5 more things to know before starting a Croatian company

Opening a Croatia business

Are you considering opening a Croatian business? Before you do, it’s critical to the future success of your venture that you know exactly what running a company in Croatia means before you do it. There can be lots of surprises and none of them are good.

If you haven’t already, read our first 5 things to know before starting a Croatian company. In the below post, we cover 5 more important things to think over prior to opening a business in Croatia.

1. What kind of business do you want to set up

Choosing the right company structure is crucial to achieving your business goals. In Croatia, there are different business structures, none of which are created equal. It is important that the option you choose match your needs.

Click here to view the 4 main types of Croatian businesses.

2. Closing a company is a bit of a process

If you get to the point where you no longer want to have an open and active company, there are 3 options:

  • Sell the company to another person – This is the least costly option. The buyer must have an OIB and be a registered person inside Croatia.
  • Remove all activity – This means no income comes in and no expenses go out. However, you will still have to pay for an accountant to do your annual tax filings and you will still have to pay the salary for the director.
  • Close the company – There are two ways to close a company, depending on whether or not the company has debts to settle. If there are debts, then the company must go into liquidation during which the director salary must still be paid.

If you started your company for the sole purpose of gaining residency in Croatia, it’s important that you know the cost implications once the company is no longer tied to your residency.

3. Multilingual can be mandatory

Owners of retail and tourism-based businesses (such as caffes, hotels and restaurants) are required to speak both Croatian and English by law. To fake it until you make it, just ensure that you can communicate with inspectors and government agents during your start up process and have Croatians on staff who can help with translation.

4. Delays, delays, delay

The type of business you start will determine how much interaction you have with the government. Inevitably, the more interaction you have with the government, the more opportunity there is for massive delays in the start up of your business.

You may be ready, but the government doesn’t care about your timelines or opening dates. Be prepared to wait for inspectors, licenses, registrations and anything else the government says you need to operate your business legally.

That being said….

5. It’s who you know

The Croatian bureaucracy is still a very manual and, much of the time, ledger-based environment inviting a lot of variance in information, processes and deadlines. There is little sense of urgency on the part of the government and rarely do departments communicate with each other. They’ve got all the time in the world and they don’t know you.

The best way to get through the bureaucracy is to find somebody to connect with personally. Bring them rakija and chocolates. Tell them your story. Be courteous. It’s amazing what can be accomplished once that personal relationship is created.

How do you find somebody to connect with? It’s not easy. Ask around to find anybody who knows someone that works in the city government offices, starting with your accountant. Then work your way down the line until you get to the department you need.

Here are our first 5 things to know and here are our next 5 things to know before starting a business.

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29 thoughts on “5 more things to know before starting a Croatian company

  1. Andreia
    January 2, 2017 @ 2:51 pm

    What type of company or capital should I have to be able to get the residence ?

    {reply}

    • Sara Expat in Croatia
      January 3, 2017 @ 10:48 am

      Hi Andreia,

      Thank you for reaching out! If you’d like to start a company to gain residency, then you’ll need to open a d.o.o and become the “direktor” of that d.o.o.

      Cheers,

      Sara

      {reply}

  2. Manoj Bhargava
    January 15, 2017 @ 8:06 am

    Hi Sara,

    My family wants to start a small restaurant in Croatia (right now we have Split in mind). Could you guide us how to go about it?

    {reply}

  3. Manoj Bhargava
    January 15, 2017 @ 8:07 am

    Hi Sara,

    My family wants to start a small restaurant in Croatia (right now we have Split in mind).

    We already have a restaurant running at Pune in India. Could you guide us how to go about it?

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      July 5, 2017 @ 11:00 am

      Hi Manoj,

      I sure hope you come to Croatia and open a restaurant! We are in dyer need of Indian food. If it counts for anything, please come to Split!

      Here are some resources on opening a business here: https://www.expatincroatia.com/business-in-croatia/ For more, I can refer you to an attorney. Email me at [email protected]

      Cheers,

      Sara

      {reply}

    • Mark Choonoo
      September 4, 2018 @ 4:47 pm

      Hi Manoj
      Have you opened your restaurant.
      I am thinking of the same and I am Indian from South Africa.
      I am looking for advice.

      regards

      {reply}

  4. Krzysztof Walasiak
    April 23, 2017 @ 12:04 am

    Hi. My name is Krzysztof,I'm Polish. I'm thinking to open bussines here in Croatia-renting boats and charters and renting property. Can I leave Croatia during holiday season for week or two and go back to Poland or Germany for some reason ? Best Regards

    {reply}

    • Sara Expat in Croatia
      May 4, 2017 @ 9:40 am

      Hi Krzysztof,

      Thanks for reaching out! Yes, you can definitely leave Croatia for business or personal travel. It is typically limited to 30 days of travel while you are on a temporary visa. However, if you are a Polish citizen, then you do not need a visa so are not restricted by travel.

      Cheers,

      Sara

      {reply}

  5. TJ Kim
    November 27, 2017 @ 10:27 pm

    I should move my company to new address because of some reason. I want to check our office rental contact by a lawyer as other EU countries. But every lawyer’s consulting fee are different.
    I really want to know if there is any standard consulting fee in Croatia and wether the legal review of contact is needed or not.

