Everyone dreams of starting a business. You want to be your own boss and call the shots. However, taking that first step can be daunting.
Every business idea seems like a home run at the beginning. Once you get into the details – funding, expenses, and target sales, your home run idea now looks more like a potential strikeout.
If you still plan to start a business, it’s not too late. We’ve taken away the guesswork and have created a list of the best business ideas in the Philippines for 2018.
Best Small Business Ideas in the Philippines for 2018
1. E-commerce Business
E-commerce has continued its growth trajectory in 2018. Ten years ago, e-commerce only accounted for 3.5% of retail sales. This year the figure is expected to rise to 11.9%.
A contributing factor to the growth of e-commerce is the popularity of mobile devices. Since 2014, more than 65% of online traffic has originated from smartphones and tablets. Market analysts estimate that by 2020, mobile commerce will total $319 Billion in global sales!
E-commerce is slowly picking up in the Philippines. Apparently, Filipinos still enjoy going to the mall. But with traffic getting worse, and gas prices rising, the time will come when shopping via e-commerce websites would be more practical and convenient.
Related: How to Start Your Own E-Commerce Business in the Philippines
2. Virtual Assistance
Companies are constantly looking for ways to streamline costs. Hiring virtual assistants has become a popular strategy because it saves employers from paying salaries, benefits, and incurring additional expenses.
Outsourcing work to virtual assistants also improves productivity. Many entrepreneurs and small business owners hire virtual assistants to handle their administrative tasks. These tasks include email filtering, phone handling, appointment setting, calendar management, and payroll management.
As a Virtual Assistant, you work from home. All you need are a good PC, headset, and stable Internet. You should be proficient in MS Office and can run simple Internet searches. Organization and excellent command of the English language are also important skills for virtual assistants.
Virtual assistants can earn anywhere from $3 to $7 per hour. Many Filipino VA’s works an average of 20 hours every week. Your monthly income could range from 12,500 to 30,000 Pesos every month.
3. Pisonet Operator
The Pisonet is the more affordable version on the Internet shop. As the term implies, all you need is one peso to get some Internet time. Most Pisonet operators charge one peso for every five minutes. So for one hour of Internet time, you only pay 12 Pesos. Not bad!
Because the cost is so low, you should focus on generating volume. Operators usually convert an area of the home into the Pisonet business. A Pisonet would be ideal if the ground floor area of your home has street access and if your neighborhood has schools and offices nearby.
In order to lower your capitalization, enter into lease-to-own programs offered by computer retailers. Many are willing to provide this arrangement as long as you have them on board for all technical and maintenance work. You can change the computers after 2 years for upgraded models.
4. Coin Laundry
More and more coin laundry services are coming up and there are no signs of slowing down. Consumers love the coin laundry because it is cheap and convenient. The initial investment will be high. You will need to acquire multiple washing machines and dryers.
You can apply for a coin laundry franchise or start one on your own. Try negotiating a lease-to-own arrangement with suppliers of industrial washing machines and dryers. They know the growth potential of this market and are willing to enter into leasing agreements.
5. Car Wash Service
If your garage is wide and spacious enough, why not convert it into a car wash service? Many Filipinos own cars but they don’t have the time to wash it themselves. This is one reason you see several homes in your neighborhood open up car wash services.
A car wash service can be labor-intensive. You will need to hire a few, hard-working, trustworthy, and physically-fit people to do the washing. Water pressure will be an important consideration. Before you start a car wash service, make sure the water pressure in your area is good.
Car wash services normally charge 60 pesos per car. So if you can clean three cars per hour on average and operate 30 days a month, you can potentially earn 43,200 Pesos every month.
6. Real Estate Agent
As the Philippines’ population continues to grow, more people will be looking for homes. Then you have investors and speculators who acquire property in the hope of profiting sometime in the future.
You may not sell property every day of the year. But then again, you don’t have to. All you need is one big sale to earn a windfall!
Real estate agents are paid a commission equivalent to 2% to 3% of the final selling price of the property. If you can sell a house worth 8 Million pesos, you will be paid a commission equivalent to 160,000 to 240,000 Pesos. That is what most Filipino office workers earn in one year!
