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Roberto
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Username: Admin

Post Number: 842
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Saturday, November 11, 2006 - 5:48 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Bill Howard may have spotted an opportunity... But I am not sure. What do you all think?
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Bill Howard
New member
Username: Veritas01

Post Number: 13
Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Saturday, November 11, 2006 - 5:00 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I have a general question for the Argentines here. In my travels across Argentina I have not seen a secure storage warehouse for individuals. They are all over the US. Most areas have several. You rent a spance as small as a closet or as large as a big garare. It is secured. 24 hour security. You can come and go to your locker privately and it is locked with your lock. It is usually surronded by fence and barbed wire and often they have dogs, cameras and of course alarms. I was wondering ...does anyone think this would fly in Argentina? I was thinking of areas like Mar del or Cordoba. Where people have vacation homes but they are afraid of keeping their stuff in a place that was not occupied 24/7. My guess it would run around 100 pesos a month for an average size space. A lot I know but if you could safely store your tvs and things for the winter season it might be worth it. Any thoughts?
It would rent by the month with deals for longer rental periods.
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Roberto
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 844
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Saturday, November 11, 2006 - 6:03 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I think you first need to assess the real need for additional storage or if safety concerns would push people to secure some of their assets with a 3rd party. I haven't seen much of this in Argentina but I have used this service in the US many times. The fact that it is not widespread may mean there is an opportunity but also that there is no need, or at least that users are not willing to pay for this service.

Questions in Argentina could be...

1. Do people accumulate goods and finally run out of space or discard of them (I favor the latter). Most people I know would give away stuff.
2. Would owners prefer moving their valuable assets to a facility or invest in an alarm system?

Another consideration would be who is this service oriented towards? If considering owners of a vacation home, they may have enough surplus income to justify the cost of the service but I know a great deal of people who own an apt in Mar del Plata and would be considered middle class (barely). They may have bought this property many decades ago when their financial situation was better.

It's an interesting idea, though. A US franchise may work well perhaps.

(Message edited by admin on November 11, 2006)
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Riyad Anabtawi
Intermediate Member
Username: Riyada

Post Number: 123
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Saturday, November 11, 2006 - 11:01 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dunno.. too much money for most here to store their stuff. They reckon that with the money they waste in storage they could buy more stuff.
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Arial
New member
Username: Arial

Post Number: 13
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Sunday, November 12, 2006 - 4:01 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Last time I left Bariloche I would have been GRATEFUL if there had been such a place there. Couldn't bring everything and left it with some Americans to store in the basement of their business because I had no other choice. They quit the business and moved and they now don't answer my emails, for whatever reason. Probably my stuff is lost.

What locals there would be willing and able to pay, however, would be a good question. Arial
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Roberto
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 845
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Sunday, November 12, 2006 - 12:58 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

One variation (big), could be daily temporary storage or by the hour focused only on foreigners.

Since most depart from Argentina at night and they check out from their hotels in the morning they have to carry with them all luggage for hours. A place where they can leave their stuff in downtown together with transportation to airports after pick up, and some *great* bathrooms for some cleaning might fill someone's need, in Buenos Aires. I know my mother has kept a lot of luggage including surfboards at her apt. till her clients were ready to go to the airport.

Perhaps something like this can be expanded to include long-term storage as BH envisioned (see Arial's post). Very cheap for americans and europeans. Such business could also be complemented with "future date" shipping and customs paperwork compliance. Then, some stuff could be stored till the day the owner decides to have it shipped. And pricing would be no problem. The need is there, the cost of the service will be inexpensive to non-argentines and the business can profit from many venues: storage, transportation, service fees, shipping, etc. Ideal for internet as well, as clients can register an account and manage their operation online.

With a cash-cow operation running one could test the waters for a local need or at a minimum a need from domestic tourists.

(Message edited by admin on November 12, 2006)
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Apartmentsba.com
Intermediate Member
Username: Saint

Post Number: 126
Registered: 5-2005


Posted on Sunday, November 19, 2006 - 9:39 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I just saw this. I was actually approached a few years ago by a foreigner in the USA that owns several Storage places. It wouldn't work in Buenos Aires (Capital). Here is why. Most real estate in the Capital is priced in u$s dollars and it's not cheap. Rent is for the most part charged in pesos so it would be very expensive to buy the property for something like this and the people that would be utilizing it would be paying in pesos.

Of course Roberto brings up an interesting point of focusing on tourists which is a VERY smart idea. Foreigners could be charge u$s dollars and that is the way I think something like this would work.

