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Old 13.12.2015, 17:43
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Einzelfirma, Selbständig, GMBH questions!

Having previously had a nightmare attempt to become self-employed, I'm thinking of giving it another go in the next year, but slightly differently. Last time I wanted to be an independent massage therapist, working in different hotels and being mobile etc... which apparently wasn't acceptable. Now I'm planning on having my own room/premises which hopefully will be acceptable.

Just starting to do some research into Einzelfirma, GMBH etc, and already slightly confused. I have a few questions... if you could keep the answers simple for a business dummy that would be fab

- Einzelfirma and Selbständig is the same thing I think, correct? Or is there a difference?

- To do this I need permission from the Ausgleichkasse to pay AHV (stumbling block last time). Do I need to register as a firm elsewhere, or can I get away without this?

- Firm name, does it have to be my name? "Maggie May Massage" or can I call it something else .... "Swiss Cheese Massage", or does it have to be a GMBH for this? If it does, can I combine the two "Maggie May, Swiss Cheese Massage" ??

- Can I set up a bank account as self-employed for the business "Maggie May, Swiss Cheese Massage" and accept card payments? Or does it again need to be a GMBH.

- Can I in future easily change to a GBMH? Why would either self-employed or GMBH be a better option?

Thanks for your time helping a dummy
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Old 13.12.2015, 17:49
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Re: Einzelfirma, Selbständig, GMBH questions!

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Having previously had a nightmare attempt to become self-employed, I'm thinking of giving it another go in the next year, but slightly differently. Last time I wanted to be an independent massage therapist, working in different hotels and being mobile etc... which apparently wasn't acceptable. Now I'm planning on having my own room/premises which hopefully will be acceptable.

Just starting to do some research into Einzelfirma, GMBH etc, and already slightly confused. I have a few questions... if you could keep the answers simple for a business dummy that would be fab

- Einzelfirma and Selbständig is the same thing I think, correct? Or is there a difference?

- To do this I need permission from the Ausgleichkasse to pay AHV (stumbling block last time). Do I need to register as a firm elsewhere, or can I get away without this?

- Firm name, does it have to be my name? "Maggie May Massage" or can I call it something else .... "Swiss Cheese Massage", or does it have to be a GMBH for this? If it does, can I combine the two "Maggie May, Swiss Cheese Massage" ??

- Can I set up a bank account as self-employed for the business "Maggie May, Swiss Cheese Massage" and accept card payments? Or does it again need to be a GMBH.

- Can I in future easily change to a GBMH? Why would either self-employed or GMBH be a better option?

Thanks for your time helping a dummy
It's the same thing.

It's much easier to be part time self employed, if they won't accept 100% self employed. No other registration required

The company name must include your name. A Bank will open an account in the name of the business.

You could in future set up a GmbH if you wanted.
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Old 13.12.2015, 18:03
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Re: Einzelfirma, Selbständig, GMBH questions!

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A Bank will open an account in the name of the business.
But this doesn't have to be registered anywhere? I can just set up and call myself something, as long as my name is in it, and open an account in that name, without registering it anywhere?
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Old 13.12.2015, 18:06
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Re: Einzelfirma, Selbständig, GMBH questions!

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But this doesn't have to be registered anywhere? I can just set up and call myself something, as long as my name is in it, and open an account in that name, without registering it anywhere?
Yes, the bank will probably want to see your letter from the AVS but thats it.
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Old 13.12.2015, 18:18
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Re: Einzelfirma, Selbständig, GMBH questions!

This is a useful website for entrepreneurs looking to set up a company in Switzerland. It's in English (and German):

http://www.gruenden.ch/en/
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Old 13.12.2015, 18:24
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Re: Einzelfirma, Selbständig, GMBH questions!

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This is a useful website for entrepreneurs looking to set up a company in Switzerland. It's in English (and German):

http://www.gruenden.ch/en/
Thanks ... awesome!!
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Old 13.12.2015, 19:31
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Re: Einzelfirma, Selbständig, GMBH questions!

Setting up a GmbH was so easy and straightforward that I don't understand why people would do the Einzelfirma thing (unless they cannot lock in 20k for starting it... which you probably will do anyway if you get your own place, you can pay anything from the rent deposit over rent to the massage table from this)...

- you can name your company whatever you like, it does not need to include your family name. I think that "Awesome Spa" sounds better than "Moergeli Massagen"...
- while some of those "advisory" website offer you "packages" for around 3-5k did the entire process done by myself cost me less than a grand and only a few hours of work (you need to prepare some paper work, but there are perfect templates for free available...)
- Having a GmbH means you can easily employ somebody if you need to - and I guess you really hope you get to this point. Even if it is just some part time student doing the front desk while you work...
- banks clearly seem to prefer GmbHs or AGs...
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Old 13.12.2015, 19:46
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Re: Einzelfirma, Selbständig, GMBH questions!

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- Having a GmbH means you can easily employ somebody if you need to - and I guess you really hope you get to this point. Even if it is just some part time student doing the front desk while you work...
How do you go about paying yourself and others as an employee, all the AHV, BVG side of things, if doing a GMBH?
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Old 13.12.2015, 19:58
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Re: Einzelfirma, Selbständig, GMBH questions!

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How do you go about paying yourself and others as an employee, all the AHV, BVG side of things, if doing a GMBH?
As soon as you start your company do you get a letter from the relevant AHV Kasse. (This can be the one of the canton or in some specific industries for some mysterious reasons some different ones). They'll happily tell you what to do... first you register your company as an employer, then every single person including yourself you employ.
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Old 13.12.2015, 20:00
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Re: Einzelfirma, Selbständig, GMBH questions!