To become a real estate agent, you have to take the required courses from an accredited training center. Once you’ve completed the course, you should take the real estate broker’s exam that is issued by the Professional Regulation Commission or PRC.
7. Digital Marketer
Businesses are looking for Digital Marketers who can manage their online marketing strategy. Compared to traditional marketing, online marketing is more affordable, sustainable, and can reach a wider audience more effectively.
Digital marketers are paid anywhere between $500 to $1,500 or 25,000 to 78,000 Pesos per month. Your fees would depend on the type of services rendered. To become a Digital Marketer, you may have to take the appropriate courses and become certified.
You should also have at least a basic knowledge of web design, social media marketing, content marketing, SEO, SEM, and graphic design.
8. Gym Owner
If fitness is your advocacy and you have enough space for the equipment, you should consider starting a gym business. Initial capital might be high but you can make payment arrangements with suppliers of gym equipment. In order to reduce costs, go for fabricated equipment instead of branded ones.
The best way to earn from a gym business is to hire personal trainers. Let the personal trainers bring in the clients. Cut a deal with them. For example, charge them only a small percentage of their fees. 20% is acceptable. In addition, allow them to use the gym for free.
9. Bake Shop
The bake shop business has stood the test of time. You will be hard-pressed to find a neighborhood without a few baking shops. And all of them are busy!
You don’t have to bake fancy cakes and pastries. Most Filipinos stick with the old-time favorites: the pan de sal, monay, Spanish bread, donut, and pan de luma. Only bake what you need for the day to reduce wastage.
Add soft drinks, bottled water, Yakult, and an instant coffee and hot chocolate vending machine to generate extra sales.
10. T-Shirt Printing
T-shirt printing businesses are not just profitable during election season. Filipinos love wearing simple T-shirts. Customized designs will give them something unique and cannot found anywhere else. You can also offer your services to companies that need giveaways for Christmas or during corporate events.
You should invest in a good laser printer which is expensive. Of course, you can negotiate payment terms or propose a lease-to-own arrangement. If you are creative, come up with your own designs and sell them inside the store or at flea markets.
11. Pet Care Services
Pets are often taken in as members of the family. They are fed, dressed, and groomed like everyone else. The only differences are pets need specialized care. They have to be given shots, a pedicure and taken out on daily walks.
You will need trained pet groomers and have a few veterinarians on speed dial. Before your team can walk dogs, they have to be certified. You can find dog walking certification courses on the Internet. There may be agencies offering certification programs near your area.
For added income, try to become a distributor of pet grooming supplies like shampoo, conditioner, and anti-flea powder. You should also consider selling pet food and accessories.
12. Social Media Marketer
Social media has become a powerful driving force in business. Companies are looking for ways to capitalize on opportunities available in social media which is a community that attracts 3 billion daily users. If you are a certified Social Media Marketer, you will have a good number of prospective clients seeking your expertise.
How much does a social media marketer make? Depending on the number of platforms to manage and extent of work, a social media marketer can charge anywhere from $300 to $700 per client. That is good money!
Online tools like Buffer allow you to schedule the publication of articles and blogs. This allows you to save more time and focus on signing up more clients. If you are a prolific writer who knows how to do keyword research, offer content writing services to improve your value proposition.
13. Computer Repair
Reports on the death of the PC are premature. Despite losing the hold on online traffic to mobile devices, the PC remains relevant and usable. Many companies, particularly contact centers still prefer the PC because it costs less to maintain compared to the laptop.
In fact, some companies have been using the same computer for more than 10 years! They just keep it regularly upgraded and well-maintained. The same goes for households and home-based business owners.
If you have the skills and training for computer repair, you could monetize your abilities by offering remote or home services. Basic cleaning services alone cost 800 Pesos. Troubleshooting, removing viruses and overcoming malware attacks, and upgrading hardware/ software will net you higher earnings.
Expand your menu of services by including a laptop, tablet, and smartphone repair services.
14. Personal Trainer
Personal trainers are growing in demand because Filipinos want to get healthier and fitter. As a PT, you can work in a gym or start your own practice. But first, you should get certified.
There are several certification courses that you can sign up for online. Among the most recognized courses are American Council of Exercise (ACE), International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA), and the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).
