Top 15 Business Ideas for Filipino OFWs to Earn Extra Money


Filipino OFWs are among the hardest working people you will ever meet. They are willing to be thousands of miles away from their loved ones just to earn enough money to build a good life for their families. They work day in and out. At the end of each month, they remit 80% of their income back home.

Becoming an OFW is such a big sacrifice emotionally and financially. To help Filipino OFWs grow more money, here are the top 15 business ideas for Filipino OFWs to earn extra money.

1. E-Commerce Business

E-Commerce remains to be one of the most viable ways of starting out a business for a number of reasons:

  • You can run it from home.
  • Low start-up capital requirement.
  • Low operating expenses.
  • It can run 24/7.
  • Flexible business modeling.

You do not have to be a tech wizard to succeed in your e-commerce business. All you need is the drive and will to succeed! And the Filipino OFW best personifies grit and determination.

It all starts with an idea. What do you want to sell online?

You can sell products or services. If you want to sell products, fashion apparel remains the highest selling online item. If you want to sell services, find out what your specialization is. Were you an accountant overseas? Then you can offer payroll preparation, tax audit, preparation of financial systems or business set up services.

Your initial capital should be enough to cover the following:

  • E-Commerce Website
  • High Powered PC
  • Hardware
  • 3mbps Internet Bandwidth

If you plan to sell products, you should find authorized wholesalers and finalize the delivery system. Finally, you will have to set up a merchant account to receive payment.

2. Real Estate Business

One time I was passing by the Southern Luzon Expressway and was surprised at the number of high rises that were put up by various real estate developers.

I asked a friend of mine who worked in real estate if those units were sold out. According to her, the units from the first development were all sold out which was why the developers were building new high rises.

She said most of the investors were OFWs. Many real estate agents target OFWs because they have the money to purchase these units.

Real estate is an investment that pays out over time. You will make money if you know where to invest. An OFW would have the capacity to buy and sell a property.

Another option for the OFW would be to build then sell a property. Single detached units are particularly in demand and compared to residential houses are much more affordable to construct.

Southern Metro Manila is one of the fastest growing areas where a property is still considered undervalued.

You can buy an 80 square meter lot and construct a 3-storey, 3-bedrooms and 3-toilet and bath dwelling with 200 square meters of floor space for 3-4 Million Pesos and easily sell it for 6-6.5 Million Pesos!

Real estate agents say good value properties can be sold within four months.

3. Restaurant / Food Retail

Of course, the food business will always be a popular business idea for Filipino OFWs.

We have many Filipino OFWs, who work on cruise ships, hotels and restaurants abroad as cooks or chefs. They have picked up cooking and food presentation techniques that they can use for their own food business.

Related: Top 10 Online Food Business Ideas in the Philippines

There are a few ways an OFW can get into the food business:

  • Create own concept.
  • Buy a food franchise.
  • Start a food delivery business.
  • Start a catering business.
  • Start a bakeshop.
  • Start a carinderia.

Either one of these business models can be capital-intensive because of the cost of equipment.

Many prefer a bakeshop, catering or a food delivery business because these can be run from home. You don’t have to worry about rent, and you can use the cooking equipment at home.

But for sure, you will always find a market for your products as long as the food is good!

4. Laundromat

Laundromat is another fast-growing business idea for Filipino OFWs. More Filipino families are becoming dual-income to maintain a household. Parents have less time attending to the usual chores and laundry is probably the most arduous task.

Before we only had the serviced Laundromat. For the past few years, there has been a proliferation of self-service Laundromat businesses. These types of Laundromats offer the advantage of cost. It is cheaper to use self-service Laundromats than serviced ones.

I’ve seen self-service Laundromats or Coin Laundry stations packed with customers especially after office hours. Many are fitted with cable TV and serve coffee, soft drinks, and snacks.

But the cost of equipment, leasehold improvement, and initial inventory may be on the high side. An industrial laundry machine will cost at least 350,000 Pesos. You will need a few plus a dryer.

An option for the OFW would be to set up a corporation with other OFWs so they can raise the necessary capital to fund the project.

If you have the space for it, you can set your Laundromat in your house. My friend did!

5. Sari-Sari Store

Many OFWs spend their savings on a jeepney, a taxi or a Sari Sari Store.

A Sari-Sari Store is a good business idea for Filipino OFWs because they can run these from home and it is a cash generating business. You can set up a Sari-Sari Store for 50,000 Pesos.

An OFW can differentiate his or her Sari-Sari Store by offering imported goods such as clothes, toiletries, and canned goods. This will attract a more diversified market and potentially earn more income.

But a Sari-Sari Store must be tightly managed. You must be strict in managing inventory and to discourage freeloading and those who want credit.

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