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      December 18, 2017 @ 3:04 pm

      Hi TJ,

      I’m not familiar with a standard fee. Whenever I’ve had lawyers consult, it’s usually for 1 hour at their hourly rate, which can vary.

      Legal review of a contract is not required, however I would recommend if it will be used in Croatia in case you would ever need to enforce it in court. Best to have all your i’s dotted and t’s crossed to be safe.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  6. Jo Dukaric
    January 16, 2018 @ 1:27 am

    Hi Sarah, I just read this https://www.total-croatia-news.com/lifestyle/22976-how-to-open-a-business-in-croatia-online It’s hilarious and I’m sure you can relate!

    {reply}

  7. Victor Murga
    June 6, 2018 @ 5:42 pm

    Is there any need for Coffee imports?

    {reply}

    • Andrea Gladoic
      June 9, 2018 @ 1:31 pm

      Hi Victor,

      Great question!

      There is an increasing popularity among foreigners in Croatia for coffee imports, considering the limited variety of coffee here. Locals prefer black or ”Turkish” coffee when making it at home and usually order any regular coffee that is available in coffee shops. Croatians are not too picky about coffee.

      That being said, price plays a big role for the locals. Fast and polite service and the ability to take their time while drinking coffee, as they don’t like to rush things, are important as well.

      There is an increasing demand for coffee imports in the city centers where tourists are concentrated. The market is not yet saturated so there is definitely room to import high quality coffee into Croatia.

      Cheers,

      Andrea

      {reply}

  8. Tomas L
    July 16, 2018 @ 2:06 pm

    Hi,

    what are the approximate costs for accounting services for a simple LLC, company will perform SW development and similar, up to 2 employees, one owner, location around Zadar. And is there a place you would recommend to go (online) to search for potential accountants? Who speak English :-).

    Thank you

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      August 24, 2018 @ 12:06 pm

      Hi Tomas,

      Average accounting costs for small business are 200-300euros per month, plus 400euros to prepare annual tax return. I cannot recommend any accountants in Zadar.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  9. Frederique
    July 30, 2018 @ 1:08 pm

    Hi Sara,

    My d.o.o has never been active (started in 2012). I left Croatia due to my personal situation shortly after setting it up. When looking the d.o.o on the web it looks as if it s closed due to inactivity for more then 5 years. Is that possible? I have no idea what l should do. Closing it seems like the best thing tot do but if it’s automatically closed…?!? Thanks in advance, Frederique

    {reply}

  10. shah
    August 25, 2018 @ 1:59 am

    Hello
    I want to open a company d.o.o to get the croatia resident for me znd my familu. How long it takes to get the redency. If the company has no sctivity, we can continue our stay in crostia.

    {reply}

  11. Jonathan Gomez
    March 21, 2019 @ 2:29 am

    Hello Sara!
    I’m Johnny, from Las Vegas USA, and I was interested in knowing if there was any presence of Mexican Cuisine in Croatia? I went to Croatia visit some friends in Split and Zagreb last summer, and began to think about possibly moving there, or at the very least possibly opening up a Mexican Restaurant in the country. When I say Mexican Cuisine, I mean that authentic traditional food and drinks from Mexico, not the Mexican American type of fast food popular here in the States (which is also another separate idea that I may plan on introducing there as well possibly).

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      March 21, 2019 @ 9:21 am

      Hi Johnny,

      Thanks for the comment! No, the “Mexican” here is garbage, which is why it can only be put in quotations. A great, authentic Mexican restaurant would be welcome. This Texan would be you first customer. Please keep me posted if you plan to move forward. 🙂

      Cheers,

      Sara

      {reply}

  12. UMESH
    March 30, 2019 @ 3:16 pm

    Hi Sara,

    On Searching few beach side good destination on google. I wish to settle in Croatia, one of the coastal city and start an Indian cuisine restaurant. Can you advise me how much it will cost and what will be the time frame for the process. Please suggest your expert advice.

    {reply}

  13. MANOLI GONZALEZ CABEZAS
    May 16, 2019 @ 10:54 pm

    Hi Sara, Can you recommend where to find commercial property available to rent in Dalmatia? Thank you.

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      May 27, 2019 @ 10:13 am

      Hi Manoli,

      Go to njuskalo.hr.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  14. Anthony
    June 10, 2020 @ 2:15 pm

    Hi Sara,

    I am thinking about creating a company in croatia (jdoo) with my fiance.
    Do you know if it is possible to not be employed in our company?

    PS: We won’t be employed anywhere else and are planning to live on our savings.

    It would be super helpful i had an idea on that!
    Thank you in advance
    Anthony

    {reply}

    • Expat in Croatia
      June 11, 2020 @ 10:38 am

      Hi Anthony,

      The director of the company must be employed and be paid minimum wage if they are not already employed for a Croatian company. You can read about minimum wage here.

      Regards,

      Sara

      {reply}

  15. Jake Harrop
    August 29, 2020 @ 7:36 pm

    Hi, I am hoping to set up a chartered boat business in split with my partner, what would we need to do this in terms of gaining a residency and business permit?

    Thanks
    Jake

    {reply}

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