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Old 27.09.2011, 13:31
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Buying an existing playgroup.

A friend of ours is selling his playgroup business. His girlfriend actually ran the playgroup but she's leaving Switzerland.

I have a meeting with him this coming Saturday as I might be interested in purchasing this business from him BUT I know absolutely nothing about owning my own business in Switzerland.

So, my question to any of you who are self employed individuals or know anything about being self employed in Switzerland is:

What kind of questions should I be asking?

The gentleman is a very kind and helpful man. My husband originally worked for him when we arrived here many moons ago so our track record with him is very strong. I'm sure he would also be able to help me with any questions I may have (and it's not out of the norm for him to go above and beyond.. He's a pretty cool guy ).

Any advice, warnings etc would be greatly appreciated.

Thanking you all very kindly,
Frau Meisie
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Old 27.09.2011, 13:36
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Re: Buying an existing playgroup.

what exactly will he be selling? is it a company? property? list of clients?

i guess if you can see the financials for the past few years, you can get a good picture of what it brings in, what the costs are, etc. etc. i'd be more concerned liability wise when dealing with lemmings kids and my sanity when dealing with their parents...
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Old 27.09.2011, 13:42
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Re: Buying an existing playgroup.

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what exactly will he be selling? is it a company? property? list of clients?

i guess if you can see the financials for the past few years, you can get a good picture of what it brings in, what the costs are, etc. etc. i'd be more concerned liability wise when dealing with lemmings kids and my sanity when dealing with their parents...
A company.

Aawww.. One fine day when you have some kids of your own you'll see they're not actually lemmings

Thing is, playgroups are definitely in demand and I'd like to probably turn the company into a daycare as there is an even bigger need for that over here.
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Old 27.09.2011, 13:48
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Re: Buying an existing playgroup.

I'm sorry to crash into your thread Meisie, but what exactly is a playgroup? (you know, curiosity killed the cat and all... and my cat ears are curious... )
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Old 27.09.2011, 13:48
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Re: Buying an existing playgroup.

Company bank statements. You want to see revenue vs costs. Now you ask yourself - if I buy the company things might be a little different. What will those differences be and how might those differences impact either the revenue or costs? For example, if his girlfriend ran it, did she take a salary? How much? Competitive or mates rates or too much? Will you be employing anyone to take her place? How much do they cost? What about premises? What about licensing, how does that work - does the license come with the business, do you need to do a course/exam?

What about goodwill? Are the existing clients really attracted to him/her/the building? Will they necessarily follow you if one or more of these things change?
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Old 27.09.2011, 13:50
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Re: Buying an existing playgroup.

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A company.

Aawww.. One fine day when you have some kids of your own you'll see they're not actually lemmings

Thing is, playgroups are definitely in demand and I'd like to probably turn the company into a daycare as there is an even bigger need for that over here.
so if you left them alone, they wouldn't get themselves killed in quite short order?

what physical assets does the company own? what would be different if you just started your own company and mopped up the clients while the existing company goes.

don't forget you inherit all the hidden liabilities of the company including unpaid taxes, historical lawsuits etc. etc. it's a financial minefield.
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Old 27.09.2011, 13:52
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Re: Buying an existing playgroup.

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so if you left them alone, they wouldn't get themselves killed in quite short order?

what physical assets does the company own? what would be different if you just started your own company and mopped up the clients while the existing company goes.

don't forget you inherit all the hidden liabilities of the company including unpaid taxes, historical lawsuits etc. etc. it's a financial minefield.
Yeah - screw the company, make an offer for the name and client base.
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Old 27.09.2011, 14:08
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Re: Buying an existing playgroup.

Thanks guys for the economics 101 info... Basic to you but not to me

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I'm sorry to crash into your thread Meisie, but what exactly is a playgroup? (you know, curiosity killed the cat and all... and my cat ears are curious... )
Don't apologize . A playgroup is a place for children usually between the ages of 2 and 5 to go to to interact with other children as well as take part in organized activities.
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Old 27.09.2011, 14:12
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Re: Buying an existing playgroup.

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Yeah - screw the company, make an offer for the name and client base.
pay?? if this were one of the more cut-throat industries i'd worked in, you would have already copied the client list, founded a new company and spread rumours about the other guy being a paedo...
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Old 27.09.2011, 14:18
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Re: Buying an existing playgroup.

