How easy is it to start a business in Germany?
Starting a business in Germany is relatively easy, as the steps to establish one are clearly defined. However, foreigners who intend to set up businesses in Germany may encounter some bureaucratic procedures. But with the help of the right individuals, these procedures can be easily walked through to get the needed result.
Also, while many forms may be filled out, information is available on the internet to help you in that area.
Is Germany a good business place?
Germany is a great place to establish a business, as the economy encourages such. The economy of Germany is one of the world’s most reliable economies, which helps businesses of various kinds to thrive.
Also, Germany is rated among the top 10 countries in terms of innovation and using science for economic benefits. Germany also uses findings and recommendations from scientific research to add value to the nation in various aspects.
Add to the European Union, Germany is the largest consumer market, with a consumer population of over 82 million. Germany also encourages the importation and exportation of goods. And the prominent position occupied by the nation on the chart of the World Importation and Exportation rating exemplifies this.
How can a foreigner start a business in Germany?
Starting a business in Germany is straightforward. Here, we will examine the steps to take to establish a business in Germany as a foreigner:
When starting a business in Germany, the first step is registering your address in Germany. And you should update this address whenever you move. This is important to start a business in Germany because without this, and you could not go ahead with other steps.
After registering your business, they would give you a tax ID and a registration certificate. This would enable you to proceed with other steps. After this, you are then required to open a bank account. This is important as it would be required in the process of registering your business and in the payment of taxes.
Now, if you are a sole proprietor or freelancer, you may not need to create a business account, although it is advisable. However, if you are establishing a corporation, you are mandated to open a business bank account.
After this, it is advised to get a tax advisor to help you pay taxes and other related transactions. Afterwards, register your business with the tax office. And this can be done by being registered as either freelancers or traders. And if one is registering as a trader, one must get a trade permit.
After this, you need to get the proper residence permit and health insurance.
Business ideas to start in Germany without money
The following are some small-scale businesses you can start in Germany without money. They include:
English language tutoring:
After German, the English language is the following most-spoken language in Germany. And since not everyone understands the English language, many are willing to be trained to communicate in it.
Thus, as an English language speaker, you can make money by offering English language tutorials to individuals interested in learning. This business does not require setup capital, as you can decide to freelance, do home service, etc.
Content writing is one hotcake in digital marketing. And most individuals and brands are taking advantage of this to expand their business, increase reach and grow revenue.
Thus, as a content writer, you can offer your services to businesses needing them. You can also do this as a freelancer, or you could establish an agency.
Another profitable business to be engaged in, to make lots of profit in Germany, is to repair appliances. Appliances repair is a skill that is needed in all nations of the world because of the nature of appliances to get knocked down after some period of use.
So, if you possess the skill, you could establish an appliance repair shop, where you help repair appliances of all kinds. Such appliances include iron, electric kettles, etc.
The cleaning business is another profitable business idea with the potential for growth in Germany. Most individuals, businesses, events centres, etc., require people to clean their homes, office spaces, and event halls.
If you can position your cleaning company well, you will get customers to patronize you to clean their apartments and other places. For individuals, this could be because of a busy schedule. For businesses, this is required to get a professional cleaning touch in their workspace.
You could also start a career coaching business, where you offer professional advice to individuals on their career choice, how to navigate life after school, getting promotions at work, etc.
As a career coach, you do not require any setup capital, as you can do this remotely and as a freelancer. This is another excellent business idea to launch in Germany for profits.
Franchise opportunities in Germany
Dickey’s Barbeque Pit:
The Dickey’s Barbeque Pit is another franchise business opportunity in Germany. It is a barbeque business with 25 years of franchise success, and it is in about 500 locations worldwide. They offer authentic and texas-style barbecue, which guests enjoy. They also operate an open kitchen, where customers can watch the meat being prepared.
The minimum cash requirement for Dickey’s Barbeque Pit is 300,000 EUR.
Coding Giants is a training school where children and young adults are taught coding skills to equip them for life. The school was established in 2015, and they have been committed to training individuals from age 7 to 19 on programming skills.
They have achieved things such as launching 16 courses for the school, working out over 300 class scenarios, and opening branches in nations such as Croatia, Spain, Poland, etc. And currently, they have about 115 branches. The minimum cash required for the Coding Giants franchise is 7,000 EUR.
