Start a Business in the Philippines
Note to long-time readers: This post was originally published back in June, 2009. It’s still one of my most in-demand subjects, though, so I brought it up-to-date, fact checked it and rolled it out again to meet reader demand.
This is one of those sorts of posts that I really don’t care much about writing. This site is essentially a labor of love. I make a non-trivial income from a number of online ventures, but PhilFAQS certainly isn’t much of an earner.
I tell myself often I should only write about the things that interest me, and quite frankly, running a business … I’m talking about a ‘dirt world’ or ‘brick and mortar’ business in this post, is not something that interests me.
My wife and I ‘put up’ and made a financial success of a ‘dirt world’ business back in the USA … it’s not something I don’t know how to do. But that doesn’t mean I ever want to do it again.
When the time came for us to make the move to the Philippines one of the options we could have chosen was to keep our business alive and manage from the Philippines.
The businesses essentially was retail sales, with no stock (I sold equipment and ordered from the manufacturer for delivery to the client), so business-wise it would have been relatively simple to build a team of commissioned sales agents to cold call, demonstrate the product, get the orders signed, etc.
Even though our business was about as conventional as can be, we still did a majority of it online … placing orders, paying bills, banking, tax payments, submitting bids, collecting payments … even most state and local sales taxes and administriva like that can be handled online. But I didn’t want to run a conventional business any longer.
Regardless of what my own interests are, though, if this site is to have any value at all, I need to be responsive to reader’s needs, and I get a tremendous number of inquires and even pleas for help that involve starting a business in the Philippines.
Start a Business in the Philippines — Why
Some of these ‘business in the Philippines’ queries come from folks who want to move to the Philippines and envision a business her in the Philippines as a way to make a living.
Others write because they have relatives or friends here in the Philippines whom they want to help get a start in life or move up in income by starting and running a business here. So, I soldier on … what the readers want, I give 😉
Actually I guess I just wrote my first informational paragraphs already, when i described the alternative my wife and I chose not to avail of … operating a business that makes its sales in the US while the owner operates the business from the Philippines.
There is absolutely no reason this can’t be done. And it is certainly not limited by citizenship, either. Unlike the rules of business incorporation here in the Philippines, there is no law in the US which requires businesses to be owned by US citizens.
A Filipino can ‘put up’ a corporation, especially an LLC (Limited Liability Corporation), the form of business most commonly recommended for many small businesses, in a number of states in the US in a matter of minutes.
No address in the US? Most business formation services (there are dozens or even hundreds of them … this is one I have used in the past and highly recommend) offer the service of being the business’s registered agent anyway (some states even require this), so for a few hundred bucks anyone can form a business in the US, in 15 or 20 minutes … if you read slow.
Taxes? If you are a US citizen, of course you are required to pay them (or not, read the rules on foreign earned income and seek professional advice there, but your tax bite might be less than you think). How would a Filipino deal with US taxes? Just apply with the US IRS for a TIN and presto, you’re legal.
But, again, many can’t abide the thought of living in one country and earning their money elsewhere … where it’s often easier. They insist they want a conventional “dirt-based” business here in the Philippines, and they have no idea where to start. Help!
Remember, though that you do NOT need a job in the Philippines to make a living in the Philippines.
Start a Business in the Philippines — Find One
What business would you do? Ah, well don’t ask me that, the choices are virtually unlimited. I want to keep this post down to a thousand words or so, but just take away the message that running a ‘real’ business from overseas is not at all impossible in today’s day and age, Filipino or foreigner.
Now, suppose you say, “Oh NO, Dave, I can only consider a business here in the Philippines”> OK, fine. Did you read my post last week about the Philippine specialist franchise consultant and broker (who also comes highly recommended, by the way, he’s no scam artist or ‘paper hanger’). How many of you read that? Howe many went and enquired about a franchise that interested them? How many left a comment about the article? See why I feel I am often living in a vacuum? People ask for information, I provide, and apparently they wanted it in some language other than English, because no one seems to connect.
On the chance anyone is reading, here’s another source I have kept up with for years. EntrePinoys ATBP. (ATBP is a common Filipino acronym for At Iba Pa “and others”, typically used where the Latin etc. would be used. The owner of the site, Leo, (who is a Filipino) has been diligently documenting Philippine business and investment opportunities for years … tirelessly I might ad. There are thousand and thousands of opportunities listed … many with facts, figures and step by step instructions. Spend an afternoon with Leo and then come back and tell me there is no opportunity in the Philippines … you can not, with a straight face anyway.
Start a Business in the Philippines — How To
If you do decide that staring a business here in the Philippines is the thing for you, or your relative … here’s an excellent source (just select the country you want to learn about)that will help you through the myriad of regulations, permits and other “mother may I’s” you will need to wade through. You won’t start a business in 15 minutes in the Philippines, but still that doesn’t mean it may not be worth it.
So what are your own thoughts on how to Start a Business in the Philippines.