Photo from Crystal Clear
Water is the source of life. Human bodies can survive for weeks with water only and without solid food.
While water is for quenching our thirst, it is necessary to support our body’s primary functions. However, not every household has access to safe and clean water.
And this alone has been an ongoing challenge, especially for those who have no means of getting potable water to drink and cook.
Good thing, water refilling stations exist, where everyone can buy gallons of drinkable water at an affordable price. This is great business potential in the community that does not burden the people around you.
Starting Your Neighborhood Water Refilling Station
Are you convinced that this business is for you?
Well, it is best to know the basics of a water refilling station business before operating one.
For most new entrepreneurs, the idea of business is starting it from scratch. However, this is not always the case.
In the case of a water refilling station business, you always have the choice not to do it from scratch because franchising one can save the day.
You can start your brand or franchise a station of your choice. You are free to follow what you think is right for you and the budget.
Here is one thing you should know before you proceed with the rest of this guide: budget-wise, starting a water refilling station is costly.
But this fact should not discourage you from starting one. After all, a well-established refilling station in your neighborhood provides your neighbors with fresh and drinkable water, which is way more in demand now.
Types of Water to Sell
Before anything else, it is essential to identify which type of water you will offer to the public. There are three types of water according to how they are purified.
Mineral water is the type of water that undergoes a filtration system to eliminate the impurities that are seen by the naked eye.
The name itself is full of minerals, including sulfur, magnesium, and calcium, which the body cannot create independently. It can help well in digestion, reduce skin blemishes, and improve one’s bone health.
The water underwent purification treatment in a plant after being derived from its source. All bacteria, fungi, parasites, contaminants, and dissolved solids are removed during the process to make the water suitable for drinking.
This can reduce the possibility of developing gallstones as it absorbs the toxins from your body and flushes them out through your urinary system.
It is produced by removing the acid content of the water and increasing the pH level. It contains alkaline minerals and negative oxidation-reduction potential (ORP), which reduces the acid in the bloodstream, boosts metabolism, and prevents oxidation.
Pretty much, those are the types of water available for human consumption that can be offered by any water refilling station business.
Now, what is next?
It is simple: proceed with the actual planning of your dream water refilling station business.
And if you do not know how to start this, do not worry! You can check the following sections for more details.
Water Refilling Station Capital Requirement and Profitability
Before proceeding with planning your water refilling station business, many interested individuals ask about the capital requirement.
As an investment, it makes sense to know this ahead of time, especially if you still need to find fund sources to finance the venture.
So, how much exactly is the capital you need to get started? Let us find out!
A rough estimate for an initial investment would be around PHP 600,000 to 700,000. But what are the inclusions of this amount? The following should already be included in this estimate.
- Building construction
- The machine
- Water Containers
- A vehicle such as a motorcycle for product delivery
- Deep well’s drilling cost.
- Seminar and training
- Other operational expenses
Here is one thing you should know: the water refilling machine usually consumes a huge chunk of the capital.
On the other hand, a franchised water refilling station business can cost anywhere from PHP 80,000 to 350,000.
The price usually depends on the type, number, and size of the equipment included. At the same time, you also need to consider that the cost of rental and overhead expenses are not yet included in the said amount, so you may want to prepare an extra amount to cover those additional expenses.
Now, what if you only have the minimum capital?
The best advice is not to enter the battlefield right away. Otherwise, you will struggle to make ends meet within a few months of operations.
What about getting a loan?
Well, there is nothing wrong with it, only if you can commit to paying it on time. Hence, if you are unsure, it is advisable not to resort to loans to fund your water refilling station’s capital.
For one, businesses are unpredictable. It can become your successful break or not. It will be best to save up money and study the business carefully before making that leap of faith.
Before going with the next topic, let us talk about profitability. Is the water refilling station profitable?
The concise answer is yes, but some conditions can affect that success.
Like any business, the success of a water refilling station largely depends on a combination of the following:
- High market demand
- Zero or few competitors
- How business-savvy the owner is
Moreover, you need to be ready to set your expectations right. At the very least, you need to do the tasks yourself in the first few months since hiring employees is not a good thing to do.
Well, this can not be the case with you. If you want, you can have one or two employees in the beginning until the business becomes profitable enough to hire additional employees yet.
Be resourceful and learn to do the things you are not used to, such as simple accounting tasks instead of paying a bookkeeper.
Provided that there is enough research and you have done everything accordingly, the business’s chances of succeeding are high. Unknowingly, you will know how long will it take to make the company profitable on its own, without relying too much on operational expenses that keep it afloat in the meantime.