FullPivot is a digital agency focused on helping businesses increase sales and grow. Thus, when you buy a franchise of FullPivot, you could offer digital marketing services to individuals, brands, businesses, organizations, etc.
FullPivot delivers 5-high demand solutions, including business communication, Website Development, Mobile Application Development, Search Engine Optimization, and Food Ordering Systems. The minimum cash required for a FullPivot franchise is 21,995 EUR.
RealtyPlus is a real estate agency which was established in 2001. It started its franchise network in 2016, and currently, the agency is present in about 15 countries.
They focus on various real estate services, such as selling real estate properties, rentals, leases, etc. They also offer comprehensive real estate services, which satisfy their customer base. The minimum cash required for a RealtyPlus franchise is 2,000 EUR.
Websites to find businesses of the sale in Germany
One website to find the business of the sale in Germany is the exit adviser website. The exit adviser websites provide business owners with a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) Package, which aids them in selling their business. They also have online tools and processes that help business owners sell their business quickly on the website.
The website provides professional advice to business owners, which helps during the business sale process. They also have customized legal forms, contract templates, etc., that you need as a business owner when selling your business on the website.
The businesses on this website are in various niches, such as e-commerce, manufacturing, real estate, etc.
This website advertises businesses for sale in Germany and other states in Europe. It is an independent space where mergers, business exchange, sales, etc., are carried out between buyers and sellers. The business listed on this website are verified and well-screened.
They offer extended advertisements to their clients to facilitate the sales of the businesses listed on the website. They also list businesses in various niches on this website. Some of these niches include fashion, education, real estate, etc.
Exchange marketplace is a verified website where businesses for sale in Germany are listed. It is also the most prominent and fastest platform for business sales for Shopify e-commerce stores.
The website lists businesses in various niches, such as photography, fashion, pet and animals, sports and recreation, automotive, etc. The businesses listed on this website are verified, and the website has a secure messaging platform where buyers and sellers can interact. They also have an encrypted payment capture, ensuring that individuals’ payments are securely captured.
This is a website which has over 46,000 businesses up for sale. It is a free platform where the selling and buying of businesses in Germany take place. The website also provides a confidential forum for business owners whose businesses are to be sold.
As a free business selling platform, they do not charge sellers, buyers or brokers for business listing and sales. It is a free platform to be used by all, with no commission being charged. The website also allows for the advertisement of businesses in various niches, such as fashion, housing, education, IT, E-commerce, etc.
This is another website where businesses for sale can be listed. It is a popular online business-for-sale website where one can sell and buy businesses in Germany.
They have a variety of business listings in various niches to choose from. These niches include agriculture, engineering, food, real estate, etc.
Tech business opportunities in Germany
The following are some of the tech business ideas that you can launch in Germany as a business owner:
One of the tech business ideas to launch in Germany is the e-commerce business. This form of business requires putting up products to sell online.
The e-commerce industry has experienced tremendous growth over time. And during the pandemic of 2020, it became more acceptable. Thus, as a business owner, launching an e-commerce business would bring you profits.
Fin-tech means financial technology. It is a digitalized form of carrying out financial transactions, as opposed to the traditional banking system.
Fin-tech involves using mobile banking and other technological methods of handling financial transactions. This business would also flourish in Germany because of the nation’s love for innovation and technology.
This has to do with using technological tools and methods to help people stay fit. This is done by manufacturing fitness watches, mobile fitness applications, sleep timers, exercise timers, etc.
The fitness tech niche is also flourishing and has excellent potential in Germany.
This is using technological methods, systems, and tools in agricultural processes to improve yield. They could be products or services, and they increase the output of agricultural endeavours.
This is a brilliant and innovative tech business which is sure to prosper in Germany.
The digital marketing niche is broad and involves all efforts targeted toward the advertisement and sales of goods and services on the internet. It is a well-established and flourishing business idea that would prosper any nation in the world.
Digital marketing involves online tactics such as SEO/SEM, social media management, email marketing, etc. So, if you establish a digital marketing agency in German, you will get many individuals, brands, and businesses who would require your services.
Benefits of doing business in Germany
The following are the benefits of doing business in Germany, they include:
One benefit of doing business in Germany is gaining from the stable and flourishing economy of the nation. The economy of Germany is the largest in Europe and one of the 5 most extensive in the world. And despite the global crisis, Germany’s economy has stayed strong.
Germany boasts of great brands, such as BMW, Volkswagen, etc., which show how flourishing the nation’s economy is. And this is a significant benefit to be enjoyed by business owners in the nation.
