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Economy , Investing

3 Businesses To Start Right Now In This Crisis Location

May 16, 2018

The island is bankrupt, the teachers are striking, the power is out, and hurricane season is only one month away.

If you were to search “Puerto Rico” online, those are the topics of discussion about the US territory located in the Caribbean. Yes, it’s true that Puerto Rico has some serious problems right now. In addition to a full-blown financial crisis, the island was blasted by Hurricane Maria in late 2017, which was one of the strongest hurricanes ever recorded.

But, there is another side to this story. It’s the story that is not being reported by the news, because… well… it doesn’t sell as well as the dramatic and negative stories that the news usually sells.

This ‘other story’ is one of progress, transformation, and action-taking.It’s the story of people moving to Puerto Rico to take advantage of very lucrative tax incentives. It’s the story of people moving to Puerto Rico to invest, build, and modernize the island’s infrastructure. And it’s the story of people who live in Puerto Rico who are picking themselves up, dusting themselves off, and getting back to work.

Now, I know that all sounds a little too fluffy and feel-good… but that really is what is happening. Wealthy investors, successful business owners, and savvy entrepreneurs are moving to Puerto Rico (with their companies) to take advantage of the numerous tax incentives that are available.

And with these types of people moving to Puerto Rico, there are many business opportunities that are being created. I’ve thought of three, that I’ll list below, that I know would work.

How do I know they would work? Well… I’ve been going back and forth to the island for the past several months, and these are pain-points which I could not find solutions to. So, here they are:

1. New Resident Concierge Service

For starters, you could probably think of a better name than “new resident concierge service,” but the opportunity to create a business like this is real.

Basically, the big problem for people moving to Puerto Rico is that there is a lot you have to take care of in order to become an official resident and to set up your life. Some of the things you need to do involve legal paperwork, while other things are very simple but still inconvenient, like having internet installed in your house.

Now, there are already many law offices and ‘fixers’ in Puerto Rico who can take care of many of the tasks you need done, but I was unable to find a complete turn-key solution.

Think about this scenario: Pretend that you are a business owner that is moving to Puerto Rico to take advantage of the tax incentives. You not only have to physically move yourself and possessions to the island, but you also have to move your business, AND you need to make sure you are still running your business at the same time.

People who are moving to Puerto Rico to save money on taxes are saving A LOT of money. Likewise, they are willing to pay A LOT of money to have their transition taken care of for them, so they can worry about the important part: making their business successful!

So the opportunity is to create a business that provides a complete turn-key service for those moving to Puerto Rico. I’m talking the entire process. And you’d charge $100,000 or more. Actually, you could probably charge double or triple that.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to actually do all of the work. Instead you are just orchestrating all of the individual tasks that need to be done.

You could set up a network of lawyers, real estate agents, drivers, furniture movers, electricians, secretaries, and a variety of other professionals. Then you can leverage each one of their skills to offer any service that your client needs.

Your client would be the person moving to Puerto Rico. They want to get picked up at the airport, taken to their home, where all of their furniture has been set up, and open the refrigerator and see a bunch of food. They don’t want to worry about anything else, as they’ve got their business to run.

You are of course paying all of these people to execute these tasks, but you’re obviously charging your client a premium for your work.

This was probably the number one issue I noticed with people moving to Puerto Rico. They couldn’t find a person who could take care of everything for them. That could be you. And you could charge a lot for that service.

2. Airbnb Infrastructure

This is another business that I’m not sure how to title, but I know for a fact the demand is there. One of the surprising things about Puerto Rico is that hotels are expensive. Very, very expensive.

Right now, that is even more true because most hotels have been hosting FEMA workers, power workers, and other contractors who have come to Puerto Rico to help after the hurricane. Many of these hotels have been at maximum occupancy for months now.

I’ve had to stay at about 5 different Airbnb locations in San Juan over the past several months and they’ve all been less than average. It’s not so much the actual housing or location, it’s more that the hosts and services aren’t there to support the accommodations.

With an expected build out of new tourist attractions and an increasing demographic of digital nomads coming to Puerto Rico, the Airbnb opportunity is set to grow.

And, just this week, a partnership between Puerto Rico and Airbnb was announced. “Airbnb and Puerto Rico plan to launch a destination-marketing campaign to highlight the diverse experiences available to visitors.”

This is a clear opportunity for someone to set up a business that caters to servicing Airbnb rentals and/or their guests.

3. Electrical Contracting Business

This is pretty obvious, but not in the way that you may be thinking. Everyone knows about the power issues that Puerto Rico had and is still having. The hurricane knocked out an already fragile and out-of-date power grid, which left hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans in the dark for months. (Some still don’t have power today.)

The most important thing that was learned throughout this entire ordeal is that you cannot rely on a power grid (especially one that was not maintained and mismanaged for years). Many residents of Puerto Rico are now considering self-sustained power systems for their home.

These systems range from normal solar, to bio-waste powered generators. Right now, many homes in Puerto Rico are using outdated and inefficient gasoline powered generators. Some people have told me they spend well over $50 per day just in gasoline to power their homes. That’s $1,500 per month!

That means that these same people are willing to invest in a system for their home that provides a long term power solution.

The major problem is that there are not enough skilled workers to install new power systems (solar, bio-waste, wind, etc.).

The opportunity lies in creating a business that not only offers alternative power sources, but more importantly can install these systems.

The bottom line here is that Puerto Rico has an extremely fractured economy. That means there are inefficiencies everywhere, which in turn offers massive opportunities for those who can exploit those inefficiencies.

There are, of course, many other business opportunities on the island right now. It’s just a matter of going there to find out where you can profit, and then taking action.