I'm not sure the risk/reward ratio would be worth it though. An operation like this requires a tremendous amount of trust and having good employees that won't riffle through people's bags. Then you have the possibility if it's not employees of people coming in and robbing the place. I'm not sure how much income could be derived from such a place.

I think the only way something like this would work is if you did some kind of long-term lease for space in pesos and then you charged dollars for storage. Then of course you would have to do advertising and get the world out to places that it's available. Just because you have it available doesn't mean you will have many people using it.

Still, I think Roberto's thinking outside of the box. That's pretty much what it takes to make money here.....

Cheers all.
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Arial
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Username: Arial

Post Number: 20
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Monday, November 20, 2006 - 5:09 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I have not been established in any one place for about 7 years since I sold my home in Florida. I have lived in Florida, Montana and Argentina since that time and I do still have "stuff" to keep track of, though not much!

I have used storage units in three places in the US. All were well secured but the best was a large storage facility in Montana. The business was securely fenced with barb wire at the top, surveillance cameras covering the entire facility, the owners lived on the property.

The construction of the units was interesting in that there was a common door on the outside of every block of 4 storage areas inside. There was a lock on the entrace to that block, installed by the facility owner, and then when you got inside you went to your own unit and had your own locks on that. There were two places on your storage unit door so that you could actually put two locks, though I never used two. So there were numerous layers of security--in that very safe part of the US! Also it was open only during certain hours and the entire grounds were securely locked outside of those hours and the owners, as stated above, lived on the premises.

So why wouldn't that work in Argentina? I don't see the need for employees unless one wanted to allow cleaning people in to sweep the alleyways between units, but they could be watched and would not have access to the units. In the case of the one with surveillance cameras that appeared to cover every square foot of the common areas of the facility, with a little diligence one could keep an eye on them from the office. Arial
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Tom
Advanced Member
Username: Diverdown48

Post Number: 283
Registered: 6-2006


Posted on Monday, November 20, 2006 - 1:13 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Arial, you have very accurately described the normal secure storage facility in the US wether in a safe area or unsafe. It might work in Argentina, who knows.

Even thought some property is bought in US dollars the prices of the properties do not equal prices in the US.

when you compare the largest city in Argentina to the largest city in America you do not compare it to east podunk. Buenas Aries pirces should be compared to New York City prices. Bahia Blanca prices should be compared to a smaller US port city etc.

These storage areas can be built using older warehouses and such. Right across the street from Retiro is a large shell of a building that was never finished that could make a very large storage facility.

Self storage areas support a range of customers from people with lots of stuff to small businesses that do not have storage to craftsmen who need places to store their tools. The limits are those that the mind allows. Even theives who need a place to stash their booty. :-)
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Roberto
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Username: Admin

Post Number: 869
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Wednesday, November 22, 2006 - 11:05 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Arial, I think the main obstacle would not be providing strong security but what happens after it gets breached. Cameras may record violations in high def to no avail as all may fail trying to get the police and the courts involved. In the US, evidence is everything. In Argentina, you must add luck and chance too.

I once saw a man in Palermo getting out of my car as I was jogging around the lake. I confronted him and went after the guy as he ran away. Later, I visited the nearest police department and together with a few officers we chased him in a police unit. By that time, the police had many reports of this guy stealing *change* from inside cars. After finding and catching him we all went to the police station to fill out the paperwork. Once there, the officers discouraged me of presenting charges as they told me the judge would give the guy no time. Instead, they offered me beating him up for a while as a "lesson", which I ruled out and walked away...

There is never enough security against connivance...
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Arial
Member
Username: Arial

Post Number: 78
Registered: 10-2006


Posted on Thursday, May 10, 2007 - 1:47 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello all, I remember some of you writing about how difficult business is in Argentina, that there are so many obstacles, and so on. Would you mind describing those obstacles? In my experience business is difficult even in my birth country with many pitfalls, like a frivolous lawsuit out of the blue that will cost big time and could even bankrupt you, no matter whether you settle or not and . . . well, I wont bore you since my question is about Argentina.

I am thinking about business here and wonder if you that have experience here would give me an idea of what the obstacles are, in your experience or observation, so Ill have an idea what a person is dealing with. Muchas gracias! Arial
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Roberto
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Username: Admin

Post Number: 1091
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Thursday, May 10, 2007 - 9:00 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Arial, I will be happy to post an example which will describe the type of problems you may encounter. As far as frivolous lawsuits you may face while doing business in the US, this is just part of the game even if a nasty part. The argentine problems are a lot less crystaline, far more difficult to solve and will require an extra dose of your stamina...

