1 mistake everyone makes when moving to Ecuador: Choosing the right brands

“I´m an Apple guy,” a friend who was moving to Ecuador confided recently.

“OK, better hope your Apple computer-phone doesn´t break while in Ecuador.” I responded.  

Why?  

If your Apple product breaks, if you can even FIND the part, it will probably cost a fortune.  

This ain´t Kansas no more, land of Amazon Prime free 2 day delivery and a Walmart on every corner.  

You gotta start thinking like an Ecuadorian if you gonna live here.  

It´s VERY important to stick to the brands that are prevalent in Ecuador, or parts will be almost impossible to find, very difficult to get shipped down, and if found VERY expensive.  

For instance…

For TVs go SAMSUNG or SONY. 

For cellphones go SAMSUNG.

For computers go HP or TOSHIBA.

For tablets the best well-known is APPLE iPAD.

For cars go CHEVROLET or NISSAN.  

For printers go CANON.

For cameras go NIKON or CANON.  

Any other brand if it breaks here will be almost impossible to fix, and has very little RESALE value!

Yes, I´ve made this mistake myself, I like Motorola unlocked smart phones, yet try to find a case, or a charger or anything else for one of them while in Ecuador, stinks!  Now you know!

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Driving Uber for quick cash in Ecuador

I´ve been living outside the USA for 10 years now in different places around the globe, so things like Uber are relatively new for me.

I just used ot for the first time 2 weeks ago on a quick trip back to my hometown of Cleveland, OH.

It´s great!

So naturally, I checked it out once back here in Ecuador and sure enough there are people using it, but it´s still in it´s baby stages.

But there do seem to be more user inquiries than drivers at the current time. Not many local taxi drivers know about it so it seems.

So I signed up as a driver. It was easy, just download the Uber Driver app and follow the steps, take a pic of your license and plates and basics like that.

Then in a day you are verified.

On my first drive I asked my client why he likes Uber? Price he said, it´s cheaper for the client, and it´s true! Especially in areas outside the cities in Ecuador where there are no meters.

Using it as a driver is pretty straightforward although there are some differences between Ecuador and USA.

Like in the USA, the user sends out a ping and the closest driver can accept. I found you have to be quick and click the request fast.

Then you are directed through GPS to user´s location and directed again to their destination with the set price.

The difference is in Ecuador its all cash while in the USA it´s all credit card based, so you charge the client at end of lift.

Then later you pay Uber their commissions (although I haven´t gotten that far yet).

One tip I´ve already discovered, camp out around tourist hot spots where there are a lot of foreigners and rich Ecuadorians who may have lived abroad and know about Uber. You´ll get many more requests!

Would I do this frequently?

No. not now, I´m OK financially, but if I hit hard times yes I would, for me, I´m on the Cortez plan… BURN THE BOAT.

The only way I´m going back to the USA is in a box. (Unless on a short visit, it´s a nice place, just not for me.) That´s the mentality you have to have to move abroad or it´s probably not going to work.

And yes, I´d scrub dishes at Ecuador wages before going back.

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Sub-dividing apartments in Ecuador for a big-time income flow

“It´s really more apartment then people need on a short stay,” I commented to the building administrator where I owned a condo in Guayaquil.

“I see you´ve got lots of clients, why don´t you subdivide it into two units, wall off the living room and add a bathroom in there so each unit has it´s own separate entrances?”  He replied.

He continued, “As long as the exterior of the unit to the common hallway stays the same I have no problems.”

He was right.

That would be a great idea.  The thought of creating two hotel rooms with private baths out of my current suite in Guayaquil which included currently a living room, kitchen, and separate bedroom with bath.

The kitchen could be shared and be a common area where we have the washing and drying machines.

Then I could wall off the living room, add a bathroom in there and and then I´d have two separate units with their own entrances.

From my time as a hotelier I´ve learned for short stays all people really need is about 15m2 of space plus a 3m2 bathroom.  From my 42m2 unit I could do that, twice.

I figured from my construction experience in Ecuador I could probably add a bathroom for around $3-5k.  The walls would be reinforced gyprocks sound-proofed.

The increased revenue would  be substantial as I could turn a suite in a luxury building which I was renting for around $40-50 a night into two separate hotel-like units and rent easily in the $35-50/night each range.

That´s on the low end $2100 of rental income a month.

This could serve as someone´s pension! Long term passive income, baby.

Yet, the costs would stay relatively the same as I don´t need to hire staff like a hotel would, I can use the 24hr front desk staff the building already has to do the basics of calling taxis for clients and giving keys. Plus,I could take advantage of the buildings amenities like the elevator, jacuzzi, gym and pool without having to up-keep it myself.

For cleaning between guests I´d hire a local like I already do and pay per clean on contract.

Other costs:

Condo fee (water included): $125/month
Electric: around $90/month (in Guayaquil people use a lot of AC)
Cable TV Internet: $45/month
TOTAL fixed costs: $260/month

Problem is when having the conversation I already was under contract to sell my suite.

And I did.

But now I have another opportunity, a bigger one, in same area for another larger penthouse suite I could make multiple units out of, way more than two, in the same luxury building… but I would like an investor.

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