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How to Open a Store: What You Need and How Much It Costs?

The rules on how to open a shop vary according to the type of business you want to undertake. It is important to know exactly what to do and what it takes to start a business. Let’s see together how to do it best.

What to do to open a shop

The first step to open a ‘ business of retail is to choose which type of store to open. In particular, a store can be physical or online. The physical store allows customers to visit the store to choose the products and services to purchase. The online store, on the other hand, is a reference point that is always accessible on the internet. It is not excluded that a physical store also has an online sales site. However, in the beginning, we usually start with only one type of shop to evaluate the success of the project.

A typical way to open a shop is franchising. This is an agreement whereby an entrepreneur allows an affiliate to use their business formula to sell goods or services at a point of sale. Opening a franchise allows franchisees to start a sales business of any kind with a small investment. In fact, the affiliate will be able to take advantage of a brand and a format already started, generally committing to reselling the entrepreneur’s products.

A fundamental step to start a shop of any type is to identify the legal form in which the business is carried out. It is possible to start a personal business (sole proprietorship) or a company (SRL, SRLS or SPA). The sole proprietorship allows you to save on initial formalities and taxes but does not allow you to involve other partners in the business. The company involves more expenses but allows you to create a legal entity other than the owner, limit your liability and share the project with multiple partners.

like opening a shop

The formalities for opening

The main requirements for a store are common whether you open a sole proprietorship or a company. In particular, to start you need to open a VAT number, register with the business register and submit the certified SCIA report. Furthermore, after these steps, you will need to register with INPS and open an INAIL position if you want to hire employees. Today it is possible to obtain everything you need to open a shop with a single procedure through the Communicate telematics service.

To open a business, ” moral ” requirements are also required. In particular, they cannot open a shop:

  • habitual, professional or tendency offenders
  • those who have received a final sentence of not less than three years in prison
  • definitively convicted of receiving stolen goods, money laundering, fraudulent insolvency, fraudulent bankruptcy, usury, robbery, crimes against the person committed with violence, extortion
  • those convicted definitively for crimes against hygiene and public health
  • those who have reported two or more convictions, in the five years prior to the start of the activity, for crimes of fraud in the preparation and trade of food provided for by special laws
  • (only for restaurateurs) those who have been definitively convicted of crimes against public morality and morality, for crimes committed in a state of drunkenness or in a state of drug intoxication, for crimes relating to the prevention of alcoholism, narcotic substances, etc.

The other specific requirements based on the type of business

For some types of shops, such as those in the food sector, further requirements are necessary. In particular, it is necessary to have a valid HACCP certificate. It is a document that certifies that you have knowledge on the prevention of risks deriving from the processing and sale of food products. HACCP should not be confused with the SAB certificate (food and beverage administration) also required in this sector. However, while the SAB is mandatory only for the owner, the HACCP is required for all employees (e.g. cooks, waiters, etc.).

Another necessary requirement for physical stores only is the usability of the premises. This is a certification that is carried out by the Municipality on the basis of the requirements of the premises. For example, the number of windows, the ventilation system, access to toilets, etc.
Furthermore, it is necessary that the intended use resulting from the land register is suitable for retail sale. For example, a warehouse cannot be used as a store unless the intended use is changed first.

One of the additional obligations envisaged in the past was that of the commercial license. Today, this license no longer exists. For small businesses (up to 250 m2 in municipalities with over 10,000 inhabitants) the license has been replaced by the SCIA. On the other hand, for medium or large-sized stores, individual municipalities may provide for additional requirements. It is advisable to contact the relevant Municipality directly to find out any specific requirements.

How much does it cost to open a shop?

The costs to open a shop vary according to the legal form and the type of business enterprise. For personal activities, all costs for the sole proprietorship must be borne. The main expenses concern the registration with the chamber of commerce and the register of companies and which has a total cost of approximately € 200 and the SCIA which has a variable cost based on the activity carried out (from € 50 to € 1,000 approximately). In the case of the company, however, the costs for setting up an SRL (about € 1,500) or the costs for an SRLS (about € 400) must also be borne.

Regardless of the type of shop you have, you need to consider the costs for the accountant. In fact, in general, shopkeepers entrust a professional with the task of preparing the tax return and carrying out all tax obligations (e.g. registration of receipts and entries and exits). The cost of the accountant can vary greatly depending on the city and the tax regime applied. Furthermore, the accounting costs of a sole proprietorship are much lower than those of a corporation.

In addition to the costs described so far, there are additional costs for a physical store. In particular, a trader who carries out his business in a physical location will be subject to the rental costs for the rental of the premises and any warehouse. To these expenses must then be added those for the management of the cash register and the sales staff (e.g. salaries for clerks and cashiers).

In addition, additional expenses are foreseen for the food shops. In particular, the HACCP certificate involves costs of about € 40 for 1st level employees (e.g. waiter), about € 50 for 2nd level employees (e.g. cook, pastry chef) and about € 150 for the shop owner. Instead, the SAB certificate has an average cost ranging from € 300 to € 600, but it must be done only by the holder.

What changes for an online store?

To open an online store, the same requirements and obligations as a physical store are required. In particular, all the main steps are required: from the opening of the VAT number to the registration in the business register and SCIA. In fact, online business is a full-fledged commercial activity carried out, however, on a website.

This type of shop has many advantages. In fact, it provides reduced costs and more flexible management. An online business does not involve rental costs for the stores, nor costs for the salaries of cashiers and clerks. Often, it is also possible to save on logistics and management costs by opening an online store without a warehouse (drop shipping). In addition, the online business allows you to have a leaner organization and start your business with the help of your computer alone.

To sell online in compliance with the law, some information documents must be published on your website or app:

  • General conditions of sale: to regulate the functioning of online sales with the customer and fulfill the legal obligations regarding the right of withdrawal, product warranty, shipping, delivery, etc.
  • Website privacy policy: to let users know how to use their personal data
  • Cookie policy: to inform users of the cookies that will be saved on their browser.

In addition, all the mandatory data for a website such as the VAT number and all the information required for the sole proprietorship such as the administrative-economic register number (REA) must be reported.