Next, choose your specialization. Do you want to offer weight-training, bodyweight training, Powerlifting, functional fitness, Zumba, Yoga, or Pilates? Functional fitness, Zumba, Yoga, and Pilates will require you to take certification courses.
How much do Personal Trainers make? First-timers usually charge 200 Pesos per session while the more experienced PT’s can raise the bar to 1,000 Pesos per hour. I have met PT’s who earn more than 120,000 Pesos every month.
15. English Instructor
The Philippines remains the hotbed for English instruction. People from South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan travel to the Philippines to learn conversational and written English.
Another option is to become an online English instructor. On average, you can make anywhere from 15,000 Pesos to 30,000 Pesos per month teaching English online. You have to make sure you have a dependable computer and an excellent headset.
To become an English instructor, you have to pass TOEFL or Test of English as Foreign Language or the IELTS or International English Language Testing System.
16. Barber Shop
A Barber Shop is one of the best business ideas in the Philippines. If you do a good job, it can assure you of recurring income every month. Why? Because people get a haircut at least once a month!
You have to go to barber school before you can become a Barber. The Barbershop should display your certificate of completion. Likewise, you should consider taking up other hairstyling courses.
Barber shops usually charge 60 Pesos for a regular haircut. It takes around 30 minutes to finish a haircut. If you have eight customers per day, that will give you 14,400 Pesos per month income. Now, if you multiply the number by three barbers, you can potentially generate 43,200 Pesos per month.
You should also add other services such as facial shave, shampoo, hot oil treatment, pedicure, and hair coloring.
17. Content Writer
Content writing is one of the most important components of a digital marketing strategy. Businesses need writers who can consistently produce content that can drive inbound traffic to websites, generate social media followers, and enhance their online presence.
Writing online is different. It’s not enough to be a prolific writer. You should know how to integrate keywords in your content so that it can be found online. In some cases, clients will ask you to perform keyword research.
There are software programs that can do this for you. Learning basic SEO principles will likewise add value to your services.
First-time content writers can expect to get paid $10 per 1,000-word article. Experienced writers get paid from $30 to $100 for a 1,000-word article. This is a volume-based business.
On average, it will take two hours to write a 1,000-word article. If you can write three articles per day on a 26-work day per month schedule, first-time writers can potentially earn 40,000 Pesos per month.
18. Tutorial Services
Demand for tutorial services will continue to grow for the next few years. Because most households now feature two income earners, parents hardly have the time or energy to tutor their own children.
In order to provide tutorial services, you have to be a licensed teacher. You can convert a section of your home as a tutorial center and hire other licensed teachers. The Department of Education (DepEd) has to approve your course curriculum and the local government has to check the safety of your classroom.
Another option is to become a freelancer and offer home tutorial services. If you have more capital, you can also set up an online tutorial website.
19. Massage Services
Massage therapy has many proven health benefits. It can improve circulation, eliminate toxins, reduce chronic pain, and reduce stress levels. Massage services are popularly offered as a home service. However, a growing trend in Australia is to offer massage services at offices to help workers perform better.
There are different types of massage. You can specialize in Shiatsu, Swedish, or deep tissue massage. Before you can offer massage services, you must be certified as a Massage Therapist.
20. Home Cleaning Services
Another consequence of dual-income households is the parents’ inability to clean their own homes. You’ll need to invest in home cleaning equipment, industrial-grade cleansers, and hire staff to help you clean different areas of the house.
It will boost your opportunities if you learn other skills such as carpet cleaning and HVAC or Heater, Ventilation, and Air-Conditioning services since these are related. However, you need to be trained and certified in these additional services.
On average, home cleaning services charge anywhere from 35 Pesos to 50 Pesos per square meter.
Sure today’s smartphones have cameras that can give digital cameras a run for their money. But no one can capture high-quality images and tell a story like a professional photographer.
Events such as weddings, corporate affairs, anniversaries, and birthday parties still hire professional photographers. Restaurants need the trained eye of a photographer to capture food at their most-appetizing best.
This is a business that will require a considerable investment. Digital Single Lens Reflex cameras or DSLR cameras can be quite expensive. A Nikon D5600 costs around 40,000 Pesos. You will also need to buy lighting equipment and accessories.
If you want to get clients on a regular basis, offer your services to event coordinators and negotiate tie-up arrangements.