From there, do the math, and you would notice how profitable the business is after a thorough assessment of all your expenses and the monthly profit.
However, bear in mind that getting back that whole capital takes time. It does not happen overnight, so you need to work hard and not slack off, even if your station is a franchised one.
The Pros and Cons of Water Refilling Station
The advantages and disadvantages of having a water refilling station business also become part of your research and crucial to its success.
Here is a quick run-through of some of its pros and cons to help you decide.
Water is an essential commodity
People cannot survive without water since it is vital for daily life.
Unlike seasonal businesses, it is a profitable business all year round because demand is not a problem. Even the lowest market bracket can afford to buy your product. It is something that the masses find as an affordable necessity.
Focused Business Line
With this kind of business, there is no need to wonder how you can sell your product.
This is because you sell a particular product, water, only making the whole process relatively easier than handling other businesses.
Perfect in Any Locations
If you are franchising a business, it is always part of the preliminary preparations to evaluate your location’s feasibility.
However, with this kind of business, it is not necessarily needed. Moreover, it is a business that you can offer at the comfort of your residence, so there is no need to rent another place.
Longer Return of Investment
Like any other business, a water refilling station does not guarantee an overnight return on your initial investment.
You need to evaluate other factors, such as the demand and competition in your area, before predicting how long it will take to recoup your investment.
Since this business deals with human health, it is vital to do routine maintenance to ensure that the quality of water you offer is always high-quality and does not pose health threats to people.
Lacks Proprietary Value
Compared to other businesses’ niches, this business is something that lacks proprietary value. Given this, anyone with the capital and entrepreneurial experience can open one and compete with you.
Water Refilling Station Business and COVID-19
There is no denying that the Philippine economy has been struck hard by the coronavirus pandemic’s aftermath.
In the past year, businesses suffered, people lost their jobs, and a whole portion of the economic activities was halted due to the health hazards and limitations on mobilization.
Given this, many aspiring entrepreneurs have quite an ordeal dealing with their will to start a business or postpone it first because of the economic situation.
So, does this apply to the water refilling station business?
It is! But as a necessity, it is not much affected. Even with all the lockdowns, you can still see that many water refilling stations are open, serving people with clean water for consumption.
Hence, if you wonder if 2021 is an excellent time to start your water refilling station business, then doubt no more because you are on the right track.
All you need to have is the commitment to start it well and do thorough research before starting it.
It is best to have a business plan that will guide you throughout the whole process. Jumpstart your dream business with a full heart and determination, and everything will just fall into place.
Your Five Easy Steps on Starting a Water Refilling Station
After deciding what type of water you will offer to the public, then great! You are off to a great start!
Moreover, here is a comprehensive guideline composed of five specific steps to start a water refilling station.
1. Study the business thoroughly and comprehensively.
Starting a business requires a considerable amount of time and effort. As an aspiring entrepreneur, you need to learn the importance of researching and studying the company you wish to venture into and its right model.
Water can be easily marketed to the public, given its nature as a necessity to the people. Thus, it would be best if you were prepared to face fierce competition in the market. Establish your unique selling point meticulously to attract more customers.
2. Conduct a feasibility study
The feasibility study assesses a business idea in terms of practicality and its likelihood to succeed. The following factors are needed to be investigated to come up with one feasible comprehensive study:
The number of similar businesses around your neighborhood must be taken into consideration. The higher the competition, the more difficult it is to establish your brand in the market.
A strategic location is a must to attract your first few customers. You need to have at least 20-25 square meters to operate a water refilling station.
The source of the water in the provinces differs from those in the cities. The former usually gets from the spring, deep well, or balon, while the latter gets from water providers like Maynilad in Manila or Metropolitan Cebu Water District in Cebu.
pH Level of Water
The total dissolved solids (TDS) in the water will determine which purification processes are suitable to make it drinkable.
3. Find a reliable supplier of a water refilling machine.
Identify first the kinds of machines that are needed for the water refilling business. List down all of them and canvass the prices from different suppliers.
Then compare which of them offers the best price for the highest quality of machines you need. Among the equipment you need are:
Multimedia Sediment Filter
This is a tank made from fiber-reinforced plastic that does the depth filtration and backwash, which removes the sediments such as sand and various other particles from the water.
Active Carbon Filter
It does the backwash and removes any foul taste, odor, and color caused by organic chemicals.
Water Softener Tank
It is responsible for removing the hard minerals in the water and replaces them with soft minerals through ion exchange.
Reverse Osmosis Membrane
This is the most expensive unit. Its primary function is to remove all inorganic minerals, bacteria, and viruses while retaining the water’s oxygen content through reverse osmosis or hyper-filtration.
