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How to Start Your Own Business in Thailand

Updated on April 22, 2016

Joined: 8 years agoFollowers: 225Articles: 124

Starting a Business and Making Money in Thailand

How to start a business in Thailand is a topic most often brought up by travelers who have become enamored with the lifestyle they've experienced in the Kingdom. It's also the way they believe they can live in the country longer while making a comfortable living in Thailand. But they are not aware that foreigners who want to open a shop in Thailand is not allowed to fully own a company; except for US citizens under the US Treaty of Amity. And they wonder how much it cost to start up a business in Bangkok, Chiang Mai or on any of the idyllic beaches along the country's beautiful coastline.

There are also cultural differences and legal boundaries that have to be considered before planning to open a shop in Thailand.

In this article I will explain what you have to do legally and what you should expect while operating a business in the Thailand. You will also learn the benefits as well as the pitfalls of setting up shop. I'll also touch upon a few business ideas and ventures that I think will work and will not work. The advices in this hub are based on my experiences as well as stories from foreigners who own restaurants and retail shops throughout Thailand and living their dreams.

Most frequent visitors or long stay residents in Thailand have dreams and aspirations of opening a bar business in Phuket, a seaside bungalow resort in Koh Chang and even a coffee bar in Bangkok. Whatever business you ultimately decide to start you have to seriously consider what you are going to be doing and most importantly have an exit plan if all fails. Sadly many businesses started by foreigners do fail at a high rate. Mostly due to unpreparedness in finances. But the potential rewards are great if you are up to the task and if lady luck smiles upon you with good fortunes.

While speaking to most bleary eyed travelers I come across who want to open a business in Thailand I can easily see within a few minutes that they really have no idea what they are getting into, especially when they don't have a business plan. But the most important plan they are lacking is the exit plan.

Starting a business in Thailand is not as hard as you would think since the country is very capitalistic and extremely receptive to foreign businesses. And with a nation of spenders on the heels of China's explosive growth, Thailand is on the receiving end of an exploding middle class with cash to spend.

Thailand has a lot of potential for a successful business if you:

  • Have a strong idea and business plan
  • Have ample supply of funds to start your business
  • Willingness to understand Thai culture, mentality and be open minded with a huge dose of patience

Before you read any further, my advice is that if you are a casual visitor to Thailand you might want to stay in Thailand much longer to get a better feel of what you will be getting involved in. Unless you have so much money that you don't know what to do with it (if that is the case please write me a check). And whether you like it or not you will have to learn the Thai language and perhaps even read Thai in order for your business to grow successfully.

Finally, you should assess your goals and think through your plan. If your wish and desire is to open a small business in Thailand with limited capital you have to accept the fact that it might not make you a millionaire back home. However, if your business is successful, you can look forward to having a very comfortable living while enjoying life in Thailand.

Krispy Kreme in Siam Paragon - Opened by a wealthy Thai entrepreneur
Krispy Kreme in Siam Paragon - Opened by a wealthy Thai entrepreneur | Source

How Much Money Does It Cost To Start A Business In Thailand

There is no magic bullet figure. Though it is safe to say that the cost of opening shop in Thailand from start to finish is cheaper than opening one in your home country. Just keep in mind that the cost of opening up in Bangkok will cost slightly more, especially the cost of rent in prime locations which in the big city is higher compared to the rest of the country. But it is also where you can make the most money since the majority of the wealth is in Bangkok.

Manual labor and construction is very affordable. Once the shop is opened and depending on the type of business you are running; electricity, water, inventory and staff salaries are way more affordable compared to the United States. As of writing a salary of 6,000THB - 8,000THB is the norm for Thais working in restaurants, shops and department stores in Bangkok.

Here's a small example of expenses I pay for one of my coffee shops in Bangkok:

  • Staff salary: Full time 8,000THB/month | Part time: 4,000THB/month
  • Rent: Coffee shop 15sqm. 13,000THB/month
  • Expenses: Supplies and inventory 15,000THB/month (ice, cups, sugar, milk, coffee beans etc.). Of course this amount changes month to month.
  • Electricity and water 800THB/month total; water usage is cheap in Bangkok and air conditioning is already provided by the department store I'm renting from which is why my electricity bill is ridiculously low.

Those figures above are more or less rough estimates totaling 30810THB per month. If I take those numbers into account and compare it to my hometown of New York City my expenses would be about 250,000THB to 300,000THB per month.

This is essentially part of the reason why foreigners want to open shop in Thailand when they discover how affordable it is to open up their dream business. So they sell all their belongings including the dog, pack up their bags and never look back.

That could be a big mistake. A back up plan or exit plan or emergency plan is needed if the business fails. There is no guarantee for success in the Land of Smiles no matter how well you planned and executed your business. Besides planning your business financially you should plan on reserving a portion of your funds to return home if necessary. Be prepared, always have enough money for emergencies. This is true in your home country and it's even more true in Thailand.

Personally I have failed businesses in Thailand. I was prepared though so I learned from my mistakes and forged ahead.

Thais love eating cold sweets which also appeals to tourists too. Opening a shop that targets primarily local Thais and tourist secondary is the key to success.
Thais love eating cold sweets which also appeals to tourists too. Opening a shop that targets primarily local Thais and tourist secondary is the key to success. | Source

Starting a Legal Corporation in Thailand

There are several types of corporations that you can set up. The type you choose should depend on how much you are investing or how well you know the people you are getting into business with. Remember, foreigners are not allowed to own 100% shares of any business in Thailand, unless you are a US citizen which you can read more about below.

The most popular way to start a business in Thailand is to register a business under a Thai person. This is what I have done and know a few others who've gone through this course.

Obviously if you are going to register your business under a Thai partner, it has to be with someone you trust life and death with along with your hard earned money. That said, the majority of successful small foreign owned businesses in Thailand have started out this way. It's also by far the fastest way to set up shop and you may not even need to involve hiring a lawyer which cuts costs. Now I can't tell you how to find a Thai partner, especially one you can trust a substantial amount of your money with. Foreign business owners usually file a business under a Thai wife, Thai girlfriend or very good Thai friends/business partners that they have known for a long time with a good background.

All you have to do to register a business under a Thai person is to have your Thai partner head over to the governmental agencies with basic information such as type of business. Then you will need proper paper-works of where you will be doing business so a contract with a landlord is required. Then your partner will need to deal with a governmental agency involoved with taxes and acquire any necessary business licenses. Believe me this isn't as hard as it sounds and depending on the establishement the process is very quick and easy for Thais. And if you will be setting some type of street side restaurant you will need to have your Thai partner head over to local police precinct and agree on rent payments, which is really not much, depending on size and establishment.

Types of legal corporations you can set up are Limited Thai Partnerships and Established Thai Partnerships, which still require you to have Thai partners along with your name as company shareholders. However foreign partners cannot own the majority share. There are ways to circumnavigate the rules such creating "dummy" Thai partners. But I wouldn't let this idea even cross my mind since the punishment involves heavy fines and imprisonment.

If you want to have your name on record as a company shareholder you should hire a lawyer who will be by your side to set up agreements with your partners. Remember, in Thailand, contracts written in Thai are contracts which take precedence over foreign written contracts. Since I have no experience in Thai partnerships I recommend a popular foreign run law firm called Sunbelt Legal Advisors based in Thailand.

Which ever route you choose to take it is imperative you let your Thai partner or representative do the majority of the negotiating when dealing with construction, buying a Thai franchise or buying a Thai business to acquiring inventory with local Thai suppliers. As a Westerner and especially if you are not fluent in Thai you will have a higher risk of being subjected to dual pricing, more red tape and unnecessary price haggling.

You can try opening a business in a BTS station, but space for rent is hard to come by now
You can try opening a business in a BTS station, but space for rent is hard to come by now | Source
In Siam Paragon Department Store - Subway is a US Franchise
In Siam Paragon Department Store - Subway is a US Franchise | Source

Treaty of Amity - A Must Read For US Citizens

Treaty of Amity and Economic Relations is an exclusive agreement between Thailand and the USA. Signed in May 29th, 1968 it gives US citizens the right to own 100% of a company in Thailand and vice versa.

You will need a lawyer to help you facilitate and navigate the technical rules involved in opening up a business under the treaty of Amity and without saying you will still need a Thai national you can wholeheartedly trust with your best interest in mind. Starting a company under the Treaty of Amity costs double compared to starting other corporation types as well as the same scrutiny and governmental regulations as forming a Thai corporation.

I am a US citizen and I had the option to form my business under the Treaty. However after speaking extensively with a few US business owners operating under the Amity in Thailand it was explained to me that it took half a year to get the paperwork completed on the Thai end, and time was money. Though they enjoy the fruits of their labor today they would not have wanted to gone through the process again if given the choice. I am not trying to discourage any US citizens from trying to start a business under the Treaty of Amity in Thailand. It might be easier today with many professional law firms in Bangkok. Just make sure you have the right legal representation such as Sun Belt Advisers.

So why are US citizens so special? My theory is it must have had something to do with major US corporations not being too comfortable with the fact that they won't have total company control. I'm sure the big wigs in Coca-Cola or US car makers did not want any unwanted shareholders in their stakes in Thailand. With some lobbying in Washington they successfully had the US government squeeze out some sort of deal with the Thai government. Ahhh capitalism. Don't you just love it?

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A business directory list - You can find all sorts of contacts in this directory for building and supplying your business ventureIf you need to advertise or market your company you will find a list of agencies in this directoryA Thai magazine with franchise opportunities. It's only in Thai though but full of pictures of businesses.
A business directory list - You can find all sorts of contacts in this directory for building and supplying your business venture
A business directory list - You can find all sorts of contacts in this directory for building and supplying your business venture | Source
If you need to advertise or market your company you will find a list of agencies in this directory
If you need to advertise or market your company you will find a list of agencies in this directory | Source
A Thai magazine with franchise opportunities. It's only in Thai though but full of pictures of businesses.
A Thai magazine with franchise opportunities. It's only in Thai though but full of pictures of businesses. | Source

Start-Up, Franchise or Buying a Business in Thailand

Depending on the type of venture, setting a start-up business in Thailand from scratch is fast and quick. For instance Bangkok has a lot of excellent designers who can help you create your dream store front at the fraction of the cost in the West. And construction is very fast since they work around the clock. Furniture, restaurant equipment and office equipment can be easily found and purchased at reasonable prices. If you need to find wholesalers in Thailand for all types of equipment, stock or inventory, head over to a book store and ask for a Thai business directory. These books are invaluable for finding the right contacts to start and acquire the necessary items to get your business on the right track.

Franchise opportunities are plenty in Thailand. Thai franchises are very affordable and if you are looking to invest in a Thai franchise there is a magazine you can purchase in most book stores. Inside you can find franchises for ice treats (very popular), noodle shops, spas and services. Then there are the international franchises. A popular sandwich shop franchise called Subways are popping up all over Bangkok. Many US franchises are very successful in Thailand. Matter of fact many are more successful here in Thailand then they are back in the USA.

