My company and business in the Dominican Republic.

John Boyter
8 min readApr 29, 2024

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In hindsight, it probably wasn’t a good idea of mine to start a business in the Dominican Republic in 2006–2007. But in the first few years, my expenses with it, both starting up and my fixed expenses, were not that high, and we occasionally had closings to cover most expenses. And I had other income. During 2008–2009, I came up with the idea to do executive rentals for foreign managers, which then developed into commercial leases. Working with foreign business people and companies. Then, I started the virtual office/serviced office in 2010–2011, which was first just for virtual office clients, and it helped pay the fixed office expenses. I should have kept it that way, at that size, and in the end, it was what we were trying to do in 2018–2020 before we closed operations at the start of the pandemic.

Commercial space in Santo Domingo

We kept working with commercial space until closing the office and operations in 2020. The experience running the serviced office center and working with commercial leases — especially office space and industrial space — helped Raysa Suarez, my partner, become known in the market as a specialist. And while I had some other business ventures, she always kept it going. Her focus is now on commercial space and the sale of land, doing business as “Inmobiliaria Sarasota” in the company we have together, Boyter Island SRL. The company was closed temporarily as a “Cese Temporal” in 2020–2021, but Raysa kept working as a broker, and then we reactivated the company.

Finally, the closure of my old company

Another company I had that I was trying to close and get a so-called “Cese Definitiva,” a “disolución,” was finalized at the end of last year. It was ridiculous to keep reporting ITBIS, the Dominican VAT, at zero. Not anymore. It was so stupid for them to ask for the same documentation over and over. Maybe someone cut that red tape. I didn’t want to go into 2024 still having to spend time on it. I had Raysa and some contacts of hers contact the DGII — the internal revenue — more than before. It was a foreign company incorporated in the Cayman Islands in 2006 and closed in the Cayman Islands already in 2018. I had registered it to operate in the DR, and it was this registration that was so difficult to strike off.

Real estate brokerage and my “Outsourcing”

Raysa Suarez now does business as “Inmobiliaria Sarasota’’ in the company we have together — Boyter Island SRL. The primary benefit to me, for now, is not having any expenses with the upkeep and using it for outsourcing my online business. The “Outsourcing” is me outsourcing to myself in the DR as I work with everything myself. This way, I show on my website and in other marketing that I will be mainly in the Dominican Republic as I run my online creation business in a Florida company with a virtual address in Miami.

Business failure

I have, since 2002, spent most of my time in the Caribbean. In the Cayman Islands, from 2014 to 2017, I wanted to set up an online business in a tax-free zone, build a house, and move there. I failed miserably. For the first two to three years, 2002–2005, I spent most of my time in Cuba, and I luckily didn’t try to set up a business there. Seems I was smarter when I was younger. In 2015, I obtained a business license with a work permit in the Cayman Islands and started building a house. I had big plans. I would develop an online business in a tax-free zone, move there, and use my office in Santo Domingo for operations. It started to go sour. I could not manage the construction, which finished over two years later than planned, and I never developed the online business. I gave up my business license in the Cayman Islands and sold the house at a huge loss.

Starting content creation when I had depression

During the process, I experienced a mental health crisis, starting with anxiety disorder and panic attacks, resulting in a nervous breakdown, followed by a long period of depression, all lasting three to four years. It culminated from a long period where mental illness and problematic drinking increasingly got a hold on me and influenced my personal life and my business. Content creation and writing were not really on my mind for many years. It began some years ago when I started posting on social media about the problems I had in the Cayman Islands and about my business in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, which I was then trying to save. My posts on social media and blogging then developed into something more permanent during the pandemic.

Working with freelancers and other independent brokers

Raysa works only with freelancers. One is a sales and marketing assistant. Another helps occasionally with her website. We have been working on a better contact and lead generation system. I realized she could use MailChimp, for which she already has an account. I have an account myself, and I know the application well by now. So, we started working on that for her. She works with around ten other brokers on most of her deals. They are always working independently together, and it works. A contact of hers from the office building on Avenida Sarasota where we had our office until March 2020, helps her with administrative tasks, including issuing invoices at closings.

Helping with a lead generation system and website

We chose to use MailChimp to register leads and contacts. It is really an email marketing tool, so you have to have the email of the contact person to register them. It is not ideal as a CRM, but I know the platform well from working with email campaigns, and it is easy for Raysa to use the app on her iPhone. For someone who works mostly with her phone. Two phones. Anything that can be done on the phone devices is a help.

