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Guide on Starting a Company in Switzerland

Switzerland is known for its strict allocation regarding foreign workers. But the situation may be avoided if you set yourself as a self-employed worker or freelance worker, or maybe starting a company in Switzerland. 

If you are wondering about starting a company in Switzerland, this guide will help you through the stages. Determine what type of business you want to start and match its suitability with the Swiss legal structures with the help of the following key points.

Basics about starting a company in Switzerland 

A brand new company does not emerge out of thin air. There are various things that you need to plan and consider before taking the big leap. The first and foremost thing about starting a company in Switzerland, or any company at all, is a successful business idea.

Once you have a solid idea, the second thing you need to focus on is choosing the right Swiss business and legal structure for your upcoming company.

Another set of key factors that you need to look into before finally proceeding with setting up the company is your products or service’s market orientation, the range of potential customers, and your competitors. 

Gather insights and all kinds of information through thorough research into the related area. Analyze and evaluate to speculate your company’s prospects and redefine your goals.   

Choose the correct business structure.

After you have ensured your new company’s profitable prospects, you must direct your attention to the suitability of the perfect Swiss business structure. In Switzerland, you will get as many as seven options to choose from when deciding on the type of your new company. 

Each of these seven types has differential structures, their own sets of advantages and disadvantages that you need to investigate properly. 

The following descriptions of each structure will conveniently help you in matching the one perfect for your company.

Single-owner company or sole proprietorship

As the name suggests, this type of company structure is most suitable for sole owners who prefer to work for themselves. It is essentially run by a single individual, who necessarily has to be a Swiss resident.

So if you are looking forward to starting as an individual entrepreneur or as a freelancer, then this type of company should be perfect for you. The company structure comes with unlimited liability.

General partnership

This type of company structure is similar to the sole proprietor structure but includes two or more people. In a general partnership, two or more individuals jointly partake in the company operations. 

However, every partner must be a Swiss resident, and the company must be registered under a Swiss address. Like single-owner companies, this type of company has unlimited liability under all partners.

Limited partnership

Companies under a limited partnership structure are based on the general partnership structure of the company. Here, general partners have unlimited liability, whereas limited partners may remain liable up to an agreed amount.

Corporation/Joint-stock company (AG/SA)

This type of company structure is the most common among all. In this case, the corporation has the power to act as an independent legal entity. 

At Least a single member of the company board or a director must be a Swiss resident with sole signatory rights. Liability in this type of company structure remains limited to the value of the company’s assets.

Limited liability company (GmbH/Sarl)

This type of company structure also acts as a legal entity where all company members can participate in management and representation. However, non-members can also take part in the management system of the company. 

Limited liability company structure requires at least one managing director to be a Swiss resident and possess signatory rights. 

Also Read: How to Start a Business in Arizona


A company under the subsidiary structure is more flexible as it possesses legal independence as a business. It has an affiliation with a foreign company but characteristically operates as a Swiss company. A subsidiary is flexible in taking the form of a corporation or a company with limited liability.


Under the branch structure, a company remains a legally dependent yet financially independent part of an overseas head company that is liable. In this structure, at least a single Swiss resident with legal authorities is essential. 

Starting a company in Switzerland as a foreigner

Starting a company in Switzerland as a foreigner can be a bit troublesome. The clause that every Swiss company must be represented by at least a single Swiss resident with legal rights makes the process quite complicated. 

For this particular scenario, you may seek help from a Swiss firm that focuses on legal representation in tax and administrative departments before starting a Switzerland company.

Build and grow your company in Switzerland with RISTER

RISTER Sarl Fiduciary Company is a Swiss corporate services company that provides Swiss and international clients with formation, management, and administration services. The company specifically aims at offering proactive advice and services in every aspect of your company structure, thus considerably saving your time and effort to a great extent. 

Outsourcing your company’s administrative, legal, fiscal, and human resource management responsibilities to RISTER means that your company functions on an organized foundation alongside respecting Swiss legislation.

The range of professional services offered by RISTER include :

General Administration

RISTER offers to take complete responsibility for your company administration and efficiently streamline its facets, including accounting, tax declarations, payroll administration, human resource management, insurance management, secretarial services, etc.

Local manager and director

RISTER works with eligible and experienced people fulfill all the legal criteria necessary for assuming a nominee director’s roles, or a Swiss director or manager with legal rights. RISTER thus, responsible helps you start a company in Switzerland minus the legal complexities, especially if you are a foreigner.

Tax representative for VAT in Switzerland

They provide representative services for tax purposes of your company in Switzerland.

Digital Services

Alongside administrative and managerial services, RISTER can also help you in your company growth and outreach with their digital services. It includes digitized administrative services, mobile application, highly secure storage and cloud services, and data inheritance.

Company domiciliation

The company can also considerably improve your new company through its domiciliation services, which include correspondence forwarding services, phone call management, among others. 

Despite the strict allocations for company creation and growth in Switzerland, RISTER makes the process easier and efficient with their professional and client-oriented services. 

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