Buying a business might require you to look for a broker so it can be a bit pricey especially when it involves hiring a lawyer and accountant to sort out the feasibility. Many businesses are put up for sale by Thais and foreigners whom for a myriad of reasons need to go home in a hurry or just gave up. The drawback to buying a business of course is that there is a reason why the seller wants to sell. The positive is you have a business ready in a box so all you have to do is nurture and grow it. Buying a business is a crap shoot though as many of the best profitable businesses for sale are usually swooped up by brokers themselves or by Thais with the inside information. Here is a company associated with Sun Belt legal called Sunbelt Asia and they do broker companies for sale. Regardless you must do your due diligence and check to see if the business you are interested in buying has legs to survive when the keys are handed to you.

US franchise Famous Amos Cookies - This shop is in a very expensive mall called Siam Paragon.
US franchise Famous Amos Cookies - This shop is in a very expensive mall called Siam Paragon. | Source


If you work at a business you started in Thailand without a work visa such as a restaurant you may just get away with it without any consequences. However, if your restaurant is successful and your competition is suffering they just might make a call to the local immigration office and report you. The penalty is deportation and in extreme cases shutting down your business permanently. This is something to think seriously about.

Work Visa or No Work Visa?

It is strictly prohibited to work in a company in Thailand without a work visa. As a foreigner you are not even allowed to volunteer at a business you've funded. That means even if the company is under your name you will still need a work permit. There are monthly fees or taxes for work visas which cost a minimum of 5000 Baht. For a small business in Thailand that is a considerable amount especially when you multiply it by 12 months. It's one of the reasons why most foreigners register a business under a Thai person they trust and micro-mange covertly.

Since visa rules may change at a moments notice so it is best that you do visa research on your own. is a good place to start regarding visas as well as starting businesses in Thailand.

You can stay on the business premise of course and have your Thai partner delegate. This is the reason why you and your partner must absolutely understand each other both fiscally and personally before you start your venture.

Dairy Queens are all over Thailand today
Dairy Queens are all over Thailand today | Source
Remember Swensen's in the USA? Well you can find them all over here in Thailand too
Remember Swensen's in the USA? Well you can find them all over here in Thailand too | Source
Thais run on Dunkin' Donuts too
Thais run on Dunkin' Donuts too | Source
Mos Burger is a popular Japanese burger joint
Mos Burger is a popular Japanese burger joint | Source

Business Ideas That Might Work And Won't Work

There are many foreigners who want to open a business in Thailand and have the money (and hopefully an exit plan) but don't know what to start. Then there are those who have way too much money but have ridiculous ideas that in all probability will take off and profit.

The key to having a successful business in Thailand is to target the Thai demographics with only foreigners making up the smaller percentage of sales. For example there are many foreigners who have the idea of opening a go go bar or a small beer bar with ladies available for sexual services. It is the wrong way to go and I strongly advise against it. First and foremost there are enough of these venues. Then there are the moral and ethical reasons why you should not start such a business.

Finally if you decide to concentrate solely on foreign customers you are missing out on the much larger Thai customer base whom would never step through the doors of go go bars. And foreigners come and go but Thais are always loyal to their favorite places of business. So do not make the mistake of targeting the foreign market exclusively.

Consider this. Thailand has a tumultuous history with military coups and clashes against the government occurring once every decade. Once the ashes and rubble is cleared any businesses catering to foreign tourist may have suffered so greatly that it will take them awhile to recover.

The best business in my opinion is the Food Business. Here are 3 reasons why:

  1. Thais love to eat in groups
  2. Thai eating lifestyle is changing rapidly towards Western foods
  3. There are no kitchen appliances such as stoves and ovens in the majority of apartments and condominiums in Thailand

Eating is a communal affair and since the average Thai apartment is small it is not suitable for large friendly gatherings where everyone can eat comfortably.

Thanks to a bit of cultural imperialism from the West, eating on the go is becoming quite frequent for middle income office workers in Bangkok. Instead of grabbing a bowl of rice porridge with minced pork; many today are preferring small sandwiches, breads, bagels and pastries with a cup of coffee for breakfast. Through lunch and dinner you will find Thais dining in Western style fast food restaurants in groups.

But the reason that lit a light bulb in my head is that Thais living in city apartments and condominiums do not have a full kitchen. With so many people concentrated in one place they have to eat out.

Here are 3 small restaurant ideas that I think might work:

  1. Buffalo Style Chicken Wings
  2. Pommes Frites (Belgian Style Fries with assorted flavored dipping sauces)
  3. Fast Food Trucks (Tacos, Waffles, Crepes etc.)

As a native New Yorker I noticed a lot of remarkable similarities between the Big Apple and the Big Mango which is what Bangkok is called in relations to New York City. Thais are big time foodies and will frequent their favorite eateries often and in groups. Buffalo Wings and Pomme Frits are easy to make along with the dipping sauces that accompany them. Thais and foreigners easily recognize them and there won't be a huge learning curve while teaching Thai staffs how to cook and prepare those dishes properly.

Mobile food trucks I believe are also a really good idea. It's very popular in the USA and I think can work very well in the Bangkok. There are a lot of clubs and discos in the city that open late in the night. If you park your truck outside a very popular club around closing time you will be rolling in the Baht as hungry young clubbers are usually those who try new things to eat.

Personally, I do not have the time nor the resources to open these businesses currently. But if you are interested in opening up these businesses just contact me and I'll offer my advice.


Having a successful business in Thailand as a foreigner is a great way to enjoy the country and live abroad. The potential for profits is high with so many Thai youths and a growing middle class willing to spend money.

One final thing you should think about is that Thailand has a history of political instability with military coups occurring every decade or so. Also at this moment foreigners living in Thailand long term are basically less than 2nd rate citizens and it doesn't look like they will be granted full rights as a Thai. Thai immigration laws can change for the bad, further limiting the amount of time a foreigner can stay in the country or create more legal red tape.

There is a lot of uncertainty to consider before thinking about opening a business in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya or Phuket so give careful thought and plan carefully especially for the future. But if you are fully prepared, done your market research and know your business plan inside and out with plenty of funds for start up and exit then your rewards are great for a successful business in Thailand.


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    • Frank Baldwin 5 years ago

      Nice job. Very informative. I am also from New York (upstate)and have been here six years.

    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 5 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      Thanks Frank, I'm glad you've found it helpful. Did you hear about the new Bagel shop in Bangkok? It's a great idea and I hope they do well.

    • Tipmanee profile image

      Tipmanee 5 years ago

      if you want to open new shop in thailand ,In Square Shopping mall is new shopping mall in bangkok near Chatuchak Market ,Investment is not expensive. For starting investment.if you can contact us

    • Isaiah 5 years ago

      Can give me your contact tipmanee... I need your advice. My email is

    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 5 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      I would be happy to offer some advice Isaiah. There is a button below my profile picture with my email address. Just click on that and you will be able to write to me. Thank you for visiting!

    • mylifepharm profile image

      mylifepharm 5 years ago from Kuala Lumpur

      I do agree with this article. Thailand is a good market for everyone to invest. Based to my past experiences it is easy to get or rent shop lot or building because rental is very low. In Hadyai town for example we able to get 5 floors building at less than $1000 a month. Nice to stay in Thailand. Their foods # 1 for me. Many friends have the same opinion too.

    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 5 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      mylifepharm, thank you for visiting and commenting. Hadyai is a place worth looking into for sure to start up a business. Lots of tourists and plenty of locals are keys to success!

    • Tania Peters 5 years ago

      I have a number of questions after about starting up a business venture in Patong, are you able to guide me

    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 5 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      Hello Tania, you can find my email by clicking my profile picture. I will do my best to answer your questions.

    • peyman 5 years ago

      can you help me about graphic buisness in bangkok .because i am graphic desigener .I want to know how can i start in thailand.& one more question if i like to go for restaurant buisness could you explin more for me.thanks for your help.

    • Stevie846 5 years ago

      Very good informative read. I would love to live and work in Thailand but its a HUGE leep of faith into the unknown and its scary as hell. Maybe I should get out more and I guess ill never get there if I dont try. I think ill visit a few more times before I think about trying anything like this.

    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 5 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      @Stevie846, visiting Thailand more and doing your due diligence would be a wise decision if you want to start a business in Thailand. Good luck, and feel free to email me if you have any questions at all. Just click on my profile picture and you will find how to contact me.

    • Kate 5 years ago

      Hi Edwin

      Your article is very helpful, by the way I am Thai living in Australia .. I am planing to have a nail spa in a posh shopping mall like Siam Paragon, Emporium etc ... what do you think ??

    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 5 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      @kate, I think it is a great idea! (assuming the rent at Siam Paragon or any other super posh mall is reasonable for you) Thai women love to pamper themselves. I once had someone ask me if a nail salon that also sells shoes is a good idea. Not sure if she went through with it. Let me know if you have any other questions.

    • Kate 5 years ago

      Thanks Edwin for your reply :)

      I would like to know how is renting price like at the posh malls? Hopefully there are some spots left over for me to start a business...

    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 5 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      @kate, Sorry I really do not know off hand how much the rent is in posh malls. If I can estimate I would say around a minimum of 35,000 to 45,000 Baht rent for a small shop such as 25 square meters. I do know certain locations within the mall will be higher, for example near entrances and well traveled paths in the mall. And malls will expect a 3 - 6 month security deposit. Spaces are limited but I suggest finding a good spot within the mall with plenty of visibility.

      You should swing by BKK when you have time since you're so close in Australia. And if you're able to 'poot pasa Thai' then the info gathering process will be so much easier.

    • Kate 5 years ago

      I poot pasa Thai.. Thanks a lot Edwin for your reply. I would miss making Aussie $$ though. This project needs to be rethinking. Online business for foreigners would be most suitable when you can be able to earn dollars not Thai Baht.

    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 5 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      @Kate, yes the trade off is that you will be earning Thai Bhats. However, if your nail salon idea is done right it is totally possible to make a very good living since the clientele in Siam Paragon are willing to spend money for services provided.

      I have seen a few well designed nail salon shops in popular malls such as Esplanade on Ratchada and from the looks they are busy. And I am sure most of the clients are repeat customers.

      You should take as much time to rethink your project as you'd like until you are comfortable diving in.

    • Venus Allen 5 years ago

      My husband and I would love to move to Thailand and start the business. However, we are not quite sure yet what is the best fit for us. I had experience in export, and I would love to do something like that. How can I start to get info?

      Thanks!! We really liked your web.

    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 5 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      Hello Venus Allen, thank you for the kind words! Export is very competitive, depending on which county you are based out of. You can find more info here for some help. Or visit your local Thai consulate or embassy to see if they can help you further in your export venture. Good luck!

    • Chemalyn Zambrano 5 years ago

      Hello Ed,

      Your article is truly informative and helpful for me. Thank you for sharing!

