10 Steps in Starting a Sari-Sari Store Business


Sari-sari stores are small retail outlets found in almost every neighborhood and, in some cases, on every street corner in the Philippines. If you’ve been thinking of starting a sari-sari store business at home, this guide may help get you started. Read this article for more details.

Most sari-sari stores are owned by private individuals from the store owner’s home. Commodities are displayed in front of the shop in a large screen-covered or steel-barred window. Candies, canned goods, and cigarettes are frequently displayed, whereas cooking oil, salt, and sugar are commonly stored in sacks or cans. There is also a tiny window where the customer’s requested commodity is displayed. It is a venture worth considering for a gradual introduction into entrepreneurship.

Sari-sari stores are a staple of every Filipino neighborhood. Sari-sari stores are not only a source of snacks, groceries, and home supplies for many Filipinos but it is also great meeting place for their neighbors. If you want to open your own sari-sari store, you must understand how to compete in this crowded market. This article will help you determine if a sari-sari store business is right for you and how to make money from one.

Read also: 10 Small Business Ideas You Can Get Started at Home

Here are some pointers on how to start a sari-sari store:

1. Make a plan

This may appear unnecessary to some, but having a clear vision for where your business should go will benefit you in the long run. Key details such as an overview of your marketing and sales strategy will keep you on track and point you in the right direction.

Don’t worry, this may appear complicated, but it isn’t. This is typically created by medium-sized to large-sized businesses when they first begin.

The majority of sari-sari store businesses have no plan at all. One of the reasons they fail is because of this. A plan is required to get your store off to a good start.

A simple business strategy for a sari-sari store could include the following items:

  1. A synopsis of your company’s mission (name, location, goods etc.)
  2. Your marketing approaches
  3. Some things to remember
  4. Ideally, you only need this to have a business direction.

2. Business capital

Sari-sari stores are typically set up in a family’s home through a tiny room with a window facing the road, usually with railings. It is critical to consider your startup capital or business fund. You can use your own funds or borrow from a local credit union or lending institution. Make sure not to borrow money with a 20% interest rate. A P10,000 startup capital may be sufficient to purchase the basic commodities.

A decent start in this business costs around P50,000, while other owners start with as little as P30,000. To be honest, a few thousand pesos in the capital can get a sari-sari store up and running with a good variety of sweets, cigarettes, and other fast-moving goods. Capital money of P70,000 to P100,000 will be reasonable enough to supply a wide variety of products and goods with ample stocks to spare for those with loftier visions and well-financed ventures.

So the most expensive part is simply stocking up on products to sell. Depending on the variety and quantity of products, this can range from 2,000 to 30,000. If you are constructing a dedicated space for your sari-sari store, the amount of capital required will skyrocket.

3. Sari-sari store business registration

You must conduct your business legally. And, like any other business, you must abide by laws and local ordinances. Fortunately, the process is not as time-consuming as the requirements for larger businesses or corporations. And, especially at the start of the year, most local government units now have One-Stop-Shop programs for processing business permits.

Here are the documents that are commonly required from you to process and submit for the easier processing of your business permit registration:

  1. Cedula
  2. Clearance of the Barangay
  3. Certificate from a Food Handler’s Seminar (if you will sell cooked food)
  4. Clearance from the police
  5. Identification Number for Tax Purposes
  6. Social Security Number
  7. Philhealth
  8. Pag-IBIG Fund
  9. Registration of a Business Name
  10. Mayoral or City Office Business Permit

Take a trip to your municipal or city hall first and enquire if they have a one-stop shop service for faster business registration. If not, ask them for a list of the requirements for registering a sari-sari store business. This is because the requirements differ depending on where you live.

Finally, while Minimum Income Earners are tax-exempt, the BIR still requires tax-exempt individuals to file for TINs and annual tax returns. This is a government requirement that we must comply with.

4. Cost of building materials and labor

A tiny 16-square-meter floor area can already accommodate a spacious sari-sari store and therefore would only cost between P48,000 and P50,000 to construct, based on the P3,000 per square cost estimate factor. With a capital of P80,000 and a sari-sari-store construction cost of P48,000, P32,000 remains for merchandise capital.

Indeed, a decent space large enough for an improvised retail display area in a reasonably densely packed neighborhood can already do the job and save construction costs. However, for those who intend to stay in this business for the long haul, a good store appearance will instill confidence and trust in their target customers.

5. Location

Most sari-sari stores are located directly outside the owner’s door, right in front of their home. This allows the owner easy and convenient access to the store. While this is not entirely incorrect, other spots in the area should also be considered. The goal is to reach a wider market than your neighborhood, to attract more people. Your business’s location will usually make or break it.

Ideally, you should operate your store in densely populated areas such as:

  1. Neighboring busy streets
  2. Highways and main roads
  3. Transportation terminals
  4. Plazas
  5. Parks
  6. Adjacent schools
  7. Other high-traffic areas

If none of these options are available to you, you can set up your sari-sari stores on a small street. Just make sure you’re not too close to another store. This ensures that you will have all of the customers to yourself!

