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Building A Small Village Shop - Cost

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The in-laws are getting on a bit and can no longer toil in the fields as much as they used to so I am thinking about getting a small shop constructed for them.

What I'd like to know is a rough costing.

It will be a small village shop, selling the usual type of stuff and is going to be built under their house. (House above on stilts, typical village house)

Does anyone have any idea how much this type of thing will cost in total? Building, electrics, finishing, metal shutter, freezer, fridge etc

It's in the East Of Ubon Ratchatani province if this makes any difference

Of course there's always someone in the village or surrounding area who can do it for xxxxx baht but would like some advice from guys who may have done it before.

Any advice/tips greatly appreciated


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I don't know the answer to your specific question on set-up costs but I would comment that the USP of a falang-funded shop would be the ability to fund higher value stock items (maybe only slightly higher) that villagers want but need to travel to the local town to get.

Most village shops stock very low value items to keep the inventory low cost for obvious reasons. So what happens is that choice is very limited and the Mom & Pop shops all look the same and others open up on a me-too basis to make them all unprofitable. Go to the nearest Tesco and watch what the locals are filling their pick-ups with. It won't be sweets, pop (sodas), uncased beers and crisps*, since they can get these in real time in the village already.

I see many people wanting to pay for a 711 franchise and I always wonder why they would not prefer to have the fun of setting up something using their own intuition/research/experimentation.

*Not entirely true - they will buy bulk and promotions

Edited by SantiSuk
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My wife used to have a small shop and noodle stall/restaurant out here in the boonies that did quite well for a few years but she eventaully closed it due to the lack of customers with actual money.

Towards the end it was can I have....... and I will pay you on payday and a few would pay and some wouldn't. In the end she told customers straight out that she wasn't a bank or a money lender and that if they wanted goods cash is the best way to get them.

She closed the shop for a while then another couple came along and rented it and though we told them they did the same thing and went bust owing money around.

The OP's problem is that people will know that the "farang" is backing the shop and will try to do the same as happened to my wife.

Although over the time she ran the shop she made an overall profit the last few months were a poor return.

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Do they own the farmland they work in? If not, it doesn't take much land to provide rice for the entire year and when they can no longer work they can rent it out for cash or 50% of the yield or something like that. Just another possible option.

The most profitable business in my in-laws village are the soul-less money lenders who take advantage of 90% of the village.

Edited by ubonrthai
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We have a shop in front of the house and sell the normal beer, whiskey and cigarettes etc.. Effectively these products return 20% profit. We do not sell the prepackaging food stuff but do on ocassions make pancakes and hamburgers on the weekends. We sell what we can make ourselves and doesnt just "grow on trees". There are other shops and some mimic what we sell, but that is OK because apart from the stuff listed first, the customer base for us are the kids and their tastes change with the wind. Two issues, they always can get 5 or 10 baht from someone, and they must have anything new or interesting.

My logic was to be as different as possible and to use things that Thais will not invest in, ice crusher, display fridge, BBQ, Waffle maker, toaster, hot water urn and deep frier. The issue you will have OP, is getting your inlaws to understand the need to be different from the rest to maintain interest and how to use the gear. To make it work means that four letter word, "work" and thought. Ask yourself if they will do that, or even want to try.

On the investment side our shop is set up under the verandah of the house and is a multi functional area so I can only approportion part of the total investment in renovations. I suppose 70,000 baht would about cover it to date.

Do we make money? Well we make a margin which helps pay my beer bills from a very small number of customers.

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It would depend to some degree on the relative wealth of the village - with some villages the disposable income to spend in such shops is so small as to make a shop unviable. The suggestion of checking out what the villagers are buying in Tesco is only valid if the actually go there. As an example, in my wifes village a trip to Tesco would be a rarity as virtually everything they consume is either from the local market or from mobile vans for veg and occasionally meat. They built a new Tesco last year about 20 minutes away but hardly anyone goes there from what I have seen. The small 'shops' in the village are just tables set up in the space under the house rather than purpose built affairs.

One thought my wife did have was a small 'shop' selling wellington boots since there seemed to be a demand as everyone here is a farmer - I talked her out of the idea because with most of the people around being some sort of relation it would probably mean everything would be given on credit, gifted or at cost.

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Looked into the same idea for my wife who wanted something to do. But as far as I could see the outlay, though in farang terms not that big, it would take a very long time (if ever) to get back the amount invested and the profit per month would be small. As has been said in other posts in a village there tends to be many family members and very good friends who would either expect things free or 'I'll pay later'. I also agree that these village stores seem to mushroom. I have been living in this village, only about 100 houses, and at first only one shop, Now there are 3 and possibly a 4th opening soon. I really don't think with the hassle, amount of work and little profit (if any) in the long term makes it a viable proposition.

My advice is tread with caution, do a lot of groundwork, don't rush into anything.

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Most people buy in bulk at a local wholesaler, one of the big rip offs is a "Fridge". they never think through the cost of a MUST HAVE A FRIDGE and the return of kleeping things cold.

My in-laws use ice boxes, ice truck comes through every second day, they buy ice, keep things cold.

MUCH cheaper,

She has a noodle shop, very profitable, more so than having to re-sell things from a wholesaler, but you have to be a good cook to make it work and have no competition around.

Some wholesalers deliver. That works too, otherwise sometimes a trip to Macro you see people stocking up for the small village shops too.

Teaching people the basics of business is a good idea, sometimes they are keen, my in-laws where, they just need a few 1000's baht to get going and are totally self sufficient, so I had no problems helping them get going, and give a few tips on how to price things, and she is very popular in the village.

Why not? Kee Neo Farang!

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