In Your Tindera Era? How to Start Your Own Sari-Sari Store

Rouselle Isla

Rouselle Isla

Last updated May 07, 2024

Many Filipinos consider sari-sari stores their bread and butter. According to the Asian Preparedness Partnership, there are about 1.3 million sari-sari stores in the Philippines.[1]  

It’s one of the easiest and most popular businesses to start in the Philippines. However, learning how to start a sari-sari store business requires research, planning, and capital. Many sari-sari stores fail because of poor management and inventory. 

If you plan to put up your own sari-sari store, here are essential things you need to know to launch a successful business. 

What is a Sari-Sari Store Business?

how to start a sari-sari store - what is a sari-sari store

A sari-sari store is a small neighborhood retail store in the Philippines that sells basic and daily essential needs. It’s usually individually or family-owned.

You can find one in almost every street corner in the country. Instead of going to the supermarket or convenience store, just walk to the nearest sari-sari store and buy what you need at a more affordable price.  

Why Should You Start a Sari-Sari Store?

Opening a sari-sari store is like taking a first peek into life as an entrepreneur. It’s a legitimate business operation that can turn a good profit if you manage it well. Thus, operating a sari-sari store will give you a good business experience. 

Because you can open a store right from home, you can save money on construction or rental space. Plus, aside from the low capital requirement, a sari-sari store is simple and fast to set up.

What are the Disadvantages of a Sari-Sari Store Business?

As mentioned, there’s a sari-sari store on almost every corner, which means you’ll face some stiff competition. That’s not counting 24-hour convenience stores, mini groceries, and major supermarket chains. 

The profit margin might also be small because your main selling point is convenience and competitive prices. 

Moreover, not all sari-sari store owners take care of their inventory correctly. Sari-sari stores therefore have a reputation for selling poor-quality products, negatively affecting other store owners with proper product displays and inventory management. 

How Much Can You Earn with a Sari-Sari Store Business in the Philippines?

According to a study conducted by analytics startup Packworks, sari-sari stores in the Philippines earned more than ₱8 billion in 2023, over 21% higher than last year’s ₱6.6 billion.[2] So yes, it is a profitable business venture. 

Financial consultant and business coach Chinkee Tan also said that a sari-sari store has a profit margin of 10% to 40%, depending on the products sold.[3] To achieve this, your financial goal should be a daily revenue of ₱5,000 in the first three months and an increase in sales by 10% to 20% in the first year.


How to Start a Sari-Sari Store

how to start a sari-sari store

Ready to learn how to start a small sari-sari store at home? Follow these five easy steps:

Step 1: Create a Sari-Sari Store Business Strategy 

Even if it’s just a small store you’ll put up in your house, you need a sari-sari store strategy.

It may sound intimidating and complicated. Still, you need a business plan if you want your store to go in the right direction. 

Before you can set up your sari-sari store, think about these points: 

  • Target market - Who are your target customers? What are their pain points? Do they live far away from the nearest convenience store or supermarket? Determining this will help you decide which products to sell in order to offer convenience and affordability to your customers. 
  • Location - Where do you plan to put up your store? Will it be in a residential area or near schools, offices, and main roads? The higher the foot traffic, the more customers you can attract, and the bigger your sales. 
  • Business capital - Once you determine your target market, location, and products to sell, you can get a reasonable estimate of your required capital. 
  • Legal requirements/business permits - To be a legitimate business, your store should have a DTI business name registration, Tax Identification Number, Mayor's Permit, and Sanitary Permit, just to name a few.  

Step 2: Prepare Your Sari-Sari Store Start-Up Capital 

how to start a sari-sari store - prepare capital

How much capital do you need for a sari-sari store? If you plan to set up a store at your house and sell only essential commodities, a start-up capital of ₱20,000 should be sufficient. With this capital, you can buy the following sari-sari store basic needs for your stock inventory:

🛍️ Dry goods 

  • Sardines 
  • Corned beef
  • Tuna
  • Pineapple juice 
  • Creamer
  • Egg
  • Ketchup 
  • 3-in-1 coffee 
  • Food mix enhancer 
  • Powdered iced tea
  • Powdered orange juice
  • Evaporated milk 
  • Sinigang mix 
  • Lechon sauce 
  • Cooking oil 
  • Sugar 
  • Fish sauce 
  • Vinegar (in plastic pack)
  • Soy sauce (in plastic pack)
  • Noodles in plastic cups
  • Candies
  • Pancit canton noodles 
  • Noodles (soup)
  • Tomato sauce
  • Meatloaf
  • Batteries 
  • Diapers

🛍️ Toiletries

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Body soap
  • Toilet tissue 
  • Toothpaste (in sachet)
  • Sanitary napkin 

🛍️ Laundry products 

  • Detergent powder
  • Detergent bar soap

🛍️ Drinks

  • Bottled soft drinks
  • Bottled water

You can increase your business funding to ₱30,000 or ₱50,000 to include other fast-moving sari-sari store needs. Meanwhile, with a sari-sari store start-up capital of ₱70,000 to ₱100,000, you can sell a wider variety of goods in larger quantities. 

