The commercial property

The business in Switzerland

In many cases, entrepreneurs are often obliged to purchase a business in order to have an arcade with a good location. Indeed, well-placed arcades are generally very popular with buyers. The former holders of these will want to sell them at a higher price.

For certain sectors of activity such as restaurants, taking over an establishment in the form of a business will in most cases be indispensable because of the numerous constraints of a change of use (an authorization will have to be requested from the former owner of the premises) and the cost of bringing the premises into compliance with safety standards, soundproofing work and many other things.

In practice, a certain number of specific elements related to the premises, but also related to the company currently operating the area in question, also come into play with the goodwill. Tangible elements such as customers, lease, reputation and others as well as tangible elements such as furniture, accessories, equipment, stock and others constitute the goodwill. Its value can therefore be justified by various objective elements such as the turnover (CA), the stock, the furniture, but also by elements that are more difficult to evaluate such as the geographical location of the latter. In Switzerland, the price of a business is set through an agreement between the seller and the buyer, whereas in France, prices are set through pre-determined surveys generally related to its geographical location.

However, it must be taken into account that in certain situations, when one wishes to practice a new activity, taking over a business is rather similar to a lease right (accompanied by a request for authorization of the effective transfer of the lease from the former owner of the premises). This is why it is usually difficult to find external financial assistance for this type of purchase.

In order for the entrepreneur to find the right business to start his activity, he must use the services of a business agent. It should be noted that this is a profession subject to regulation. In addition, persons working as business agents interposing themselves in the sale, purchase, transfer, handover or takeover of a business, regardless of the business activity, must have an authorization issued by the Department of Security of the Canton of Geneva.

The list of business agents and approved businesses for the canton of Geneva is available at:

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