Philippines Business Guide Part 2

Learning the language is an important factor that a lot of people overlook. You will hear a lot of people in the ex-pat community saying they are learning but in reality how many words do most of them know? Maybe enough to order a few beers or a taxi. But in business its important to learn but even more important especially on first meetings that people you are dealing with don’t know you speak the local dialect. The reason being most people will assume and chat away in front of you smiling away talking about business such as how they are going to overcharge you, or adding extra fees etc. completely unaware that you understand at least some of what is being said. I’m beginning to speak more and more Cebuano as time goes on locally but when out I pretty much let April do the talking because im more interested in the listening.

The next thing you should be aware of is not trusting anyone unless you KNOW you can trust them. A lot of people it may surprise you to know get ripped off by other ex-pats and how badly you may be shocked to learn that it could be everything they own. So be warned if it seems to good to be true and you haven’t set it in concrete I would advise against it. I was recently approached by someone wanting to borrow some money fair interest terms made it viable but I did a bit of research to find out not only didn’t they own the land they were using to guarantee the loan but were looking to get abroad ASAP. Which could have left me out of pocket by a fair old amount. He had made some bad business decisions and thought the easy option was to rip off another ex-pat to pay for his mistakes. Wasn’t his lucky day and no doubt will see him in bankruptcy within the next few months as the business collapses. I also met someone who invested in a business to suddenly find out the ex-pat he invested with had left town with all his money. So be warned DONT TRUST EXPATS. But what about me?

Well to be honest I don’t sell houses, I don’t sell 20% per annum bank accounts and I don’t sell anything generally to ex-pats This book is the first thing I have really been selling and its not been done for profit but the fact of an increasing number of people I have met who have been exploited by both Filipino and Ex-pats alike. There was a saying that came up tonight which was “The Philippines doesn’t want you here it wants your money here”. Which wasn’t aimed at the Philippines directly but the elite classes that pretty much control everything and if you keep that mindset when doing business your less likely to part with your money into a venture that is going to disappear with your cash.

Making Money Out Of Ex-pats

This has been happening for decades and there have been some people here that long (foreigner wise) that have been exploiting the situation. Exploitation doesn’t always mean bad by the way and here are a few things that ex-pats generally need :-

  1. Visa Renewal Services – Most foreigners in the Philippines are on a tourist Visa that needs regular renewal every 60 days. Running a small fee for getting this processed is a very viable business especially if in an area with a lot of ex-pats located.

  2. Wedding planning / legal paperwork – Although getting married is a pretty straight forward process in the Philippines the paperwork and organisation is a bit of a minefield for many especially if they are only here for a fixed period of time which wont allow for mistakes. So getting it right first time is paramount and helping making sure everything is booked and the correct paperwork is filled could be a great venture. *this is not organising brides by the way as “mail order brides” is illegal* you are just assisting with organising an event.

  3. Imported food stocks – Love Quavers crisps, Oxo cubes, Frey Bentos Pies or maybe English mustard? Guess what most U.S. / UK stocked foods aren’t available in the Philippines but could quite easily be a couriered box away (Via Balikbayan service).

  4. Property Services Rental+buying. – Property online is overpriced at best so spending a bit of time researching landlords and properties for sale you could be the middle man that can be skimming off the top every month ongoing. Especially once you build up a reputation as being “reasonably priced” and a good service. Ex-pats need somewhere to stay and often prefer to ask other ex-pats as you are they’re first avenue of contact to the Philippines.

  5. Contact network Lawyers/mayors/permits. – Philippines law and getting things like building permits can be a headache but if you know people within the system you can be organising peoples paperworks to “Assist” with speeding up processes. Some people might call it bribery but often its nothing that deep as it can be as simple as knowing how to get things processed correctly. E.g. processing a land lot can vary hugely on the land tax depending if its classed as Agricultural or Residential and also which tax “zone” its in. Knowing someone who can find their way through the figures will save someone literally thousands and also make you a couple of thousand in the process for “helping them out”.

  6. Bogus partners – In the last two years I have read about and spoken to several people with “bogus” Partners who are exploiting money out of their foreign boyfriend/husband/fiancé. Operating as a simple detective agency visiting the town the bogus partner comes from due to the fact nearly everyone knows everyone’s business in the Philippines you can get your wife/wife’s relative to have a chat at a local store etc. and the life story is no doubt told. One case two years ago a Philippines woman had several boyfriends who were all paying rent for an apartment she lived in and had bought the same furniture. As well as sending regular funds.

  7. Tour Guide – This is a business we dabbled a little in ourselves but with me being out the country up until December was difficult to get it going. But Ex-pats arriving in the Philippines are generally looking for an area to live in so having a guide who can take them to various parts of the island/country and assist in finding what they want out of moving here or visiting is a business that can prosper. As developing it with other business ideas you can get a bigger picture.

  8. Reliable insurance Agent – Most ex-pats have little, none or unreliable medical/vehicle/content insurance. If you can source a company that “Does” pay out in incidents then your already onto a winner as most companies I have looked at in passing are either over priced policies or not worth the paper they are written on.

  9. Vehicle Hire – This is also something we do with some of the vehicles we are connected with including being able to provide drivers. It wont get you rich but combined with some of the other services and being able to organise transportation bookings its a business you can establish easily and at little cost (if operating as a booking agent only).

There is obviously a lot more we can add to the list but there is one major factor a lot of Ex-pats over look and its other nations. There are Japanese, Koreans and Chinese in the Philippines as well and although well established no doubt they need a lot of the services just as much as everyone else. E.g. Visa renewals, so setting up in a way to assist them getting things done you are hitting a market a lot of ex-pats haven’t even touched on. We are expecting an influx of Russians as per Philippines government expectations so there is an avenue opening just waiting to have money made from it.

0 comments for “Philippines Business Guide Part 2

  1. alan in cagayan de oro
    March 15, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    I was thinking of selling candles …   😀

  2. Matt Wilkie
    March 16, 2010 at 12:37 am

    Might be worth looking at scented candles as I have only seen in big malls