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How to Open a Shop in Dubai

How to Open a Shop in Dubai?

Dubai is known as a shopping destination and opening a shop in Dubai can be highly advantageous as it is the hub of tourism, commerce, and investments. Moreover, retail business in Dubai is also considered less costly as compared to other cities of the world. Before discussing all of this the question arises, how to open a shop in Dubai? 

Well, we are going to discuss that in detail here. There are several steps involved that need to be followed before opening a shop. It includes the determination of the nature of the shop, application for a trade license, selection of a local sponsor, and many more. 

How to Open a Shop in Dubai? Step By Step Guide

Even if you are an entrepreneur or a seasonal businessman, the process of opening a shop in Dubai can be challenging and complex as they are unfamiliar with the local laws and regulations. Let’s discuss each step of the procedure in detail.

Type of Business

The first and foremost step is to decide what product you are going to offer because this step decides what type of license you require. Some products need further approval from the government authorities such as jewelry and food products. However, you have multiple options and you can decide on any product according to your choice. It can be flowers, electronics, perfume, stationery, and more. 

Trade Name

After shortlisting the product, you have to apply for a trade name from the concerned department. It is an important step as the trade name gives the idea of the nature of your business. It might be possible that you come up with three to four different names. Ensure the trade name is not already in use and not starting with the words universal and international. The authority will compare it with the provided criteria and after that, you can choose your favorite one from the approved ones. 

Business Location 

In business, the location matters a lot and each place has its own rules that should be followed. A suitable location for your shop strongly contributes to making your business profitable as it is linked with the people’s reach and visits. Opening a shop near competitors have its positive and negative points.

You can select any location, it can be a shopping mall or Bazars to save money. With the change of location, the needs change so it is good to decide your location according to the service you provide and the needs of locals. 

Registration and License 

The next step is acquiring a license from the Department of Economic Development in Dubai (DED) and other authorities. It also includes submission of your documents such as your identity card, passport, and information related to your business such as what you are going to sell and what location you selected. After registration, a fixed amount is paid to get a license. 

Jurisdictional Requirements

To run your business smoothly, it is necessary to adhere to the legal requirements, rules, and regulations of the selected area. It is like games that we play for enjoyment, but each game has different rules and we follow them to avoid problems. So is in the business world. 

Selection of Local Partner

If your shop is outside the free zone, it is compulsory to have a local partner. The partner supports the business and holds 51% of it. It is important to select a local partner who possesses valuable knowledge related to retail shops in Dubai.

Shop on Lease 

If you don’t have enough money and you are considering opening a shop on rent, you have to take extra steps along with the selection of location and local partner. You need the permission of different organizations and municipal committees. If everything is good to go, you get approval to open a shop on lease. 

Hiring of Staff   

 After getting a shop, the next step is to hire staff for your shop. You need the manager and other staff to see the shops’ activity but there are some rules for this process as well. Hiring of staff is associated with the type of license you have. According to the authorities, owners with Intelaq license cannot hire staff but contractors only for specific tasks. The Intelaq license is to promote home-based businesses in which staff is not needed.

It should be understood that if you know how to open a shop in Dubai, you simply know how to open a shop in UAE because there are minute changes in regulations.

Tips to Make Your Shop Stand Out 

Now that you know how to open a shop in Dubai, you may wonder what should be done to make your shop stand out and what it will cost. Here are some valuable tips that can be beneficial to attract customers. 

Business Plan

Before you start anything, it is good to have ideas, goals, and how you’re going to ace it, whether it is business or daily chores, as planning is everything. Before getting started, it is important to do practical calculations regarding how much money is required, the monthly cost, and possible risks.

The Break Even Point (BEF) is a point where the net gain is equivalent to the expenditure. Insight of BEP can give an idea of when your business will start making a profit. 

Offer a Unique Product 

Offering a unique product and exclusive services are important points for attracting customers and maximize the chance of success.  

Having rare products in a shop can make it memorable for visitors and they often choose your shop to purchase. Also, they share about it in their circles, increasing reach. 

Targeting the Right Audience 

By investing in marketing and branding you can attract customers. You can choose any effective method to reach your target audience such as content marketing, search engine optimization, and social media platforms. Also, providing the best customer service, listening to customers’ feedback, and knowing their demands can lead to a successful business.

Reliable Partner 

As we know 51% of the business is held by local partners so while choosing a local partner look for an honest, expert, reliable, and experienced partner who has deep knowledge, the same visions, and goals.


At the end of this article, we hope that you understand how to open a shop in UAE or Dubai. Although the registration process is complex and challenging, it is worth it because of many benefits such as better quality of life, cooperative government, tax benefits, and free online promotions. There is always room for improvement. You can make a retail business in Dubai successful by trying new ideas and aligning with the demands and preferences of customers.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How much does it cost to open a shop in Dubai?

Opening a shop usually costs almost AED 22,000. Several factors contribute to determining the cost of the shop in Dubai including what you are going to sell, the services you provide, and the location you have selected. If the shop is located in a free zone, then it will cost more as compared to the local market or bazaar but it comes with several other advantages such as tax exemption, simple rules, full ownership, no need for a local partner, and much more. 

What are the basic steps to open a shop in UAE?

The basic rules that should be followed to open a shop in UAE are 

  • Plan your business 
  • Choose a trade name 
  • Select a suitable location 
  • Application for a business license 
  • Approval from all the concerned departments and authorities 
  • Hiring of manager 
  • Novel strategies to promote your shop 

Can I sell any product in the shop?

Yes, you are allowed to sell many products but before that, you need approval from the relevant department. Novel products can help in promoting your shop as it attracts more customers and they return for future purchases.


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