      I'm Chem, a Filipino national teaching here in BKK for 3 years now. I want to put up a small business here in Bkk because it's a perfect place to venture business. I have already a Thai friend I can trust with (as my dummy) to get the business permit for me. I'm planning to have a tiny coffee shop at certain BTS stations and the malls. How much do you think it would cost to get permit before I can start up the business? How long it will take for her to complete the process. She doesn't know the process to get the business permit. Can you help us what to do?

      Happy New Year!



    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 5 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      Happy New Year Chem!

      Okay, since my business is in the chatuchak district, my business permits were obtained from there. The cost was around 150THB to 200THB ( sorry can't remember exactly as it was yeas ago. There are a set of government offices opposite Chatuchak Weekend Market. My Thai partner received the permit the same day.

      It is even possible to open up shop before you get a permit, through your Thai partner.

      Have you located a spot for rent at a BTS station? It was hard to get a location when I tried.

      Good Luck!

    • mfriedstore profile image

      mfriedstore 4 years ago from 176 Flushing Avenue Brooklyn , New York

      Thailand is really nice place to put a business. may your tips on how to put a business helpful especially to those who are planning to put up their own.

    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 4 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      @mfriedstore, well hello, what a small world! I bought shelves and racks from your store when I had an office supply shop in NYC. That was about 15 years ago though. Glad to see a fellow NYC Hubber here!

    • mfriedstore profile image

      mfriedstore 4 years ago from 176 Flushing Avenue Brooklyn , New York

      Wow! this is great. I am glad that you still remember that moment when you had to purchase in our store. we really value clients like you.

    • Chemalyn Zambrano 4 years ago

      You're so kind for sharing this valuable info, Ed. I think I'll just go back to the Philippines and venture business there because my thai friend is not interested anymore and I can't force her. It's hard to find another friend to trust with. Thank you for your info. More power.



    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 4 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      Hey Chem, so sorry to hear it didn't work out. At least this happened before a business was actually started. Good luck!

    • chkdsk 4 years ago

      need more info...

    • Victoria Tran profile image

      Victoria Tran 4 years ago

      Dear Mr. Edwin,

      Glad to talk to you here.

      I am from Vietnam. My Phillipina and i would like to open a shop - lacquerware imported from Vietnam trading in Phuket. Like Chem's case, i found the Thai national friend who i can trust to get business permit. In our case, could you please give me some advices like work permit, import licence...My Thai friend will help us to get work permit for both of us? My Thai friend just help me to be half owner of my shop as i cannot own 100% capital there. This means she is only the partner on the paper. In fact, all investment is mine. What i should do for that?

      I am looking forward to your reply,

      Have a nice weekend, Mr Edwin,

      Best regards,


    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 4 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      Hi Victoria, I wish that I can assist you more in your import venture. However, I really have no clue at all about the import/export business. My only advice is to visit a local Thai consulate or embassy for the information you seek.

      Since you already have a Thai partner you can trust you're basically halfway there. However, you should still get a Thai lawyer in case.

    • Victoria Tran profile image

      Victoria Tran 4 years ago

      Mr. Edwin, thank you very much for your prompt reply. I agree with you. I will talk to Thai lawyer to avoid illegal issues. In the future i think i will need to talk to you for more experiences there. I will conact you in due course. Many thanks.

    • YadiraE profile image

      YadiraE 4 years ago from Puerto Rico


    • Julie 4 years ago

      Thank you!! Great Insights!

    • Cindy 4 years ago

      Hi Edwin,

      Do I need any kind of licence to operate a home-based baking business in Bangkok?

      Look forward to your reply, thank you!

      Warm regards,


    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 4 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      Hello Cindy, no you do not need a license for home based baking business. Matter of fact I bake my own cupcakes and brownies where I live for sale in my coffee shops. That's what I like about Thailand. In the USA it's illegal to open a lemonade stand to sell drinks outside your home.

      Before I started baking though, I studied up on food safety. You might want to do that too just in case. Good luck! And please let me know if you have anymore questions.

    • Cindy 4 years ago

      Hi again,

      Thanks so much for your prompt reply, really appreciate it! Have a great weekend ahead!



    • mikeydcarroll67 4 years ago

      Great overview! I liked the facts that you pointed out here.

    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 4 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      @mikeydcarroll67 thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it!

    • Amano 4 years ago

      Food trucks. Great idear. Thailand have a great tradition for food cars, they can be seen anywhere, and sell traditional street food day and night. But a nice designed truck could bring something new, that everybody wants to try.

      Question is wouldn't a license be needed to park it somwhere, or changing location. I guess competitioners would not be happy.

      Do they exist at all already? Or would one have to custom make a truck, which could turn out expensive?

    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 4 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      @Armano, yes, I think food trucks is a great idea too. I don't think you need a license to park. You will need a business license though. However, you might have to 'convince' the boys in brown to stay at a particular location if you know what I mean.

      Even street side flea markets in heavily populated sections of Bangkok have to pay rent to the local precinct.

      Personally I think a good spot would be Sukumvit 19 because it's a wide soi. You would have to park and sell at a location with good foot traffic and enough space for cars to pass.

      I have not seen USA sized food trucks in Thailand. I would think you could find something similar to work with. And I'm sure it would not be a problem at all to find someone to outfit the truck with kitchen capabilities. And yes, a really eye catching design would be awesome.

      How much it would cost I really don't have a clue. I've been already financially stretched with what I have been doing so not enough time to crunch the numbers on a viable food truck business. But it's safe to say it's more affordable than the USA if you live there.

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting Armano, if you have other questions feel free to drop by again!

    • amjith 4 years ago

      hi edwin,i am amjith from India,i would like to start a small beverage in thailand krabi but i didn't like own mine,i hav thai girl friend there she will start firm but how it possible?how much should i pay for license?i would like to live there,actually am too confused,kindly inform me further details

    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 4 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      hello amjith, I'm not familiar with the beverage business. Are you talking about distribution or manufacturing? Both are very different though manufacturing will cost the most. Distribution might be tough but if people like what you're selling then it should do well of course.

    • marc v vliet 4 years ago

      I just been looking at a new shoppingmall and i have to pay 1100b per square mtr a month ex VAT looks to me that it is not easy to earn it back. For example

      you take 100 sq mtr will be 110000B a month 6 fte 60000

      electricity/gas 5000 insurance?? etc.etc

    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 4 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      Hello Marc, thank you for dropping by, yes you can certainly expect to pay more rent for a shop in a new mall. Even malls that are older but in prime locations such as Siam Paragon cost that much depending on the shops foot traffic.

      So depending on what you are doing and how much money you have to invest you really have to choose your location carefully.

    • Quentin 4 years ago

      Hi Edwin,

      I own a business in Canada for 10 years now, have a Thai Girl friend and a second Home in Chaing Mai in a smaller City 1 hour north of Chaing Mai City. I am running out of reason why I can't move to Thailand full time. I need to work and there is no way I would work for someone. What I do for business in Canada I am sure would not go over well in Thailand YET. I love mortcycles and always thought selling and renting motorcycles that are not made in Thailand would be good business. I could see myself doing many other things from tourists based , food and building supplies store. What do you suggest? Or what may I want to consider?

    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 4 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      Hello Quentin,

      I know how you feel, believe me I do buddy. Well first thing I would take a good look at the location you want to start a business in and ask yourself if the product you are selling is unique and how much existing competition you have presently.

      If your competition is few or non-existent then you're in good shape. If you want to rent or sell motorcycles in Chiang Mai I'm sure you might have some competition. But if you have a unique sell point than you might be able to beat them out.

      So you're going to have to do a bit of research and I recommend doing something you're familiar with. So if you're familiar with bikes, then great. If you're not too familiar with food then you might want to skip it, not unless you know someone you can hire who can cook the best Thai food.

    • livingabroad profile image

      livingabroad 4 years ago from Wales, UK

      Some really interesting information to ponder about business in Thailand! Fantastically written also.

      We have just begun, a business adventure here. My father has just bought a franchise of an English school in Koh Samui. I've been teaching here for the last year so I suppose this is the natural progression!

      Would you have any advice for this type of business? We are focussing on the hospitality industry aiming to teach hotel staff customer service English.

      Let's hope we can make it a success, it certainly is paradise here! I'll be following all your hubs about Thailand closely. Keep up the good work! :)

    • Thomas 4 years ago

      Hello Edwin

      I`m planning to open a fast food bar/restaurant in Thailand some New York style food and maybe some Meixican too. I`m gonna do that with my friend (I am US citizen and he is Polish ) do you know how much approximately does it cost to do that under the treaty of amity ( all fees visas lawyers etc)? I`ve heard about 150000-200000 baht plus you have to have at least 3-4 millions baht on thai bank account.


    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 4 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      Hi Thomas,

      For information starting a business under amity, I suggest speaking to a professional since laws do change. Try emailing and I'm sure they'll help you out way better than I can. They should answer your questions for free and besides, you will need a lawyer in Thailand to expedite your application. And as far as I know they are the experts in the field.

      I think Mexican is a great idea. You'd probably know there are a couple of Mexican restaurant chains in Bangkok. I believe there is room for more. Even empanadas would work well I believe. Cost should be cheap and margins could be high depending on where you open.

      New York Style food might be tricky because it is too broad, unless you can narrow down your menu item.

      I have a friend who wanted to sell New York and Chicago style hot dogs. Problem is the local hot dogs manufactured in Thailand are not so tasty as the ones in US. And importing Sabretts or Nathan's brand to Thailand will be expensive. There's no way someone in Thailand would pay for a 90THB hot dog, unless you sell it in Siam Paragon and Central World where the locals have money to spend.

      And please do email me (my contact is right beneath my profile pic). I'm quite excited about your adventure and probably be the first one in your restaurant when it opens.

    • Thomas 4 years ago

      Thanks for the answer. I would rather open it in Samui, Phangan or Phuket what do you think?

    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 4 years ago from Thailand by way of New York


      Okay, here's my opinion. Personally I would not open a Western food based restaurant in the islands. The big reason being that your business will rely mainly on tourist.

      As much as I love Thailand, they do have some kinks in their political system and occasionally there's a flare up where airports get shut down and all hell breaks loose. And even if such events occur only in Bangkok, the entire country will feel the after effects.

      When that happens, tourism in Thailand will suffer greatly.

      So when I think about starting a business in Thailand I want to make sure that the majority of my customers are Thai, not foreigners. And the majority of Thais with spending money are in Bangkok. They are the ones who you should focus for a strong returning customer base. Even during military coups locals have to eat.

      Now that's what I think. I could be wrong. And there could be factors where you can succeed in Phuket and Samui. You could have more money or be smarter or better at marketing or just luckier.

      So I never want to discourage anyone.

      Now if I had the money and the brains to open outside of Bangkok, I would first look at any existing competition.

      I have a friend who wanted to open a Philly Cheesesteak restaurant in Pattaya. So he scoped out some places selling cheesesteaks, but not specializing in it. He even spoke to the Thai staff. He found out that cheeseteaks is the lowest seller.