Strategic location of German:
The location of Germany in the world is another advantage to be enjoyed by business owners. Nine countries border the nation, putting Germany in an advantageous position for trade prosperity.
Germany also hosts many trade fairs, estimated to host two-thirds of the leading trade fairs in the world. Thus, as a business owner, your business would benefit from this.
Quality and professional workforce:
Another benefit to be enjoyed as a business owner in Germany is the workforce quality in Germany. As a business owner, you must employ some workers to help your business.
And since the workers in Germany are known for their commitment to excellence at work, they would surely put in their best for the progress of your business.
Germany has a population of over 82 million. And this makes the country the largest consumer market in Europe!
Large consumer market:
Hence, as a business owner in German, you already have a large customer base to sell your products and services to. And since Germans have embraced e-commerce, a business owner creates a German-specific website where people can order products from the comfort of their homes.
Challenges of starting a business in Germany
The following are the challenges of doing business in Germany. They include:
Difficult procedures for starting a business:
One challenge encountered in starting a business in Germany is in setting up. Germany has bureaucratic rules in the process of business establishment, and this takes so much time and capital set up.
Aside from general requirements, local labour laws also pose a problem, such as registering with relevant professional bodies, getting a construction permit to construct a building for your business, etc. Business setup in Germany takes so much time, money, etc.
Complicated tax laws:
Another complicated aspect of setting up a business in Germany is in navigating the tax laws. The tax payment process is complicated, so one would require the help of local tax officers to do it properly.
Also, there are so many taxes to be paid by business owners. Such taxes include capital gain, dividend, trade, etc.
Strong employee protection:
Germany also has strong laws in place to protect employees in the workplace. And this is such that employees can’t be dismissed at will without justifiable reasons.
These employee protection laws also ensure employees get a 20-day paid leave every year, enjoy public holidays, etc. All these laws are in place to ensure that employers do not mistreat their workers in Germany.
The German language is the official language of most individuals in Germany. Thus, in establishing your business as a non-German-speaking foreigner in Germany, you may experience some difficulties in social interaction.
However, with the help of local interpreters and translators, this challenge is tackled to a minimum level.
High cost of labour:
The cost of hiring labour in Germany is also high compared to other European Union Nations. For example, Germany’s average hourly cost of labour is 35.6 EUR.
Besides the payment of salaries, employers also have to pay into employees’ pensions, insurance, nursing care, etc. This is a challenge that you should carefully analyze and plan for before starting your business in Germany.
30 profitable small business ideas in Germany
The following are some profitable small business ideas to launch in Germany. They include:
1. Manufacturing spare parts:
Germany is the centre for automobile companies. And it is home to automobile companies such as Volkswagen, BMW, etc. One of the lucrative business ideas that one can launch in Germany is manufacturing spare parts.
Thus, a business focused on manufacturing spare parts for automobiles would indeed thrive. However, you must be strategically positioned near industrial companies and in a good location where your target audience is.
Starting a bakery business in Germany is also a profitable idea. If you possess baking skills, you will surely succeed in this business. And if not, you can hire experts in the field.
You can bake a cake, snacks, etc., for retail sale, to supply to individuals for parties, schools, etc. You can also bake bread, which can be sold at individual prices, or sold in bulk to retailers for more profits.
3. Day care or creche:
Child care is critical in Germany. Thus, many parents require the services of a babysitter or a creche, where their babies can be taken care of in the parents’ absence. Starting day care or creche is another business idea that would flourish in Germany.
Thus, you can set up a daycare centre in a spacious apartment, where the children would stay. You can also employ more hands to help you in the business. However, you need to have relevant certifications, certifying you can handle children.
4. Elder homes:
Elder homes are another necessity, which one can turn into a business opportunity. The senior citizens in various nations require special attention and care to cater for their health, feeding, etc. Thus, you can establish an elder home, where you take in older adults and care for them.
You should employ a nurse and medical doctor to care for individuals with certain medical conditions. It is also essential to infuse creativity in your elder home by making games available for them to play, planning fun activities, etc.
5. Animal care:
You can also start an animal or pet care business where you care for pets. This could include feeding them, walking them, training them, etc. The animal care business is a lucrative business that would flourish in Germany due to the love of Germans for their pets.
