Retirees Coming to Dumaguete and Then Opening Up new Businesses?
There are many types of individuals and couples who come to retire in Dumaguete and, surprise, surprise, some of them find themselves starting a new business. So, what’s the typical profile of these entrepreneurs? Interestingly, there are no characteristics that define them other than they are all ex-pats. Many have owned small businesses in America, Canada, or Europe, while others were employees all their working lives, and want to now try their hand at business ownership.
While it’s not expensive to open up here in Dumaguete, depending on the type of business, perhaps the most challenging issue after identifying the business is the bureaucratic challenge. Fortunately, there are now competent consulting companies owned by ex-pats who can help overcome those obstacles.
When ex-pats first come to Dumaguete, they face the challenge of adjusting to the way business is done here. They, quite understandably, find it difficult to understand the seemingly casual way business is conducted at many levels. The ability of Filipinos to calmly stand in line for an hour or more waiting for service amazes them. The unreliability of WIFI makes them scratch their heads until their hair falls out. The way the term wait “for a while’ for service can translate into an hour, and often longer, contradicts a lifetime of their prior customer service experience.
But, after they settle in, and accept the way things are and will be, they sometimes find themselves thinking about what could they do to improve the previously frustrating service experiences. They also look around and see business opportunities that don’t require large capital to begin and maintain.
For most small to medium-sized businesses here, the amount of initial capital required is modest. And the ongoing costs of running a business are also low. The point is, when one starts a business here in Dumaguete if it fails, the financial costs are not devastating. That’s not to be casual about potential loss. The following is an extreme case. One Dutch businessman lost the equivalent of US $400,000 from an exclusive Pepsi distribution contract he’d bought. And he wasn’t lacking in business expertise. The overall infrastructure let him down.
The potential for advantage in starting small businesses here outweighs the disadvantages. Rents are modest, wages and salaries are low. The average wage per day in most service areas is US$7 for a 9-hour day. People always work six days a week. There is no shortage of potential employees. Quality of work can be an issue, but employees here are more than willing to be trained. Filipinos are smart, hard workers, and grateful to have an income to contribute to their family’s upkeep. They are also intensely loyal and, when treated respectfully and fairly, are excellent employees.
The following are examples of small businesses opened by ex-pats in 2020 and despite the C19 impact, have been successful:
- Beauty Salon – Example: The monthly rent is US $200, hairstylists $7 daily plus tips, power US$ 8 daily, beauty supplies $30 daily. And miscellaneous $10. It doesn’t take much business to make this type of business highly profitable.
- Business Consulting – This is an area of expertise that is needed now more than ever before. Small to medium-sized businesses, either beginning or have been in business for some time, need to adapt in order to survive current challenges. Skilled business advice is needed to help them navigate the uncharted waters all businesses are presently experiencing.
- Sari-Sari stores – There seems to be no end to the need for these stores that sell a vast amount of goods. There are a significant number of new units being built throughout Dumaguete and nearby towns to accommodate these businesses.
- Call Centers – While most people think of large companies with hundreds of employees, there are also ex-pats with a maximum of twenty employees, who have successful, very profitable call center businesses. They focus on niche markets like creating insurance leads in America and freight pickup and delivery services, again in America.
- Small Apartment Units – These one and two bedroomed apartment units are inexpensive to construct and maintain. They create regular, usually uninterrupted, long term cash flow. The challenge is finding the right location and land to either lease or purchase. Costs for land have significantly increased over the past five years and see no sign of decreasing. Regardless, it’s still a profitable option.
- Scuba Diving Business – Since some of the best diving sites in the Philippines are located in Dauin and Apo island, its no wonder so many top-class resorts have become established in Dauin, while scuba diving in both Dauin and Apo Island attracts visitors from all over the world. There’s always a demand for a good quality diving business to cater to the ever-increasing number of visitors and ex-pats coming to live here.
Those are just a few examples of businesses ex-pats have successfully started after they came to “retire” in Dumaguete. If you have any thoughts about creating a new business, either part or full time, after you come to Dumaguete, you will find no shortage of opportunities. There is also a government agency here called DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) with skilled staff whose task it is to assist you in getting your business started in a timely and efficient manner.
An an interesting facet of small businesses here is that once the business is up and running, owners usually delegate the overall operations to their employees. While we are not recommending that, its important you should know its an option available to you.
When you come to live in Dumaguete and want to seriously examine business opportunities, we will, if you wish, refer you to a consulting company who will explain the need for due diligence and outline the challenges and opportunities available to you.
For more information, why not talk comfortably with one of OUR AMBASSADORS