      Turns out that not many people has never heard of a cheesesteak in Pattaya, even the foreigners. I guest it's only famous for us Americans. So he decided against it. And customers ordered the burger or fish and chips instead. And not all Thais, that is if they have the money to spend on a 200TBH cheesesteak sandwich do not eat beef for religious reasons.

      But you know what, Cheesesteak would probably do well near the US Embassy in Bangkok.

      The point is to make sure you do some research if you have not done so already.

      Good Luck! And remember, if you do open up somewhere I'm expecting an invite ;D

    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 4 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      Hello livingabroad,

      My apologies for the late reply, I thought I had replied already.

      I'm sorry to say I do not have any advice on teaching. Besides, I was the worst student in everything.

      But if your business is up and running already I wish you and your father the best!

    • Thomas 4 years ago

      Thanks a lot, I`ll keep you posted.

    • Wanyakala edwin 4 years ago

      i need a job from this country but am failing on how to start, help me am a Ugandan

      i need your assistance.

    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 4 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      Hi Wanayakala,

      Not quite sure how you can find a job in Thailand. Unless you have a special skill there really is no reason why a Thai company will hire you regardless if you are Ugandan, American or Canadian or anything else.

      Good Luck!

    • Photo Puzzle Guy profile image

      Photo Puzzle Guy 4 years ago

      Nice hub Edwin. I have run a business in Thailand now for 10+ years and have found it to be an interesting experience. My view is that Thailand is an excellent place to setup manufacturing of a product. It offers a combination of low overhead and salary cost but access to all the necessary business services such as shipping and raw materials. I would recommend getting yourself a good Thai accounting company to look after your tax returns and other documentation as this is by far the hardest part of doing business here (IMO).

    • Carlos 4 years ago

      Hello Edwin,

      Amazing website and really useful information. I am Mexican and I've been in Thailand for leisure a couple of times (once in Bangkok and once in Samui)

      I was thinking in starting a business (this will be my first time), a Mexican restaurant; I am currently living in the US, but I believe Thailand will be an excellent place for starting it. The main problem I found is to find a local partner (Thai) in order to start it. On the other hand, one of my relatives is a chef and she works in NY, I was thinking to start it with her help.

      How much do you think I will need to start it in Bangkok? I was thinking in a place where we can provide real mexican specialities, tacos (al pastor), enchiladas among others and of course beer and margaritas.

      What is your opinion about it?


    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 4 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      Hey Carlos, thank you for the kind comments! Okay, first off you are going to have some competition, I don't know if you're aware or not of a restaurant chain called Sunrise Tacos. They have several chains in major centers of Bangkok. I believe it's owned by an American too and they even have a Mexican chef. They are very popular and when I am in Bangkok I eat there about twice a month.

      There is another Mexican themed restaurant I believe it's called Coyote margarita, but I've only eaten there once.

      Are you a US citizen? If you are you can own a company in Thailand without a Thai partner. The only catch is it will cost you more money to do so. I suggest googling Sunbelt advisors who are based in Bangkok for legal advice and cost.

      My opinion is that since there are so few authentic Mexican restaurants in Bangkok you might have a good chance of a successful business. I would have a budget of at least $150,000 (preferably $200,000) for startup, equipment and for emergency funds. Location of course is important and will likely be your biggest expense. Can you start with less? Sure, however it's best to have as much funds as possible. The restaurant biz is fickle and can be a money pit where you won't see profit instantly.

      I also have to add that if you're starting a registered business in Thailand as a foreigner you have to have an additional X amount of capital. Again you should check with sunbelt advisors for that info.

      And once you have started a Mexican restaurant you should contact the Mexican Embassy in Bangkok, let them know of your Mexican roots. I'm sure they'll support your business and help start it off.

      Good luck! And do let me know how everything turns out!

    • Jennifer 4 years ago

      Just read your article and it was very informative, thank you!

      Just a quick question: if I was to start baking cakes and selling them from my home (in Chiang Mai), do you think I would need a business permit?

      My target market would be the expat community and possibly the local cafes (as a supplier).

      Thanks for your advice!

    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 4 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      Hi Jennifer, when it comes to opening shop in Thailand, foreigners do have to play by a set of different rules. As you know already, lots of Thais sell foods cooked out of their homes in markets and sois without a business permit.

      But I think (and this really is my opinion) in Chiang Mai, you can sell to expats and local cafes, as long as you keep it hush hush. This also means that the people you sell to should keep it under wraps too. Because if it's a small operation, it shouldn't really cause to much of a stir or unwanted attention.

      And if your cakes become popular all of a sudden and a demand is clear then you should certainly register your business.

      Good luck! And I love baking too, so let me know how your venture starts out!

    • Jennifer 4 years ago

      Thank you for such a speedy reply Edwin! Much appreciated :)

    • Jed 4 years ago

      Hi Edwin, Thanks for all the useful informations! Currently searching for a 15 sqm around 13000THB. Have any idea? Thanks!

    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 4 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      Hi Jed,

      Hmmm, it's not a big space so it should be easy to find. Since I'm not sure exactly what you're selling it's hard for me to pinpoint a location. But many malls that I've passed through in Bangkok always have some sort of space available.

    • Alex Crabtree 4 years ago

      Hi Edwin,

      Great article. Very informative. I lived in BKK for two years 06-08 and I am planning to return to open a business. I'm from Indiana by the way so I appreciate the bit on the Amity treaty.

    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 4 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      Alex, I'm glad I helped out a little, good luck and take care!

    • Nadira 4 years ago

      Hi Edwin,

      I am thinking of moving to Thailand, not sure which area yet however I'm thinking of opening up a raw vegan cafe/juice bar, what do you think about that? Do you think Thai people would go for something like that? Also do you know about how many tourists visit thailand every month, just a rough estimate. Also aside from business ventures, how are is the healthcare system in Thailand and also the schools?

    • Jed 4 years ago

      Hi Edwin, thank you for your reply! Sorry, my business is smoothie, ice cream type business. I went to Siam square and saw few shops, great location but already taken very fast. I don't know how to get them and I need hi - foot traffic area. Is it possible to find street shops with that price? Many thanks!

    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 4 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      Hi Jed,

      Yeah desirable locations are picked up fast, especially in popular shopping malls.

      For selling sweet treats I recommend trying to find a space in Fortune Mall and even the Central Pha Ram 9 mall which are across from each other.

      Both malls are narrow, so if you can rent a good location a lot of customers can be funneled towards your shop. Good luck Jed and let me please let me know how everything goes!

    • Nadira 4 years ago

      Hi Edwin,

      Did you see my message that I sent on the 17th?



    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 4 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      Hi Nadira, I didn't get an email and I thought I had already replied to your questions, sorry for the mix up.

      A health juice bar is a goo idea, however you're going to be up against some competition too. I am seeing Thais moving towards healthy eating habits but I mostly see it in malls. If you're planning on organic juices I have to add that organic produce is expensive in Thai and there are not a lot of organic farms.

      There is a juice bar in central world mall in chidlom on the second floor. They've been in that location for awhile and seem to do pretty good.

      I would estimate that there are at least 500,000 visitors per month in Thailand give or take a few thousand.

      Private health and school system are tops in Thailand. Government run hospitals and schools are not so great but there are exceptions.

      Again, my apologies for answering your questions so late. Take care and let me know if you have other questions.

    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 4 years ago from Thailand by way of New York


      I sent you an email. I see your comment but I didn't want to publish it because your email is on it. Some people might see it and send spam mail.



    • Jack 4 years ago

      Hi Ed ! This is a great article ! Many of the information are true. I'm leaving and working in Thailand for 3 years and I'm thinking to open my own business now. Of course at the beginning I would stil continue work for other company to have some funds to survive.

      I'm thinking about opening Subway franchise in one of the Bangkok suburbs. You have to invest 3-4 mil baht which is quiet a lot. I don't have much experience in food but I like subway and I see many subways are doing pretty good in thailand. I just think that this kind of business is less maintenance and time consuming. I would expecting 100k baht of income per month. I would be very appreciate on any comment from your site. Regards Jack

    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 4 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      Hello Jack,

      Subways is a great franchise. As you know you'll be receiving a lot of support and know how by Subways. And correct me if I'm wrong, subways should be giving you some type of training. So you will not be going in blindly.

      As you are aware already, location is key. Have you thought about where exactly you would like to open up? I recall somewhere that subways helps franchisees find suitable location too. I could be wrong though.

      100k baht/month is reasonable income contingent on location.

      If you have the money, I'd recommend finding somewhere near Pratunam, like inside platinum fashion mall. It's busy everyday plus you'll may get a lot of Muslim customers since the cold cuts should be turkey based (no pork).



    • Laci 4 years ago

      Hi Edwin,

      You run a perfect informative page. My idea is to have a shop rented on one of the busy beaches of Phuket and bake and sell a kinda sweet dough with sugar coating and nuts which is a traditional sweet in our country. It is simple and cheap to make and it tasted delicious and smells very inviting.

      Since you wrote before that the main target should be the Thais my question is: would the Thais like this??? There are different sizes in it, the family size can be shared by 2-3 persons, it is fun to do. What do you think?



    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 4 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      Hello Laci,

      I think it's a great idea. Thais love baked/fried sweets and they love to snack too. So it's perfect in my opinion because it's something the locals and tourists recognize easily.

      I have to add though the profit margin may not be that high though, depending on where you're opening shop.

      For example I bake a few cakes and other treats for my coffee shop in Bangkok. My shop is in an area where it's 99% locals in the lower to middle income range. So I have to price everything accordingly. For one square brownie I charge 25 Baht. In a big mall a brownie in a coffee shop like Coffee World is around 60 Baht. If I charged 60 Baht no one is going to buy from me.

      However, it sounds like your idea is unique so you might get away with charging a bit higher since your customers can't really compare prices. But keep your price point reasonable too.

      Since Thais like to eat in groups your idea should work well too and should be able to charge a little higher instead of a single serving price.

      I have to add that the costs for ingredients are slowly getting higher. I don't know if you use butter in your recipes but butter is expensive and I would think in Phuket the price might be higher. Margarine which is a butter substitute is widely used in Thailand is much cheaper. But I prefer butter because it taste better. Sugar and flour for dough is still cheap so no worries there. Nuts (depending on variety) can be expensive. I know peanuts are cheap but cashew, pistachios and walnuts are higher. Price for eggs fluctuates but you can get for cheap at Thai farmer markets.

      I know that my coffee and cakes won't make me rich and that's an expectation I had already. But there's enough profit for a relatively comfortable living because I have a lot of happy returning customers.

      If your idea is very unique and does very well I suggest starting a franchise. That's where the real money is.

      Laci you can email me by clicking on my name next to a tiny picture all the way on the top right of this webpage if you have any more questions. And I'd love to visit your business and it'll give me another good reason to visit Phuket!

