The UAE is one of the world’s best places to set up a company. There’s a wealth of benefits on offer; from tax exemptions and 100% repatriation of profits and capital, to business support and networking opportunities.

When setting up your business in the UAE, it’s vital to select the right location. Here’s a guide, explaining how to do it.

What’s your business?

You probably already know what sort of enterprise you want to run in the UAE. This will determine, to an extent, the location you select.

For example, some of the free zones focus on specific business activities, and some may limit how many activities are permitted under a single business licence. As for the licence itself; the most popular types are:

  • Commercial / trading
  • Service
  • General trading
  • Media
  • Manufacturing
  • Ecommerce

How do you plan to operate?

There are three main options when it comes to setting up a UAE company. These are:

  • Setting up in a free zone
  • Setting up as an onshore / mainland venture
  • Setting up as an offshore venture

Each has its own set of advantages. For example, if you want to open a shop, selling products directly to people in the UAE, you will need to open your company in the mainland. If you wish operate a consultancy, a free zone company may be more suitable. Alternatively, those operating in the industrial sector may also prefer to set up in a free zone, as many of these cater directly for businesses of this nature. If no residence visa is required, an offshore company may be a suitable option.

What about surrounding amenities?

Each business location in the UAE offers different benefits. Many of the free zones are situated next to airports and seaports, for example; something that’s vital for companies operating in related industries like aviation or export.

If you’re setting up a mainland company, you’ll need to consider your target demographic and do some research about the area, and your local competition. You’ll also need to ensure that your premises are in a location that’s well served by transport links.

Do you need share capital?

Usually, when registering a business in the UAE, you’ll need to deposit some level of share capital. Sometimes, no share capital is required (this is referred to as ‘authorised’). However, if it’s ‘paid-up’, you will need to deposit the share capital, and prove that you’ve done so.

The amount you require depends on where you set up your company. It’s important to check how much is needed before you commit to a particular location.

What can you afford?

Some locations are more costly to set up in than others. When examining your options, make sure you factor in all costs involved, such as licence fees, registration fees, rental rates, visa fees, bills and more. Your financial outlay will have a direct impact on the level of profit you generate.

Charterhouse Lombard have been helping businesses to find the ideal location in the UAE for years. If you’d like to have access to our expert advice and support, get in touch today.