How to Start a Business in Mexico

Starting a business in Mexico is not all that different from starting a business in the United States. It is mostly a matter of careful planning and filing the proper documents. While the startup procedures may be similar, basing your business in Mexico as opposed to the United States does have some advantages. These include lower-cost labor with a proven record for quality of production, as well as close proximity to the United States, making shipping costs cheaper.

Carefully plan out the basics of your business. You need to ensure that your business is practically ready to go before you start the next step, filing the necessary documents. Ensure you have a business plan that outlines every detail of your business. Hire an accountant to help you with the forms and to help with your financial planning. You should already have a business site picked out or even purchased. The filing process will take a little less than a month to complete, so your business should be ready to open in roughly that time period.

File the name of your company with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores) and obtain its authorization to conduct business in that name. The cost for doing this as of 2009 was 640 pesos, or roughly $50 U.S. The overall time it will take to complete this step is about two days.

Prepare a deed of incorporation that outlines the business structure of your company and go to a notary public to have it notarized at the Mexican Department of Treasury (Hacienda). Bring your business's charter and its bylaws. The cost for doing this as of 2009 was 9,000 pesos, or roughly $700. The time it will take to complete this step is about two days.

While at the Hacienda, obtain a tax registration number. While this is technically a separate step, it can be completed simultaneously with having the deed notarized.

Register your deed of incorporation at the Public Registry of Commerce. This is the lengthiest step due to the time it takes to file the deed and receive confirmation of that filing. It will take about 17 days to complete. The cost of this step, as of 2009, is 1,402 pesos, or roughly $100.

Register with the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) and the National Workers’ Housing Fund Institute (INFONAVIT). Here you must open retirement savings accounts for your employees. There is no cost for this step. It will take roughly two to five days.

Register with the local tax administration (Secretaría de Finanzas del Gobierno del Distrito Federal). This will allow you to determine your payroll tax. This step requires you to include your tax registration number and your company's postal code. It only takes about a day to complete this step.

Provide notice to the local Delegación that you are opening and starting your business. The notice simply must state your intention to conduct business in the local area. You must provide your tax registration number with the notice.

Register with the National Business Information Registry (Sistema de Information Empresarial). There are costs involved in this step, but they depend largely on the type of company you are operating and the number of employees you have. In 2009 the average costs were between 100 and 670 pesos, or roughly $10 to $50. It takes about a day to complete this step.

Provide notice to the National Institute of Statistics, Geography, and Information (Instituto Nacional de Estadistica, Geografia e Informática). The notice should include the name of your business, the type of business you have incorporated, how many employees you have, and the names of the stockholders in the company. It takes about a day to complete this step, and there is no cost.