Do you have interest in running a Forex (foreign exchange) or currency exchange business? Or you need a sample bureau de change business plan template. Then below is an in-depth guide to starting a bureau de change company.

The bureau de change is a very profitable business venture that you can engage in, as long as you are good with numbers, you can run this business. Now why should you start a bureau de change? People exchange currencies every day. Those entering into a country from another country would need to change their currency into that of their destination country.

And since virtually all countries welcome visitors every day, there is a constant demand for currency exchange. There is also a steady demand for currency exchange services by business owners and entrepreneurs, especially those into importation and exportation of goods.

So if you have been looking to start a business of your own, a currency exchange (bureau de change) business might be the best option for you. Setting up this business requires thorough planning, research, investment and professional advice. This article is a brief guide on how to start a bureau de change enterprise. The following are the steps you should take if you are interested in starting the business:

Starting a Bureau de Change Company – Sample Business Plan Template

1. Research to confirm that the business is for you

It is important that you conduct extensive research in order to learn more about the business. In Nigeria, the bureau de change business is dominated by the northerners (Hausas and Fulani’s) but that does not mean you cannot break in if you want to.

However, I must emphasize the fact that this business is not suitable for everyone, as it requires 24 hours operation. So, running the business will take hard work and dedication. You will also need management ability, stellar numeracy and customer service skills. If you are nursing doubts over your ability to deliver in these areas, then the bureau de change might just not be for you.

2. Learn everything you can about the business

Before venturing into the bureau de change business, it is advisable you invest time to study the mode of operation of this business. Where do you source your currency from? How do you know the right price to buy and sell? How do you keep tab with the constantly changing currency exchange rate of the market? Who are the major competitors?

In fact, this is why I recommend you work or understudy under an established bureau de change operator; so as to learn firsthand everything you need to know.

3. Write a business plan

As is the case with any other business, writing a business plan for your bureau de change business is very important. It helps you analyze your chances of succeeding amidst competition. It helps you know your operating cost and expected revenue, and helps you make other financial projections.

It helps you know what to focus on at every stage of growth of the business. It helps you understand your customers, their preferences and expectations, and how you can quickly attract them. And it helps you come across as an organized and focused entrepreneur.

You will most probably need funds from extra sources to start your business. Preparing a compelling and comprehensive business plan will help you get finance from banks or investors. If you cannot prepare it yourself, hire a professional business-link adviser.

4. Find a good location

You need to locate your business in one of those places where your customers usually are. Since much of your business will come from travelers, you should consider a location in or around international train stations, big hotels, tourist attractions, airport terminals, and seaports. You can site your business in major markets where importers and exporters are situated.

Never worry if you cannot get space as large as you need. You can always make do with what you get so far the location is a “hotspot.” In fact, you really don’t need very large space to run a bureau de change. Most bureau de change operators run their businesses from kiosks and small offices; and still turn over millions of dollars annually.

5. Apply for a loan or grant

Using your business plan, you can apply for a business loan from a bank, micro-lending house, building society, the government, or any other lending institution. Remember to consider all costs required for the set up and running of your business – such as equipment, premises, mortgage or rent costs, professional fees, insurance, signage, and so on.

6. Get the required equipment and premises

To run a bureau de change business, you will need equipment such as money safes, computers, office furniture, computers, and cash tills. You will also need to choose premises that attract passing trade such as a kiosk or small office. It is also important you open a domiciliary account with any good business-friendly banks around your office location.

You must also ensure that your business premises meet all health, safety, and fire regulations. You will need to find out more about the regulations that apply in your state or country.

7. Set up your legal structure

You will also need to set up your business formally for tax and accountancy purposes. Get it registered as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or limited liability company. Before taking this crucial step, you may need to get professional advice from an accountant or a solicitor.

Also, you must ensure to register with all government agencies that bureau de change operators must register with, and get all the required licenses. This will enable you transact your business legally and buy / sell currencies to banks.

8. Get started

After taking all the aforementioned steps, you can proceed to start your business. You may need to adopt various strategies to entice customers such as subtle discounts.

10+ Marketing ideas for a bureau de change business

  • A good promotion strategy is to design a conspicuous billboard to direct new customers to your business. This strategy works like wild since most of your potential customers who would most likely enter the first bureau de change they can see. If yours is that first, they will do business with you.
  • Strive to build a brand for your bureau de change business. Make your bureau de change business the go-to place when customers wants to change their money around your environment.
  • Offer your first time and repeat customers discounts
  • Encourage your customers to tell their family and friends about your business. Word of mouth is a great marketing tool for this kind of business.
  • Enter into strategic partnership with, major importers, exporters and bank cashiers, they will bring steady business to you.
  • Attend parties and social events. Meet people, network with them and tell them what you do for a living.
  • Keep your major customers informed about changes in exchange rates. In fact, you can advise them on when to buy or sell currency. Help them save or make some money off currency exchange and they will keep patronizing you. It is a win-win situation.
  • Advertise your business on print media, TV and radio stations. You should also advertise your business online using services such as PPC, Google Adword, etc.
  • Put your business on social media and connect with potential customers.
  • Go to online forums where importers, exporters and international business people hang out and join them.
  • Give your customers branded gifts and souvenirs.

4 Challenges of starting a bureau de change business

  • The financial industry of any country is always strictly regulated. To operate a legal and licensed bureau de change, you may need to go through some bureaucratic hurdles before getting the needed approval.
  • You may also have to deal with the ever changing fiscal policy of the government.
  • The constantly changing exchange rate can also be a challenge but you can turn it to an advantage if you are well informed.
  • The biggest problem most bureau de change operators face is theft, especially when in transit. Currency exchangers are easy targets to robbers.

Bottom line

Running a bureau de change can be a very lucrative business choice to make. However, to avoid falling into serious mistakes, you need to consult a professional (such as a solicitor or accountant) at every stage of setting up the business and even while running it.