According to the Philippine Statistics Authority’s latest Annual Poverty Indicators Survey (APIS), most Philippine households had better access to drinking water in 2022, with more than 50% sourcing their supply from commercial refilling stations.
With that, opening a water refilling station is an excellent business option this 2023. It’s relatively simple to operate, and there’s always a high demand for safe and clean drinking water all year round.
If you’re interested in this business venture, learn all the essentials on how to start a water refilling station in the Philippines below
Why You Should Venture into the Water Refilling Station Business
👍 There Will Always Be a Steady Demand for Your Product
Everyone needs water to survive, so there will always be demand for your product. Although sales can decrease during lean months in the rainy season, you can quickly recover during the hot summer months. In short, you can earn good income all year round.
👍 It’s a Simple Business Model
If you’re a newbie entrepreneur, this is an excellent option because of its simple business model. There is no easy business, but you can experience fewer challenges and complexities compared to those that require logistics, distribution, and the like. With a water refilling station business, you just need to supply and deliver water.
👍The Startup Costs are Not That Big
The capital for a water refilling station is not that expensive compared to that of a coffee shop or a restaurant, which can run into the millions. You can get a water refilling station business package in the Philippines in 2023 for as low as ₱80,000.
But the actual refilling water station price or investment will vary widely. How much to start a water refilling station will depend on your location, equipment, construction materials, and staff, just to name a few.
👍 It’s Scalable and Accessible
When it comes to drinking water, residential and business areas are both good locations. When you’re ready to level up, you can get a bigger space, hire more people, or install more water equipment to service more customers.
👍 You Can Put It Up Anywhere
Prime locations usually cost a fortune. But you can still install your water refilling station in areas with cheaper rental costs, then bring the product directly to your customers.
Drawbacks of a Water Refilling Station in the Philippines
👎 Equipment Require Regular Maintenance
Because your water’s purity and quality are at stake here, you need to clean all your equipment regularly. This entails taking care of and replacing water bottles and jugs, plus maintaining delivery vehicles, all of which will be subject to a lot of wear and tear.
👎 Your Water Quality Should Always Pass Strict Standards
Drinking contaminated water is dangerous to one’s health and leads to various illnesses and health problems, such as stomach and intestinal problems and kidney damage. You need to ensure that everything you use when refilling water goes through regular maintenance. Your water quality should also meet strict national standards.
Just recently, the Provincial Health Office (PHO) of Dumaguete City reprimanded local refilling stations after some were found to be contaminated with bacteria that cause stomach infections. There was a reported increase in acute gastroenteritis cases in Vallehermoso, Negros Oriental.
While the PHO cannot order the closure of these refilling stations, it can recommend immediate and necessary sanctions against those who endanger public health.
👎 There Can Be Lots of Competition
Anyone with the passion, entrepreneurial experience, and capital can learn how to start a water refilling station in the Philippines. However, this also means plenty of competitors. Customers can easily switch to other water businesses in the Philippines that offer better services and lower prices.
Is a Water Refilling Station Profitable?
Yes, it is. But as with any business, its profitability will depend on several factors. Consider the demand, your competitors, your relationship with customers, and your knowledge of how to run a water refilling station business.
Moreover, profitability will depend on your selling price, drinking water options (mineral, purified, or alkaline), water source (deep well or water district), and production capacity.
Depending on your location, you can sell a gallon for ₱25 to ₱40. If your daily sales quota is 200 gallons, that’s ₱5,000 to ₱8,000 in daily sales.
In one of his YouTube vlogs, Alfred Maximo of Watermax Enterprises, a water equipment manufacturer in the Philippines, shared how much one can earn from a water refilling station business.
Check out this breakdown of monthly expenses:
|Salaries for two employees
|Fuel for delivery tricycle
|Plastic cover for containers (optional)
|Emergency maintenance (machines, vehicles, etc.)
|Total monthly expenses
If you’re selling 100 containers a day for walk-ins and deliveries at ₱30 and ₱25 respectively, this is your daily gross sales:
- ₱30 x 100 pcs = ₱3,000
- ₱25 x 100 pcs = ₱2,500
- Daily gross sales = ₱5,500
Multiply your daily gross sales by 26 days (less your employees' days off), and you’ll get your monthly gross sales of ₱143,000. Deduct your monthly expenses of ₱45,100, and you’ll have a net monthly income of ₱97,900.
This is just an example of how much a water refilling station business can earn. It’s not guaranteed—your income will vary based on the abovementioned factors.
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How to Start a Water Refilling Station Business: 10 Steps to Follow
Step 1: Research the Industry
The first rule of business is to learn everything you can about it. Know the basics of how to start a water station business first. Then conduct research on how to manage a water refilling station business properly.
Study emerging trends and available technologies and their prices. Get a list of the best water station suppliers in your area. Learn about purified, mineral, and alkaline water. Talk to other water refilling station owners or franchisors to discover their biggest challenges.
You don’t need to be an expert on water, but it can be helpful in the long run. If you have a deep understanding of the business and the products, you won’t struggle with how to make it profitable and successful.
Step 2: Prepare Your Water Station Business Capital
Whether you’re getting a franchise or starting from the ground up, you must prepare your capital. The water refilling equipment alone can cost at least ₱200,000. Your overall capital can go as high as ₱500,000 if you’re planning to renovate your space with your front water refilling station design, purchase your delivery vehicle, and more.
Here’s how much a franchise costs:
- Aquabest: Starts at ₱100,000 and a three-year franchise term
- Aqua 2000 Water Technology: Starts at ₱450,000
- Aquasoft: Starts at ₱400,000
- Aquahealth: Starts at ₱495,000
- Bluewaters: ₱80,000 to ₱180,000 depending on the type of water station (Safe Alkaline, Safe Mineral, and Safe R.O.)
