Sorry for the lag in posts over the past few days. We are definitely back in the “rat race” now and there’s been almost no time to think about anything but catching up on things back home. Still, I had what I think is a really solid business idea for anyone thinking of moving to Latin America with a little bit of start-up cash.
When we met that couple on the beach in Manta, one of the things I was surprised to hear was that rental homes and apartments almost never come with appliances. No refrigerator, stove, washing machine, etc. Instead, this couple–and apparently most others–were forced to purchase their own. Add the fact that appliances tend to be one of the few expensive categories down there and the typical shoe-string expat has himself a little problem. Not to mention the notion of having to move them every time he relocates. Then of course, there’s always the thought in the back of a recent expat’s mind that this whole foray out of the First World may not stick in the first place.
It seems like a no-brainer, but what about an appliance rental business? If you were in an area that had a significant and/or growing expat community, your customer base would be ready made. If you were handy with a wrench, you could handle repairs and maintenance yourself. Otherwise, you’ve got a whole country full of low-cost employees who are used to keeping things running one way or another, rather than simply disposing of them American-style.
This would be a completely scalable business model, also, meaning you could start small and expand as demand and cash flow allowed.
I can’t imagine not using a business like that–at list initially–if it existed. Which tells me there are probably many others who would do the same. Assuming, of course, that your prices and policies weren’t completely obnoxious.
Anyway, just a thought. I considered keeping it to myself, then I realized there are 20 Latin American countries. If you count Suriname.