What Businesses are Pandemic-Proof in the Philippines?

Rouselle Isla

Rouselle Isla

Last updated October 17, 2023

If there's anything that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught everyone, it's that an economic crisis can happen anytime and cause you to shut down the business you've worked so hard to build.

Is your business pandemic-proof? Does it have what it takes to survive or even thrive during a pandemic?

If you own a pandemic-proof business, may it continue to fare well and prosper. But if not, we've listed down some pandemic-proof business ideas for your next business endeavor or for when you want to put up your own business.

What is a Pandemic-Proof Business?

A business is considered pandemic-proof if it can withstand and survive the financial impact of a pandemic and still retain a strong position in the market. This can be achieved by having the right business strategy, introducing creative, diverse, and in-demand products and services, and reaching and engaging with customers online.

16 Pandemic-Proof Business Ideas: What Businesses Survived COVID-19 in the Philippines?

Despite the many challenges brought on by the pandemic to businesses, some continue to thrive and operate as usual. Others have also become more in demand now. These businesses saw and leveraged business opportunities during the pandemic.

Consider these small business ideas that can survive a pandemic like COVID-19.

✔️ Online Grocery Store or Market

pandemic proof business ideas - online grocery store or market

An online grocery store or market offers convenience and speed. Customers don't need to go out, walk the grocery aisles, and line up at the counter. They can just go online, browse different product categories, add them to their cart, check out, and wait for delivery.

This pandemic-proof business is a great idea because it enables busy, on-the-go people to save time, energy, and money. No wonder physical stores and market stalls have started selling groceries online during the pandemic.

Why it's a pandemic-proof business:

  • People will always buy essential goods, whether there's a pandemic or not.
  • It's easy to create an online store that you can run even after the pandemic
  • You can fulfill orders even with a small team, either through your own fleet or a third-party logistics service provider.

✔️ Rice Retailing Business

Rice is a staple in every Filipino meal. This fact makes a bigasan an ideal business that can stay profitable even during a crisis. You can easily start this small business with a modest capital for as low as ₱50,000 without any entrepreneurial experience.

Why it's a pandemic-proof business:

  • Rice is an essential commodity—there will always be a demand for it.
  • You can sell to households and other small businesses like restaurants and catering service providers.
  • The bigasan can be scaled up eventually by selling other essentials like feeds, canned goods, and other necessities.

Read more: Be the Best in the Bigasan Business: How to Start Selling Rice

✔️ Online Bakery 

crisis proof business idea - online bakery

Whether it's sourdough bread, banana cake, garlic bread, ube cheese pandesal, or blueberry cheesecake that's your specialty, you can sell your home-baked goodies through your own online bakery.

Leverage demand and find out which baked goods are trending or are fast-selling. Or take advance orders so that you bake only what's already been paid for.

Why it's a pandemic-proof business:

  • You can bake and run the business from home.
  • It's easy to set up and manage an online store.
  • Advertise and market your products both online and offline.
  • You'll be selling food items, which means you'll always have customers.

✔️ Water Refilling Station

Another essential commodity that people can't live without is, of course, potable water. With a water refilling station, not only will you earn a livelihood from home but also give your community access to safe and clean drinking water.

Why it's a pandemic-proof business:

  • There's steady demand for this essential product, as every household allots budget for drinking water.
  • It operates on a simple business model, so it's easy to start, more so if you buy a water refilling franchise.

✔️ Online Retail Store

crisis proof business - online retail store

Since brick-and-mortar stores can close at a moment's notice when lockdowns are imposed, micro and small retail business owners should have other options to continue their operations.

An online retail store will ensure that the business keeps running and that items continue to be sold. Having an online retail store will also boost a brand's online presence and widen its reach.

Why it's a pandemic-proof business:

  • People can browse products and place orders 24/7. Sales come in even while you sleep.
  • No expensive rent to pay. Setting up an online store is free or charges a minimal fee, depending on the e-commerce platform.
  • An online retail store can be operated from anywhere.

✔️ Food and Beverage Delivery Service

crisis proof business - food and drink delivery

When consumers stay at home and restaurants operate at limited capacity during a pandemic, there's a surge in demand for food and drink delivery services. Many of these delivery services in the Philippines have stepped up by offering deliveries and contactless payments.

Ordering food and drinks online has been a habit for a lot of Filipinos even before the pandemic, but even more so when the pandemic hit. And now that things have gone back to normal, using food and beverage delivery services continues to be a way of life in the Philippines.