- Crystal Clear: Starts at ₱100,000 and a five-year franchise term
- Livingwater: Starts at ₱250,000
Step 3: Prepare a Business Plan
A business plan is vital as it will outline everything you need to do to make your business work. It will serve as your guide in all business decisions, from ideation to execution. Moreover, if you’re planning to borrow capital, it’s one of banks' and investors' major requirements.
Step 4: Conduct A Feasibility Study
A feasibility study of a water refilling station business will determine whether it’s worth your time and resources. It will include a marketplace analysis, your marketing strategies, staffing and technology needs, financial planning and projections, and your project timelines.
Step 5: Pick a Good Location
The trick is to pick an accessible location. The cheaper the rent, the better. If you have your own space, just convert it into a water station business.
Your space should also measure at least 20 sqm to accommodate all the water refilling equipment and water gallons.
Your location should also have more than enough water and electricity supply because these are the two basic things you need.
What’s your target market? Put up your water station near subdivisions to serve residential customers. Consider locations near offices, schools, and hospitals as well. But if you’re not located in a high-traffic area and get fewer walk-in customers, you can still cater to customers who want their water delivered.
Step 6: Choose Between a Franchise or Your Self-Made Brand
Should you go with a well-known and established brand or just establish your own? Know the pros and cons of each option:
💧 Pros and Cons of a Water Refilling Station Franchise
Since it’s already an established brand, you won’t have to do much when it comes to marketing and advertising. Franchise packages also come with everything you need, including equipment and installation. With that out of the way, you can simply focus on training and operations.
The downside is that you’ll have less freedom over business decisions since you only own a franchise. Moreover, you have to split profits with the franchisor.
💧 Pros and Cons of a DIY Water Refilling Station
Depending on the size and location of your business, your capital can range from ₱200,000 to ₱500,000. But you can enjoy a steady daily income that will allow you to scale up quickly. You also get all the profits and make your own business decisions.
But when you put up your own water refilling station, you'll have to take care of everything, from finding your supplier, building your water station, securing permits, hiring and training people, submitting samples for routine laboratory testing, and undergoing training and certifications.
Step 7: Get the Certification, Permits, and Business Registration
Once your supplier has installed all your equipment, you'll be oriented and trained on how to operate the machines. You'll also be conducting flushing after connecting the pipes and fittings.
After this, the installer will schedule the product water testing with a DOH-accredited laboratory. Results usually come out after one or two weeks.
Next, secure all the necessary permits for your business. Get your DTI Registration and Mayor’s Permit, and prepare your tax registration and documents as soon as possible.
Step 8: Prepare for Opening
Start hiring your staff. You won’t need a lot of employees off the bat—just one to manage the store and another to make deliveries. Invest in uniforms to make your brand look more recognizable and professional.
Set prices for your products. Mineral, purified, and alkaline water bear different price tags—ranging from ₱25 to ₱65 per container—because they have different filtration processes. Base it on market prices and ensure it’s competitive enough without sacrificing profits.
Step 9: Market Your Business
Start promoting your business. You can go the traditional route of handing out flyers and going door-to-door. But for wider reach, use social media.
Launch your opening promotions. You can offer free refills or deliveries on your first week. Introduce Buy One Take One or Buy 10 Get One promos and give loyalty cards to frequent buyers.
Consider institutional selling, where big establishments like companies, restaurants, and schools can get their drinking water from you.
Step 10: Congratulations on Your New Water Station Business!
You’ll spend the first few months getting customers, performing administrative tasks, and improving overall business operations. Now that you have a fully functioning and legitimate business, you can practice everything you’ve learned.
Tips on How to Start a Water Refilling Business
✔️ Find the Right Supplier/Installer
A good supplier or installer will conduct a site inspection before proposing a layout. They will also conduct a test on your raw water.
Get their price list and machine specifications. Look into more than one supplier or installer so you can compare prices, equipment, and services.
Also, look for a supplier near your water station business. Their technicians can quickly check and fix your machine if it breaks down. Remember that you’re selling an essential need, so you can’t afford to close your business for days.
✔️ Invest in Quality Machines
Cheap machines won’t last long. You may save a few thousand pesos, but you’ll spend more on repairs when they break down. Instead of expecting a return on your investment, you'll be paying for repairs.
✔️ Learn How to Operate Your Equipment
Because a water refilling station relies heavily on water filtration equipment, they’ll be prone to wear and tear. Learn how to troubleshoot minor issues so you can save on costly repairs.
✔️ Reuse Wastewater
To produce 100 five-gallon containers, you’ll need about 2,000 liters of raw, unprocessed water. But only 40% will be suitable for drinking consumption. The remaining 60% will be considered wastewater.
This is why some water refilling station owners also open adjacent car wash or laundry businesses. Otherwise, you can use the wastewater to water your plants, wash your dishes, or clean your car.
✔️ Prepare for Emergency Expenses
Allot money from your daily sales to cover your equipment’s maintenance costs. You won’t have to worry about where to get money if the machine suddenly breaks down. This will also ensure no business disruptions and help you reach your sales targets easily.
Read more Moneymax business guides:
- Why You Should Open a Bakery: Tips to Get Your Business Off the Ground
- Be the Best in the Bigasan Business: How to Start Selling Rice
Maintain cleanliness in your water station. Sell only safe and clean drinking water by observing proper handling and maintenance of containers and equipment.
The idea of running your own water station can be scary and intimidating. But if you learn how to start a water refilling station and do so with commitment, you can be successful and run a profitable business.
-  PHL access to drinking water improves; 54% source from commercial refilling stations (Business World, 2023)
-  Water refilling stations to face closure over high gastro cases (Philippine News Agency, 2023)