      Take Care,


    • bobby 4 years ago


      i am from india,i am planning to start a website on my own in bangkok-i would be having 2 employes,can u please tell me how do i go about it? do i need to take a license for running it?do i need to register it for a current account?hosting and stuff all i know --waitng for the other legal answers..please do let me know

    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 4 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      Hello Bobby,

      I'm sorry but I can not help you out with the information you require. I really have no idea on how to start a website company. But it sounds like you will need professional legal help. If you do a search you should be able to find a law firm or professional agency that can assist you.



    • Swede67 profile image

      Hakan Bystrom 4 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Well hello Ed

      What a great hub you've created. I have read everyone's questions and concerns on here about starting a business in Thailand and appreciate your honest and valuable answers and opinions !

      I was born in Sweden and have been lucky enough to travel the world with family, as dad also enjoyed working and moving around the world.

      Lived most of my life in Australia, but also lived in Pakistan and lived and worked in Fiji !

      We had a seafood business in Fiji and the reason it was successful is because we catered for the local Fijian people and not just for tourists !

      Mum and Dad have been visiting Thailand for the past 10 years and always asked for me to join them many times, as they couldn't speak highly enough of Thailand and the local friendly people.

      Now that I have been there a couple of times, I'd love to live and own a business there.

      I'm doing my research as much as possible and learning as much as possible with the language and culture !

      I'm thinking about great Thai food going mobile off a great designed truck/mini bus with fold out chairs and table. I don't need to get wealthy off it, just as long as I get to spend time there and learn more about Thailand and the culture. Who knows what the future will provide ! I have been communicating with a Thai lady i met on my last visit that could help me start out ! but still not sure if she is legit if you know what I mean.

      She did mention hua-hin, would you know what that is about ?

      Anyway what do you think ?

      And thanks for taking time reading this post !

      Maybe one day soon we can meet in person and discuss further ?


    • Paul 4 years ago

      Hi Edwin,

      i wanted to know where ur shop is located in Bkk. Did u get my email...???



    • John 4 years ago

      Hi Ed, Thanks a lot for this brilliant article. Something I was a bit confused with is how do you legally stay in Thailand on a long term basis when opening a business? What is the process? If we go to Thailand under a tourist visa and then find a thai business partner to open a business, What type of Visa can we get and how?

      Are you saying from your article that we are not allowed to work in the business without a working permit. How would we go about getting one if we wanted to be hands on and make sure things are running properly? Any info about this part would be great.

      Thanks a lot


    • Rochford 4 years ago

      Hi Edwin,

      Is there a limit to how many business a foreigner can own? Also what would happen in the event of a Thai business partners death? (one of my options for a Thai business partner is 65)

      Thank you for this excellent article it has some very usefull information.

      Regards, Stephen.

    • Ant 4 years ago

      Hi Ed,

      Your article is very informative and helpful to people like us who want to set up business in Thailand.

      My family runs a furniture retail business in Malaysia and Singapore. We are looking to expand our retail operations in Bangkok. In your two cents, do you think the furniture business in BKK is feasible? We want to target middle-income up home owners and also the foreign expats living in Bangkok.

      Over the past 2 years we notice that there are many new condos development across the country so we assume that there must be lots of demand for home furniture and furnishing items.

      What is your take on this ?

      Thank you for your reply.

    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 4 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      Hi Ant,

      If your family has experience in the furniture retail business then that's a good start. Sorry to say I really have no clue about the furniture industry in Thailand. However, from what I see there are a lot of furniture businesses to compete against. But that's probably something you and your family would know more about since Malaysia and Singapore is just as competitive if not even more so.

      You're right, there are a lot of condos and townhouses built in Bangkok and the surrounding areas. So if you open up a furniture store you've got to really think about how you're going to reach those potential customers.

      For instance, I've been furniture browsing because I've just bought a condo but won't be completed until next November. So far I've been going to Living Index Mall and SB for furniture. There's an Ikea too but I haven't been there yet. They don't have the best quality furniture in my opinion.

      So if you open up a place with high end furniture with high quality material and become famous for that then maybe you can pickup a lot of Thai middle incomers and expats looking to really make there homes stand out. Because if you carry same products as your competitors then what would make them come to you instead of them? People with money don't care about price rather quality, workmanship, customer service etc.

      Good luck Ant, and let me know if you proceed, I could be a customer come next November!

    • Ant 4 years ago

      Ed!! Thank you so much for your valuable input. You are right I definitely have to spend more time studying the demographics and trends of ever changing Thailand.

      I will definitely send you an invite if my store really open in Bangkok!! Do you know who I can approach or speak to with regards to Commercial Property rental? Someone who is reliable and trustworthy.

      Thank you in advance for your reply.



    • ballioni profile image

      Suradej 4 years ago from Samaikul

      Hi Ed,

      Call me ball.I am thai and follow your hub.Sorry my grammar it not good but i understand all thing what you mean.Today if foreigner want to start business in Thailand it's not hard to do if your business success in Thailand it mean you will take 2 thing 1 is profit and other thing is relationship especially if your business in service field.

      If you know 2015 Thailand open AEC or afta or asean free trade that it mean your market expansion from 65 million to 400 million. If you have core business to serve our thai and asean people.

      I read messege from ant about possible to do in Thailand,If i advise please select area aroun thonglor,Ekkamai or crystal design center i think it's make your brand value because all location i said it's center of design and premium furniture inThailand.

      Thai people like product design such as iphone clean and style when you make click for thai people you will take profit a lot.

      But if your product it not high or premium positioning i advise you to survey furniture market around bangpho market it have a lot of wood furniture byou can see manufacturer open shop in this place absolutely sure this place you look liew standing on pricing war but this place can make your differentiate and market positioning.

      Just share idea sorry everyone if my englsih not good.


    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 4 years ago from Thailand by way of New York


      My apologies for the late reply. I've been receiving a ton of comment/solicitations which is really annoying. I try my best to get through all legitimate questions such as yours.

      I am definitely saying that foreigners are not allowed to work in Thailand without a permit by law. What I was stating is that many foreigners skirt the law by having a Thai partner run the front of the business while the foreigner (real owner) runs the business in the background. So they have no need for a work permit.

      You would need a professional service/lawyer to help with the paperwork for starting a business if you want your name on paper and get a work visa. Do a google search and when you find one I suggest going to their office to personally speak with someone.

      Take care and good luck!



    • Paul 4 years ago

      ED...I have been trying to find out where u have ur shop is located in Bkk.

      I am returning this Jan. and would like to see ur setup. I guess u r busy as i have sent u some emails already. I am serious about opening some sort of food shop. I have lived in Bkk before most recently in the Ratchada area.

      What are ur thoughts on franchises or opening up a food stall that u see all the time on the streets?

      I would appreciate ur thoughts...


      Khun Paul

    • Philip 4 years ago

      I like the idea of opening a subway too, but I'm not sure whether the Thais are a great lover of bread. When Subway was first launched in Thailand, the brand never really took off and subsequently closed. Whether this was due to poor management, who knows. However a few years later the brand was relaunched and I believe there are now 50 stores across the kingdom, 70% of franchisees own more than one shop (according to head office). I've been quoted 3-4 million baht, depending on its size. I'm tempted to take a punt, but there's always that uncertainy in the back of my mind, what happens if the business fails. I guess that's the risk you take when embarking on a new business venture.

    • Trym Staumo 4 years ago

      Hi. I am planning to set up a webshop and sell T-shirts, Polos ++ from Thailand to customers in Europe and America. How can I do this in a legal way. I will not take any chances of breaking the law in LOS.

      I look forward to your reply. Thanks in advance :) Trym.

    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 4 years ago from Thailand by way of New York


      Well the only legal way is to register your business in Thailand. If you're business is based in Thailand with no license you are breaking Thai law.

      I wouldn't be surprised if there are foreigners running the same type of business as yours in Thailand so they are taking a risk. Whether you want to take that same risk is totally up to you.

      So if you want to start your business legally then you're going to need to hire legal services. There are many but I can't make any recommendations. So whoever you hire make sure you ask plenty of questions and look for credentials.

      Good luck Trym!


    • Paulbigtuna 4 years ago

      Hi Edwin,

      I seem to have a hard time receiving an answer from you...??? I have emailed and wrote on here numerous times.

      I wanted to know where ur shop was located in Bkk and what u thought about a food stall or shop on the streets of Bkk.

      I would appreciate it if u could reply.


      Khun Paul

    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 4 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      Hello Paulbigtuna, this is the first time I've ever seen a comment from you on hubpages. Did you make a hubpage account recently? I've been getting a ton of emails and comments regarding this matter. Many of them are solicitations and even Thai women offering themselves up to be business partners lol! Anyways, my apologies if your emails and comments have gone unnoticed.

      Currently I do not have a coffee shop and it was located in the Chatuchak area. I sold it about 6 months ago because I'm focusing on another business project in Thailand.

      Years ago I bought a franchise selling Thai ice treats. So I had a small cart on wheels and a good location near Union Mall by Phahon Yothin MRT station. I had to hire a local to sell the treats which cost about 40THB for a cup. I paid my employee 7000THB for 6 days of work. It was tough work for him because it was hot and he had to transport the cart to and from my apartment parking space which I rented for 500THB a month.

      Even though business was good, after all of my cost I only made about 3000THB cash in my pocket. 4000THB if it was a good month. As you can imagine, I would've made more if I did not hire help. However, as a foreigner I'd stick out like a sore thumb and the boys in brown would certainly question my presence. I didn't want that sort of trouble. Long story short 3000THB is not worth it. Besides, who would want to buy something from a sweaty foreigner scooping their icy treats lol??

      At that someone suggested why don't I get 10 carts which means I can net 30000THB or $1000USD which is okay by Thai standards I guess. But that would mean I need 10 dedicated hired help. Even then with my limited experience I knew getting 10 good help is difficult. Can't imagine myself running around 10 different places to check if someone is actually where they're supposed to be and not slacking off. And getting a place to store 10 carts is not easy.

      Eventually, 5 months later my help quit. I don't blame him and was surprised he stuck around that long and he was once a farmer. At least while he tends the rice fields he gets to lay down on a hammock once in awhile for a snooze. Working for me all he had was a pink plastic stool. So I sold the cart and that was the end of my first business venture.

      A food stall or shop would work depending on what you're selling. Somtam shops can make a killing in a good location near offices. I always stress the food business is best in Bangkok if your customers are Thai, not foreigners. Burgers and chips might not do as well. And the size of your business matters too so a place with many tables and chairs is important too.

      If you can provide me with a little more info, I might be able to provide better advice. Thanks for dropping by and commenting!



    • Paulbigtuna 4 years ago

      Hi Ed,

      Thanks for ur quick response. I certainly know Union Mall as i went there many times. I lived in Ratchada near Sutthisan Mrt. I am returning to Bkk this Jan. and am interested in in some sort of food operation.

      Thinking about something like those CP chicken stalls that u see on the streets. Love the chicken and patronize it.

      I have a Thai gf who i trust so maybe she can help me. As to ur paying that guy 7000 baht for 6 days work...Wow...i think u paid him plenty as what is the avg. monthly salary? 9-10000 baht per mo. I know the thai mindset on work is much different than in the West. Hard to find good help...