Why it's a pandemic-proof business:

  • You can offer added convenience to customers who have no time to shop for ingredients and cook meals, as well as those who are under quarantine.
  • It's profitable, as food and drinks are a necessity.
  • No need to open a physical restaurant, cafe, or shop to start selling.
  • This crisis-proof business can be managed easily with a lean staff.

✔️ Mobile and Pop-Up Coffee Shops

pandemic proof business ideas - mobile coffee shop

Although coffee can be ordered online and enjoyed at home, there's something special about having it fresh and piping hot and drinking it somewhere with real coffee house vibes.

Enter mobile and pop-up coffee shops that sell coffee right from inside a van or a stall on wheels. Some set up shop in front of their houses, at street corners, or even on dirt roads where lots of bikers take a rest stop.

It's a flexible and viable alternative during a pandemic, especially for budding entrepreneurs. Mobile and pop-up coffee shops are a cost-effective way to sell coffee to customers while keeping operating costs low.

Why it's a pandemic-proof business:

  • The shop can be set up anywhere as long as there's a power outlet and foot traffic.
  • No costly overheads, allowing you to offer more competitive coffee prices.
  • You can offer a small menu of crowd favorites and bestsellers.

See also: What's Brewing: How to Start a Coffee Shop Business in the Philippines

✔️ Online Plant Store

crisis proof business - online plant selling

One way Filipinos cope with stress is by surrounding themselves with lots of fresh and vibrant plants and blooms. Hence, the rise of plantitos and plantitas during the pandemic.

There's always been a high demand for houseplants, and even fruit and vegetable planting. Not only is planting therapeutic. It also promotes relaxation and happiness, which is much-needed during a crisis.

You don't need to be an expert to start selling plants. You can start with cacti or succulents first and then transition to easy-to-grow plants like pothos, philodendrons, and aglaonema.

Take it from, Gugma, owner of SucculentsPH.[1] According to Gugma, she didn't even have time to water her plants, but she's now running a successful online shop that sells succulents.

Why it's a pandemic-proof business:

  • You easily start by propagating plants from cuttings and buying pots and soil.
  • Sell online or from your own home.
  • The tropical climate of the Philippines makes it easier to grow plants.
  • Your business' digital presence can sell to customers outside of your physical location.

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✔️ Reselling or Buy-and-Sell Business

pandemic-proof business - online reselling or buy and sell

Got a few items that are good as new but you no longer use? Sell them online. Depending on the size of the item and the demand for it, you can earn a few hundred to thousand pesos.

You can easily set up shop online and post your items to sell. Engage your audience on social media through live selling. In addition, you can even sell your items flea market-style for customers who can personally check, purchase, and collect them.

Why it's a pandemic-proof business:

  • It requires only low to no start-up costs.
  • You can operate from anywhere and sell anything (shoes, vintage electronics, collectible toys, books, video games and consoles, brand-name clothes, baby items, furniture, and many others).
  • Get paid and get rid of clutter as well.

Read more: What is a Buy and Sell Business and How to Get Started?

✔️ e-Loading Service 

crisis proof business idea - e-loading

It's hard to find someone who doesn't own a cellphone these days. With millions of Filipinos who buy prepaid load for calls, texts, or data, e-loading services are still a very low-risk but high-demand business.

All you need is a cellphone, a SIM card, and an initial load of ₱1,000 to start your e-loading business. Just go to any Globe or Smart business center to get your e-loading kit, and you can already be an owner of a small crisis-proof business.

Why it's a pandemic-proof business:

  • You can start with low capital.
  • Profits may not be huge, but it's still a good and easy way to earn extra income.
  • Prepaid phones will always be available, and people will always buy load for connecting with their loved ones.

✔️ Transport / Delivery Service 

crisis-proof business - courier service

Online shopping has been the activity of choice for most Filipinos before, during, and after the pandemic. With that comes a significant increase in parcel deliveries.

Transport and parcel delivery services keep businesses running smoothly. They're always in demand, even in small, remote towns. In short, there will always be someone somewhere who needs something delivered.

Profit will depend on the number of bookings and deliveries. But what makes transport and delivery services work are efficiency and scope.

You can be an independent local courier with partner riders/drivers or operate your own parcel delivery franchise, like 2Go, TokTok, or J&T Express. Franchise prices will vary depending on the location and the franchise package itself.

Why it's a pandemic-proof business:

  • It's an essential service that individuals and businesses need to move goods.
  • No formal education or training is required. You just need to be able to communicate clearly with customers.
  • This can be a home-based business.

