Your best business development ideas in Dominican Republic

Hi everyone,

As a foreign entrepreneur, launching a business in Dominican Republic is a fantastic project and an exciting challenge. Some ideas are likely to succeed. Some others are promising but may not work as well as intended.

In your opinion, what kind of business or industry is likely to succeed in Dominican Republic? What kind of industry or service currently unavailable or underdeveloped in the country would meet local needs?

On the other hand, what are the most common business types foreign entrepreneurs would be eager to launch in the country but with very little chance of success?

Thank you for your insights.

Import/Export, 20/10 stores, Supermarkets, Drug stores, Clothing and Textiles.

First there are many many opportunities here.

Second I don't give away specific ideas, I am a business consultant.

What works - good quality service! It is almost nonexistent here.

Facts - anything imported is expensive, labor is inexpensive on a relative basis but materials are not cheap.

Business requires constant supervision and constant training.

Con no and not likely to succeed - another beach bar / restaurant.

You need  General business skills, language, business specific knowledge  And experience and $$$$$. 

Then you better know this culture, because you are not in Kansas anymore!

Hi planner! You are so good at replying and very informative!! LOVE it!!!! What is your take or knowledge on Massage therapy jobs? I would love to continue my career in the Dominican im just not sure of the qualifications or requirements. If you know of anyone looking for a very experienced therapist (10yrs) I would love to send my resume and begin the transition process from Canada to Dr. Do you have any advice for job searching or best locations? I will also consider teaching English or call center job. I have tons of call center experience and have always dreamed of teaching. I'm ready for a slower paced life but most of all healthy, minimal and natural. Thanks for your time!

Tiffanymt  first off welcome to the forums.  There is a lot on information here on moving and living in the DR.  Living here is not all that easy and needs some major adjustment. 

Have you been here before???
Before you make the leap you need to come down for a couple of months and live here, not as tourist, and see if it is the right place for you.  The money you were mentioning before will not be nearly enough for you to live safely here. A minimum and that is with out much will be in the $700 to $1000 (USD) to survive.

In order to work here legally you need to get your residency ( needs to be started at the Dominican embassy or a consulate in Canada) first.  Second "massage therapists" are a dime a dozen here with most being local girls offering "happy endings" and other extras.  Ligit massage places are also to be found but to work in one of these you will need your residency.  Most are found in tourist areas and not very well paid. 

Please do some homework before burning any Canadian bridges.

Bob K

Bob says it!    Welcome Tiffany,  thanks for the nice comments!

Sadly massage therapy is really not valued.  You won't make anywhere near the money you are used to and often not enough to live on.

You will  need residencia (go find that thread)  before you can  work here.  Or at least have actually deposited your application. Almost no one will hire you before you are already here.   Call centers - job starts at about  US $600 a month depending where you live.  Teach English -  every English speaker thinks that is what they can do. Without accreditation and experience its a really tough go.

You can contact hotels and resorts who have spas to see if they need anyone.  they do not pay well but you do usually get some commission.  Rarely will they sponsor a work visa though.  So dont even bother  trying that route.  You will need to get here, be set up and have the residencia deposited before they will  consider you.

I will private message you if you want to send me your resume I am happy to take a look for you.

I am by no means qualified to share any opinions in comparison to these long term residents. Planner and Bob + others are far more qualified. Read carefully. Listen to each.

I will share my observations going into week three {3} of what should be long term residency.

In advance let me share we are followers and not trail blazers.

Anyone who paints a complete rosy picture enjoy but dont put a lot of trust into.
Anyone who paints a complete scary picture pay attention but dont put a lot of trust into.

Week 2 of Spanish lessons is paying off. The smallest of victories should be enjoyed. It takes a mind change. Yes we did well. WE come from cultures and expect fast, immediate results. 
Coming here requires a retooling. Little victories.

The term a person needs to countersink in their being is "tranquillo".

Start testing yourself at home before coming to DR by going to grocery store and buying off brands.

I cant wipe my bum unless its got a picture of three kittens rolling on white carpet on the wrapping. Buy gross lot middle of the road with no pictures and see how you fare. If this idea makes you laugh your off to a good start. 

Dont buy Kraft peanut butter. Try something else.

Buy milk off the shelf.  Put in your fridge and try it with your cereal.

Cleaning detergents, and anything else you have been purchasing as loyal brand client STOP and try different.

In all honesty you will lower your expectation only to find out they have almost everything here and then some. Its really awesome experience shopping.

Planners and Expats share this over and over. Learn & Speak Spanish.
Is it really required in Sosua and region..NO.

But please trust me when I share no words can begin to express the genuine warmth from Dominicans when they hear you butchering their language. They jump in to help you speak the right words. All with a smile.

I will share its only the beginning of week 3 but this weekend went to Santiago. We've been to Cabareta Jazz fest Friday night. On Playa Sosua and Cabareta we have fond locals and befriended.

Our efforts to speak the language are rewarded with warm handshakes, smiles and eye contact.

In closing I would share anything is possible for anyone with sufficient tenacity and drive. Whose to say what is possible or impossible. To date we are really comfortable with everything because we take a tranquillo moment to step back.   

I think the lesson is this...The success of the good expats living happily in Dominican is directly related to their core values.

You need to be  some percentage {%} selfless to live here. You need to have empathy for your neighbor and residents.  You get tested day 1. However you know your going to be ok when in saying no to a taxi driver or a person hucking trinkets on the beach when each person walks away, drives away with a smile or isnt really peeved off. It takes effort. A person needs to be engaged. The payoff is huge..rewarding and they let you know usually. 

