Step 2 – The trading licence ….
Here is the next post in my ‘How to set up a business in Gib’ series.
The trading licence is probably the biggest hurdle, so read carefully.
A number of businesses require a trading licence. This includes all construction trades, as well as hairdressing, catering (ie all the hospitality sector) and manufacturing.
Now while the form is pretty straightforward (as are most forms in Gib), there is one key criteria that you need to fulfil.
You need a Gib address for your business. Not just a personal address, but one where the business is actually run from. Apart from anything else, the licence is issued to the address.
So, you can’t use the following:
1) a Spanish address
2) a rented Gib address
3) Gib government housing.
In these circumstances, you will need to rent/buy an appropriate address in Gib, either a locale, a share of a locale, or office space. Which isn’t much use if you don’t have enough money to pay dead money out regularly every month.
On the other hand, if you own your own property in Gib, and depending on what your business is, you can use a home address. In our case, it gets used for exactly the same as it did in the UK – office admin, ie ‘phone calls, printing estimates, bills, and book-keeping. We don’t store anything here as materials get bought specifically for each job, and anything left over remains with the customer.
So, off you go to DTI at Europort. Go in through the pink door, and slowly climb the stairs to the third floor. Unless you use the lift of course. Turn right, and there is a small lobby and a window.
You will be given three forms. This one had me foxed. The first one is the application form. The other two are for your adverts. It was only when I was trying to place the ads (without the forms) that the penny dropped.
Before you hand in your completed application, you need to place your ads. One has to be in the Gazette, and the other in a local paper of your choice.
The office for the Gazette is based in the Treasury Building in John Mack Square. Another climb upstairs. There is a buzzer. You are taken in, you hand in the completed form, and pay £20. Depending on when you hand in your form – you may have to wait a couple of weeks for the next instalment of the Gazette to be published. The staff at the treasury will tell you the next publication date.
Eventually, you can pick up a copy from No 6 Convent Place, at a cost of £1.20.
For the other advert, we used Panorama, based in Irish Town. The ad cost £35, and can appear the next day, or whenever you specify. Panorama costs 50p.
For some strange reason, the copy of the Gazette was incredibly late being printed, but that may have been something to do with the fact that it coincided with the National Day period and we had to wait nearly another two weeks before we could finally collect one.
Once you have copies of the two ads you have placed, you cut them out, and attach them to your application form, and head off back to the Licensing Office at the DTI.
In case anyone is thinking that you could do this whole step before Companies House (to minimise the Gazette delay) – you can’t because you need the company name to place the ad.
You don’t have to pay for the licence when you hand in your form because it has to go before the next meeting of the Licensing Authority – whenever that is. I think we only had to wait just over a week for that.
If there are any queries they contact you. Otherwise, they send out the decison of the authority after the meeting. Two weeks seems to be the period for everything for this saga because it was at least another two weeks after the date of the meeting before we got the letter telling us the licence had been approved.
I skipped off to the DTI and up the three flights of stairs yet again, to collect the licence. The licence runs from Jan – Dec every year. The first one costs £40, although if you apply after 1 July in the calendar year, the cost is reduced to £20. Renewals are due on 1 Jan of the following year and cost £25. So when I collected ours, I paid for the following year as well, total cost £45.
Opening hours for everywhere mentioned above are the usual morning ones, ie 9am until 12.30pm – give or take 15 minutes, apart from Panorama which is open until 1pm.
Next step … off to the tax office.