✔️ Money Transfer / Remittance / Bills Payment Service

Money transfer, remittance, and bills payment centers provide an essential service to ensure that the economy keeps moving even in a pandemic. Filipinos who need to send funds or pay bills but don't have a bank account can still do so by sending it through remittance centers.

They're another example of crisis-proof businesses that can give a fast return on investments.

Palawan Express, Bayad Center, M Lhuillier, Western Union, and Expresspay offer franchise packages that are already fully set up and ready to operate. The franchise fee can range between ₱99,000 to ₱600,000, depending on what's included in the package and which franchise it is.

Read more: 4 Steps to Apply for a Franchise Business in the Philippines

Why it's a pandemic-proof business:

  • You can set up your business in a strategic location for wider reach.
  • Not a lot of requirements are needed to start operating (You just need a computer or tablet, printer, and an internet connection).
  • It provides an essential financial service.

✔️ Professional, Technical, and Lifestyle Services

pandemic-proof business idea - yoga instruction

Whether it's providing legal advice, accounting or bookkeeping services, interior design consultation, translation, or writing services, you can operate anywhere in the world and earn from it.

Yoga instruction, sports and fitness coaching, insurance selling, conducting workshops and webinars, graphic design, and many other trades continue to thrive even in the new normal. As long as you have a computer and an internet connection, you can run your business from anywhere, land new clients, and get paid.

Why it's a pandemic-proof business:

  • It involves a low cost to operate because you'll be capitalizing on skills or expertise you already have.
  • Widen your reach through your personal and professional networks.
  • This crisis-proof business has unlimited income potential.
  • You can do it from home or anywhere in the world.

✔️ Online Pet Supplies Store

pandemic proof business idea - online pet store


An online pet supplies store is a good pandemic-proof business idea because pet owners will still buy pet essentials even during an economic or health crisis.

To be successful with this kind of business, you need to have great product offerings in your inventory. Stock up on pet food and grooming products that your target customer base will buy. You can also check out other online pet stores and see which of their products are selling well.

Why it's a pandemic-proof business:

  • No need to purchase or rent store space.
  • You can partner with a courier service if you don't have a vehicle for deliveries.
  • You can also consider dropshipping, so your third-party supplier will handle the shipping of items to your customers.
  • This business doesn't require huge capital.
  • You just need to have good knowledge about pets and pet products and some technical know-how on building a good e-commerce site

✔️ Cleaning Services

crisis-proof business - cleaning service

Everyone knows the importance of proper hygiene and disinfecting your space, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. Cleaning will always be done in homes, offices, restaurants, shopping malls, hospitals, and practically everywhere.

In short, it's not a trend but a necessity. After all, the threat of the virus is still present. And it's a very common yet in-demand service, pandemic or no pandemic.

Why it's a pandemic-proof business:

  • Very low start-up costs to start your small business.
  • You can run this business by yourself or with a small cleaning staff.
  • No office is required. You just need a handy set of cleaning tools and equipment.
  • Marketing and advertising can be done online.
  • Get paid right away and book clients in advance, so you can set how much you want to earn.
  • You just need the right outlook, motivation, and personality to succeed in this business.

✔️ Hardware and Construction Supplies Store

pandemic proof business idea - hardware and construction service

The pandemic has given everyone a lot of time to redecorate, remodel, or renovate their homes. Minimalist, aesthetically pleasing homes continue to be a trend today, with proud homeowners sharing pictures of their new or renovated homes on Facebook. This is why it's worth having a hardware supplies and construction service business in the Philippines.

Why it's a pandemic-proof business:

  • It can cater to various needs of customers (home redecorating, renovation, repair, etc.).
  • You can stock up on fast-moving items to jump-start the business.
  • You can sell a niche list of products to stand out from competitors.
  • A website can be created to sell products and take inventory.

Final Thoughts

How do you pandemic-proof your business? Businesses that survived the pandemic in the Philippines have something in common: they're flexible and adaptable.

Respond quickly and learn new ways to address your customers' needs. Also, be proactive with your sales and marketing strategies and try new ways to run the business effectively and make it pandemic-resilient, like working from home or fortifying your online store or online presence.

More importantly, invest in digital solutions that will help your business thrive in this digital world.

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Make the most of the available business opportunities. If you can secure funding that will cover the cost of your daily business operations or help you get the business capital you need, go for it. There are many loans for businesses with flexible repayment periods or lower interest rates.

Apply for a personal loan through Moneymax

Source: [1] Madiskarteng Boss 20: The future of Filipino entrepreneurship (Rappler, 2020)

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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