22. Events Planner
There are events happening every day. Weddings, corporate events, birthdays, and anniversaries to name a few. If you’re a good Events Planner, you can be booked every month of the year!
What does it take to be an Events Planner? You should have outstanding people-skills with the ability to organize large events. It would be great if you have a network of suppliers and professionals on-board. Events need caterers, photographers, hosts, and entertainment booths among others.
You can probably net 25,000 to 50,000 Pesos per event. Realistically, you will be able to manage two events per month. That’s a cool 50,000 to 100,000 Pesos income per month if you’re an in-demand Events Planner!
23. Catering Services
Mention the best business ideas in the Philippines for 2018 and Filipinos will expect some type of food venture in the list. Catering service is one of the best food businesses you can get into.
You can run operations from home and hire staff only when there are events to cater. Having a culinary degree will certainly help. However, there are self-taught cooks who have achieved success in the catering business.
You may have to conduct minor improvements in your kitchen to handle full-scale catering operations. Investments may include cooking equipment with a larger capacity, better exhaust, and fire prevention systems.
Related: How to Start a Small Food Business in the Philippines
24. Accounting Services
If you have an accounting degree, you can still work as a private employee and earn extra income as an accountant on a retainer basis. Businesses hire accountants on retention to oversee their books, handle their taxes, and prepare financial reports.
You will have more opportunities as a CPA or Certified Public Accountant. Some companies may hire you as an external auditor. As a CPA, you can also start your own accounting office.
Companies are increasingly outsourcing these tasks to third-party agencies. You can provide bookkeeping services, payroll preparation, benefits management, tax audit services, business registration, and inventory management services to name a few.
25. SEO Specialist
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a process that is focused on improving your website’s position on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) by finding ways to increase the visibility of your online content.
This is a learned skill. You cannot learn SEO just by watching YouTube videos. It would be best to take up courses from reliable experts and get certified as an SEO Specialist.
What opportunities are there for you as an SEO Specialist? You can offer consultancy services for companies that want results from their online marketing campaign.
If you know good web designers, programmers, social media marketers, and content writers you can set up an agency and provide comprehensive digital marketing services to clients.
26. Convenience Store Owner
Convenience stores are upgraded versions of the Sari-Sari store. You don’t have to apply for a franchise. You can easily set one up in a busy neighborhood. If you have an area in your house that has street access, that would be an ideal situation for setting up a convenience store.
It is very important to register your store as a legitimate business. This is the only way you can get payment and credit terms with suppliers. Second, have a reliable inventory management system in place. Finally, only accept cash payments. Do not allow “Buy now, pay later” arrangements.
A well-managed Convenience Store can easily net 50,000 to 100,000 Pesos per month.
27. Web Designer
There are almost 2 Billion websites operating on the Internet. The number is expected to grow over the next few years as businesses slowly migrate their operations online.
Despite the availability of free website templates, hiring professional web designers remains the best option. Websites need to be fast, highly-accessible, and mobile responsive. It takes training, experience, and expertise to build a dependable website.
Web designers earn somewhere in the vicinity of $300 to $800 per project. The fees will depend on the requirements of the client. In addition, you can remain onboard via retention services.
Normally, retention services for website management will pay out 2,000 Pesos per month. However, think of the income possibilities if you have 10 to 20 clients on retention! Expand your value proposition by offering digital marketing services.
28. Load Retailer
According to Statista, there are an estimated 72.6 Million mobile phone users in the Philippines. However, the number of prepaid subscribers in the Philippines is 117 Million which means Filipinos own more than one mobile phone. This creates huge opportunities for a load retailing business.
All you have to do is sign up as a load retailer with a local telecommunications company. You can also offer load from various telcos plus online payment services for utilities and cable TV. Transactions are done through your mobile phone.
On average, the profit margin on load transactions is 7%. It does not appear much but it is definitely higher than interest rates on savings accounts and is still above the current inflation rate.
Related: How to Start an E-Loading Business in the Philippines
29. Booth Rental Business
Weddings are no longer just set dinners, singing, dancing, and photo opportunities with the bride and groom. More and more weddings are leveling up the entertainment value by setting up booths in the reception.