Unless the playgroup is hugely profitable it's worth Zero.

Look at annual profits, deduct 120,000 for salary plus 13% social costs. Multiply the answer by 4 & that's what it's worth.
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Old 27.09.2011, 14:19
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Re: Buying an existing playgroup.

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pay?? if this were one of the more cut-throat industries i'd worked in, you would have already copied the client list, founded a new company and spread rumours about the other guy being a paedo...
I know, clearly my real advice would be to sit down with the guy, ask loads of questions, learn everything and go away and replicate. But this is Meisie, I don't think she'd do that.
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Old 27.09.2011, 14:37
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Re: Buying an existing playgroup.

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Unless the playgroup is hugely profitable it's worth Zero.
that was my initial thought too.
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Old 27.09.2011, 14:44
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Re: Buying an existing playgroup.

when buying a business your basically buying just the assets and maybe something for goodwill, so total up the company assets, decide how much each 'client' is worth and pay accordingly.

but

as you already said, you know nothing about it, so personally I wouldn't touch it with a barge pole, I've posted on here before about my company in the uk, I sold it to a nice guy, with more money then sense, who went into the business with no idea at all, after all whats the worst that can happen?? right?? the company was quite successful, had no debts, staff in place and basically ran itself (major decisions aside), within a year he was bankrupt, he decided to scraps the bits that made money, keep the bit that only interested him, piss off the staff who left and upset the suppliers, game over.
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Old 27.09.2011, 15:12
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Re: Buying an existing playgroup.

Starting your own playgroup might be a really good alternative because play groups are built up on your interaction with the parents and children, more than on really tangible items.
On your own, you might get a space through the Gemeinde, or through a school like the WAC or the Apple tree in Erlenbach, then you buy lots of second hand toys, and maybe talk to other people and find out what they do, and build up from there. The clients can't really be bought or sold in this case unless they are on contracts to stay with the group, which doesn't seem very likely.
So I guess I also wonder what is actually being sold. Toys, curriculum, a permanent space? Keep us updated! It sounds like a fun thing to check out.
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Old 27.09.2011, 15:30
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Re: Buying an existing playgroup.

You could do worse than get in touch with this member, who, according to this, runs a play group. Just don't tell her I suggested you ask her your thousands of questions as she is probably run off her feet and will never speak to me again if she finds out the idea came from me.
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Old 27.09.2011, 21:02
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Re: Buying an existing playgroup.

Longbyt has pipped me to the idea of suggesting you speak to someone who has set up their own group.

I have a friend here in Basel who set up her own playgroup after working at another for a while.

Let me know if you want her contact details.

For what it is worth, she does not make a mint out of it (it is an English speaking playgroup and just that - a playgroup not daycare - but open for longer hours than most CH playgroups I know) but is more than keeping her head above water with very lovely newly converted premises to boot.
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Old 27.09.2011, 21:18
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Re: Buying an existing playgroup.

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I know, clearly my real advice would be to sit down with the guy, ask loads of questions, learn everything and go away and replicate. But this is Meisie, I don't think she'd do that.
i dunno. for someone who does so much baking, she must be covering up a deeply hidden evil streak within her...
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Old 27.09.2011, 21:35
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Re: Buying an existing playgroup.

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i dunno. for someone who does so much baking, she must be covering up a deeply hidden evil streak within her...
YOU know what it is.




My KFC addiction of course!
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Old 27.09.2011, 21:43
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Re: Buying an existing playgroup.

Brilliant. Thank you for all your wise words of advice.

@ ecb, if you could send me your friends details, I would really appreciate that.

@ Longbyt, my lips are sealed.

@ecb and Longbyt, I promise I am not a crazy like one of these .
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Old 27.09.2011, 21:45
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Re: Buying an existing playgroup.

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Thing is, playgroups are definitely in demand and I'd like to probably turn the company into a daycare as there is an even bigger need for that over here.
Yes, there is a great need for daycares BUT there are more regulations to follow. You might get started by talking to your Geminde. There's a requirement for minimum number of qualified staff per children. Also if they're there longer you have to have some cooking facilities and these too probably have to be approved. You have to worry about whether the existing location will be approved for a daycare too.

Here's a link in German with some of the regulations:
http://www.stadt-zuerich.ch/sd/de/in...naufsicht.html

Best of luck in your venture!
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