Category Archives: Small Business in Mexico

Expat911

EXPAT 911- Emergency APP
If you read my blog at my site rather than via email updates, then I’m sure you’ve noticed that I have a sidebar full of products, services, and books that I think you might find useful. Today I’d like to talk a little about one of those featured boxes, Expat911.

Expat911 is a smartphone app that works on Android and iPhone devices. It utilizes GPS location services to allow operators to target your exact location. Your personalized profile lists your blood type, allergies and any health conditions you might have which will help medical personnel treat your medical emergency better. There is also a contact area where users can add 1 US/Canada contact and 2 Mexico contacts. Expat911 will notify these contacts after your emergency has been reported to Mexico’s 911.

To use the service, you just click one of the 3 emergency buttons on the app: Police, Ambulance or Fire. Within seconds an English speaking operator will call your phone and verify the emergency and then call Mexico’s 911 to report the emergency. If you do not pick up, then they will assume that this is a serious emergency and call Mexico’s 911 on your behalf.

This service has a cost of $ 99.00 USD per year and can be used anywhere in Mexico. With the purchase of one Expat911 plan, a second plan can be bought for spouses or family members at a 50% discount.

Currently, Expat911 serves a large number of expats in Mexico with active users in 11 states. If you are an Expat whose command of Mexican Spanish is still not up to par or you are just traveling in Mexico and aren’t fluent yet, this app would be an excellent addition to your travel or health insurance plan.

You can visit Expat911 here or email the company directly at info@expat911.mx.

So now you know that’s what that little button on the right is all about!

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Filed under Cultural Challenges, Health, Small Business in Mexico

Internet Saga

i-dont-always-have-a-slow-internet-connection-23899039

If you remember, after quite a quest, we managed to get internet service at our house in La Yacata. The first month, it worked like a dream. Thus, my decision to move my office from The Little House in Sunflower Valley to La Yacata.

Then came the time to pay for the second month of service. We headed to OXXO, which seems like it just might make banks obsolete, to pay the bill. And the next day, our internet service tanked. Instead of getting upload/download speeds of between 8 to 10 Mbps, they hovered at .08 or less. Nothing would load.

We thought perhaps it was a one-day deal. Maybe there were some adjustments being made to the service. Maybe a glitch in the system. After all, the month before had gone without a hitch. Only, the bad stats continued and continued and continued. I canceled a week of classes.

We called the service support line. After all sorts of “troubleshooting” that we had already done, the service representative hung up on us. So the next day, we tried again. This time the service representative admitted that since we were officially outside the coverage area, there wasn’t really much he could do to help us.

So we went to the place where we had bought our modem and requested a service technician. We were told he’d be out around 4 pm to check things out. I canceled my classes again. At about 4:30, the service technician called and said he thought the problem was that our payment hadn’t been processed. I knew that was a bunch of hoo-ha since I had received an email confirmation of the payment. He said he’d look into it and call back. He didn’t bother to come out to La Yacata.

So if the service technician wasn’t interested in coming to us, we’d take the modem to them. The next day we boxed it up and went back to the office. Their solution was to wait for the service technician to come from Morelia and have him take the modem home with him. Moroleon is officially outside the coverage area. The fact that the internet works in certain areas is apparently a fluke that this office was capitalizing on. So in theory, connecting the modem in a coverage area would “reset” the internet and allow us again to have usable service.

It took two days for our modem to take its trip to Morelia and back. The result was that yes, for a while it did what it was supposed to do. And yet, there were sporadic outages and low service periods which unfortunately often coincided with my teaching hours.

Some research on the company shows that overall the internet service only rates 3 out of 5 stars and that even though they promise nation-wide coverage, that’s not necessarily the case. There had to be something better out there.

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Filed under Cultural Challenges, Economics, Employment, Small Business in Mexico, Teaching

Sonia Diaz Consulting

sonia

My name is Sonia Diaz. My education includes a three-year university degree in Human Resources. Hence, my Licenciada designation. My husband is Canadian and our daughter is 13. My husband and our daughter are my inspiration, my rock, my teachers.

I have been consulting for several years. The information you will find here is based on actual experience on the many topics I cover. I process visas every day. According to the staff of the various offices, I process by more visas, INAPAM, Seguro Popular, drivers’ licenses and citizenship than any other individual in San Miguel.

I work closely with staff at various government offices such as INM, (immigration); State driver’s license office; DIF for INAPAM; Presidencia (city hall); Seguro Popular (healthcare); SAT (taxation) and many others

I work both in San Miguel de Allende and Mexico City and soon Puerto Vallarta. I can also provide most Immigration services throughout Mexico.