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Setting up a GmbH was so easy and straightforward that I don't understand why people would do the Einzelfirma thing (unless they cannot lock in 20k for starting it... which you probably will do anyway if you get your own place, you can pay anything from the rent deposit over rent to the massage table from this)...

- you can name your company whatever you like, it does not need to include your family name. I think that "Awesome Spa" sounds better than "Moergeli Massagen"...
- while some of those "advisory" website offer you "packages" for around 3-5k did the entire process done by myself cost me less than a grand and only a few hours of work (you need to prepare some paper work, but there are perfect templates for free available...)
- Having a GmbH means you can easily employ somebody if you need to - and I guess you really hope you get to this point. Even if it is just some part time student doing the front desk while you work...
- banks clearly seem to prefer GmbHs or AGs...
There are advantages and disadvantages to each.

To the contrary, Einzelfirmen can employ anyone they want just as a GmbH can.

Creditors would normally prefer Einzelfirmen to GmbHs since, in the event of a default, they can go after the personal assets of the owner of an Einzelfirma which they cannot do with a GmbH.

For a GmbH to obtain a loan from a bank (or trade credit from a creditor), it might be necessary for the GmbH's owner to sign a personal guaranty.
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Old 13.12.2015, 20:06
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Re: Einzelfirma, Selbständig, GMBH questions!

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- banks clearly seem to prefer GmbHs or AGs...
Odd as they are at more risk.
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Old 13.12.2015, 20:30
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Re: Einzelfirma, Selbständig, GMBH questions!

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Odd as they are at more risk.
I don't know... my bank doesn't seem to be at risk at all - they charge me through the roof for the most banal services but that's Switzerland.
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Old 13.12.2015, 20:58
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Re: Einzelfirma, Selbständig, GMBH questions!

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I don't know... my bank doesn't seem to be at risk at all - they charge me through the roof for the most banal services but that's Switzerland.
Well if they lend the company 500k they will likely have zero security so will ask for a personal guarantee from you. AG, GmbH, Ltd are all a warning to anybody who trades with them.

Plenty of Private Banks in CH are partnerships, Goldman Sachs only converted to a company about 15 years ago. It gives me a good feeling knowing that every partner is jointly & severally liable for the debts. You do realise when you pay money into your bank account it's no longer your money, it's the banks money, your just an unsecured creditor.
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Old 13.12.2015, 21:36
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Re: Einzelfirma, Selbständig, GMBH questions!

Can I operate as Selbständig, from a room in my home? Or do I need to rent a separate room to satisfy the Ausgleichkasse bods! Any clue?
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Old 13.12.2015, 21:39
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Re: Einzelfirma, Selbständig, GMBH questions!

A separate room is not required. As far as the government is concerned, you can run your business from the kitchen table or from under a bridge so long as you can provide an address. On the other hand, you might wish to check your rental agreement to see whether there are provisions against commercial activities.
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Old 13.12.2015, 21:41
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Re: Einzelfirma, Selbständig, GMBH questions!

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A separate room is not required. You can run your business from the kitchen table or from under a bridge so long as you can provide an address.
"Under the Bridge Massage" .... I like
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Old 13.12.2015, 22:09
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Re: Einzelfirma, Selbständig, GMBH questions!

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Can I operate as Selbständig, from a room in my home? Or do I need to rent a separate room to satisfy the Ausgleichkasse bods! Any clue?
For part time zero problem, for 100% they may be concerned that you are just an employee working in hotels etc if you don't rent a room. If they are a pain just do the work & pocket the cash! you did your best to do it the right way, & you won't be able to pay any tax either if you don't have the approval!
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Old 13.12.2015, 22:22
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Re: Einzelfirma, Selbständig, GMBH questions!

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For part time zero problem, for 100% they may be concerned that you are just an employee working in hotels etc if you don't rent a room. If they are a pain just do the work & pocket the cash! you did your best to do it the right way, & you won't be able to pay any tax either if you don't have the approval!
I worry that this might be a problem insurance wise... would insurance be valid if you didn't have permission to be self-employed? Plus guaranteed that they would find out!
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Old 13.12.2015, 22:25
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Re: Einzelfirma, Selbständig, GMBH questions!

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I worry that this might be a problem insurance wise... would insurance be valid if you didn't have permission to be self-employed? Plus guaranteed that they would find out!
I don't think insurance will be bothered, you asked & the AHV decided it was a hobby & not a business so their call.
Once they find out they will give you permission as they have no choice.....If it's just a few k then it's a hobby in their eyes.
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Old 13.12.2015, 23:41
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Re: Einzelfirma, Selbständig, GMBH questions!

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Well if they lend the company 500k they will likely have zero security so will ask for a personal guarantee from you. AG, GmbH, Ltd are all a warning to anybody who trades with them.

Plenty of Private Banks in CH are partnerships, Goldman Sachs only converted to a company about 15 years ago. It gives me a good feeling knowing that every partner is jointly & severally liable for the debts. You do realise when you pay money into your bank account it's no longer your money, it's the banks money, your just an unsecured creditor.
Valid points and funnily did I never think about it as my experience was the exact opposite: I worked for international companies which always had an AG in Switzerland even if the office was small... As it is much easier to have one compared to for example Germany... Where they'd go for gmbh or even less even though they had hundreds of employees there and only a handful here.
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