A young man wanted food on the beach. We bought him a burger, fries and coke. The kid took an hour to eat. One bite at a time. Slowly...Before he left he had to make sure he thanked us in English. He did this by asking the server how do I thank the Gringo in his language. The server is now our friend as is the young man.

WE are blessed to be given the opportunity / strength for this experience. Lets call it a long transition. To those that blazed this trail ahead of all, took the time to document and share their experiences we are so grateful.

Many thanks

This sounds awesome continue to share please very inspirational to people like me that is moving there in June

Love the post!!!!!

For the last year, I've been practicing living with less electricity.  All unnecessary lights are turned off.  During the evening, it's not uncommon to only have the television on.  At first my family protested, but when I told them this was my way of transitioning, they all got on board.  I know it's not quite the same as having NO power for hours at a time, but it's a start towards less consumption.

I am interested in restaurant business in Dominica Republic, what is actual requirements and money involve in buying running restaurant or establish new one ?

Welcome to the forums. Well it could take  100,000 US or it could take  2,000 US.  Actually if you opened a mcdonalds it would take way more than that.

Where? What kind?  Cannot possibly begin to answer your question!

I agree, great posts here. My arrival has been delayed due to Maria - it was to be Friday the 22nd - but still departing Alberta on the 21st for Toronto to wait it out down there. Many great points about starting a new life and even business there. Having been to several areas around the world and residing for several months while with the Canadian military in some very austere regions, I can support the necessity of working on the language issue as well as living a more laid back life style. Planner, and Bob - always great input. I will look forward to being in touch in the future - once I sort through all the info and copy all info I want - if I can find it all - hahahaha - otherwise I'll just ask again!!!

Thanks for reply, actually l am interested in fast food and Bar B Q type restaurant in tourist area, thanks.

Please add my new inquiry about Energy Storage and is anybody doing this into this discussion...Hoping Maria leaves y'all alone!

Hello, as a (classical) Pilates instructor I would like to hear from you guys some ideas to open my pilates studio ( later with machines) in Bavaro or in Las Terrenas ( still in dilemma ) or what my chances are to work with my skills over there. I’ m coming back in April again to proceed my ‘ house-search’... I know my clients will be the expats or tourists. . I know that finding work there is not easy but I am really wondering if in my sector this might be possible? All ideas are very welcome :)
Thank you

I'm tossing around the idea of growing fruits and vegetables that the typical American expat would want. Grapes here are extremely expensive. I have yet to find good blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, or raspberries, corn on the cob, etc...

I also think an American food restaurant would do well. Not like the typical American fast food restaurants. But a mom and pop restaurant

Think of a very fast harvest time, low space requirements, extremely high margins, AND a very low investment. Sound good? PM me   Do your demographic research . I doubt that you would fin a niche,& a small one at that ,that could support a restaurant of that type. It is simple: a total hard cost plus soft cost may run $3,000 a month.. the the initial purchase of an existing business, inventory, permits & license, ad ifinitem, insurance etc. It can & has been done successfully, but not as an American home cooked restaurant. Most of the expat oriented bars serve an eclectic mix of menue items.  Even the "good" ones fall short of being really good.  Tis a shame & all it does is lower the expectations & the ejoyment of good old fashioned food. PM me for more dastardly comments on the local crusine. Perhaps you can rectify the situation  Not much help am I?

She asked for ideas.  I said tossing around.  Which meant in my head.  I am currently the remote CFO of two companies. I'm still earning a high 6 figure income, with at least another 10 years of wanting to work.  Any farm I start would be to allow Americans and myself to continue getting foods I can't find here.  You are not crushing my dream.  I'm an accountant who is living my dream.

PM me. I can put you in touch with someone who is doing very well doing exactly that. Plenty of room for the crops you want.      He grows different things but he knows the ropes, markets etc. A great guy, all organic and right here in Sosua area.

Julian I have worked in the farming industry. There are good reasons many of those items are imported and expensive. Happy to discuss why.

Business ideas are there. Implementation is the tough part.  It's tough to get started. Just incorporation can be a major undertaking. There are something like 22 steps. Yup have someone walk it through with you. And it takes 6 weeks plus to open a corp. But of course, it doesn't end there. Ridiculous amounts of monthly reporting here!

Also a huge issue is understanding the market. Understanding the.labor laws. Understanding the unwritten rules!

It is done all the time though. Expats can open businesses here and do a great job. Cultural knowledge,.spanish, business experience and common sense really help!

And of course patience!!!

I understand that online retailing or shall say that multi-channel and omni-channel retailing are in their infancy in DR, is this correct? Please do you have any information to share?

I think in terms of farming the problem is the lack of knowledge in growing the food correctly. Different vegetables compliment each other when planted together.  Others compete when planted together.  Also I don't see much in crop rotation here. The climate here is very similar to Alabama where i was raised. The soil is also very fertile. My familymade a very good living in farming. But i would do the endeavor simply for the joy of it.  Not as a business venture..

PM me for contact info on a man with your philosophy re: growing things.

Julian I understand. Doing it for  makes it worthwhile.  There are smaller.portions of good  not the case with large acreage!

Online and multichannel retailing I think is somewhat behind the times. Could be some real opportunities.

I w'd have a question first of all. Please can someone say exactly : How much tax is to pay in Domenican republic , as company i'm intersted.
what is the tex on the profit?
Thanks for the answer .

Corporate tax on profits is currently 24%. I believe that is scheduled to drop over 4 years but I need to confirm that legislation is in effect.

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