How To Start a Business in the Philippines

June 20, 2023
How to Start a Business in the Philippines

Starting a business in the Philippines offers excellent opportunities for entrepreneurs. With its robust economy, strategic location, and skilled workforce, the country has become an attractive destination for local and foreign investors. However, navigating through the process of starting a business can be complex. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the essential steps and considerations to successfully establish your business in the Philippines.

1. Registration Process:

To register your business in the Philippines, you need to follow these general steps:

  • Business Name Registration: Choose a unique business name and verify its availability with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) or the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for corporations. Submit the necessary documents and pay the required fees.
  • Barangay Clearance: Obtain a barangay clearance from the local barangay (neighborhood) where your business will be located.
  • Mayor’s Permit: Apply for a mayor’s permit (business permit) from the city or municipal hall where your business will operate. This requires submitting various documents such as proof of business registration, location clearances, and tax-related requirements.
  • Tax Registration: Register your business with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) for taxation purposes. This includes securing a Tax Identification Number (TIN) and understanding the applicable tax obligations.
  • Social Security System (SSS), PhilHealth, and Pag-IBIG: Enroll your employees in the mandatory government social security, healthcare, and housing programs.

2. Business Structures:

Business Structures According to Philippine Laws:

Sole Ownership: Sole ownership, also known as sole proprietorship, refers to a business structure owned by a single individual. In the Philippines, this type of business is subject to an eight percent tax imposed on self-employed individuals. Sole ownership businesses are required to register with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in accordance with Philippine law.

One Person Corporation (OPC): One Person Corporation differs from Sole Proprietorship in terms of the level of risk involved. Similar to a Domestic Corporation, an OPC limits the liability of the sole shareholder to the extent of their share capital. Under this structure, the assets of the company are separate from the personal assets of the business owner, ensuring that creditors can only pursue the company’s assets. OPCs must comply with the regulations set by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), whereas Sole Proprietorships must abide by the laws of the DTI.

Domestic Corporation: Domestic corporations have a distinct legal entity separate from their stockholders and other corporations involved. They can be likened to a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or a Private Limited Company (PLC) due to their control and characteristics as defined by the Corporation Code of the Philippines. Stockholders of a domestic corporation are liable only up to the extent of their share capital. Similarly to an LLC, a domestic corporation has its own liabilities and must fulfill its financial obligations according to the law.

Partnership: A Partnership consists of a minimum of two owners who share both the responsibilities and income of the business. Partnerships need to be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Foreign Corporations:

Branch Office (BO): A branch office serves as an extension of a corporation based outside the Philippines, carrying out its business activities within the country. The Philippine branch office must comply with the regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the Philippines, as well as those of the country where the parent company is located.

Regional Operating Headquarters (ROHQ): A regional operating headquarters is established to provide services to the affiliates, branches, or subsidiaries of a foreign-owned company in the Philippines, the Asia-Pacific region, and other foreign markets. However, an ROHQ is not allowed to engage in solicitation or advertising of goods and services on behalf of its parent company or any of its affiliates, branches, or subsidiaries, either directly or indirectly.

Regional Area Headquarters (RHQ): Regional area headquarters are incorporated to manage the affiliates, branches, and subsidiaries of a multinational company in the Asia-Pacific region. RHQs are not permitted to generate revenue or conduct business operations within the Philippines. The operational expenses of a regional area headquarters are funded through inward remittances from its parent company.

Representative Office (RO): refers to an establishment in the Philippines by a multinational company to enhance its local corporate presence. Its primary responsibilities include disseminating information, marketing products, ensuring quality control, and facilitating communication. It is important to note that a representative office does not possess a distinct legal identity from its parent company. Moreover, generating revenue within the country is strictly prohibited for an RO, as it transfers all operational expenses and liabilities to its head office located in another country.

Foreign individuals are allowed to own and operate businesses in the Philippines in accordance with Philippine laws.

3. Corporate Bank Account Setup:

Opening a corporate bank account is crucial for your business operations. To set up a corporate bank account in the Philippines, you will typically need the following:

  • Business Registration Documents: Present your business registration documents issued by the SEC or DTI.
  • Identification Documents: Provide valid identification documents of the company directors, officers, and authorized signatories.
  • Tax Identification Number (TIN): Obtain a TIN for the business and provide it to the bank.
  • Other Bank-Specific Requirements: Different banks may have additional requirements, so it’s advisable to inquire directly with the bank of your choice.

4. Company Office Address Setup:

When establishing a business in the Philippines, you need a physical office address. Options include:

  • Lease a Commercial Space: Rent or lease a physical office space, which may require a longer-term commitment and higher costs.
  • Virtual Office: A cost-effective solution that provides a professional business address, call handling services, and occasional access to meeting rooms.Serviced Office Spaces: Fully furnished and equipped office spaces with flexible lease terms, ideal for startups or businesses requiring a temporary office setup.

5. Visas for Foreign Workers:

If you plan to employ foreign workers in your Philippine business, you should be aware of the following visa options:

  • 9(g) Visa: This is a working visa for foreign nationals employed by Philippine companies. It requires sponsorship from the employer and approval from the Philippine Bureau of Immigration.
  • Alien Employment Permit (AEP): This permit is needed for foreign nationals working in the Philippines and is typically obtained by the employer.
  • Special Work Permit (SWP): Issued to foreign nationals performing short-term work or specific activities in the country.

6. Estimated Employee Salary Range:

The employee salary range in the Philippines varies depending on factors such as industry, location, job level, and skills. On average, entry-level salaries start around PHP 15,000 to PHP 35,000 per month, while managerial positions can range from PHP 40,000 to PHP 100,000 per month. These figures are approximate and subject to market conditions and specific job requirements.

7. Estimated Office Space Cost:

The cost of office space in the Philippines depends on the location, size, and type of space. Here are some general estimates:

  • Traditional Office Space: Rental costs vary significantly, with rates ranging from PHP 500 to PHP 2,000 (and higher) per square meter per month in Metro Manila. There are usually additional costs for fitting out the office space.
  • Virtual Office: Costs can range from PHP 2,000 to PHP 10,000 or more per month, depending on the package and location.
  • Serviced Office Spaces: Prices typically start from PHP 5,000 to PHP 20,000 per person per month, offering flexible lease terms and fully equipped workspaces.

8. Problems that can happen when registering your business:

While registering your business in the Philippines, you may encounter some challenges, such as:

  • Complex Regulatory Procedures: Navigating through the bureaucratic processes and understanding the legal requirements can be time-consuming and overwhelming.
  • Documentation Requirements: Gathering the necessary documents and ensuring their accuracy can be a cumbersome task.
  • Language Barrier: If you are not fluent in Filipino or English, communication barriers with government agencies and officials may arise.


Starting a business in the Philippines requires careful planning, adherence to legal requirements, and navigating through complex procedures. Triple i Consulting is an experienced consultancy firm that can provide invaluable assistance in registering your business. Their expertise in business registration and local market knowledge can help streamline the process and ensure compliance, allowing you to focus on growing your business successfully.

Remember, proper research, guidance, and compliance with local regulations are essential for a smooth business establishment in the Philippines. With determination and the right support, you can embark on a rewarding entrepreneurial journey in this vibrant Southeast Asian nation.


If you’d rather not handle these laborious (and sometimes confusing) tasks on your own, there’s another option available to you. You can reach out to us through the following methods: Contact Us Here, complete the form provided below, dial +63 (02) 8540-9623 to speak with us directly, or send an email to By doing so, you can schedule an initial consultation with one of our experts specializing in business registration in the Philippines.

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