Booth rental can be a viable business venture. Offer a variety of entertainment from photo booths, karaoke, and video games. The cost of the booths can be expensive. You also have to factor in repair and maintenance. However, if you can generate the volume, you should be profitable in no time.
30. Fruits and Vegetable Vendor
Filipinos are becoming more health conscious because of the growing obesity rate. This is one reason you see more fruits and vegetable booths coming up in your neighborhood.
The keys to having successful fruit and vegetable business are having reliable suppliers, great forecasting, and trustworthy staff who are knowledgeable about fruits and vegetables. Spoilage, wastage, and pilferage remain your biggest risks.
31. Rice Retailer
Other than fruits and vegetables, rice is likewise a favorite source of carbohydrates for Filipinos. Rice is affordable and there are different varieties to choose from. More and more rice retailers are coming up in neighborhoods and busy streets.
The margins are not so attractive because you have to stay competitive. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) regularly monitors the prices of rice. However, if your rice retailing business is located in a high-traffic area, you should be fine.
32. Agricultural Business
Do you own property with enough space and proximity away from the city and water sources? If so, you might want to consider getting into the agriculture business by setting up a poultry or piggery.
There will be considerable investments in putting up the pens, feeds, vitamins, and complying with the local government’s guidelines on waste disposal and proper water supply.
However, margins are good when you are able to sell good quality chickens or pigs in the market. You may also try to become a contract grower for one of the large meat refineries and food processing companies.
33. Food Cart Business
Food carts are becoming more popular especially in high-traffic areas such as train stations. They provide quick-service and affordable meals to people who are on a tight budget.
Among the most popular food carts concepts are dimsum, French fries, hotdogs, hamburgers, BBQ, and street food fares like fish balls, quail eggs, and empanadas.
There are many franchises that offer food carts. Most of these come with affordable terms and reasonable fees. You don’t have to go with the branded food carts which may charge up to 250,000 Pesos for usage rights.
As long as the products are good and you can be assured of support, you can profit from the lower-priced food cart franchisors.
34. Travel Agency
If you love to travel, why don’t you parlay your passion into one of the best business ideas in the Philippines? A travel agency needs a lot of work. You have to set up favorable arrangements with third parties. And if you don’t have IATA certification, you’ll have to be content with becoming a middleman.
However, with consistency and dependable service, you could become very profitable with a travel agency business. You may also want to expand your offerings to include passport and visa renewal or application services.
35. Water Refilling Station
Reports of the water refilling station business’ demise have been exaggerated. Decades since the first few refilling stations were established, it remains one of the more stable business ideas in the Philippines even for 2018.
The reason is potable water is a valuable commodity in the Philippines. Our water is such poor quality that boiling alone is not enough to make it safe to drink. If you pass along a street that has three to four water refilling stations a few meters away from each other, you will notice that business is still brisk.
Pricing appears to vary from one city to the next. For example, water refilling stations in Muntinlupa sell 5-gallons for 50 to 60 Pesos. However, in Paranaque the retail price averages 25 to 30 Pesos. Tight competition could be driving profit margins lower.
36. Alteration Services
The inflation rate in the Philippines has been rising over the past two years. From 3% in 2016, it is now hovering above 5%. The continued rise in petroleum products, the deterioration of the Philippine Peso, and the amendments on the tax laws will continue to exert upward forces on the inflation rate.
Instead of buying new clothes, it would be more practical to just old ones altered or re-styled. If you have tailoring skills or know of good cutters and stylists, altering services will be a good business idea for you in 2018.
If possible, include repair and restoration services for leather goods such as shoes, belts, and bags.
37. Native Delicacies
Filipinos will never tire of native delicacies like puto, kutsinta, biko, and suman latik. The taste is part of our cultural heritage. These products are easy to make and you can readily find hungry mouths ready to fill their stomachs with your tasty treats.
A good idea would be to set up a stand outside your house and offer hot chocolate and coffee.
38. Furniture Repair Services
The prices of brand new furniture are likewise going up. Most couples would prefer to receive hand-me-downs from their parents and just have these repaired or restored.
You will need good carpenters and people who are experienced working with leather or fabric upholstery. It would be great if you have someone on your team who can do furniture design. Some of the excess materials can be made into shelves, tables, and chairs.