      Do u live in Thailand now and have a business here or r u traveling the world?

      Anyways, it would be great to talk to u in person over coffee or drinks in Bkk if u find the time. I plan on being here for 1 year plus.

      Thanks for ur advice and keep up the good work. I'm glad i found u...!!!

      Khun Paul

    • Sud 4 years ago

      hi. Firstly thanks for your support for the people having a plan to invest in Thailand.

      Well i just wanted to know what's the process to open a simple food court with bar facility in Bangkok!! do we have to take a bar permission / permission to serve liquor?

    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 4 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      Hey there Paul, I love those rotisserie chickens, there's a spot I frequent nearby at least once a week! From what I've seen those types of shops do quite well but as you know location is key. Not sure if there's one in Ratchada or by Huay Kwang but I think that would be a good spot. I know a bunch of foreigners who rent apartments and condos in HK area who want something quick and something easily recognizable to eat.

      Though from what I see to really make some money in those smaller operations you'd have to be the one manning the stall personally. Otherwise, that hard earned baht goes to the hired help.

      Yeah, you're right, I absolutely did pay a lot considering this was about 6-7 years ago. But believe me, it was a lot of work especially when the guy had to hand pull the cart from my apartment parking space to the location and back. And he worked about 9 to 10 hours a day because at night a big street side restaurant opens up.

      Originally I put up 5500THB - 6000THB but no one accepted the job. But if you think about it, if a hardened farmer like the guy I hired quit in 5 months even with 7000THB pay it meant that the job is not a fun one.

      Currently I am working on a few business ideas for Bangkok since I do stay in Thailand majority of the year. I do travel around because it's what I love to do. I was in Thailand just last week and now I'm in Japan to write up some more hotel reviews. Then I have to head back to NYC to check on my family after that big hurricane mess.

      I should be in Asia at least after New Years so we can meet up if we're both in BKK at the same time. Meanwhile, let me know if you have any other questions!

      Take Care,


    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 4 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      Hello Sud,

      Thanks for dropping by and leaving a kind comment! Yes you do need permissions to sell liquor but there are ways to get by that, which I'm not going to openly discuss.

      Anyways, that might be a moot point because food courts, at least the ones that I think you're referring to in Thailand do not open late into the night. They usually close around 8pm if I'm not mistaken.

      And I've never seen a food court stall selling hard liquor or even beer. But I could be wrong since Thailand is quite big and I haven't been to every corner yet.

      Good Luck!


    • Sud 4 years ago

      Thank you Ed. my email id will keep in touch with you. thanks again.

    • Paulbigtuna 4 years ago

      Hi Ed,

      Wanted to know how u go about finding and hiring Thais to work for u?

      Thanks again,

      Paul...hope to c u sometime in Bkk after the New Year

    • matthew francis profile image

      matthew francis 4 years ago from UK

      Geninely interesting, I always thought shared ownership was fraught with problems. Didn't know about the US negotiated treaty existed. Thanks for informing.

    • Ling 4 years ago

      Hi Mr Edwin,

      Thank you so much for your information.

      On our recent visit to Thailand, we felt that setting up a food business is feasible, fyi, we are a Malaysian Couple.

      We are planning to sell chinese paus and soya beanmilk.

      We are planning to be suppliers to food trucks, hotels and restaurants.

      Do you think this idea is feasible?

      We will need a small factory around 1500sqf with constant supply of electricity and clean water, no need to be in a central area but not too remote from the city as we want to deliver our foods fresh daily to our clients, like what we do in Malaysia.

      We do not have a Thai partner. Is it possible for a permanent resident to own a business in Thailand? Because if everything works out we are planning to move to Thailand.

      Is it easy for us as Malaysians to apply for PR status in Thailand?

      Waiting for your reply.

      Thank You very much.

      Yours Sincerely,


    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 4 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      Hey Paul, I ask Thai friends to put out a word out. And usually they'll have a relative or know of a friend who wants to work. Though I noticed people are getting a bit choosy on types of jobs offered.

      So for example when I had that ice treat cart the only person who wanted to take up the task was a former farmer. A lot of menial jobs or task that require a bit of sweat are usually taken by Laos and Burma folks today.

      I think local Bangkokians prefer working in an air conditioned and comfortable environment.

      So depending on what type of job you have on offer including pay offered will determine how quickly you can hire someone.

      Keep in touch Paul and sure if we're here at the same time we can meet for a chat.

    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 4 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      Hello Ling, as a Malaysian I believe you will have to have a Thai partner as a majority shareholder. But you should check with a professional law office. There are quite a few and I recommend doing a google search. You can email these law firms and they will answer basic questions all for free.

      As for opening a factory I know that there are a lot of big industrial areas for rent that should suit your business needs. All of them are located on the outskirts of Bangkok but be sure that the place you want to set up your factory is on high ground so you won't have a flooding problem like the one that happened a few years ago and incapacitated many factories.

      Fresh chinese paus and soya beanmilk are food items familiar in Thailand and so you will have competition. So how your business can succeed greatly depends on how much you can spend on marketing.

      But this sounds like a very very big operation and all I can say is you really have to differentiate your product from the rest of the competition in order to succeed.

      Good Luck Ling, I wish I could offer more advice.

    • Kelviner 4 years ago

      Hi I am from Singapore just to find out whether to open a car grooming shop in Bangkok is it a good idea? My concern is the rent, roughly how much must i prepare for rent? and what are the unpredictable things i need to look out for? if best let me know how much $ i must prepare for it.

      Yours Sincerely,


    • Adee 4 years ago

      Dear Edwin Clark, need ur advise...I'm interest to open Tour Operator.... my email

    • Rui 3 years ago

      Hello Edwin, I've read your texts and found them very useful, thank you a lot, you are doing public service!

      And of course I have a question: I am from Portugal and have a promoter (for live concerts, medium sized about 1000 people) and I am thinking of moving (and opening a branch) to Bangkok. About creating a company, I am already informed, thanks to you.

      I believe there is a big market there but for what I have been investigating (internet only), there is not many cultural events happenning in Bangkok, specially live rock shows from western bands, which is strange, for a city with almost 10.000.000 people, and also several thousands of tourists.

      Can you think of an explanation for that? You think it would work, even if the tickets are a bit higher than in Europe (because of the distance)?

      You think that the thai Ministry Of Culture would be interested in partnerships/contracts?

      Thanks a lot



    • Nicky 3 years ago

      Hello Ed,

      I would really love to have an email chat with you about this business start-up topic...but I cant find your email address near your pic.....please advise how I can contact you? Going to Thailand with a one-way ticket in 6weeks and have "plans".....but of course, lots of questions.



    • ballioni profile image

      Suradej 3 years ago from Samaikul

      Hi Ed,

      This message i want to inform to KhunLing If you can please inform to him.

      Thailand market in chinese paus and soya beanmilk is very strong market for retial market we can buy in 7eleven CP group and other Brand is jade dragon they serve chinese paus. Warapornsalapao is a very good taste and higher price than chinese paus in local market.

      Price of Chinese paus

      Local market price - several grade between 7 - 10 Bht/Pieces

      - Premium grade between 15 - 2o Bht/Pieces

      Dpt.Store and Hotel such as Central,The Mall

      - Premium grade between 25 Bht/Pieces

      For soya milk we have Lactasoy , Vitamilk is a bigger market have many type of package.

      - In local market price (homemade) price around 7 -10 Bht/300 cc.

      If you want to sell in Thailand you must have style and your identity especially history can make the price higher than competitor must prepare this before do any marketing.

      Best Regards,


    • Bader 3 years ago

      Hi Edwin,

      I will be very thankful to get ur advice..

      I am from Dubai and i went to thailand once a time to pattaya.. And since last 6 months am thinking to go back and open a small business... Now, i have to ideas in ma mind and am little bit confused between them...1st is to open an arabic sweet shop with drinks or 2nd to open an arabic food such like a hot cheesy bread and hot meaty bread..sometging like famous in our country....

      I was tginking to open it in pattaya as i heard that the rent is very low...

      Please advice and kindly let me know what requirements i need to open the small bisiness if i wanna move from here from Dubai...

      Thanks a lot

    • Syed Rizvi 3 years ago

      I am an Indian looking for a franchisee in Bangkok with a minimum investment.

      Would appreciate your help

      my email is

      thanks n regards

    • Roro 3 years ago

      Dear Edwin,

      it is so great to have a net friend like you edwin, looking forward to meeet up in personal one day.

      Kindly, I am in my mid-way of buying a Franchise for Hotel Room/ Hotel Booking company, which is international. and to be operated from thailand, covering thailand. I would like to have your opinion

      on bringing up a foreign company name to thailand market, what are the chances of success in your eyes,% or Competitors in the market, and as a general view.

      looking forward to hear from you.


    • sergio 3 years ago


      im going to start learning thai languange and i was wondering if i need working visa to sell baconcheese burguers near nana plaza or soi cowboy

      might sound weird but i think it would sell nicely and that way i could have some kind of income

      thanks and hope to hear from you

    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 3 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      hello sergio, thank you for dropping by and commenting. yeah you'd need a work visa. I'm quite sure a foreigner flipping burgers out in the wide open will attract the attention of the boys in brown.

      there's no doubt it'll sell well but the problem is hanging in long enough while avoiding deportation.

    • sergio 3 years ago

      ahh i dont want that :D

      so that said i will need working visa to cook food in street

      thanks edwin

    • KhunThomas 3 years ago

      Hi Edwin. Do i have a private way to contact u? I have serious plans but like to talk private about this with u. Thanks in advance!

      Kind regards


    • will 3 years ago

      Hi Ed,

      im interested in opening a small juice bar in BKK. Do you have any advise on the best locations to operate such a shop? I like your idea of BTS stations. I know you said they're sought after space but from choice which one would you recommend i start my search at?

      Finally, which shopping mall would you side towards for this kind of venture i have in mind? I'll obviously be up in BKK again soon for a kind of inspection trip but i'd love to hear your opinions.


    • b00sey 3 years ago

      Hi Ed,

      Im also from NYC and been to Thailand a few times. Given the state of where our economy is headed, im thinking it may be wise to move to an emerging market. What are your thoughts on a low fat yogurt place such as Pinkberry or Red mango in BBK? Not necessarily a franchise but perhaps something of my own imagination? Thx for any imput

    • Sunder 3 years ago

      hello stick man,

      I hope you are Doing well in your Health And spirit , I Read Your Website and It was One of the Best information I can gather through, I am Planning to Open a bar and guesthouse With Food and Laundry Amenities in Pattaya, I guess I would Be carrying 2 M Thai bath with me for this Project, I know All the Bars in pattaya is On a Real good Quantity and They have ended up with a Dubious Results, I would Really like to Know answers For the following questions

      How much A bar makes in a Low Season? (lets be at a Minimum Count per month)

      How much Can we expect In a High season?(lets be at a Minimum Count per month)

      Getting a Trustworthy thai Lady But after that What prevention Can be taken to Keep ourselves on the safe side Is it necessary to get married to Her? or having a Thai partner will Work for Us.

      just keeping The thai Lady on a Shares of 20% and ourselves At 80% can be done?