6. Suppliers

It may be more convenient to purchase your goods from the grocery store at first. If you want to live longer, however, buy directly from suppliers. As you are aware, purchasing from suppliers allows you to save more money, allowing you to offer the lowest prices! Maintain good terms with your suppliers, and you may be able to obtain a credit line, discounts, and other benefits.

7. Merchandise

If you’re starting with a small budget, consider selling basic necessities first. This includes goods and products such as:

  1. Rice
  2. canned goods
  3. noodles,
  4. condiments (e.g. salt, sugar, soy sauce, etc.)
  5. toiletries
  6. Shampoo
  7. Toothpaste
  8. Soap
  9. Detergents
  10. and the like, as well as snacks for all ages.

You can also stock up on cigarettes and liquor, but keep in mind to obtain the necessary permits. Meanwhile, if your business is close to a school, you can sell inexpensive snacks, refreshments, sweets, and school supplies. Furthermore, in this day and age when everyone has a cell phone, offering a cellphone load is a must. If it’s near a hospital, you might need to sell diapers, first-aid kits, and other items.

After all, the basic necessities you’ll sell are determined by the location of your store. However, if it is in a regular neighborhood, you can sell the common necessities that we require.

Finally, it is always best to simply ask your customers. You can begin with the items listed above, but I strongly advise also asking them personally what else they recommend.

8. Selling Price

Find out how much your product is selling for in your area and simply match it. Do not immediately enter a price competition but instead, advertise your items at a lower price.

In fact, if you have a more suitable location, you can sell it for a slightly higher price. And if you provide good service, most customers are more likely to be attracted to your store than others with grumpy salespeople.

9. Accounting in business

Monitoring your business transactions is critical to the success of any company. Even if you are not an accountant, you must have a bookkeeping system in place to record your revenue and expenses.

Traditional ledger notebooks will suffice for a sari-sari store. However, it is recommended to create a computer spreadsheet to make calculations and projections faster and easier.

10. Quality customer service

One of the most important factors in the success of your sari-sari store is to provide excellent customer service. A sari-sari store business is more than just selling; it is also about serving your customers. This is something that many business owners overlook, but you should not.

You and your sales team should always be cheerful and eager to serve your customers. Be pleasant and helpful. And get to know them on a personal level. This promotes loyalty.

Advantages & Disadvantages of a Sari-Sari Store Business


1. It’s simple to get started.

The sari-sari store is a business that can be started in a matter of days due to its low capital requirements and simple setup. It’s also a good starting point for people who want to gain business experience and, if successful, expand into a larger retail store.

2. Rent and salary savings.

You can save money on rent and salary if you run a sari-sari store out of your home or with the help of your family.

3. Improve the community’s relationship.

Being the friendly neighborhood sari-sari store means you are the go-to place for the daily necessities of the surrounding families. This allows you to form stronger bonds with your neighbors.


1. There is fierce competition.

Because almost everyone can start a sari-sari store, competition is fierce. Not to mention competing with convenience stores and grocery stores. You must figure out how to keep your customers returning to your store.

2. Low sales volume, low margin.

Sari-sari stores only add a small profit margin to their prices to stay competitive because convenience is their main selling point. They also do not sell in bulk, so they need as many repeat customers as possible.

3. Poor-quality product reputation.

Sari-sari stores have a bad reputation for selling low-quality goods. This is most probably due to some owners not properly caring for their inventory by exposing it to the sun or air or allowing products to expire. This is avoidable with proper care and inventory management.

Is a Sari-Sari Store Business Suitable for Your Situation?

You should now have a better idea of whether a sari-sari store will work or not based on the above guidelines and what you researched about your customers and competitors.

  1. Will I have any prospective customers?
  2. Are there any products that my prospective customers will purchase frequently?
  3. Are my prospective customers unhappy with my competitors?

If you answered ‘No’ to the above questions, don’t get too worked up about opening a sari-sari store. Instead, you can apply what you’ve learned and researched so far to start another business. If you believe your sari-sari store has a chance of succeeding, it is time to start planning how your store will do. If you believe your sari-sari store has a chance to succeed, now is the time to start planning how it will do so.

Many Filipinos choose to leave their regular jobs in order to feel what it is like to be their own boss. Many of them aspire to be entrepreneurs because it allows them to receive full rewards for their efforts, set their own hours, and make critical decisions for their businesses.

So if you have a novel idea inspired by your hobbies and passions, research how to turn it into a home business. These concepts can be applied to BRIA Homes’ affordable houses and lots, as well as condominiums. Before attempting to solve the problem of how to launch a small business in the Philippines, you must carefully research and forecast a variety of elements to ensure that your business will thrive.

BRIA Homes, a leading housing developer in the Philippines, seeks to bring affordable house and lot, and condominium units closer to ordinary Filipino families. BRIA Homes find joy in completing projects in a timely manner. It employs new home-building technologies in all projects to reduce construction time while maintaining quality.