Moving to Benidorm
For most of us moving to another country will be an unforgettable experience, and there will be a lot of questions one wants answers to.
This Web site will try to answer a number of these questions, and we welcome comments and observations both from people planning to move to Benidorm, and from those already here. Moving to another country, especially one that speaks another language, is a huge decision for most people, and there is lots to consider before taking the plunge.
For young single people moving to Benidorm, the decision is a lot easier, and many come here during the busy summer month for seasonal work in the hundreds of bars and restaurants. With many of these establishments targeting English speaking tourists, there is often no need to be fluent in Spanish and just a few important words and phrases will enable you to get by. Some bar/restaurant owners will be able to assist new staff in finding accommodation, usually in shared apartments or houses with other members of staff. Those that haven’t secured work or accommodation before arriving will find it more difficult, and in these cases you will need to arrive with enough money to support yourself and keep a roof over your head whilst finding work and permanent digs. Word of mouth tends to secure a lot of jobs here as many youngsters have friends or family already living in the area.
If you are one of the brave nomads moving to Benidorm alone, and without having work lined up, it is best to arrive during May or early June when the majority of establishments are starting to hire for the summer, and all the reasonably priced accommodation has not yet been snapped up. Having said this, I don’t recommend anyone arriving in Benidorm without securing a place to stay first, unless you have a lot of money to pay for somewhere while you seek work. Unlike the United Kingdom where there are thousands of employment agents, Benidorm has very few. A good idea, and this applies to anyone considering moving to Benidorm, is to join as many of the local Facebook groups as possible before you come here and try to at least secure a place to stay. Although a few are groups specifically targeting employment, most of these will be buy & sell groups, but don’t let that put you off as most members and group admins are only too happy to assist newcomers with their questions regarding work and accommodation.
Couples moving to Benidorm will usually find it easier, as not only are they able to support each other if one is offered work before the other, but they are also there for each other emotionally when things get tough, and let me tell you, as big as the city is, it can be a lonely place when the money is running out and you have no one to turn to for help. On a lighter note, bars and restaurants are where most young couples will find work in Benidorm, but be prepared to work long hours, sometimes without the breaks you would expect back home, and definitely not the rate of pay. Having said that, the cost of living, especially accommodation, is a lot less than countries such as England. There are very few employment sectors in Spain where you will find work without speaking the language, and aside from the hospitality industry, building trades, care work and call centres are the best bet.
With the amount of English speaking residents in the city and surrounding areas, most builders will get by with a minimal amount of Spanish, as the majority of their clients will be English speakers so the Spanish they will need to learn will be mainly based on buying building materials. Most of the larger builders merchants (ferreterías) will employ at least one English speaker, specifically for the purpose of dealing with their many English speaking customers. Bear in mind, if you are moving here as a builder, there are so many Spanish looking for work it won’t be hard to find a labourer that is bi-lingual and this will come in very handy, besides the fact, contrary to popular belief the majority of Spaniards are hard workers and are used to the extreme heat.
Browsing the local Facebook groups or just typing ”care work in Benidorm” into a search engine will bring up enough options to get your job search under way, and quite a lot of the care work agencies are based in Britain and other parts of northern Europe. This will enable you to secure an interview, and if accepted, undergo your training before moving to Benidorm. Although not some peoples cup of tea, care work is by far one of the best professions to have if you wish to live in Spain. It offers two options, the first is to live here permanently and care for people on a day to day basis while living in your own home, sometimes just for a couple of hours a day. The second option, and by far the more lucrative, is to live in Benidorm but spend 2 – 6 week periods back in your home country, on a full time basis living with the person you are caring for. By doing this you have no living expenses and quite often the company or agency you work for will pay for your travel as soon as you arrive in the country.
Call centre and promotional work is another option that often doesn’t require you to speak Spanish and there are good, reputable companies out there, but not many. The majority will be offering the general public some new ”miracle” slimming product or mosquito repellent, while others will be ”hard sell” products such as double glazing or time share properties. You will need to have exceptionally thick skin and a hard heart to ever be successful doing this kind of selling and more than likely you will only be paid on a commission basis or commission and a very small basic wage. This work is best left to the ”Wolves of Wall Street” out there !!
When writing about these employment options I have purposely not mentioned families moving to Benidorm, mainly because there are exceptionally few parents who would consider making such a life changing decision without securing reliable, full time work first. Indeed, a number of families who move here do so because the parents or a parent has a successful business in their home country that they can manage whilst living abroad. Others have a business that they think will do well in Spain and decide to give it a go, but in most cases, always with a back up plan. When the 2008 economic crisis hit Spain, many small, and large businesses could not keep their heads above water and sadly had to throw in the towel. Due to this, there are a great selection of small businesses, bars and restaurants on the market in Benidorm, either for sale or lease hold.
With Spain’s economy on the upturn, now is a good time to seriously consider moving here before the excellent property prices start to rise, and all the available business opportunities get taken. Anyone who has been to Benidorm on holiday and frequented its bars and restaurants, will know how many of them there are and how fierce the competition is. This is a major consideration when thinking of opening a bar or restaurant here, and a great deal of thought, planning and down right hard work is required if you ever want to be successful, unless you just get lucky. It’s surprising the amount of people I’ve seen out here that open a bar with the vague notion that running a business in the hospitality industry equates to swanning around, chatting with customers and knocking back large quantities of alcohol !! Needless to say, the dreamers never last. Don’t get me wrong, I know successful bar owners who do just that, but they have spent years working 14 hour days, getting to know their suppliers and building up a regular clientele before they could enjoy the fruits of their labour.
When it comes to the technicalities, contracts, laws and administration of running a business, I will leave that to the experts; but I will say, keep an open mind, have a good lawyer and accountant, and be prepared to grease a few palms. From what I’ve observed, when searching for a bar/restaurant business, if it looks like a fantastic bargain not to be missed.. give it a miss !! Depending on your finances and what you want out of a catering business, the extremely popular beach front areas, and places like Walking Street in the Old Town, are capable of producing a pot of gold, if you choose wisely and have the time and collateral to put into the business. With limited finances, look outside the city centre, find an area where you see an opportunity, not somewhere you like, unless of course you are going to be living on the premises. If you take your time to research an area and know what signs to look for, you should be able to determine whether an establishment is not doing well due to its location, a lack of funds, or basic miss-management. Location, location, location.. Knowing how far your funds can stretch, and improving the management of an establishment is achievable, choosing the wrong location will only spell disaster. Sadly, I have seen this happen only too often, and no matter how much time and money you throw at a business venture in the wrong location, you’re just flogging a dead horse.
Benidorm is a lively, vibrant city with an eclectic mix of fantastic attractions, beaches, great days out and excellent night life. For those moving to Benidorm, after you get used to all the different aspects of Spain and settle into your new lifestyle, I am sure you will ask yourself, why didn’t I make the move sooner. If this article on moving to Benidorm has been of interest to you, have a look at living in Benidorm for further information on this great city.