      I have taken this On a serious note and that's what even my due diligence was all about "people buy people Not products"

      if i am Renting a bar merely for 40,000 Bath and What's The expected amount Of Running Cost of the Bar and Guest house Including(Electricity bill,water bill, maintenance cost)(approx)

      The last question is How much A Dj music play bar interior Will Cost me (approx)

      I would Be really glad and Thankful For your Reply, i would Like to Have a Conversation With you! or you can Catch me On email as well.

      Thanks & regards,

      Sunder Iyer

      CEO/Convergent Global Pvt Ltd.

      Hand-phone: +91-966-562-3771

      Skype : sunder.iyyer

    • Rahul 3 years ago

      I am running footwear and bags showroom in India . I want to open one in bangkok too in some showroom .. Plz advice

    • TAl 3 years ago

      Hi. i'm thinking to start an ice cream place in patong-phuket in a good location. i do have a great vendor of italian ice cream base. Do you think it would be a good idea for my business?

    • Tal 3 years ago

      Hi. i'm thinking to start an ice cream place in patong-phuket in a good location. i do have a great vendor of italian ice cream base. Do you think it would be a good idea for my business?

    • Mr. Emmanuel 3 years ago

      Hello Ed,

      Thank you for the information you shared about opening a business in Thailand.

      I want to open coffee shop with Bakery and soft serve ice cream downtown On Nut Area.

      I am almost done, but I am seeking for your advice about hiring the right people to work there. i am looking for a Thai person to manage the business someone with at least 10-15 years in Hotel and hospitality industry, someone who has worked in a restaurant or coffee shop, someone who also knows a lot about baking.

      What do you think the salary should be? Ro what to expect. I am not going to work in there.


      My email is marketing

      M. Emmanuel

    • Makoto 3 years ago

      Hi. I have start a chocolate shop in Bangkok. but having some issue with registered the shop name, 49% foreign 51% Thai , but they say it retail and not possible? any good suggestion.

      My email is

    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 3 years ago from Thailand by way of New York

      Hello Makoto,

      Sounds like you need professional legal assistance. I recommend contacting a law office. Just do a google search and you'll come across them. They should be able to answer your question for free.

      Good Luck,


    • Leong 3 years ago

      Hi Edwin ,

      If I have only s$5000 to start a foods shop business . Where it be prosible?

    • Leongs 3 years ago

      Hi Edwin ,

      I have only s$4000 ... Can I start a business ?

    • Denise 3 years ago

      Hi, I used to have a dessert and coffee shops at two of the biggest shopping malls in BKK. You need to be very careful. sometimes it's not that easy. Many people failed in this kind of business. Nowadays, I am a seller of tea and roasted coffee for many shops and companies in Thailand. The point is that in the end of each month the bill is higher than you expected. It's not as the same as they told you about the expense.

    • matt_elmore profile image

      matt_elmore 3 years ago from San Diego

      Wow. This is quite an impressive hub. I agree with all your tips and also stress that you need to play by the rules in Thailand, both with the government and, protect yourself against your competition. Thai's come first when it comes to business in Thailand.

    • forid 3 years ago

      hi, i am from Bangladesh.i am interested start business in Thailand with $13000 .is it possible.

    • Prasanna kohli 3 years ago

      Hi edwin clark...i read ur article is very good and impresssive..i hv been to thailand couple of times and just love the country..i am from india..well i looking to start small food business in bkk or some sea coast area..actually i can cook many cuisines so i think i can make good money by serving good variety food to people of thailand what kind of paper work i will require i want to rent small shop i hv one thai friend to help me in papers for work permit but u help me i need ur advise thnks

    • Stephen 3 years ago

      Hi Ed......great article, very informative !!

      I have been having ideas to start a small Supermarket / Mini mart business in Thailand and wanted your suggestions and advice. Can you provide me your email address so that I can share my plans with you in details or if you can contact me on would really appreciate it.



    • ---- 3 years ago

      This is Crazy, I mean. Invest and just depend on luck. Work hard to get legal documents and then if business drop, you are lost.

      Even I think of open a coffee shop. But not on my name and not in Bangkok. Let everything legal on Thai Person, And Higher them itself for working. No rent to pay. First find place to buy on Thai person. And enjoy life in Thailand. Business fails or not no worry whatever you buy, can re-sale to others. And also I will try to buy everything secondhand in Good Condition. no franchise no any other matter. Just one thing i have to remember. Find place outside bangkok - A tourist spot. If you know such place? Let me know... LoL. (I laugh cause, I feel idea is great but hard to find everything most cheap.)

    • Yannis janssens 3 years ago

      Hi Edwin, love your website and advice.

      Being from Belgium and resided in theUS for the last 10 years.

      Am planning to open a private school to teach european pastry and chocolate classes. Preferably in a central location e.g Sathorn.

      Any suggestions on purchasing floor versus renting?

      And how about licenses? any advice?

      Kindly regards

    • heng hokchhun 3 years ago

      can you explain me about guide to do business in Thailand?

      and about business cautions in Thailand

    • nickolas batsos 2 years ago

      hi edwin

      i have my thai girlfriend a we have a little girl together i would like to open a small shop in bangkok may be a coffee shop can you help

    • Eugene 2 years ago

      Hi Ed,

      Your article is pretty interesting. I was thinking to set up a portal or a website to promote local cuisines to foreigners something like what and where can you eat with only 500 baht a day in Thailand. And then income will come from advertisers which advertise on my page or portal. What do you think??

    • Biju Ashok 2 years ago

      Biju Ashok

      Hi my name is Biju Ashok from india .I am starting a brew pub in Thailand. I want a business partner. I know about all details about brew pub .my management team is very experienced guys. Anyone interested please contact me my email address mob.08943100000..

      My company name Biju Brewary pvt ltd.

      Biju Ashok on 3/1/2014 4:20:10 AM

      Location of the project The project is proposed to locate in the city of bankok or puhkat or pattaya..

    • Curious George 2 years ago

      Just curious... say someone stumbled upon millions of dollars in winnings (this person happens to be a US Citizen)... could they open a fake business (no real customers) and pretend they're making profits?

      All for the sake of living in Thailand for the rest of their days in leisure?

    • Pratik Ashar 2 years ago

      Are you still interested in being part of some business. If yes please reply to this post

    • amitk1981 2 years ago

      related to this post i have looked at the various questions lots of people have been asking about food business in thailand . i currently own a food cart which serves indian as well holland food since my partner is from holland .ive been to pattaya 17times in more than 2 years before as a tourist but later i too felt that can do some business over here.the first thing u need is a good lawyer who can make u understand all the laws regarding business in thailand . u have to start a company it depends if u want 2 million baht capital or 4 or 6 .u dont have to actually show this money in ur account ur lawyer does that for u . for 2 million they would charge 10,000 baht for 4 20,000. they will ask u to select the name of the company as u wish .once ur company is formed then comes the licence . the food licence and alcohol licence which is cheap and can be done at pattaya city hall. if u r getting a chef who is a foreigner then u will have to get a work permit for him . it will generally cost 30,000 baht for that .i know majority of restaurants have chefs working illegally as they bribe the immigration .but u need to play safe as its a competition business . the entire procedure looks complicated but it is not .i also own a restaurant which does indian food take away . if u have any queries regarding business in pattaya can let me know.

    • Angie 2 years ago

      Very informative and helpful article - thank you. My husband and I are thinking about relocating from South Africa to Koh Chang and would appreciate any advice regarding buying a business there. We have looked at backpackers and guesthouses. Ideally we would like to first manage one for a while before making the full financial commitment. Not sure if this is an option.

    • andy killick 2 years ago

      please can I have you email address as I have a idea or two and one was giving to me by a Thai person who runs an insurances broker over here and study in England , but I would very much like your opinion

    • Rune 2 years ago

      Hi !

      Im from Norway and dont have any thai partner .

      But my uncle is married to a thai and want to start up with me . Can she do that ?

      She lives i Norway ...

      My father lives in Bangkok and will run my business , I'll come down 3-5 times a year

    • Lakshore Sk profile image

      Lakshore Sk 2 years ago from Calicut, India

      can i start a restaurant business with $ 15000(us $) in pattaya

    • Alex Borghi 2 years ago

      Hello, thank you so much for your information here. Im a photographer and teacher in NY and im planning on moving to Thailand. I planning on working with photography studio and also photo tours, workshops. Do you think that i need a business license if i have a home based studio? thank you so much. here is my website.

    • Tanveer 2 years ago

      Hello Edwin,

      I am unable to find your email id, can you please share it here or email me at

    • Sergio 24 months ago


      I don't know if you can help me.

      I develop software for restaurants (menù, tables, orders, payments, for pos pc tablet and smartphones) in Italy

      I need to know if my the software require a certification from the Thailand government or i can sell without problem.

      Thanks in advance

    • Joe Baroud 24 months ago

      Hello, i am looking to rent a kiosk or small shop in Bangkok for fast food. the areas i am looking for, are: silom ,sathorn ,asok phromphong sukhumvit ,chatuchak .,nana soy 4.any help please?

      my email "



    • Clara Di Apalis 22 months ago

      Hello Ed,

      I am an MBA student, and thought of the concept "low Calorie restaurant" which emphasize on customer who are health conscious and dieting, middle scale restaurant around Sathon district , Bangkok. would this work? Best, Clara

    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 22 months ago from Thailand by way of New York

      Clara, although I think more Thais are becoming health conscious , your customer base might be limited. Sathorn district has a good mix of expats and middle classed Thais who may be interested.

      But restaurant business in Bangkok is very difficult as it is in most big cities all over the world. Do you have any experience? And you should have a big budget. Plus if you'll need a Thai partner too you can trust which is probably the biggest obstacle if you don't have one.

    • craig urban 21 months ago

      Good article. Craig Urban CW4 USA Retired. Check me out on Facebook. I give personal advice for all that ask. Especially freedom fighters like me who served there country. Any country as long as they are a freedom fighter. I speak most of the Germanic languages including a little Gaelic. Seen 44 countries serving my country and all 50 states of the USA. Go Army. Be all you can be. I am a testament. I do not need a personal advisor on stocks and bonds. I now what goes up and down.

    • CovingtonPRS profile image

      Covington Professional Resume Services LLC 19 months ago from Philadelphia, PA

      Very good article. The Phi Phi islands are one of the most beautiful places on earth.

    • zaton profile image

      Zaton-Taran 16 months ago from California

      This is one heckuva winner on starting a business in general - and even more so in The Land of Smiles. Wow - dedicated and informative hub; I enjoyed reading about the ins-and-outs and treaty information. Voted up! I do wonder if there is help for funding start-up business in Thailand, such as might be found in the States -

    • numtmax 14 months ago


    • Alam 13 months ago

      Dear Edwin,

      This is Alam from Pakistan. I have visited Thailand two times recently. I wish to start small business in Bangkok. I have 300000 Thai B capital. Can I register company, work permit and establish small business in Bangkok.