A few months back I purchased for a client some samples from Europe for his US business. Mistakenly, the shipper sent the package to Argentina as he had a second argentine address for this person's business in Buenos Aires. As it happens, the package was stopped at customs in Ezeiza like any incoming air package addressed to a corporation. Had it been shipped to the company in the US (fedex) it would have arrived as a normal sample at the office frontdesk.

The first problem was that the argentine company wasn't registered as an importer, therefore, could not start a procedure to *nationalize* the merchandise. The second problem was that as a sample it was priced at $35 and argentine customs had a completely different set of norms for such sample, thus they didn't accept the merchandise as priced.

For weeks I contacted federal express in Argentina explaining them it was an error and they basically told me that it wasn't within their jurisdiction anymore as now the package was sitting in a fiscal warehouse under the control of customs (at usd $5 /day). About the only solution -they suggested- would be to change the consignee for this shipment to a physical person. So we contacted the shipper who in turn contacted his local fedex office and proceeded to change the consignee. Later, I learned that federal express in Argentina required this process to be started in Argentina, not in origin, but I explained to them that noone in Argentina could do so as the package was addressed to a person in the US (from the US company) and that the shipment arriving in Buenos Aires was just a mistake, that there was nobody with enough authority to change anything. Their suggestion was that I issue a letter, notarized and translated authorizing someone in BA for the corresponding changes and pick up. Being this a private business matter this was a no-no.

Forty days into the problem and after more than 2 dozen calls, someone at fedex argentina suggested that I should contact *their unofficial importer who is used to dealing with this type of problems and no doubt will be able to reject the shipment and send it back to origin*. This, of course, didn't lead anywhere as the importer later explained to me that the wrongly addressed company had no import license so nothing could be done. At the same time, I received indications from customs that they would not authorize the change of consignee because changing from corp to physical person would be -under their estimate- somewhat suspicious (I am not sure of what).

Here I was, 2 months later, and the package was still sitting at customs warehouse just as day 1. Think about it... a package that is sent to Argentina by mistake, gets trapped by customs and because the addressee isn't an importer no further action can be taken, not returning it to origin nor importing it. It almost sounds as if this shipment got lost in some regulatory limbo where someone didn't anticipate such situation...

We recently initiated a special procedure before customs but don't really know what the outcome will be.

The above is just a vignette of everyday ocurrances. Someone in another thread posted some significant information that I thought was right on the money. This member said that most problems in Argentina happen because with every new government and with every change of authorities, new regulations are set and the old ones are badly overwritten so noone really knows what to do, how to cope with problems or what law to follow. Basically, the regulatory mayhem creates so may vacuums that if you are caught in one you are toast.
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andy
New member
Username: Bignames

Post Number: 2
Registered: 5-2007
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 12:13 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Another example.

I had given a laptop computer to a friend in Argentina, One with an international warantee. It broke in early August of 2006, I am still waiting for parts as Toshiba (*after many complaints and phone calls) told me that they seem to have a problem sending parts to Argentina due to customs regulations.

It still has not been fixed, almost a year!
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DAN
New member
Username: Crazygaucho

Post Number: 8
Registered: 7-2006
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 12:45 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I tought of that even before comming back to Argentina , having using the service in the US thought that it might've work here even for locals when they go on vacation ...... but my experience after dealing with employess here .. mi big concern will be who's gonna watch your watchers look what's happenin on those barrios cerrados where most of the time the security people are the main suspects I just keep on renting apts or building , price of the land should not be a problem if you buy the land outside capital and provide your costumers with a shuttle type of service but this is Argentina guys!!!!!! good food, night life pretty women a lot of beautiful places to explore and enjoy, but we gonna need at least a couple of generations to change peoples mind ...... enjoy the ride and forget about businees that involve too many employees to depend on
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Roberto
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 1092
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 8:57 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Since Dan touched the *employee* issue, that is high on the list of perils. Argentine labor law is different than in the US and sides strongly with workers so employers many times have to go through a miriad of situations that would be unacceptable for a US based company.
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Arial
Member
Username: Arial

Post Number: 79
Registered: 10-2006


Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 9:34 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Well thanks for the details. I am getting the idea! Arial
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DAN
New member
Username: Crazygaucho

