Harry Adame

How do I do business in the Philippines?

I sell jewelry in the US, and would like to find cheaper labor abroad in the Philippines. I'm looking for artisans to do woodworking, metalworking, and other handcrafts for the Hawaii tourist market.

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2 Answers

Hitesh Mohanlal

Hitesh Mohanlal , Director at WOW! Advisors & Business Accountants

Harry

Good question. There is an abundant supply of labour in the Philippines but the issue will always be quality control and culture. I had a couple of people there and all my admin work is still done there. Once they know what you are after they generally deliver - it is a time consuming exercise and it can be very frustrating.You really need to understand how the people and culture work. I recommend you contact Mike O'Hagan. He runs tours there for people like yourself and is a good introduction. He can be contacted via his assistant - [email protected]

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Philip Brookes

Hi Harry, I live the majority of the year in Philippines (my partner is Filipino and my son is half-Filipino), and we conduct business with Australian clients from offices in both Australia and Philippines. Given the way that we work and what we expect of our staff/contractors/team members, it's not an easy transition to start outsourcing to Philippines. However, it's certainly possible and, with the right management and perseverance, you can be on a winner. I don't have experience in contracting craftsmen, but I have explored the possibility before, and my view is that you need to spend some time in the Philippines visiting as many people as you can and seeing the quality of their work, getting to know them, and describing what you would expect from them. You need to emphasise repeatedly your expectations re: quality and timeliness, and you need to structure any deal with them that it is to their advantage to deliver the quality and timeliness you expect. If you pay on the basis of time, often they'll just stretch out the time and work slower. If you pay on a per piece basis, they could rush it and do a bad job. But if you can have a trusted partner in Philippines who inspects goods and accepts or rejects before full payment is made, you could potentially build up a great team.

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