Germans love fashion. Thus, they are willing to spend money purchasing clothes, bags, belts, shoes, etc. Opening a boutique in Germany is another fantastic business idea that is sure to bring in loads of money.
However, if you are opening a boutique in Germany, you need to target areas where your target audience would be located. This is important to aid sales and profit-making.
7. Virtual assistance:
You can also start a freelance business as a virtual assistant where you help people carry out secretarial duties. Virtual assistance is much in demand for professionals, business owners, etc., who need someone to help them fix meeting schedules, book flights, take calls, etc.
Thus, you can position yourself as a virtual assistant and make money from it. However, you must possess some soft skills to succeed in this field, such as pro-activeness, communication, etc.
8. Laundry business:
The laundry business is also very profitable in Germany. Many people are busy and may not have the time to take care of their laundry. Thus, they require the service of a laundry business to help in this area. And for this need, you can create a business to make profits.
When starting a laundry business, you must be strategically positioned where most of your target audience lives or beside companies and offices.
9. Gym business:
You can also open a gym business, where you train people and help them become fit. The gym business is another thriving business idea that would succeed in Germany. You would be required to buy gym equipment and probably employ a gym instructor if you are not skilled in that area.
It is a business that would do well in Germany if the business plan is well created and implemented.
10. Event planning:
Starting an event planning business in Germany is another great business idea. As an event planner, you would be in charge of planning events, such as birthday parties, wedding ceremonies, etc.
Also, you would be required to source vendors for your client’s events, such as food vendors, decoration vendors, etc. Another essential thing in event planning is that you need to know how to work around your client’s budget to create the event of their dreams.
11. Graphic Design business:
As a graphic designer, you can start a graphic design or brand identity business, where you design aesthetic designs for individuals, brands, businesses, organizations, NGOs, etc. This is to help them communicate effectively with their target audience using visually appealing designs.
As a graphic designer, you can also delve into UI/UX design, where you create beautiful and visually engaging landing pages, website layouts, etc.
12. Hair Salon:
The fashion industry is lucrative, and it is worth billions in the economy of most nations. Thus, as a hair stylist, you can open a hair salon where you make hair for individuals.
Hairstyles, such as braids, weaving, etc., are well in demand. You can also get involved in making wigs to sell for extra income.
13. Veterinary clinic:
As a veterinary doctor, you can open a veterinary clinic where you take care of animals. This is an excellent business to launch because most people will spend money to care for their pets.
As a veterinary doctor, you can spread the news about your business using social media, word of mouth, etc. This is a profitable business to launch in Germany.
Blogging is one fantastic way to make money if you possess excellent writing skills. It involves writing on a subject you love or having the expert knowledge to make others know about it. And through this, you can sell some goods and services related to this subject.
You can also allow other individuals to post their affiliate links to your blog to earn a commission when readers use those links to make a purchase. It is a great business that can be done without opening a physical store. You can make your room your workspace.
15. Business consulting:
Business consultancy is a great business idea that most businesses and brands need. It involves advising brands and businesses on how they can improve in various aspects of their business.
The goal of business consultancy varies and depends on your clients’ needs. Some can need expert advice on how to increase brand awareness, grow revenue, expand, etc. Thus, as a business consultant, you should know the various aspects of the business.
You can also start a script writing business in Germany, either as a full-time job or as a side gig. Script writing involves writing scripts for movies, series, etc., used in the film industry.
As a scriptwriter, you can change loads of money for your knowledge and skill in this field. This business can be done as a freelancer, as a full-time business, or as a side gig.
17. Fashion designing:
The fashion industry is booming. And many individuals prefer custom-made clothes to already made ones. A fashion designing business is an excellent business to launch In Germany if you have the skills.
Thus, as a fashion designer, you can start your fashion designing business, where you make clothes for people. Depending on your skill, you decide to make clothes for a specific group of people, such as only males, females, children, etc.
You can also decide to make suits, dinner dresses, wedding dresses, etc. It is a profitable business to launch in Germany.
Drop shipping is a business where a wholesaler or retailer sends goods to your customers in the guise that you sent the goods. It is a cheap way to launch a good business, where you get customers to sell goods indirectly.
As a drop shipper, you don’t need to own the goods. You just position yourself as a trustworthy brand and get people’s orders. Then you make the orders from a retailer/wholesaler, and the goods get sent to your customers by the retailer/wholesaler without you being involved.
19. Coffee cafe:
A coffee cafe is a shop where coffee, drinks, snacks, etc., are sold. As a coffee cafe owner, you can also sell other light food items for people to take out if they so desire.