Post Number: 9
Registered: 7-2006
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 10:01 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I didn't mean to rain in your parade and it's just a great idea (of course if I thuough of that about 3 years ago) but the employees issue it's pretty bad ...I 'm always in the wrong place ;in the US i was an employee and here I could be a business owner..they still think it's one against the other and do not realize that one doesn't exist without the other .......other issue in the storage could be police because what a great place to stuff with stolen goods and ilegal substances.....but dont discourage yourself ....I wish I would've bought more shares of amazon.com when I orderer my first book there (lot of people told me that company itsnt gonna work)
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Arial
Member
Username: Arial

Post Number: 80
Registered: 10-2006


Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 11:08 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

There are always challenges, but it is good to know what you are up against ahead of time--as much as possible anyway--instead of being surprised later. Who better than someone who is already experienced. We have already had some expensive "surprises" in Argentina. Dont need any more. Arial
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Dan Sandefur
New member
Username: Panamadan

Post Number: 6
Registered: 4-2007
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 12:14 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

The recent thread has been interesting and revealing. Interesting enough for me to post a reply. After living in Panama for over 4 years, I have experienced similar regulatory & governmental mayhem, quagmires and traps here as well.
It seems to be common to all of Latin America, in varying degrees, of course. Although it actually sounds much worse there than here, which is very disappointing for me to hear.

I was hoping that it would be better there, but it does not sound that way. It is disappointing for me since I am considering moving there, and I was hoping, for no real reason why, that this serious problem would be smaller there. It is one of the main reasons why I want to leave Panama. Alas, I may be going from the frying pan into the fire...

It also sounds like the same employee problems exist there. That is not a surprise. I experienced some of those here, and swore I would never have any employees here again. I highly recommend to anyone not to have any. It is only a guaranteed source of problems and expenses, which very few, if any, will be your fault. It is just another quagmire to avoid if at all possible.
The labor ministry always sides with the employee in any issue.
The labor laws are mostly in favor of the employee as well. The employer almost always gets the shaft in any situation. It is an adversarial relationship, which it should not be, as was mentioned before.

I have also been following the threads on real estate investing there, and read of similar problems there with that as well, which was expected. Although, this also sounds like a worse problem there than here, but since I have not bought any there yet, I cannot say for sure. Since I am planning to, I guess I will find out how that compares to here first hand. My plan was to buy inexpensive store fronts for rental income, but the taxes and governmental involvement with that changed my mind on that.
Apartment or house rentals are even worse, which is why I chose store fronts instead. Now, my decision for income is to invest the cash that I would have bought rental properties with, in the stock, bond and fund markets instead. No government headaches, and much better income too. I still plan to buy a residence for me to live in though, so I will get to experience that anyway.

The thread comparing Argentina to Uruguay was also very interesting and revealing. It sounds like most of these problems are smaller and fewer in Uruguay, but then it has its negatives too, I am sure. One of which was the high cost of utilities. I am looking forward to hearing many more of those comparisons.

Interestingly and ironically, one of the easiest ways to get your permanent visa there is by being an employee of your own company.
At least I won't have any employee issues if I am the only employee!
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Simon Fawkes
Junior Member
Username: Expatba

Post Number: 29
Registered: 1-2007


Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 12:37 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I'm not quite sure what the exact legal position is, but several of my expat friends who run businesses or trade here get round the employement issue by getting their "pseudo-staff" individuals to set themselves up as a company, which then submits invoices to the "employer" for services rendered. This shifts the responsibility for tax and other matters away from the employer and onto the employee (via their company). It is also easy to terminate relationships with staff.

Obviously, this is only possible for certain business types, but it may be of benefit to some employers.

I hope this helps.

Simon Fawkes
Author, The Complete Guide To Real Estate Investment in Argentina, ISBN 1430303980, http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1430303980
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Dan Sandefur
New member
Username: Panamadan

Post Number: 7
Registered: 4-2007
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 1:49 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Yes, that is the preferred alternative to having employees.
It is the only good way to have "hired" help, in my opinion.
If the "employees" have their own company, they are contractors with your company, and not employees of your company any more. It works very well, and has all of the advantages that you mentioned.

Also as you mentioned though, the problem is that very few "employees" can or will get their own company and do it that way.
The few who can and do are builders, suppliers, technicians and professionals, who are normally contractors anyway.
The person you hire as a gardener, farmer, taxi driver, secretary or housekeeper, is not likely to be able to or want to get their own company and go that route.
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Roberto
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 1093
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 2:18 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Another work around -not sure to what extent- are part-timers.

> It seems to be common to all of Latin America
I think this is probably because latin countries are based on "civil law" as opposed to "english common law" for the anglosaxon world. The latter relies much more on interpretation whereas civil law depends on a black and white set of regulations.

