wages are so poor, it's a small price to pay for the luxury of having a holiday every time I have my days off! the way of life is laid back and beautiful, however the winters are hard and expensive! heating and electric etc

If I can help in any other way please email me, dont be put off! I wouldn't change a thing, it just needs very careful planning.

Jane :)
 

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Hi

It is possible to find well paid jobs in Athens where you do not need to speak Greek. These are with multinational companies rather than Greek ones and most people I know who work for them were working for them elsewhere and then moved here.

It is MUCH harder to find a job once you are here and, as others have said, the salaries are low (although you get paid for 14 months each year so they are not quite as bad as you first think)

Without knowledge of the language you will be at a disadvantage. Many Greeks take degrees in the UK or USA so there are well-qualified local people who speak both languages going after management posts.

I don't know how much IT work there is outside Athens. Remember this is a small country and 5 or 6 million out of the 11 million live in the Athens area.

Something to remember also is that Greece is not a meritocracy. People often get work because they have been personally recommended rather than because they are better than other candidates. As a foreigner with no track record here, and no relatives or friends you will find it much harder.

If you can get a UK job that lets you work here that is definitely your best bet!

Otherwise I suggest doing a lot of research into which companies have an office in Athens, Thessaloniki, Patras etc. and contact their HR departments to see if they have any vacancies.
 

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Thanks for replying. I am starting to think that maybe a career change is on the cards. It was always planned but just not for another 5 years. Hey, plans change. I will see if i can find a job working remotely, but if all else fails, the company i currently work for has its head office right next to heathrow. Failing that i could always repair nets for a living :)

As for places to live in Greece, are there any reccomendations for starting out?
We are planning to get a list of possible places and then visit them all over the next 12 months or so. Try and meet some people and maybe make contacts along the way.
 

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Hi. I think you have made a mistake in asking for recommendations about where to live. There are 777 Greek islands for a start not to mention the 10000s of town & villages thereon. So can you just imagine the answers to your question.Have you been to Greece ?
How do you know you would like living there ?
 

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Hi. I think you have made a mistake in asking for recommendations about where to live. There are 777 Greek islands for a start not to mention the 10000s of town & villages thereon. So can you just imagine the answers to your question.Have you been to Greece ?
How do you know you would like living there ?
LOL, good point. I had sort of figured that the expats had congregated in a few areas. Sure, there will be loads outside of the norm but i was just trying to get a gut feel for where the 'hot spots' are.

I have never been to greece but have been to other places in the med before. More importantly, having origionally come from Africa and talking to alot of people who have been to Greece, it seems to tick all the boxes of what we are looking for from a lifestyle point of view.
 

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Angie & Clint. Can I suggest you go to any Greek island for a 2 week holiday in July / August when temperatures are 40C +
Then if possible return for a holiday in the winter.Come and talk to people who have made a successful life in Greece
We know of one family who returned to the UK after 6 months.
They just could not adjust to the lifestyle & were home sick.
May I point out, that before you can buy or rent anything [ car motor bike etc ] you need a Greek tax number.This can only be obtained by a personal visit to the tax office normaly only in the capital city on the island where you are going to reside.
If you intend working you may also need a residents permit.
From our experience it seems to depend on the local police on wether you need a permit.
Do you have or will children requiring schooling ?
You may need to send them for private lessons, leading to more expense.
You need to do a lot more research before making the commitment
 

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There is a government programme to help immigrants learn Greek and free lessons in many places. You will need to learn at least some Greek.

Running a business here is often far more complex than in the UK. Let me give you an example:

Many years ago I opened a small shop in Scotland. I needed a till so I looked around for a good buy (nowadays probably ebay has them), bought it, worked out how to set up the VAT codes I needed and how to use it, and off I went. I needed some books to keep financial records. Went to a stationer and bought them and used them.

We needed a till in Greece. You have to go to a specialist shop with your AFM (VAT number) and other details and have it programmed for you. You then have to take the slip from the first transaction you do to the local tax office for verification. After that your accountant must be given all the till rolls. Books? Yes you buy them from a stationer but they also must be taken to the local tax office where they are put through a stamping machine and I had to hand-write numbers on every pages of each book in their presence. :)

Here are some things I wish I had known before we started our business:

Greece is still very much a cash society. Most bills are settled with cash; cheques are regarded as 'promisary notes. Internet banking is available but not everyone trusts it. You can spend a lot of time dealing with cash payments.

Greece is not a meritocracy. It works through family and connections. Greeks spend a lot of time cultivating connections which is strange to us but without them things are a lot harder. A well-connected accountant and solicitor are essential starting points.

The legal/administrative rules for businesses are based on the assumption that everyone is trying to cheat the system (which largely they are!) so they try to tie you in as many knots as possible.

It is hard to do something new here. If you don't fit into a category that they know of it can be a bit of a struggle to do what you want.

Be very wary of opening a business in direct competition with Greeks. We know of people who have done this and had to cope with everything from being bad-mouthed, being reported regularly leading to checks for every possible licence they need (pretty common), to actually having items sabotaged. This is not just xenophobia (which is a Greek word haha) - they do it to other Greeks as well.

Having said that there are a lot of opportunities simply because most Greeks do what their parents did and are not innovative. If you are thinking of a business that involves other foreigners you will have a much better idea of what they want and how to treat them than Greeks do.
this is really interesting helpful advice.
many thanks
Bridge8
 
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