There are several types of licenses you will need if you open a business in Barcelona.
- License of Construction
- License of Activity
- License of Health
Licenses are expensive, time consuming and necessary to run a business legally in Spain.
Most people can get away with not getting a licencia de obras. Unless you are building an entirely new building or changing the structure of an old building you can do renovations without a license of construction. If you think you need one ask an engineer to help you with it as it can be difficult getting one on your own.
All new businesses from bars, gyms, hair dressers to clothing stores need a licencia de actividad. Before you decide on a space you need to look into the licensing parameters of the type of business you want to create. If you want a café for example, as discussed earlier there are several neighbourhoods in Barcelona where the Town Hall will not give you a license to operate. Or perhaps like it is in Eixample there can not be more than 5 café/bars in a block—50 metres in either direction. If you see a space you are really want to rent and there are seveb bars already on the block go to the town hall and look into it. Most likely some of those bars do not have a license so you can probably still create your new business there.
Talking to the Town Hall will drive you crazy. One person will say one thing and then you will go back and another will say something else. Sometimes you may even find that getting a license for your activity is impossible because the government has not created a license yet for your idea. Don’t let the license of activity stop you from pursuing your dream, there is always a way in Spain, so use your wits and get some kind of license that will cover you for most of the activities you are doing if not all.
The best way to get anything done is to pay for an engineer to do it for you. They are experienced with the rules and can go and talk to the town hall on your behave and save you so much time. They cost between 2000—3000 euros but in the end, it is worth it. I have been open for almost four months and I still do not have my License of Activity.
Some of the things that might come up during a license inspection are as follows: you need two exits for a certain amount of squared metres, two bathrooms, fire extinguisher, signage, wheel chair accessibility, noise checks etc. The list is endless and each technical person that comes to your space will cost you between 500—1000 euros, not to mention the renovations that need to be done to comply with the regulations.
Many businesses operate without a license of activity. If you choose this route, be prepared to get closed down by the Town Hall. It has happened to many bars in the past so please don´t spend 50,000 euros on renovations and never get a license. You don’t want to be successful and then have to close down and never recuperate your money.
The Health License is for anything medical.Yogalinda has a physiotherapist occupying some of their space and she needed to get a licencia de salud to operate legally. That license is not as complicated as the license of activity.
There are probably other sorts of licenses that I am not aware of as I have a yoga studio and physiotherapist business. Ask the town hall in the area of where you want to create your new business for all the licenses you will need to run your business legally in Barcelona.
Click here for information about Heather's hot yoga studio in Barcelona called Yogalinda.