It is an excellent business opportunity, as some individuals who need working space can also come into the cafe to work and buy what is being sold.
The restaurant business is another excellent business to launch in Germany. This is a business where you cook various dishes to sell to people. As a restaurant owner, you can make intercontinental dishes, local dishes, etc., to serve individuals from different walks of life.
The restaurant business is highly lucrative. However, you need to be positioned in a suitable location, where you can be visible to individuals who need your services.
21. Skin care business:
The skincare industry is large and is worth billions today. As a skin care consultant or dermatologist, you can start a skincare business where you sell skincare products of various kinds.
You can decide to sell organic products whose ingredients they source from natural materials. However, ensure to make excellent products that benefit people’s skin, not inferior products that could damage their skin.
22. Grocery store:
You can also open a grocery store in Germany, where you sell items of various kinds. In a grocery store, household items, food items, etc., are sold.
This is a very lucrative business to launch as the items sold are needed every day by individuals and families. When launching your grocery store, getting a convenient store in a good neighbourhood is advisable, where you can be visible to many individuals.
23. Car washing:
You can also start a car washing business in Germany, where you wash cars of various kinds. You can also decide to wash other vehicles, such as buses, tricycles, etc.
The car washing business is profitable, as you would have individuals who barely have time to wash their cars to bring them to you for washing. You would also carry out vacuuming, cleaning the interior part of the vehicle, etc.
24. Social media management:
Social media management is a digital marketing skill involving using social media to market, advertise and sell goods and services. It is a lucrative skill that is well in demand.
Thus, as a social media manager, you can work as a freelancer or start your social media management agency. You can help individuals, brands, businesses, etc., manage their social media accounts here.
This is another lucrative business opportunity to launch in Germany, which will bring in lots of money. Welding involves joining iron materials together to make objects.
Some things made from the welding process include iron rods, iron gates, etc. If you possess this skill, you can make a comfortable living out of it while living in Germany.
26. Music training studio:
In Germany, you can also start a music training studio, where you train people in the intricacies of music, songwriting, etc. And music is a core aspect of entertainment appreciated in many countries.
So, if you possess a qualification in this field, you can make a lot of money. All you need to do is look for a suitable space for your studio in a good location. Afterwards, use digital marketing, word of mouth, etc., to spread the news about the studio.
27. Psychological Counselling/Therapy:
Another business that you can start in Germany is working as a psychologist or therapist. Mental health is a big part of healthcare, and people gradually embrace psychological help and therapy to navigate life.
Thus, if you have credentials and qualifications in psychology, you can establish a business as a counselling psychologist or therapist to help individuals.
Aside from German, the English language is another language of communication in Germany. However, not everyone understands both languages. And in some situations, one may be required to get a translator, to understand another person.
There are 130 million native German speakers worldwide, with over six countries considering the German language their official language. In 2021, Germany ranked third in the world in exports, worth 1.67 billion USD. Due to this, the German translation industry saw an increased demand for their services as more international companies would need them to enter the German market.
So, if you are competent in speaking German and English, you can start a translation business, where you translate speech, written content, etc., for people. Besides having cultural and linguistic proficiency in the German language and market, you must consider the industries you will be working with and planning to specialize in. For example, Germany’s financial sector has the fourth largest FinTech sector in the world, which could have a lot of potential as there’s a clear need for German translations for financial documents, which would require you and your linguists to have a background in commerce and finance. Healthcare is another industry flourishing in Germany but requires training and education background in health care, and medical translators must be accredited before they can translate medical documents.
The industries mentioned here are just some of what you will be encountering in the German translation services, as you will have to learn more about them to ensure the quality of your translation projects and better define your brand as a translation provider for specific sectors.
You can also start a catering business if you possess excellent culinary skills. This business involves cooking food for individuals, groups, events, etc.
You can also cook in bulk for individuals who.do not have the time to cook. Also, you can do a daily supply of food for a company and its staff.
People love to preserve memories in images. And this is one reason for the success of photographers around the world.
Starting a business as a photographer in Germany is a good business idea. As a professional photographer, you can make a comfortable living out of photography. Also, you can decide to have a niche that you specialize in. This gives you more credibility and gets you paid more. This is because a specialist is more paid and valued than a generalist.
Some of the photography industry’s niches include children’s photography, couples photography, etc.