39. Landscaping Business
If you have a green thumb, why not go into the landscaping business? You can find ready clients in subdivisions, hotels, schools, public parks, and commercial development projects.
This is labor-intensive work. You need to have a team of experienced landscapers whom you can trust with materials and execute the design as discussed with the client. It is also important to establish arrangements with reliable suppliers of grass, plants, rocks, and other materials needed for landscaping.
A landscaping project covering 50 to 100 square meters of a garden can probably net you an income of 25,000 Pesos for five to seven days of work. You can also offer monthly maintenance services for 2,000 Pesos.
40. Food Delivery Business
Food delivery businesses have benefited from the worsening traffic conditions and the spiraling cost of commodities. People find themselves working for longer hours or holding down a second job to pay the bills. They don’t have time to cook much less get stuck in traffic for two hours.
Home-cooked meals or lutong bahay which feature familiar dishes that are affordably priced remain popular. But there are also growing niches like healthy food, sandwiches, cakes, and pastries.
Why not combine food delivery with a catering business? This way you can maximize your investment when you expanded your kitchen.
41. Vending Machine
Vending machines for soft drinks, coffee, and snacks are becoming common sights at malls, schools, and parking areas. Profit margins might be low but as long as you can set up your vending machine at a busy location, you should be fine.
The biggest drawback of the vending machine business is having to deal with constant repairs. Sometimes, you will have to attend to complaints from customers who say they didn’t get their drink after inserting the payment into the slot.
If you have a water refilling station, coin laundry, or car wash business you might want to consider having a soft drink or coffee vending machine to add to your daily earnings.
42. Business Incorporation Services
Registering a business in the Philippines isn’t easy. Despite the availability of an online service, you may still find yourself dealing with long queues, constant follow-ups, and delays in the release of your business papers.
And this is just business registration. Securing your Mayor’s Permit and BIR certification will require a different timeline. If you notice, more companies are offering business incorporation services.
For a reasonable fee, these companies will take care of all your business registration needs. If you have experience in business registration and know of people who can assist you in pushing out permits from the local government, you can easily find clients who will sign up for your services.
Do you have a property that you can lease out for the short-term? If so, get into the Airbnb business. Leasing out homes for a few days has become a more viable option for people on vacation.
Keep in mind that you will have to conduct leasehold improvements to make your house more attractive in the Airbnb market. Also, you will have to perform regular repairs and maintenance services to keep your property in tenable condition.
44. Bicycle Rental
A few years ago, a company offered bicycles for rent along EDSA. It did not last long. Then again, riding a bike in EDSA is like playing Russian roulette. You never know when your luck would run out! The idea was great but the execution could have been better.
It would have been more viable to have Bicycle Rental available in public parks or within tourist attractions.
For example, you can start up a Bicycle tour of Manila, at the beautiful parks at Filinvest and Makati’s Central Business District and Bonifacio High Street in Taguig City. Sta. Rosa, Laguna is also another possible location for a Bicycle Rental business.
45. Day Care Services
Not many parents can afford nanny services. So what some families do is to have a spouse stay at home or ask a relative to watch over the children. The arrangement can be difficult especially if both parents have to work.
Day Care Services are valuable in that the children are under the care of trusted professionals who have also licensed teachers.
If you have experience in the teaching profession, enjoy being with children, and have a large enough space in your home, a Day Care Service can be one of the best business ideas for you in 2018.
Just like a tutorial services business, your place of operation must be approved by the local government. Your teachers should not only be licensed. You must do background checks to make sure they have no criminal record or a history of mistreating children.
You may also want to have a Nurse on standby to attend to children who get injured or sick.
Do you have other business ideas that were not included in this list? If you do, explore its viability by conducting a feasibility study. Once you have the numbers in, consult with people whose knowledge and experience you trust. They can give valuable advice on whether you should push through with the venture or not.
Remember that all entrepreneurs start out as dreamers. You will never know if your business idea will work until you act on it. There is no such thing as a “good time” to start out a business. Every day there are opportunities you can capitalize on.
The worst thing that can happen is if someone comes up with the same idea and beats you to the punch. Ideas are not anyone’s monopoly. All you need is a moment of inspiration.
So live out your dream and make it the best business idea in the Philippines for 2018!