Any problems buying a bar?


Dear Hillary,

One of my American friends was telling me in an email that buying a bar in Pattaya is dangerous, as well as being overpriced.  They seemed quite reasonable to me, compared to prices over here, and I read that a 50 percent share is also possible.  What are the problems and what should I be looking out for before purchase?

Bill the Barman

Dear Bill,

It seems obvious to me that you have no idea about doing business in Thailand, and have a pile of money burning a hole in your pocket.  You are the ideal patsy, Bill.  Sorry to say it, but have you ever heard of the phrase “due diligence”?  That’s the research you should do before buying any businesses anywhere, and especially in Thailand.  How old are you, Petal?  Are you really that wet behind the ears?  For a foreigner to work over here you will need a work permit, and you only get one of those if you can do a job that no Thai person can do.  Anyone of any nationality can prop up a bar.  However, you can get a work permit by some underhand maneuvering, but then you set yourself up to be asked for money by the nice friendly policeman to look the other way.  If your bar is successful, those monthly payments go up as well.  Leave running a bar to those who know how to, and the pitfalls.  Stay on the customer’s side of the bar and forget about buying in with a 50 percent share.  It just might be the third 50 percent share that is being offered.  It has happened before, and will happen again.  Especially when there are punters with money thinking Pattaya is Paradise.  The only similarity between the two is they both start with the letter “P”.

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