It improves the taste of the water.
Ultraviolet rays are emitted as the water passes through a reaction chamber to ensure that any germs or disease-causing microorganisms have been eliminated.
Water has to go through this machine to prolong its shelf life by preventing the bacteria from growing inside the product tank.
Once you have finalized your machine list, you may negotiate with your suppliers about the machine’s prices. They can also help you create the layout for your water station and guide your contractor during the station’s construction. Pipelines, drainage, and washing areas have to be established according to the design.
4. Register your business and secure needed permits
Crucial to your business’s success is complying with the necessary legal requirements to obtain your business registration and permits. It would be best if you secured the following:
DTI Business Permit
To acquire this, you need to prepare your barangay clearance, residence certificate, etc. submitted to your local DTI branch. You also need to make at least five to ten business names.
This can be processed in your municipal office and issued two to three weeks from the application date. You might be required to submit (a) water analysis of potability from your water source (physical, chemical, and bacteriological tests); and (b) engineering drawings signed by a sanitary engineer.
Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Registration
You have to fill up Form 0506 and pay the required fees to continue with your registration.
5. Install the equipment
It may take two to three days to complete the installation of the equipment. It would help if you also dried the machine for three days to ensure the water supply’s safety.
According to the Philippines’ Sanitation Code, water refilling stations are subject to regular monitoring by local health offices. The following procedures should be followed accordingly.
- Bacteriological quality – once a month
- Physical quality – every six months
- Chemical quality – every six months
- Biological quality – once a year
- Monitoring radioactive contaminants are only conducted if there’s a significant amount of radiation input from the surrounding environment.
These steps can be pretty overwhelming for you, most especially if you don’t have the background in running a water refilling station.
With franchising, most of the work is already done for you. You don’t have to conduct a feasibility study to determine your total cost.
The franchisor also provides the equipment. This is to ensure that they are consistent with the quality of water they offer to the public.
Best Water Refilling Stations in the Philippines
Some of the water refilling brands that are open for franchising are:
Driven by their goal to provide the best water and services for their customers and franchisees, they are committed to their quality, service, value, and technology principles.
They boast their advanced technology and excellent customer care that make them stay afloat in the industry. They offer Aquabest with Grander, Aquabest Mineral Plus, Aquabest Alkaline Plus, and Nanogen. The franchise fee is P 100,000 with three years franchise terms.
Learn more about Aquabest's franchise information.
Bluewaters has been in the industry for more than 25 years now. They have three different types of water stations.
You will choose which one suits you best should you decide to franchise them. All of its water station types come in with necessary equipment, full installation, staff training, and marketing. Each water station type has its corresponding franchise fee.
For example, Safe Alkaline Water Station ranges from P80,000 to P140,000. Safe Mineral Water Station starts from P80,000 to P180,000. Safe R.O. Water Station starts from P98,000 to P180,000.
Crystal Clear ensures to provide purified water with the highest quality. Under the strictest specifications, the components are assembled in the USA, tailored to suit Philippine conditions, and have passed rigid FDA standards.
Their facility is equipped with high-pressured sterilizers that thoroughly clean bottles to ensure a germ- and bacteria-free environment. The franchise fee is P100,000 with five years franchise terms.
Learn more about Crystal Clear's franchise information.
They are the pioneer water refilling station that introduced the 3-in-1 system—purified water, mineral water, and alkaline water. They used to serve customers only around Manila, but now they have more than 1,800 franchises nationwide.
They aim to contribute to their customers’ operational excellence through quality, efficient, and most advanced products and services in the market that meets the latter’s water treatment requirements. Investment started at P250,000 and guaranteed no franchise fee.
Learn more about Livingwater's franchise information.
So, what do you think? Is now the right time for you?
If it is still difficult for you, here are the key takeaways of this guide.
- Starting a water refilling business this 2021 is feasible.
- You need a hefty amount of capital, especially if you are starting the business from scratch.
- You can choose to franchise since it offers lower capital requirements than creating your own.
- It is always a demand for potable water, so it is guaranteed to generate profit.
- Maintenance is a crucial part of the business that should not be overlooked.
- It is a neighborhood-friendly business.
- It is a profitable business from a long-term perspective.
- You need a well-researched business plan to get started.
- There are several known water refilling businesses that offer franchising options so you can start it right away without the fear of losing.
- Franchising a water refilling business is a wise choice, too, because you are following a proven business model.
- Never resort to getting a loan if you are not entirely confident you can pay it.
In the end, we hope that this guide helps you in your decision-making process.
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