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Thailand Quick post for anyone with a business in Thailand that wants to get large semi-transparent stickers made for their glass shop front windows. Most print shops can do it and have reasonable photo editing and design skills with Photoshop. Just give them the images you want used. Expect to pay 1000 baht for a 3 x 6ft sticker. Get them to install the stickers as getting the air bubbles out is a torturous task. (Bangkok Bob). Competitive prices
Thailand For anyone who has partners running businesses in Thailand please be 100% certain about your visa status.
Most Thai visas will not allow you to work in any shape or form. This doesn’t just mean doing something where you are paid a wage, but covers paying the bills or running costs for a wife/girlfriend’s business or doing anything where you get something back in return (such as free rent).
It’s OTT and in the past immigration seemed to turn a blind eye to the many situations where foreigners were effectively bankrolling a business. Even though, if it was a big business like a hotel, some of the profits were going to make their way back to the foreigner in some shape or form.
Now they are cracking down. What’s changed is that the Eastern Europeans took things too far and, rather than employing Thai people and putting money into the community, they only employing their own and also pushing Thais out of business in areas like taxis and hotels.
As a result the police are checking up on everyone. There have even been unconfirmed reports of foreigners on a tourist visa being deported because they were spotted doing a bit of minor DIY building work (unpaid) on a wife’s restaurant.
Remember other jealous foreigners/business rivals will often tip off the police. So be ready for a spot-check just in case. For those without a work visa:
• Do not sit behind a desk or in an office at the premises.
• Do not walk around in a suit or uniform, or clearly be supervising/instructing the staff. If you are on a tourist visa, look like a tourist.
• Make sure that any staff understand that you are not the boss. A common question police ask them “Who is the boss here?” Guess who most of them will point to...
• Never handle money in public.
• Never get involved in businesses like English teaching without the right visas.
• Do not hang pictures that include you in the public part of the business.
• Never transfer money to the business bank account or the official owner’s account (wife/girlfriend) directly from your bank. That’s clear evidence. Withdraw cash instead. Same for any money flowing in the other direction (profit).
• Get clued up on Thai tax law if you are making reasonable money. Most Thai small business simply don’t bother to pay any, but that’s a risky game...
(By 'Bahtman and Ringgitt')
Avoid deportation!
My Thai girlfriend has a nail salon (nail painting). Her customers are all Thai, which is great as the new Thai middle class is expanding all the time.
The *problem* is this. It used to happen every 2 weeks. She would do the work and then the customer would say they can only pay half and will bring the rest later. Imagine trying that at Tesco Lotus!
But when offering a service (nail painting) rather than a product, what can you do short of removing the customer’s nail paint that has taken over an hour to do? That wouldn’t happen anyway due to the Thai aversion to public arguments.
End result is she feels she has little choice but to let the customers go and hope they bring the rest of the money later. They rarely do - even though they often come back to have their nails painted again! The previous non-payment is just wiped from their memory.
Girlfriend and I finally had enough after a customer, with a brand new iPhone, paid only half of the 2000 Baht bill for her and her family for over 5 hours work. That’s the point. These “half pay” customers are not short of money (the people short of money always double check the price first). Instead in Thailand some of the “new rich” have no shame in using their wealth as leverage to get away with paying less.
They think that because small businesses need the richer customers, they will not kick up a fuss when asked to “wait” for the money.
Our solution has been to put up a sign effectively saying “no credit” (in Thai obviously) and when a customer asks they are told it's too complicated to keep track of and can they just call their friend to bring the money?
If that also doesn’t work, the final move is to give them a paper form to fill in detailing their name, address, phone number, money to be paid and when, plus a copy of their ID card. Effectively all the information needed to hire a motorcycle or car.
These measures have almost completely solved our problem and hope it will help others.
Less non-paying customers
As foreigners cannot buy land in Thailand most will rent. The alternative is to buy in the name of your Thai wife/partner, but still renting might be the best option if you are starting a business.
Trouble is, once landlords see you have piled lots of money into a place some of them assume it’ won't leave and thus think they can name their price when rent is reviewed.
This, and landlords selling the land from under you at short notice, are the two main things to watch out for. Protect yourself by getting the following in writing in your rental lease:
* Go for a multi-year contract, with an option (you have the option) of an extension for the same amount of time at the end of the first contract period.
* Agree to make a decision to extend or leave with 6 months of the first contract left to run. Never put yourself in a situation where the landlord can keep you guessing about a rental renewal. The closer it gets to the expiry date of your contract, the harder it is for you to leave if they decide to raise the price.
* Try and fix the rent price for the whole term of the first contract and insist on a maximum rent increase should you agree to the extension - such as no more than a 30-50% rise (use inflation rates as a guide).
* Circumstances do change, and with the best will in the world your landlord might have to sell your property before the lease is up. Include a clause that allows the landlord to buy you out of your contract for a certain (high) price and length of notice to leave. It’s better than nothing.
