Found a Limited Liability Company in Switzerland

2016 11 02 head

I left the company I founded 20 years ago and needed a new home to work and have access to social insurance.

The best legal construct in Switzerland and in Europe is to establish a limited liability company.

You need such a construct in Switzerland to work as a software specialist. The legal Swiss institutions, such as taxes, social insurances, and accident insurances are challenging and almost unfair with freelancers.

I had to found a limited liability company with a capital of CHF 20'000.

Here are the steps for the impatient.


  1. Swissregistration wrote the statutes for the company and performed the foundation with certifying notary for CHF 780. Six hours after the first phone call, they sent me the electronic documents. The next day, the documents were delivered in paper form. It was really impressive.

  2. Before you are allowed to establish a company, you must deposit the capital into a special account. I choose Postfinance. It is a well-known Swiss institute and their fee is only CHF 145. They insisted I met one of their collaborators to fill their forms. They probably never heard about web forms. I had bad luck. They needed three weeks to create the account and send payment confirmation. They were aware of the problem and very helpful, but it still took three weeks.

  3. Upon reception of the payment confirmation, I sent all signed documents to Swissregistration. The next day the company was founded, and I received the official paper documents a few hours later.

  4. I went to Handelsregisteramt Zug to register the company. They were very nice but told me they had a lot of work. Two weeks later, they finally registered the company and sent me the papers and an invoice for CHF 780.

  5. A few phone calls later Postfinance converted the account into a regular account. They give me access to the founding capital minus their fee.

During the waiting time, I started to organize for the mandatory insurances you need in Switzerland

  • BVG – the best offer was from Axa [1]. They also help me because the company CRIF AG wrongly classified the activities of the new company. They never contacted me and their NOGA classification has a huge impact on my costs. They are arrogant morons.

  • BU/NBU – the best offer was from Basler Versicherung When starting a software startup I suggest not concluding any other insurances

The government-controlled social insurance contracts can only be initiated once the company is registered in the Swiss company registry. The AHV center needed more than two weeks to confirm my registration.

Lessons Learnt

  • The costs of founding my limited company in Switzerland are CHF 1'705 or 8.5% of the company’s capital.

  • The state-owned companies and state services are very slow; in my case, 20 times slower than the private ones. On the bright side, their collaborators are very supportive.

  • Public or big private companies, such as insurance firms, are incapable of sending documents or invoices electronically. They only use paper mail. Upon inquiry, their collaborators told me their processes are incapable of handling modern communication ways.

  • Upon foundation, you get pseudo-official letters from various companies to sell dubious services. Throw them away.

  • The industry development office of Kanton Zug has no clues about start-up companies; the ones in Zürich and Lucerne seem better.

Now we are ready to create great products with our customers

Please leave a comment if you know a better or less expensive way to establish a Swiss liability company.

(the post was also published on LinkedIn)

1. The company was called Axa Winthertur.