If you are planning to set up your company in Dubai or anywhere in the UAE, you have probably done your research and learned about the unique business environment of the country.
The UAE has more than 60 jurisdictions where you can locate your business. These are further broken down into two categories: mainland and free zone. You are probably thinking, “Where should I set up by business? Should I choose mainland? What about free zone?” And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
But don’t worry because you are not alone – and that is also why business setup consultants (also called company formation specialists) came about.
As their title suggests, business setup consultants specialize in helping entrepreneurs and businesses identify the most suitable location for their business, as well as the type of trade license and legal entity they should choose, depending on the nature of their business activity, the number of their shareholders, and their visa requirements, among other things to consider.
While you can definitely take the DIY route to establishing your company (and manage the calls, paperwork, etc. all by yourself), working with a business setup expert saves you time, money and resources, while making sure you make the right decisions along the way.
However, that doesn’t mean you can just go with ANY business setup consultant. Working with the “wrong” one can led you to setting up in a jurisdiction that limits your business, will ask for more paperwork than necessary, or recommend a more expensive license that does not cover all of your business activities.
To help you avoid these often expensive mistakes and ease your decision-making process, we have prepared a list of the top business setup consultants in Dubai. Read on and get to know the best in the industry.
Who are Dubai’s leading business setup experts?
Setting up a business in the UAE doesn’t have to be challenging. There are experts in the industry to help ease your mind and make the process as smooth as possible. Here are the top five business setup consultants in Dubai.
Established in 2009, Virtuzone is a pioneer in the company formation industry and has since set up the companies of more than 60,000 entrepreneurs. Its mission is to “remove the complexities of company setup in the UAE” so that their clients can focus on running their companies.
Virtuzone offers a one-stop-shop approach to company setup, meaning they take care of everything clients need to set up their business. The company also offers support services to help their clients manage the day-to-day operations of their businesses, which include bank account opening, VAT registration, health insurance, mail management, accounting, payroll, IT support, PRO and virtual receptionist services.
Pros and Cons
Virtuzone has over 12 years of experience. They have many awards and accolades, including the Corporate Service Provider of the Year at the 2018 Enterprise Agility Awards hosted by Entrepreneur Middle East Magazine. Virtuzone also has one of the most significant partnership networks in the UAE.
Virtuzone can provide you with complete business services and corporate setup. With over a hundred members on staff, they provide you with impartial advice to help you make the best decision for your business. They partner with vital free zones, government agencies, and other service providers.
Virtuzone can also guide you through the challenging process of opening a UAE business bank account with their in-house bank account opening service.
Virtuzone primarily caters to SMEs and corporations. It is important to note that if you are a freelancer or an e-trade business, then Virtuzone might not be the best choice for you, but they can point you in the right direction. Also, their business setup packages can be expensive, so depending on your budget, you might want to consider other options.
Previous clients praise Virtuzone, earning them a 4.6-star rating on Google. Reviews note their quick and efficient service and their friendly and knowledgeable staff.
|Has over 12 years of experience and many awards and accolades||Might not be suitable for e-traders or freelancers; mostly caters to SMEs and corporations|
|Largest partnership network with key free zones, government agencies and other service providers||Business setup packages can be expensive|
|Provides impartial advice and does not favor any free zone|
|100+ staff members providing complete business setup and corporate services|
|In-house bank account opening for businesses|
Founded in DAFZA as the consultancy division of JAXA Chartered Accountants, CommitBiz has a vision “to provide world-class management advisory services to private, government, non-government and academic sectors.”
The company offers a broad range of business setup services in the UAE, as well as in Bahrain, Qatar and Oman. CommitBiz also provides its clients with other corporate services, such as PRO, local sponsorship, VAT registration, company liquidation, office space leasing, and more.
In addition to business setup, CommitBiz specializes in establishing branch offices and shelf companies and providing intellectual property services.
Pros and Cons
CommitBiz has an experienced team of consultants and offers economical business formation packages. These packages cater to different entrepreneurial needs. They display their pricing on their website, allowing you to make the best decision for your budget.
CommitBiz also offers specialized licenses and visa services. Through CommitBiz, you can apply for an e-commerce license for your business or an investor visa, which allows you to live and work in the UAE for up to 3 years.
If you are looking for a tailored solution to set up your unique business, CommitBiz might not be your best option as they only offer generic solutions.
Although CommitBiz has been offering business setup services for several years, their website doesn’t show that they have had many clients. Some of their notable clients were pleased with their services. Their client testimonials note the professionalism and support through the process.
