#LifeInCzechia She is one of the two people behind the birth of Foreigners.cz. CEO Andrea Tkačuková runs a successful business that has grown to include five more branches in the Czech Republic. In the interview, she talks not only about her experience with establishing a startup and renting apartments to foreigners, but also about what it’s like to be a businesswoman and mother in one.
CEO of Foreigners Andrea Tkačuková
13 years ago, you were just a startup. What advice would you give to people who want to start a business themselves?
That they should do it. (laughs) That they’ll figure everything out gradually and if they have the opportunity to hire a mentor or get involved in a program, that they should go for it. It’s going to push them forward a lot more and they’ll get valuable experience a lot faster.
Is it even possible to prepare for running a business?
It’s important to have a certain mindset. It’s nice to have learned the theory, but experience has taught us the most. We’ve gained more knowledge afterwards, for example when it comes to taxes or law. But if we had taken a business course or a startup workshop back then, we would have definitely figured out some things faster.
Why did you decide to focus specifically on real estate in your work with foreigners?
Housing is the first thing every person has to deal with when relocating to a new country. Vojta’s (co-owner) dad is also a civil engineer, so Vojta has been involved in real estate since he was young. He’s always been very drawn to it. So naturally we started with apartments and then expanded our portfolio to other services.
Which skills are key for every relocation consultant who works at Foreigners?
They should definitely have a good command of English. They need to understand contracts and be able to explain them to the client, so conversational level of English is definitely not enough. They should also have a great understanding of other cultures. It’s necessary to understand that each person may perceive certain situations differently. Even after all these years, some things still surprise me. (laughs)
Are mortgages in the Czech Republic available to foreigners as well as locals?
If the foreigners have a job and therefore a salary in the Czech Republic, they can certainly apply for a mortgage. The easiest way is if they have an open-ended contract – similar to Czechs. They also need to have some type of residency here. But mainly, it’s up to the bank how they decide.
How are Foreigners’ real estate services different from regular real estate agencies?
When foreign clients rent an apartment with us, we keep in touch with them for a minimum of twelve months. During this period they can contact us at any time if they have a problem and we’ll refer them to someone or send our people to help them. It’s a full-service.
In addition to running the company, you’re also a mom. What advice would you give to women who want to be businesswomen and take care of a family at the same time?
It’s tough. I’m not going to say it’s easy. (laughs) It’s definitely about making sure you have some help and support. And about sleeping well. The husband should be more involved, too. It’s also good to get somebody to clean for you, unless it’s an activity that you find relaxing, which I don’t. (laughs)
How would you describe your work at Foreigners in a few words?
To have some sort of oversight. Making sure my team is doing well and doing a good job. Of course, with the help of others, I don’t do any of this alone. And to keep moving forward and thriving as a company. That’s our purpose.
Are you interested in moving to the Czech Republic and are searching for a place to stay? Visit the Foreigners website which offers a wide range of apartments and find one that’s perfect for you. If you’re looking for a space that offers privacy but also a chance to interact with like-minded people, Domeq is the place for you!
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