Any new power group will rewrite laws to their convenience. The more chaotic a society had been in the past the more regulations that will ensue. Perhaps this is why Argentina scores far worse than Panama in this regard. Argentina had it's first military coup in 1930 and had been in intermitent chaos till 1983. Half a century. Add 2 hyperinflations after this plus abrupt changes in democratic governments (Alfonsin didn't finish his term in 1989, neither did De La Rua in 2001) and you may end up with a society that believes more control is needed.
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Arial
Member
Username: Arial

Post Number: 81
Registered: 10-2006


Posted on Saturday, May 12, 2007 - 9:38 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

What an interesting thread! But then I keep repeating that--great people posting here! I appreciate you all!

Whoops! Now I am concerned about computers. I use Toshiba (I really like them) laptops and I already keep a backup computer because I cant afford a computer that is in for repairs. Now I am thinking I could come here with an extra hard drive and use separate keyboards most of the time to keep from wearing out the laptop keyboard (those are the two things I most often have problems with). Does anyone else have any input regarding computers? (or any other challenges for that matter!) Arial
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DAN
New member
Username: Crazygaucho

Post Number: 10
Registered: 7-2006
Posted on Saturday, May 12, 2007 - 9:47 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I tried to sell a simbolic part of my business to them so they 'll become a partner instead of an employee in my case was impossible to do, once again to much pain in the butt. on response to the other DAN comparing argentina to uruguay .
Uruguay 10 times easier to do business with, transfering money etc etc but it, more expensive to live I was payng pretty much the same amount on electricity bills by staying 1 week in montevideo that 2 month in buenos aires gasoline ie abut $a4 etc etc but when buyng real estate you don't have to go with the "shoebox" full of cash you can get a "letra decambio"pretty much like a cashier's check in hte amount in dollars and everything!!!!! (much easier eh Saint)and then live in Argentina besides that it's pretty much the same thing
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DAN
New member
Username: Crazygaucho

Post Number: 11
Registered: 7-2006
Posted on Saturday, May 12, 2007 - 9:54 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

on regarding the laptop for Arial I took my notebook to PC doctor in avenida santa fe I have an HP paviliion that the cooling fan wasn't working ....... left it there had an estimate in 48 hrs the repair was done on time very good experience......
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Dan Sandefur
New member
Username: Panamadan

Post Number: 8
Registered: 4-2007
Posted on Saturday, May 12, 2007 - 10:53 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Roberto's story about the shipment sent there, is very scary.
Is it that difficult to have anything mailed there from overseas?
Don't they have mailing services like Mail Boxes Etc. to handle receiving packages from other countries?

Occasionally, but not often, I also order things from the US.
The problem Andy had with getting his Toshiba laptop parts there is scary too. Although, I will say that I happen to know that Toshiba laptop parts are hard to get anywhere. Toshiba is notorious for not stocking their own laptop parts, so they are hard to get even in the US. For that reason alone, I would recommend another brand.

Arial has a good workaround though. Use an external keyboard and mouse to preserve the laptop keyboard. Don't worry about the hard drive. Laptop hard drives are standard for almost all laptops, and are readily available almost anywhere. The proprietary parts, like the keyboard and screen, are the hard ones to get. Those are the parts you don't want to replace.

As for the comparison between Argentina & Uruguay, the other Dan has the right idea. Invest in Uruguay, and live in Argentina.
How difficult is it to open a bank account in Uruguay? If all other business is much easier there, then that should be too.
If so, couldn't one do their banking in Uruguay, while living in Argentina? I have heard that all you need is a passport and reference letter from another bank, to open a bank account there.
The same here in Panama. I will keep my Panamanian and US bank accounts, even after moving to Argentina. I will not bother opening any in Argentina, but it would be nice to have one in Uruguay, since it so much closer.
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Arial
Member
Username: Arial

Post Number: 82
Registered: 10-2006


Posted on Saturday, May 12, 2007 - 10:57 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks Dan (CrazyGaucho)for the PC info. Thats better service than I get from Best Buy on my warranty in the US! Arial
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Arial
Member
Username: Arial

Post Number: 83
Registered: 10-2006


Posted on Saturday, May 12, 2007 - 11:07 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

And thanks, Dan S, for info about Toshoba parts. Maybe that explains why it takes so long to get my Toshiba repaired! What an important subject. Seems insignificant in a way (brand of computers) but when you need a computer for what you do, it is IMPORTANT! My favorite PC guru in the US thinks there are less problems with Toshiba laptops, but if parts are hard to come by in Argentina, that could negate other advantages. Arial
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Benco
New member
Username: Benco

Post Number: 9
Registered: 4-2007
Posted on Saturday, May 12, 2007 - 12:04 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

A note on contracting your employees: I heard that a sequence of contracts with a pseudo-independent company might be regarded as an effective labor contract, especially if you are the only business partner of your contractor.