CRM system

I have been reading that you can integrate the MailChimp basic free plan with a basic free plan from Salesforce, which is a real CRM system. Maybe that is something to look into and help with next time I am in Santo Domingo. I am setting up a landing page in MailChimp under the old domain name we had for the virtual office, www.yourislandoffice.com, and will connect it to her website, https://inmobiliariasarasota.com, in GoDaddy website builder. The landing page is to register emails by interested buyers, commercial lease tenants, and property owners interested in listing their property. The email then goes directly into her database, and she receives an email notification.

The corporate side of the business and the other side

There is a corporate, more formal side of the business of Raysa Suarez and her “Inmobiliaria Sarasota.” The part I started with her working with companies and commercial leases of office and industrial space in the commercial areas of Santo Domingo. She has become very good at this. And then there is a more — getting down and dirty side — where she works with the sale of raw land and smaller commercial buildings. She is good at getting the listings and the legal documents together, and she sends her brother to show these properties to potential buyers. Finally, there is the sale of residential properties, mainly apartments in the area where she lives on and around Avenida Sarasota in Bella Vista in Santo Domingo. She has worked with real estate since before I met her at a Remax franchise in Santo Domingo in 2006. So, over twenty years now.

Business meetings in Santo Domingo. Quite fun now when things are simpler.

I had several pleasant business meetings recently, mostly at coffee shops at Bella Vista Mall in Santo Domingo. With Raysa and the lady who helps her with administrative tasks. And together with Raysa and some of the independent brokers she works with. I also met virtually with the two younger freelancers who work with her. One actually started with us as a receptionist just before we closed in March 2020, and she is now a marketing assistant for Raysa, working from home. And the other had just started on an internship back then. She has since graduated in design and multimedia and will help now with an upgrade of the website. I also met with a lawyer on behalf of an old client of my virtual office service. The offices of the law firm are right in the center of Santo Domingo, the so-called “Poligono Central,” which is the business district.

My Dominican Republic company and business in the DR going forward.

With business in the DR, I am primarily just trying to help my business partner in Santo Domingo. I was good at marketing and putting things into a system but then for others to execute it. And I did networking well and can do that for her when I am there. I am just going to continue my content creation with writing, and I might use the DR company to outsource the more technical and or maybe just the design side of it relating to my online platform. Next year, in February, we have to update the company at the “Registro Mercantil,” and we will look at changing the statutes of the company Boyter Island SRL to open up for different activities. We now do the legal administrative work ourselves, or Raysa looks for help among her contacts.

Tax returns in the DR, the US, and Denmark

We recently filed the tax return for 2023 for the company, and we used my old tax accountant. Raysa has her own accountant who files the monthly tax compliance. It is quite simple and not the expense and burden it was in the past. We don’t have high fixed costs and no payroll. I also just filed the 2023 tax return for my US company. Then, when I get back to Denmark in May, I have to look at my Danish personal tax return for 2023 for filing in July.

New accounting system

I am looking at setting up a new accounting system in January 2025, an online accounting system in Spanish called Alegra, which looks similar to QuickBooks Online, which I use for my US company. Alegra has a version adapted to the DR tax reporting, and I will ask my old accountant to help enter the balance on 1/1/2025. My old tax accountant will continue to help with the annual tax filing on behalf of me. Raysa continues to work with her accountant on the month-to-month activities and monthly tax compliance. However, I hope that maybe with the Alegra accounting system, this could be an expense she will be able to save.

Return to the Dominican Republic in 2025 and back again to Denmark later?

I haven’t bothered finding a place to live in Denmark and have stayed living with my dear mother, who will be 90 later this year. And I have kept my home in Las Terrenas in the Dominican Republic. This will make it easier for me to move back to the DR in January 2025. If I then move back to Denmark again, I would probably avoid keeping a home in the DR, and a solution with my company could be to transfer my shares to Raysa beforehand and close my Dominican bank account. It’s just a lot of work reporting anything from the DR to Danish tax. And paying a Danish tax accountant is very costly. I now know more about moving back. This time, I avoided having investments in stocks and bonds in my US company and waited even longer with that, but instead, I had the complexity of my DR activities. Next time, I may have investments in my US company but will avoid having DR activities and assets if I can plan it.

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John Boyter

Becoming a writer. My purpose with my writing is to be entertaining, and maybe the reader can learn something from it or be inspired. Nomadic Blog Writer.