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Old 13.08.2018, 08:29
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The one client rule

Hi

I've recently started my new GmbH which is a consultancy company and I am currently looking around for my first client.
Once I find my first client, it might take some time before I am able to land my second client (perhaps more than 6 months) and until then I would then only have 1 client.

I've read people commenting that you are not allowed to only work for 1 client in Switzerland - as you are then seen as an employee of that company and that might eventually lead to both you and the company being fined. (Does anyone know if this situation also applies to 1-man GmbHs?)

I haven't been able to find any official information on this rule and was wondering how it is phrased exactly. Does anyone know where to read about this? Preferably in German or English.

Cheers
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Old 13.08.2018, 08:51
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Re: The one client rule

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Hi

I've recently started my new GmbH which is a consultancy company and I am currently looking around for my first client.
Once I find my first client, it might take some time before I am able to land my second client (perhaps more than 6 months) and until then I would then only have 1 client.

I've read people commenting that you are not allowed to only work for 1 client in Switzerland - as you are then seen as an employee of that company and that might eventually lead to both you and the company being fined. (Does anyone know if this situation also applies to 1-man GmbHs?)

I haven't been able to find any official information on this rule and was wondering how it is phrased exactly. Does anyone know where to read about this? Preferably in German or English.

Cheers
Your an employee of the GmbH, so it's irrelevant.
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Old 13.08.2018, 09:42
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Re: The one client rule

So long as the employee and employer social contributions are made, no-one cares.

In some places it used to be you had to have some sort of employment bond to protect your employees if the business goes under, but it's been recognised in BL and BS at least that this is pointless if there's only one employee.

I've on and off had just one client in the past 14 years of contracting in Switzerland.
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Old 13.08.2018, 09:56
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Re: The one client rule

Maybe you are thinking about the rules that are used to determine if a sole trader business qualifies for early access to accumulated pension savings.
In this case it is necessary to demonstrate the business is significant enough in terms of the number of customers.
This, of course, does not apply to a GmbH for the reasons already pointed out.
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Old 13.08.2018, 10:32
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Re: The one client rule

Great, so if I understand correctly, this rule would only apply to self-employed one-man companies doing "Freelancing" for clients and it is not a problem for me as I am an employee of my own GmbH and my client relationship is therefore strictly business to business.

I managed to find some official information in German:
https://www.seco.admin.ch/seco/de/ho...staendige.html

But it was not very clear to me whether this also applied to one-man GmbHs.
Thanks for clarifying.
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Old 28.10.2018, 14:45
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Re: The one client rule

Hello


I tried to start up a company three years to sell project management services ago and I was thwarted by the one client rule. I was told by the authorities (NE) that I was not allowed to start the company with only one client.My company registration and everything was blocked by this.


In the end I gave up and went back to working for my old employer.



Three years later I am looking again to start my own company but am very nervous about this one client rule.


Does anyone have any concrete experience (not just suggestions and comments) on over coming this rule?

Thank you in advance for your reply.


Best regards


Rachel
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Old 28.10.2018, 15:13
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Re: The one client rule

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Hello


I tried to start up a company three years to sell project management services ago and I was thwarted by the one client rule. I was told by the authorities (NE) that I was not allowed to start the company with only one client.My company registration and everything was blocked by this.


In the end I gave up and went back to working for my old employer.



Three years later I am looking again to start my own company but am very nervous about this one client rule.


Does anyone have any concrete experience (not just suggestions and comments) on over coming this rule?

Thank you in advance for your reply.


Best regards


Rachel

If you start a SA or an Sàrl company then you are working for this company and paying taxes and social dues accordingly.


It makes no difference how many clients you have.


If you work an an independent then you need a minimum of 3 clients
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Old 28.10.2018, 20:42
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Re: The one client rule

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Hello


I tried to start up a company three years to sell project management services agol
Did you try to set up a GmbH/AG/Sarl/SA? Or was it sole trader?

I set up my GmbH in 2005. Frequently I've had only one client. It's not been a problem.
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Old 13.01.2020, 14:39
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Re: The one client rule

Hi! I am facing a similar situation. I'm about to open a consulting services GmbH. The company will initially have one client overseas (Latin America). My understanding was that this was not an issue. However, when trying to open the capital deposit account with UBS, they told me that they cannot open accounts to companies with only one client in a specific jurisdiction. I also checked with CS and Post Finance. They do not seem to have this restriction but they informed that they will need to check each transaction separately in the future. I am concerned that if they see payments from the same client over the months, this may raise a red flag in their systems in the future, even when everything is perfectly legal. Has anyone faced a similar experience or can share any suggestions?

Thanks for your help.
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Old 13.01.2020, 17:54
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Re: The one client rule

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Hi! I am facing a similar situation. I'm about to open a consulting services GmbH. The company will initially have one client overseas (Latin America). My understanding was that this was not an issue. However, when trying to open the capital deposit account with UBS, they told me that they cannot open accounts to companies with only one client in a specific jurisdiction. I also checked with CS and Post Finance. They do not seem to have this restriction but they informed that they will need to check each transaction separately in the future. I am concerned that if they see payments from the same client over the months, this may raise a red flag in their systems in the future, even when everything is perfectly legal. Has anyone faced a similar experience or can share any suggestions?