Restrictive labor legislation seems to be a serious obstacle for economic growth in Latin America. A recent McKinsey report stated that on average, mandated severance pay worth is 2.7 months' salary, compared with none at all in the US and 1.1 in Europe.

Another obstacle is the huge informal sector. Tax laws are not enforced for small companies, which distorts competition and hinders economic growth. And then there is blatant corruption, inefficient institutions and a dysfunctional financial system. Poor Argentina...
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Simon Fawkes
Junior Member
Username: Expatba

Post Number: 31
Registered: 1-2007


Posted on Saturday, May 12, 2007 - 12:28 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Just a quick note on Toshiba laptops - I bought mine over 5 years ago. In that time I've written 3 book manuscripts totalling nearly half a million words, and spent most days writing documents of one sort or another. I reckon I've typed well over a million and a half words on it, and assuming an average of 6 letters per word that's over 9 million keypresses. The keyboard is still absolutely fine and shows no real sign of wear. Personally, I think that using a second keyboard to preserve the original isn't necessary.

According to Sod's law, my laptop will probably break next week now that I've written this about it!
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Arial
Member
Username: Arial

Post Number: 84
Registered: 10-2006


Posted on Monday, May 14, 2007 - 3:52 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks for the good word about the Toshiba laptops.

Question: While waiting for my DNI, we have been looking at real estate. Found quite a few that appeared to be great buys that need to be "recycled." Every time when we call it is already sold. Saw an ad Friday, couldnt reach anyone over the weekend, and today, sure enough . . . sold!

Could I be missing something? Are these not real ads? Or do real estate people have regular customers that they alert to good buys before they advertise, but then advertise anyway? They always have "others," of course. Maybe this is just coincidence but Im starting to wonder. Any suggestions? Arial
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Roberto
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 1095
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Monday, May 14, 2007 - 4:38 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Could be real ads. I hear there are no ranches/farms available either. At international rates some prices may still appear cheap, specially for europeans.
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Arial
Member
Username: Arial

Post Number: 85
Registered: 10-2006


Posted on Monday, May 14, 2007 - 5:45 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

What started to make me wonder was that on those properties, the ad just comes out and already it is sold. Not just once, but again and again and again. Maybe people are just snapping them up that quickly. But we could not reach the agent by phone until today so I dont know how other people are managing it. Arial
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Dan Sandefur
New member
Username: Panamadan

Post Number: 9
Registered: 4-2007
Posted on Monday, May 14, 2007 - 6:36 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

This sure has turned into an interesting thread, with many side threads, that have exposed some real issues.

Judging by the problems with mailing things there from other countries, and the lack of any solution to that problem, it seems that a Mail Boxes Etc. franchise would do extremely well there.
That is, of course, if they could manage to ship & receive parcels to and from there with little or no difficulty.
Maybe that is why there isn't, and won't be one there...

As for the Toshiba laptop thread, it is good that they are so reliable, so that needing replacement parts for them is unlikely.
Of course, everything will eventually die, and then your choices will be to try and get parts there, or from abroad. Since you will probably need to get them from abroad, that returns us to how you get them shipped down there, which is why that problem is the more serious one.
There might not be a choice with that, which is never good...
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Roberto
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 1096
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Monday, May 14, 2007 - 8:38 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

A mail_boxes franchise would likely fall within customs jurisdiction and face the same ordeals Fedex and UPS face when dealing with incoming packages. But perhaps worth investigating.

"Exchange"... any exchange whether it is currency or merchandise from and to foreign countries is highly regulated and under the government control (translate into a miriad of offices and regulations). Nothing comparable to the US *free markets* where it is already understood that commerce SHOULD NOT be stopped.

I once worked for a fruit importer in the US who was engaged in some shipping tricks for the shipments brought from Central America. Congress, knowing of this practise nationwide, demanded an investigation through the corresponding executive office. After such investigation they elevated the results to Congress together with a set of recommendations hoping to deter this practice. The most important paragraph in that paper -which I was able to read first hand- stated something like "we are aware of how critical it is NOT to place obstacles to commerce, however, we recommend a 40 day period..." The executive branch office involved in the investigation basically begged for Congress to intervene as it was assumed that the overall tone for this industry was "free markets" rule. No intervention, let buyers beware.

