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Pros and cons of becoming an autónomo in Barcelona

Written by Vicky York

If you’re looking to become one of the 3 million people who are registered as self-employed or autónomo in Spain, there is a lot to consider before taking the plunge. Here are some of the main issues you need to bear in mind if you’re looking at becoming an autónomo in Barcelona.

Related article: 10 good reasons to be a freelancer in Barcelona

Table of Contents


Freedom to work whenever and however you wish. This is probably the main reason that many of us become self-employed. It gives you the independence to work the hours you want to and do something you are truly passionate about.

Photo via Pexels

Be your own boss. Being autónomo also means that you have no manager hounding you on what needs to be done and for when. You are the one that organizes your own workload and schedule.

Discounts in the first year. In Spain, they do help you out if you’re in your first year of freelancing. This comes in the form of social security and IRPF discounts. If you’re under 30, freelancers currently pay 50€ per month for social security in the first 30 months, and for those over 30, it is 50€ for 18 months. IRPF is usually 15%, but this is decreased to 7% for the first three years.

Related article: Best websites for entrepreneurs in Barcelona


Social Security Costs. Although you do get discounts in the first year of being autónomo, some complain that afterward the social security costs are too high and take a big chunk of their pay. After the discount time has passed, you will have to pay 285€ for social security per month, regardless of what you have earned.

Less security. For many freelancers, job security can be an issue. When you are sick or go on vacation you won’t be earning money, so you need to be able to plan how much you’re earning, taking those events into account.

Chasing clients. Some clients may be more difficult than others in terms of paying you and you may find that you have to chase them. This means time taken away from working as well as causing unnecessary stress.

Photo via Unsplash

Gestores. To manage your finances and invoices and to better navigate the Spanish system you can hire a Gestor. Gestores are similar to accountants and tax consultants who basically help you with the application process to become an autónomo as well as quarterly tax returns and also invoicing, if you wish. Many freelancers find a gestor useful since they can help save time, allowing the person to focus more on working and earning more money, rather than on accounting. The downside is that they are an extra monthly cost which can be from 40€ to 70€ a month.

Are you thinking of becoming autónomo? What are your main concerns? Let us know below in the comments section!

Looking for an apartment in the city? ShBarcelona can help you find the perfect one.

About the author

Vicky York

Vicky is a UK copywriter and translator based in Barcelona. An avid traveller, festival follower and music lover.


  • Hi, Vicky! Great article! Is one allowed to work for someone else as an autonomo? There are many options for native English teachers, so I was wondering if the visa allows you to legaly work for others while you run your own business. Thanks!

  • Hi Vicky! Thanks for the article 🙂 I’m thinking of becoming “autonoma” in Spain as well but want to know if it’s still possible to work for any English academies with this status. I suppose they would hire you as a contractor if that’s the case?

    Any extra info you can give would be great!

    • Hi Marjorie,
      Yes, it totally depends on if they want to offer you a contract, or hire you as a contractor.
      I would advise you to check a few job offers to see what the specifics are and then decide what is best for you.

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