Thanks for your help.
Of course it is going to be an issue, an Argentine lawyer, with one client (also Argentine by any chance?) receiving payments into a Swiss company - they'd be mad to continue such a relationship, unless your are willing to pay crazy fees to negate their work in doing background checks etc...

The only suggesting is to find lots of Swiss clients to negate the single South American client.
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Old 13.01.2020, 19:26
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Re: The one client rule

Thank you for your response.

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Of course it is going to be an issue, an Argentine lawyer, with one client (also Argentine by any chance?) receiving payments into a Swiss company - they'd be mad to continue such a relationship, unless your are willing to pay crazy fees to negate their work in doing background checks etc...

The only suggesting is to find lots of Swiss clients to negate the single South American client.
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Old 13.01.2020, 19:55
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Re: The one client rule

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Hi

I've recently started my new GmbH which is a consultancy company and I am currently looking around for my first client.
Once I find my first client, it might take some time before I am able to land my second client (perhaps more than 6 months) and until then I would then only have 1 client.

I've read people commenting that you are not allowed to only work for 1 client in Switzerland - as you are then seen as an employee of that company and that might eventually lead to both you and the company being fined. (Does anyone know if this situation also applies to 1-man GmbHs?)

I haven't been able to find any official information on this rule and was wondering how it is phrased exactly. Does anyone know where to read about this? Preferably in German or English.

Cheers
I'm not aware of any rule that you can't have only one client.

After all, somebody has to be your first client somehow.

But I know that some clients will not contract with single-person companies who do not have other clients because, if push comes to shove, these suppliers cold claim to be a de-facto employee and thus prevent the client from terminating their relationship in less than the statuory 3 month period without exposing themselves to claims on lost revenue.
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Old 13.01.2020, 21:18
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Re: The one client rule

Hi there, the one client issue only relates to being self employed, not a limited company (sarl or gmbh).

I have only one client and have a limited company and no problem (using post finance by the way, maybe try them).

Good luck!
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Old 13.01.2020, 21:35
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Re: The one client rule

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Hi there, the one client issue only relates to being self employed, not a limited company (sarl or gmbh).

I have only one client and have a limited company and no problem (using post finance by the way, maybe try them).

Good luck!
Excellent! Thank you very much. Is your single client a swiss company/person? It seem that the problem may be related with the nationality of the client and, therefore, origin of funds.

Thanks
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Old 13.01.2020, 23:04
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Re: The one client rule

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Excellent! Thank you very much. Is your single client a swiss company/person? It seem that the problem may be related with the nationality of the client and, therefore, origin of funds.

Thanks
The one client rule being referred to by most of the posters relates to labour law, while your problem is of an entirely different nature money laundering. Surely as a lawyer you have the analytical skills to see this.

No Swiss bank that values their license is going to simply do business with a company owned by an Argentine lawyer who’s only source of income is single payment from South America, especially given the currency restrictions in Argentina.

They will either refuse to do business at all or process each transaction manually which means massive delays in getting access to the cash, if at all.
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Old 13.01.2020, 23:10
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Re: The one client rule

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The one client rule being referred to by most of the posters relates to labour law, while your problem is of an entirely different nature money laundering. Surely as a lawyer you have the analytical skills to see this.

No Swiss bank that values their license is going to simply do business with a company owned by an Argentine lawyer who’s only source of income is single payment from South America, especially given the currency restrictions in Argentina.

They will either refuse to do business at all or process each transaction manually which means massive delays in getting access to the cash, if at all.
Thanks. I am aware of the problem and that the issue is related to banks not wanting to be involved in money laundering. It is a bit frustrating since I intend to conduct legal transactions, but I understand why this may be scrutinized by the banks. Thanks for your comments and help!
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Old 14.01.2020, 07:50
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Re: The one client rule

Didn’t the bank tell you why they are being difficult? The banks have a regulatory obligation to know what their customers are up to and to avoid being party to shady dealings.

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Excellent! Thank you very much. Is your single client a swiss company/person? It seem that the problem may be related with the nationality of the client and, therefore, origin of funds.

Thanks
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Old 14.01.2020, 08:06
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Re: The one client rule

You could always set up an offshore company in a tax haven, and an offshore bank account, then pay money into your personal account. Of course, declaring the money on your tax return.

You might want to consult a Swiss lawyer about the legality of doing this, since it still smells a little like money laundering.
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Old 14.01.2020, 09:08
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Re: The one client rule

Hello,
yes my one client is Swiss. I suggest you try different banks. Also I used the IFJ to set up my company and they sorted out the bank account for me. They give free advice - maybe give them a call?
https://www.ifj.ch/en
Good luck,
Rachel
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Old 14.01.2020, 09:43
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Re: The one client rule

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Didn’t the bank tell you why they are being difficult? The banks have a regulatory obligation to know what their customers are up to and to avoid being party to shady dealings.
Thanks. While the bank has not expressly mentioned the reason for taking this position, I assume that it is related to their KYC processes. What I intend to do is a legal transaction, but I can understand why banks may not want to be involved. Thanks
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