Read the above lines upside down and you have... Argentina. What was said earlier: the average argentine citizen as well as politician have lived almost their entire lives in chaos making it almost impossible to believe in free markets. What argentines believe strongly are > regulations. The stricter the better. If you let markets run freely in Argentina it will just be a filthy, filthy party. I can paper my walls with anecdotes from the time I worked there in imports/exports.

Arial, now this is starting to sound fishy. Looks like someone is trying to make it public that sales are happening while the reality may be pointing otherwise. A good way of washing money while providing *proof* and public evidence. A lot happening under the hood :-)
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Dan Sandefur
New member
Username: Panamadan

Post Number: 10
Registered: 4-2007
Posted on Tuesday, May 15, 2007 - 9:46 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Roberto,
I am saddened to hear your report of the situation there. It is what I was hoping not to hear. I have read much about the political and economic history of Argentina from the links below, and other places too. It sounds like the "free market and free trade" were blamed for the collapse there, when it was really the IMF loans that caused it. Of course, political corruption and mistakes were part of it too. The IMF loans were the major cause though, not free markets or free trade. Nothing good will ever come from closing a country to free markets and free trade.

The lack of free trade and an open market relates to the real estate situation there also. Not to mention the difficulty in transferring money there from other countries. These all stifle and reduce the demand for real estate there, which explains why it is so cheap. I highly doubt that properties are being snapped up as Arial mentions. I suspect it is another ploy, like the "bait & switch" tactic that many sales people use. Many realtors advertise already sold properties to make it look like the market is booming, when it really is not. During my scouting trip there in March, I visited many realtors, and saw many properties with for sale signs. My guess is that the supply far exceeds the demand. It is a buyer's market there. I am in the process of buying a small hotel near Villa Carlos Paz. After much negotiation since March, we now finally agreed on a price that is 40% of what his original asking price was. He is desperate to sell, and I am the only serious cash buyer that he has. Now that I realize how hard it will be for me to resell it later, I am having 2nd thoughts about buying it. All thanks to the lack of an open market.

My question for Arial is it just one realtor or more than one that you are having those experiences with? If it is just one, then you need to avoid that one. If it is more than one, then avoid them all. As you probably know, there are no exclusive lisitngs there, so many realtors advertise the same properties.
See if other realtors are advertising those same ones you find to be sold already, and ask the others about them. ;)

Let me know what you think of these articles.
http://www.argentina-info.net/economic_articles.html
http://www.gregpalast.com/world-bank-secret-documents-consumes-argentinaalex-jones-interviews-reporter-greg-palast/
http://www.gregpalast.com/who-shot-argentinathe-finger-prints-on-the-smoking-gun-read-imf%E2%80%99/

(Message edited by admin on May 15, 2007)
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Bill Howard
Junior Member
Username: Veritas01

Post Number: 29
Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Tuesday, May 15, 2007 - 10:38 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

As for guarding data on a hard drive, I recently started using Mozy.com to back up all my files on my hard drive. It is a web based service that charges $4.95 USD per month (a bit less if you pay a year or two in advance). Every night at 2 am Mozy connects through the web to their backup servers and sends any new or changed files from my computer to theirs. They keep the files encrypted, secure and backed up. If my hard drive were to fail I would install a new drive and download some or all of my files to the new drive. The speed of the transfer is predicated on your broadband bandwidth. It could takes days to restore all your files even with a high speed connection. You can store up to 2 gb free at Mozy so that would be a good solution for text files. However, if you have pictures and music and other big files you will need the pay service like I have. I messed up some of my wife's files a few months ago trying to improve her computer's performance and I lost a hard drive a few years ago and while Mozy is relatively expensive it seems to be a pretty secure method of protecting my data.
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Bill Howard
Junior Member
Username: Veritas01

Post Number: 30
Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Tuesday, May 15, 2007 - 11:03 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I meant to comment on a couple of other things in the previous post. I sent several packages via US mail to my wife before we were married and she was in Argentina and I was in the US. I sent probably 6 packages during that period. At least one..maybe two never made it at all....a couple made it with no problems...and a couple made it but were torn open and some of the contents were stolen. Sending anything my mail is just too risky. I am told that sending things FEDEX or requesting things to be mailed by FedEx is the only way to go even though it is very costly. Now for the stuff I mailed by US mail, my wife had to go to the post office to pick up the package and open it in front of the postal employee and pay any duty the postal guy thought was appropriate. However, when I mailed stuff to her dad's business (a motorcycle shop) the packages were always delivered directly. Not sure if that is always the case. I am also not sure how FedEx handle the question of duty.

