Learning from the experiences of others can be helpful and save you having to reinvent the wheel yourself. Kees de Kok shares his experiences of setting up as a foreign company in Spain. In 2007 he said goodbye to his company in the Netherlands and headed to Spain.
The physics engineer from Delft embarked on the adventure together with his wife, starting a new life and business on the Spanish Costa Blanca. A new life that presented them with many bumps and setbacks. Starting a factory in Spain turned out to be quite a challenge. The couple went through so much De Kok decided to share his experiences in the book ‘Starting a factory in Spain, an extreme challenge’. This way others with similar aspirations may benefit.
After reading the book, “an extreme challenge” seems rather mild. It is unbelievable the De Koks have now managed to build such a thriving business with Dekobo. They design and manufacture custom pool covers in their factory in Pedreguer (Alicante) and install them all over Spain.
Kees de Kok and his wife were not only confronted with what we, usually practically minded northerners, quickly refer to as shortcomings of Spaniards and/or of Spanish customs and culture. They also coped with the sometimes heavenly bureaucracy the country has to hold especially enterprising types.
Setbacks, paper mills and corruption and commission culture
The big question is how De Kok and his colleagues did not give up. The phrase “perseverance wins” seems to have been coined for them. Setback after setback followed one another. Yet De Kok’s company continues to run and even grow. Like many other foreign entrepreneurs in Spain, De Kok also discovered that the Spanish bureaucracy is a viscous and cumbersome hole. He kept getting stuck in it regularly.
For example, when recruiting staff, he found out many Spaniards are less educated than their CV or education suggests; they simply did not have the skills they promised. In addition, they were often very inflexible and immobile, not daring to make decisions when in doubt and often delivered poor quality.
Apart from his worries about finding – and keeping – good personnel, De Kok regularly bumped his head against the deeply ingrained ‘corruption and committee culture’, and the thriving black economy. Further, he found major problems arose as a result of consulting ‘bad’ people including financial advisers, also known as ‘gestorías’ in Spain. He also repeatedly had to deal with poor payment morals. All issues and problems that you have to deal with if you want to start a business in Spain.
Love for country and inhabitants fuels motivation
Nevertheless, the De Kok family perseveres. Their perseverance was and still is fuelled by an enormous dose of optimism, enthusiasm for the cause and a great love for the country and its inhabitants. All experience has led to the fact that in the 14 years since its foundation in 2007, the De Kobo company has manufactured and installed more than 1,200 swimming pool covers throughout Spain.
Why pool covers?
With the tailor-made covers, the swimming season in Spain can be extended by months. The covers with solar slats can heat up the water by 5-7º Celsius. They also provide energy savings of 30% – 50%. Finally, Dekobo’s pool covers provide good protection against children and animals falling into the water.
Dekobo can completely customise its eight different models, designs them in 3D and works with the best materials for each individual part. Their own people transport and install the products so the customer always knows exactly where he or she stands. All pool covers integrate perfectly with the environment and thus offer an ideal solution in terms of safety, ease of use, saving water and chemicals and aesthetics.
The commercial team is ready to advise interested parties which model best meets all requirements and which suits the pool in question best. Want to know more more? Download the brochure here