      Can you guide me in this regard. I will be very thankful to you.



    • Kusowski eric 13 months ago

      Hello Edwin,

      I do have few questions for you and i need your advices.

      I'm thinking about opening a food truck business sur Chiang Mai. Have my trustfull thai partner. The problem is i want to work (i'm the cook) but we don't need 3 thai employes as requested and don't have the 2 millions bath investements for the work permit. Is there an other way? (Around?)

      Like renting the money for apply the work permit...

      Thank you

    • jan 12 months ago

      hi ED,

      i am a pakistani national.

      and i visited thailand twice during my vacations.

      i have thai girlfriend government officer now i want to settle in thailand, she is ready to assist me in everything.

      what would be a good small business that i can start with a sum of half or a million bhat?

      looking forward for your good and friendly advise.

      presently i am in suratthani thailant.

      thanks & regards.

    • Lara 8 months ago

      Hi Edwin. I came across this article and we are interested in starting a business in Bangkok. We have stayed there for a year and have several Thai friends who also owns businesses. Can you give us a ballpark figure for the cost to start a business, probably a small coffee shop. Thank you!

      P.S. I tried searching for your email but failed =(

    • Arpit 7 months ago

      if i want open restaurant need license or need thai partner

    • Asit Aggarwal 5 months ago

      I need to ask you about food trucks and food franchisees pls tell me your email id as I can't find it here..regards

    • jaydeep dave 4 months ago

      DEAR: SIR

      i want say some qision abut start new bussines at thiland

      we have fresh fish bussines an india i want start over there at thiland can possible i do that fresh fish i can sale in bangkok market we want .

    • arnab das 4 months ago


      I am Arnab Das from India want to start a small Indian fast food business in bangkok area as initial experiment how that business goes . Therefore i need a small 100 s.feet rental shop which is must be located on road front.Here in India i have running my own two gymnasium business (Fitness academy).June 2016 i had been Thailand for few days vacation trip and i found there are lots of space for investment so i am showing the same.

      hope i will get a serious feedback from your side very soon.

      Thanking you.

    • JunHong 4 months ago

      hello, i seriously need some advice. i'm a singaporean and i would like to setup a business over at bkk. i need some advice as my capital is roughly $8000 SGD.

    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 4 months ago from Thailand by way of New York


      I'll do my best to offer advice. Depending on what you want to do, $8000SGD your options may be limited.



    • Amey 4 months ago

      how about opening cosmetics shop in Thailand

    • karan singh 4 months ago

      hi Edwin, i m from india want to start business of sevice apartments in pattaya as i have experience of 20yrs in hotel industry in operations.will i be able to hire a villa with swimming pool close to beach . Do i have to take some licence or permission from local authorities.Hiringa villa of 4rooms with pool will be a problem. As i have clientele from U.S. and india. Do i need a thai partner for that.What visa i have to apply for . can i do this on tourist visa or non immigration visa B. and then apply for business visa.

    • Andrew 4 months ago

      Hello! How can I find place for open small street food shop? I need place outside, just space on the street for put street food equipment. Thanks.

    • Kumar 4 months ago

      Hi edwin,

      Im a Malaysian..been to Thai a few times now..

      I have some questions on business start up in krabi..could u pls provide ur email address?

      Thanks in advance.

    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 4 months ago from Thailand by way of New York

      Hello Everyone!

      Amey, cosmetic business is the best business in Thailand. If your products are proven and effective and you have some marketing power you can do very well. Thai women are the big spenders on cosmetics.

      Karan I'm not a real estate specialists. Best you speak to a realtor in Pattaya that can better help your unique situation.

      Andrew, for Thai citizens it is absolutely easy to open a street food shop. If you're not a Thai citizen it's a different story. You can even go to jail or get deported if you're on a tourists visa.

      Normally for local Thais they just go to the local police precinct and sort out the details.

      Kumar you can find my email address by clicking on my profile picture find Fan Mail and you can contact me there.



    • sachinmahadik 3 months ago

      Hello Edwin

      Your blog is very informative. How does Thailand competes China in manufacturing ???? especially electronics.

    • Ali Khan 3 months ago

      So how to get THAI partner in small coffee shop in thailand,,? is thr any way to have legal contract signed by other partner (Thai) as security / safety of business in case of break-up in future ..

    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 3 months ago from Thailand by way of New York


      Usually foreigners starting a small in business Thailand have a Thai spouse, girlfriend or boyfriend.

      I do not recommend partnering with a Thai that you have not known for a very long time even if both parties sign a business contract.

    • michael ungar 3 months ago

      Hi, i dont see your contact info anywhere, can you send me your info or email me at



    • Edwin Clark profile image

      Edwin Clark 3 months ago from Thailand by way of New York

      Hi Michael,

      Click on my name next to my profile pic. Then look on the right and you will see"Fan Mail". From there you will find how to contact me via email.



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    • kevin 2 months ago

      super good information

    • sargems profile image

      Richard 2 months ago from Thailand

      Love these blogs, thanks for collecting all of these together, We are famous Manufacturer and Wholesaler of top of the line gemstone and Diamonds jewellery, supported by group of very experienced people.

    • Nab 2 months ago

      I would like to start a small cosmetic business with my trusted thai girlfriend. I will be supplying her with the products from abroad. As it is a small trading business we will not have any staff, however, I have seen somewhere that to start a business in Thailand as foreigner you need to have at least 4 thai employees. is that correct?

    • Yaringa Marina Restaurant 2 months ago

      I came across this article and we are interested in Lip-smacking Australian Seafood treats

      Let’s picture this, you having a platter of different variants oysters and sipping on a glass of an exquisite red wine sitting by the clear blue waters of Sydney port with the lovely summer sun simmering off the face of the water. This is a vivid imagination of a day dreamer or reality? Well it is a reality, as many of us do not know that the Australian seafood has its own high seat among seafood enthusiasts. Australia is surrounded by abundance of seafood and it has been tapped into by the Australian fisherman to a great extent.

      Largest share of seafood production in Australia is held by Tasmania, 22%, while South and West Australia holds 21% and 20% respectively. Australian seafood market consists of both edible and non-edible seafood products. Non-edible seafood consists majorly of pearls and fish meal.

      A tour through Australia will show us the extent and exquisiteness of the seafood offered by it; taste the simple and palatable fish and chips by the Sydney Port, or enjoying a fine cuisine of oysters and lobsters in the restaurant of the seafood aficionado, celebrity chef, Rick Stein on the South Coast. Northern Territory as we know it is famous for its wild barramundi, Spanish mackerel and Red Snapper.

      Further, moving down to South Australia where the south Australian rock lobster and Elliston’s crayfish are to be craved for. Tasmania is world famous for its oysters, octopus and abalone and is the crown jewel of Australian seafood. Victoria serves up John Dory and silver dory in the platter. The fresh catch and the lovely herbal cooking of Australia makes the seafood experience heaven in mouth for any seafood aficionado.

      Australian seafood production consists of Australian sardines, Salmonids (Salmons and Trout), Prawns, Tuna and Rock Lobster, in the same order of ascending in volume. But in the Australian fishery market the Rock Lobster brought the highest revenue, with Salmonids in the second place, Prawns in the third and Tuna in the fourth, Abalone held the fifth position.

      Seafood of Australia is also a great influencer in its economy as Australia is the 3rd biggest exporter of seafood in the world, exporting lobsters, prawns and abalone in great quantities to Asia in majority and some part of USA. Australian Seafood being a part of the Australian diet, consumption is 25kg per person per year. Australia is a huge importer of seafood as well, like Basa, Nile Perch, Hoki and Hake are the most important and biggest imports of Australia, among others like canned fish and crustaceans and molluscs. Australia offers sea produce for export too such as fish meals and pearls.

      Australian seafood is a shining example of excellence and standard in the seafood market. Whether it is raw fish or cooked, the standards are set high by the Australian authorities, which results in a slightly higher price than the rest of the market offering seafood. But the extra you pay is worth it when it comes to the variety and the quality of Australian Seafood.

    • Mike 8 weeks ago

      Hello Edwin.

      Your article is nicely put together and very informative.

      My elderly retired parents (Australians), can maintain their Australian pension (in full) and live in Thailand.

      They want to purchase two villa's, live in one and rent the other.

      I am considering joining them (I am 44) and a fully qualified certificate 3/4

      "Personal Trainer", I would ask if I can run my own (home based) business

      from my parents residence (or other villa)?

      Thanks for any comment.

    • Samuel 8 weeks ago

      I am running a successful Web Designing and Software Services Company in In India. I have a Thai Friend, I can trust. I want to open a Web designing and software Development Company In Bangkok. As per my research a lot of new businesses open every day in Bangkok and all of them need a web presence. So I think, this business venture will work. Please tell me how much it will cost to rent out a small decent looking office with capacity of sitting 20 software professionals (total staff)? Secondly, I am planning to hire Thai Business Development Executives who can talk to Thai locals and English Speaking Thai Marketing Executives who can talk to Non Thai Business Owners to bring business to the company, so how much is average monthly salary of such guys/girls in Bangkok ?

      What you think about my business idea keeping in mind Bangkok and market status?

      Any suggestions for me to keep in mind for opening a technology start up ?

      Any special license or registration needed for setting up a software company?

    • bobo 7 weeks ago

      My name is bobo from India, I planning to buy or open a restaurant or fast food in Thailand. Please suggest me how it's possible to open a new restaurant or buy old one I'm waiting your reply my email address is LBOBOCHA@REDIFFMAIL.COM pr my WhatsApp no. +91-7635816101

    • massimo massucci 2 weeks ago

      Hi Edwin i live in Phuket since 5 years and me and my wife , great cooker, would like to open a small businnes using truck for selling food. Can you suggest a good company that sell trucks customized?

      Thanks for reply 0927214448

    • Wingman1 profile image

      Wingman1 2 weeks ago

      Hello Edwin

      5 Year old article and still going strong, nice work.

      Just wanted to ask if there are any other options available for establishing a Thai partnership if I don't know anyone from Thailand? Eg with a lawyer! Does the law on this matter require an actual relationship of some sort?

      Also would you mind explaining the legal differences and implications between street food set up, food truck and snack bar?

      Much appreciated


    • Wingman1 profile image

      Wingman1 2 weeks ago

    • Wingman1 profile image

      Wingman1 2 weeks ago

      Sorry and lastly would I have to employ 4 Thai people if i wanted to also work front end and have a valid visa? And does this change if is a specialist job eg foreign cuisine requiring a foreign cook?

      Much appreciated


    • Joe from Sydney 29 hours ago

      Hi Edwin,

      A fantastic well written article that makes sense, is easy to understand and informative. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience and knowledge and being so honest with the pros and the cons.

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