As for real estate prices. My wife and I are planning to buy a house in Mar del Plata. We visited there in December for a week and before our trip we looked online at Mar del Plata . com. Tons of listings with pictures of homes for sale. We ran into the same thing. Every agent we called who had a house listed had "sold" the houses pictured. They had others at the same level and price so I dont think it was bait or switch. I just don't think they update their online listing very regularly. I dont think they have embraced the technology fully.
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Simon Fawkes
Junior Member
Username: Expatba

Post Number: 32
Registered: 1-2007


Posted on Tuesday, May 15, 2007 - 11:27 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I have received several packages here which were sent to me from the States by both FedEx and UPS. They contained printed paper and books so duty wasn't an issue.

With both companies the packages were delivered to my apartment by a taxi driver (not the same one), who pulled up outside in his taxi. They obviously double as delivery drivers. In the case of FedEx he had all the official paperwork, and with UPS he had a little hand-held computer for me to sign on the screen.

With both companies I was able to track the exact location of the packages using their web-tracking service. Using both these firms you can be pretty sure that things won't go missing - however you pay a premium for this surety over standard postal rates.

I hope this helps.

Simon Fawkes
Author, The Complete Guide To Real Estate Investment in Argentina, ISBN 1430303980, http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1430303980
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Arial
Member
Username: Arial

Post Number: 86
Registered: 10-2006


Posted on Wednesday, May 16, 2007 - 3:43 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

To answer questions and add new information:

Dan S: It has been several real estate agents. We have just been calling on ads. Sometimes they say they cant show it yet, but when we call back, it is now sold.

However, one poster is correct who says that they do not update regularly. But this particular last property had not been advertised previously as far as we knew.

But . . . here is more information. One real estate agent has offered to direct us to the better buys for a higher commission. This is what I kind of wondered--if they might save better listings for customers that pay more.

At this point I dont know for sure yet what is going on so dont take any of this too seriously. I am stumbling along in the dark, so to speak! Arial
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Arial
Member
Username: Arial

Post Number: 88
Registered: 10-2006


Posted on Wednesday, May 16, 2007 - 4:06 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Bill H, thank you for the hint regarding backing up the hard drive. Ill look into that. I do back up at home but on an external hard drive--but that doesnt help me here. Arial
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Arial
Member
Username: Arial

Post Number: 90
Registered: 10-2006


Posted on Thursday, May 17, 2007 - 2:01 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi, I sent a message to Saint offline but heŽs just so busy makinŽall that money that he isnt checking his mail! But perhaps others also have experience with real estate and can give me suggestions.

We are looking at an old building with the idea of keeping the good construction storefront and tearing down and rebuilding the unfinished rear--a part that they had started to add on, partly frame and well . . . just not anything we want. There is room to build apartments or a hostel in the rear. Trying to find out what bureaucratic frustrations we are likely to meet up with if we take on a project like this. Finally found the appropriate city personnel who said there is no problem with doing your own building but must have a maestro (contractor?) sign off on everything.

My son has done building and refurbishing for a living for several years, self-employed, so we are going at it from our US orientation I know. Any suggestions or warnings? Arial
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Roberto
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 1099
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Thursday, May 17, 2007 - 2:58 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Arial, he was referring to a "maestro mayor de obras". This is a downscaled version of an architect so not really a contractor but someone who may design, sign and approve the blueprints or do things according to city codes and zoning. The difference between the two -as far as my knowledge goes- is that a MMO can only build up to 3 stories high (4th floors according to the US > in Argentina lobby or 1st level is called PB {planta baja}) plus basement and roof dens. One caveat, an architect will always stress *design* whereas a MMO major focus is getting things done so the outcome of what you have in mind may vary depending on which professional you hire. If you have a firm idea of what you want a MMO may be a good solution.
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Robbie
New member
Username: Ganavan

Post Number: 18
Registered: 8-2006
Posted on Friday, May 18, 2007 - 4:42 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Arial,
To find a place and bypass the real estate agents that many times take a big cut for very little work, try putting an add in a relevant publication/newspaper indicating what you are looking for. Then sit back and wait for the emails/phone calls. It works.
Maestro mayor de obras: they will charge you a fraction of what an architect will and the work is just as good unless -as Roberto says- you want a special design.

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