However, aside from the goods, consider the cost of materials and labor if you construct your sari-sari store. The same goes for renting the store space; purchasing a freezer and additional display cases, storage cabinets, and shelves; or hiring storekeepers. 

Step 3: Secure Your Business Registration, Clearances, and Certificates 

To legally operate your sari-sari store business, you must secure its registration and all the necessary permits. Fortunately, most local government units have a one-stop shop for business permit processing, registration, and clearances.

All you need to do is submit the required documents, which usually include the following: 

  • Cedula 
  • Barangay clearance
  • Sari-sari store name (at least three options) for DTI business name registration
  • Notarized affidavit of capital
  • Sanitary permit
  • Fire clearance 
  • Tax Identification Number
  • SSS Number
  • Philhealth
  • Pag-IBIG

Step 4: Build a System and Workflow

how to start a sari-sari store - build a system and workflow

Keep track of your beginning and ending inventory. You can do this manually in a notebook or via software or spreadsheet. Consider getting a POS system for sari-sari stores to automate everything and save time. 

Track every sale and expense religiously. It’s also essential to keep your stocks at 50% so you won’t run out of items to sell. 

You can even hire a storekeeper and teach them sari-sari store business tips. Your storekeeper will run your business for you, from taking inventory to transacting with customers and keeping the store clean and organized. 

Step 5: Market Your Sari-Sari Store 

Ensure you have a clean, well-organized, and visually appealing display to draw people to your store. Your sari-sari store name should also be easy to remember and prominently displayed. 

Take advantage of word-of-mouth marketing from your customers and the community. You can also partner with other businesses in your area for promotions and loyalty programs.  

How to Manage a Small Sari-Sari Store

how to start a sari-sari store - how to manage

Here are some sari-sari store negosyo tips to remember so you can succeed in this business venture:

  • Don't go overboard with your initial inventory. The last thing you want is to fill your store shelves with items that don't get sold. So start with a few items, determine the fastest-moving ones, and then buy more the next time you need to replenish them. 
  • Religiously and accurately do your accounting. List all the items sold to know how much your store earned for the day. 
  • Keep your personal funds separate from your sari-sari store funds. If you must spend your earnings, use only 10% to 20% of it and the rest for stock replenishment.
  • No credit. Be firm about this policy if you don’t want the headache or the stress of collecting payments.   
  • Provide exemplary customer service if you want loyal customers. Seeing a friendly, smiling face and someone eager to help at the sari-sari store window is definitely a plus. 

Related guides: 

Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve learned tips on how to start a sari-sari store, reflect on whether it’s something you want to pursue to earn additional income. 

Moreover, if you have a credit card, use it to buy your sari-sari store supplies and enjoy rewards, rebates, friendly installment terms, and more. Apply via Moneymax today! 

Credit Card
Perks for Business Owners
UnionBank Rewards Credit Card
UnionBank Rewards Credit Card - Aug 2023
  • 1 point per ₱30 spend
  • 3x points for shopping locally and abroad
UnionBank Lazada Credit Card
unionbank lazada-Apr-18-2024-03-57-23-6991-AM
  • ₱6 Lazada Wallet Credits per ₱200 spend at Lazada
  • ₱1 Lazada Credit per ₱200 spend at other merchants
  • ₱50 monthly shipping vouchers at Lazada
  • ₱500 discount vouchers for 5 Lazada Sales all year round
  • Priority access to Lazada Sales
  • Discounts from selected Lazada merchants
Metrobank Platinum Mastercard®
  • 1 rewards point for every ₱20 spend
  • eCommerce purchase protection of up to US$200
  • 0% installment at partner merchants
HSBC Red Mastercard
hsbc red
  • 1 point for every ₱20 spend
  • 4x points on shopping, online, and overseas transactions
HSBC Platinum Visa Rebate
  • 5% cashback on shopping transactions
  • 0.50% cashback on all other purchases
Security Bank Gold Mastercard
Security Bank Gold Mastercard 2023
  • 1 point for every ₱20 spend
  • Secure online shopping with SecureCode


Rouselle has over eight years of writing experience in the personal finance niche. She has written feature stories, articles, and how-to guides on various personal finance and trending lifestyle topics. Before that, she briefly worked in banking and was a licensed life insurance advisor. When not writing, Rouselle likes to read books and binge-watch films and series. Follow Rouselle on Linkedin.


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