* Should you want to leave early, write that you can transfer the lease agreement to another person at any time without penalty and that all terms of the original lease will continue unchanged for the new occupant, who takes over full responsibility for payments.
One of the best deals I had was rent fixed for 10 years, option to extend for another 10 years and maximum increase of 45% rent for the second contract.
I sold the lease on to another expat after 5 years (allowed under the contract) and it sold quickly, thanks partly to the clear and secure rent contract.
I’ve seen too many people get shafted, especially if it’s a business (Thai people see customers, assume you are making loads of money, and decide to hike the rent).
Use the points above and you can’t go far wrong. They probably apply to other countries as well.
Best to rent from a rich/successful landlord, they are less likely to be banging on the door for rent and those that own their own business (most rich Thai people do) will understand better the costs you face rather than think they are missing out. (Gary).
Business/Rent contracts
Phuket - Thailand
For those thinking of emigrating to Phuket and especially starting a business, be aware that Phuket is not what it used to be.
Maybe this won't get published, but it's true. Phuket and especially Patong are increasingly dominated by Russians, like Pattaya.
Why does that matter? After all they bring money like everyone else?
The difference is that Russians only seem to like socialising and dealing with other Russians - hotels, tours, taxis, nightclubs, even the girls! Did you ever see Australians, English or American girls dancing in Bangla Road?? Well there are lots of Russian girls doing it now.
Did you ever hear of foreigners saying they wouldn’t stay at a hotel because there were too many Swedish/Aussies/Brits/Yanks? Many hotels and apartments are now becoming seen as Russian or non-Russian.
Buy an apartment in a Russian area and you’ll have a hard time selling it to anyone other than a Russian, but they will only buy from Russian real estate brokers.
Phuket used to be a great melting pot of nationalities and incomes - backpackers to businessmen - who could sit side by side in a bar or restaurant.
Russian culture seems to be different and is causing increasing tension with other foreign cultures and, more importantly (it’s not our country after all), the local Thais.
So from a business perspective, which is why I’m writing, you also have to understand that the customer base in Phuket has changed massively.
Add in the uncontrolled development of endless hotels, leading to polluted water and you can understand why many expats are leaving Phuket for pastures new and not coming back....
If you are Russian or perhaps Chinese, invest in Phuket, if not look elsewhere. If you insist on being near Patong, look at staying in the areas further inland from the beach.
(Phuket Businessman)

Thailand Starting a business in Thailand is really tricky. Most westerners seem to open a bar, but that's seems to be a great way to lose a lot of money. Okay some bars make decent profits, but most don't and are constantly changing hands. And if you do start to make money you'll attract attention from the Police/mafia that you'll have to pay off. Better to come up with something that allows you to stay under the radar.  Good idea is to find something cheap or special to Thailand that you can import/sell to customers in your home country, where you understand the market. Business
Thailand One of the cheapest shop business you can do is to buy/rent a shop in the local markets. These markets are basically like a large warehouse - one big steel roof - covering lots of small shops. Prices for a shop in Northern Thailand vary from 35,000 baht (normal size, normal location) to 100,000 baht (front location or double size).
Be aware that if you 'buy' you still have to pay a monthly maintenance/cleaning/security fee of several thousand baht. You also naturally have to pay for electric. So factor those in to your profit margin. You can rent a market shop from around 5000 baht a month upwards. Try to sell something without too much competition or where you have a competitive edge in terms of your product supply.
Business prices
CITY If you are looking for shopping bargains in Bangkok and especially if you have a business you need stock for the place to go is “Chatuchak weekend market” (see
This is where many businesses in Thailand bulk buy their stock to sell in Bangkok and other parts of the country, not to mention Malaysia and other neighbours.
If you are into import and export this is also the place to look for products you could send to your home country.
Beware the place is huge (200,000 visitors per day!) so plan ahead or you will feel overwhelmed. (Dao).
Best Shopping Market in Bangkok
Saigon - Vietnam Vietnam is one of the few places I've been with really, really cheap stuff. Like cheap enough to think about importing and still make a profit.
Some of the products are copied, quite well in cases, and other products are produced locally by official factories - from which they seem to leak out. North Face and Clarks shoes are just two examples of that. Even things like local coffee is worth looking into from a business point of view. You can buy all sorts of beans by the kg from the Ban Thanh market. Vietnamese coffee is very good!
On the other hand I wouldn't touch anything electrical (pardon the pun) as risk of it being fake is so high. Whole laptops are copied!
Bali - Indonesia If you are in Bali and business minded have a look at things like local wood carvings. I know people that go to Bali each year and import back a container full of them to sell in a furniture shop in Canada. Profit margins are so large that they work 6 months and then when the Canadian winter arrives they travel in Asia for 6 months looking for new stock to send back when the snow is gone. They also buy stock in Vietnam. Hope that helps. Business