Mexico’s greatest consistency is inconsistency. Working relationships are very important in Mexico and they often make a difference in the cost of items, level of service, including outright denial, and timing. Personally, I have friends at every government office at which I interact with. It makes the process so much easier. Bureaucracy is rampant. For example, opening a bank account may take 2 hours and there may be 20 pages of documents. In registering a vehicle if one document is missing or one is not perfect you will be turned away. This includes the need for the original bill of sale to be kept with the car for its’ life and signed off with the exact right words in Spanish by each seller. Every facet of government process is like this.

The visa process starts at a Mexican consulate outside of Mexico, often requiring an appointment. Please be prepared. 

Consulates are fairly consistent but not totally in that some want original financial statements and others printouts; some want a marriage license and children’s birth certificates, etc. Once in Mexico, there is a process at your local Immigration office that may take 8 weeks or more. If one makes a mistake with the bank payment, for example, your funds are lost. If one when entering Mexico does not obtain the proper form or makes errors in the process starting over at a consulate may happen. Plan to be in Mexico until the process is completed which as noted may be 8 weeks or more.

Bringing in a lot of household items with a moving company is expensive and may be subject to tax. Mexico is a country of 123 million people and most items are available here and some better suited for the climate and lifestyle. There is always Amazon.com even in Mexico.

Those who are tourists or temporary residents may bring a foreign plated vehicle. A permanent resident may not.

Do not assume a lawyer is always the solution in obtaining assistance. There are few truly knowledgeable Immigration lawyers. Some provide the service with limited experience as they know expats will pay a higher fee than what they normally charge Mexicans. I, for example, process more visas than anyone in San Miguel and likely more than most anyone in Mexico. Lawyers have called me for advice. The same applies to citizenship as clients come to me after their “lawyer” took their money and sent them on a wild goose chase. I also process more Seguro Popular healthcare memberships, INAPAM senior’s discount cards, driver’s licenses vs anyone in San Miguel de Allende.

Come to Mexico knowing the pace is slower; the infrastructure may often not be to your expectations; you are a viewed by many as having an abundance even though you may not; mañana means not today and not necessarily tomorrow; getting angry at workers and especially in government offices while may be what you wish to do, it never works. Enjoy the beauty and the food and the spirit of Mexicans while remembering half the country is very poorly educated and live in poverty. The minimum wage is $5 US for a 9-hour day.

If you really, really want to help a family, provide all the requirements (on your own or in concert with others) to send their child to a private school. Education is the key to Mexico’s future and you will change not only that child’s life dramatically but also the parents and siblings,

move to mexico bible

I’ve co-authored the book The Move to Mexico Bible with Beverly Wood now available on Amazon to help those interested in making the move to Mexico.

I can be contacted by:

CELL: (044) 415-106-1499

EMAIL: SONIANGEL32@hotmail.com

WEBSITE: www.soniadiaz.mx  

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/www.soniadiaz.mx

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Filed under Small Business in Mexico

Buying plants in Mexico

Mexico prohibits the import of seeds and plants from other countries. Which means Amazon and Burpee Seeds do NOT ship to Mexico. Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds does but customs can sometimes hold the shipment up for months. Other online places to find seeds in Mexico are La Semillería and Rancho Los Molinos.

My favorite place to buy plants is at the weekly tianguis (fleamarket). Usually, I can score a coffee tin or two with plants for under 20 pesos. You can also buy tierra para plantas (feedbags full of soil) from certain vendors. This is usually dirt scooped up from the base of el acebuche (Olea europaea), La ensina (Quercus ilex) or uña de gato (Uncaria tomentosa)trees which is particularly porous and makes a good mix on top of the regular old black dirt. This is what Mama Sofia collected and sold to supplement her income in Cerano.

Seeds packets are most often found at places that sell animal feed, maicería or Alimentos para animales or forraje. The packaged variety is limited but every now and then you can find exactly what you were looking for. I spent 6 solid months looking for semillas de jamaica (hibiscus flower seeds) until I finally found some. They’ve sprouted and I’m excited to see how they grow! These are the best places to get your corn, pumpkin and bean seeds by the kilo or puño (fistful).

You might also try stores that sell productos de jardinería (gardening products). You’ll find macetas (flowerpots) and some general insecticides here. Macetas are also sometimes sold off the back of trucks that periodically come through town offering 3 for $100 sets.

Viveros (plant nurseries) sell live plants but it’s a pot shot what you might find. The other day we were hot to get a banana tree and went to 4 different viveros before we found one. We also lucked out and found a new barrel cactus to replace the one that putrified in the last rainy season.

Sometimes you might come across a tricycle vendor and I encourage you to stop and take a look. You might just find exactly the plant you are looking for.

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Filed under Alternative Farming, Small Business in Mexico