The franchise model is growing rapidly in the UAE across a range of sectors, with brands and entrepreneurs capitalising on the wealth of new opportunities being created across the country. Before you start the application process you need to be aware of the related laws and regulations involved, so to get you started we’ve put together a list of everything you need to know about franchise set up in the UAE.

What is a franchise?

A franchise is a system where products or services are distributed via an outlet that uses an established brand name, while paying a fee to do so.

What are the benefits of setting up a franchise in the UAE?

By setting up a business in the UAE you can enjoy benefits such as:

  • Shared business, marketing and advertising costs

With the branding and target audience already in place, you do not have to spend so much on promoting your franchise. This makes it more investor friendly and frees up time for you to grow.

  • Cheaper buying costs

As a franchise you can buy from established distributors, making it easier to access stocks and benefit from bulk buying discounts.

  • Less chance of failure

Using an established brand name gives you an instant advantage in the market ahead of your competitors, while also reducing the risk of failure.

How do I set up a franchise in the UAE?

Research the market

Thorough research will be key to a strong start for your franchise in the UAE. If you’re not sure which market to enter, look at some of the more profitable and choose one based on your experience and knowledge.

Plan the type of franchise you want to create

There are two types of franchise you can set up in the UAE and by understanding both you can make a more informed decision:

  • Single unit franchise

You will run a single company as a franchise to see the brand’s products or services.

  • Multi-unit/developed franchise

When give permission by the brand, a single company is responsible for operating several units at once

Choose a Company Name

When choosing a company name in the UAE you need to be aware of the restrictions that are in place. For example, it should not contain any indecent words or refer to God in any language. Names of cities, countries and continents are not allowed, and it cannot be similar to government organisations.

Secure a Business Licence

You have the option to open a mainland, offshore or freezone business and thanks to recent law changes will enjoy 100% control, even as an expat. Many people new to the UAE find it useful to work with a local consultancy who can provide business ser-up support. There can be a lot of red tape to deal with in the UAE, so having the inside track on the application process will make things must easier and faster.

Apply for a trading licence

In addition to a business licence, you will also need a trading licence. The type of licence you need will depend on whether the franchise will be registered in a free zone of as a mainland entity. Charterhouse Lombard can help you decide which is the better option for your franchise, so you can make the most of the benefits each option has to offer.

Obtain a work visa

As a non-citizen of the UAE, you will have to secure a work visa for the country. There are a variety of different visa types available, so it’s important to familiarise yourself with their benefits and eligibility requirements. The visa process also involves a medical test, which is a legal requirement for all visa holders, which we can advise on.

Open a UAE bank account

A key requirement to conduct business in the UAE is a corporate bank account. The UAE has a wide variety of financial institutions to choose from, ranging from Islamic banks to international brands and it is important to find that that is tailored to the needs of your business. As with all the other stages of the set-up process, the Charterhouse team can work with you to help you choose the most appropriate option.

Start your franchise business set up with Charterhouse Lombard

There’s never been a better time to set up a franchise in the UAE. But to get off to strong start you need to ensure the process has been done in the right way. From acquiring business and trade licences to securing a visa and opening a bank account, Charterhouse Lombard can help you navigate the entire process from start to finish. Whether you’re an individual entrepreneur or represent a larger company, we take away the stress of getting started in the UAE. To find out more, contact a member of our team today.