CommitBiz has a 4.8-star rating on Google. It’s important to note that there are less than one hundred reviews. Some of their clients commented that they need better communication and customer service.
|Economical business formation packages for different entrepreneurial needs||Low number of clients despite years in the business|
|Transparent pricing displayed on the website||Offers generic proposals and tailored solution not readily available|
|Specialized license and visa services (e-commerce license and investor visa)||Need better communication and customer service|
|Experienced team of consultants|
Shuura offers a combined 20 years of expertise in company formation services in the UAE. Its diverse and experienced team of in-house consultants includes lawyers, certified accountants, tax consultants, translators, public relation officers and corporate advisors.
Shuura has established more than 35,000 companies in the UAE, making it one of the UAE’s most trusted and recognized company formation services providers. Shuura works directly with government agencies and does not use any intermediaries.
It is a member of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and has close associations with the Department of Economic Development, UAE Ministry of Labour and other immigrations departments.
Pros and Cons
Shuraa has over 20 years of experience as an authorized business setup provider, making them one of the most trusted business consultants in the UAE. Shuraa offers a reduction on company service of up to 70%.
Shuraa can issue a business license in less than 48 hours if you have no time to lose. Their in-house Tasheel Centre (an online government system for labor related processes) helps speed up the process.
Shuraa offers four different company setup packages for the UAE mainland. Still, they aren’t the most affordable, with the Dubai package coming in at AED14,500. Also, this price may vary depending on your activity of choice, plus there is an extra amount for visas, an Emirates ID and other immigration needs.
Shuraa has a 4.7-star rating on Google. Most of their reviews praise the company for its excellent service. Other customers were not as pleased, commenting on the lack of communication and after-sales support.
|Authorized business setup provider with 20+ years of industry experience||Not the most affordable option as business setup packages start from AED 14,500|
|Offers up to 70% reduction on company setup||Need better communication, after-sales support and customer service|
|In-house Tasheel Centre that helps speed up the process||Down payment may not be refunded|
|Can issue a business license in less than 48 hours|
4. Creative Zone
Creative Zone was founded in 2010 to provide specialized company registration services for mainland, free zone and offshore businesses in the UAE. It also provides business setup solutions in Saudi Arabia’s mainland jurisdiction, as well as in Qatar’s free zone and mainland areas.
With years of experience in the industry, Creative Zone prides itself on having over 44,000 satisfied clients and being one of the largest and trusted business setup advisory firms in the UAE.
The company provides comprehensive after-sales support services, such as tax, accounting, legal, insurance, concierge, lead generation, media and marketing, HR services and more.
Pros and Cons
Creative Zone offers competitive mainland business setup packages in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. They also provide packages for both startup companies and big companies.
Creative Zone offers PRO services, solving all your business’s legal formalities and paperwork during the setup process. They have more than two hundred staff members and can support entrepreneurs in twenty-two languages.
Having helped over 44,000 aspiring entrepreneurs, Creative Zone has a 4.8-star rating on Google. Many of their reviews boast about their professional and courteous manner and efficiency.
Something to be aware of is that some clients struggled with the lack of post-sales support and setting up a business bank account. So keep that in mind when making your choice.
|Caters to both startups and big companies||Challenges opening a bank account|
|Competitive mainland business setup packages in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar||Slow communication and response time|
|Provides free PRO services for dependent visas sponsored by clients|
|More than 200+ staff members speaking 22 languages|
5. Trade License Zone
Founded in 2019, Trade License Zone offers personal and tailored business setup services. Like the other company formation specialists, Trade License Zone offers a one-stop-shop approach to business setup in the UAE.
Aside from company formation, Trade License Zone provides its clients with office space solutions, including co-working spaces, furnished offices, meeting rooms, reception management, and more.
Pros and Cons
Although Trade License Zone is new to business setup services, they are a promising option. They provide advisory services to help guide you with taxes, wealth, trusts, finance and commerce. Depending on your needs, they offer various free zone packages tailored to small and large businesses.
Overall, their setup process is straightforward and reliable. Trade License Zone’s location is easily accessible, and they can issue a license within 24 hours.
Trade License Zone has a 5-star review on Google, bearing in mind that there are under one hundred reviews. But their clients are delighted with their services.
Something to keep in mind is that they are new to the industry and have a smaller team compared to other business setup companies like Virtuzone or Creative Zone.
|Offers various free zone packages that can be tailored to small and large businesses||Relatively new to the industry|
|Provides advisory services in the fields of tax, wealth, trusts, technology, finance and commerce||Small team compared with other established company formation firms|
|Accessible location in Jumeirah Lakes Towers|
|Can issue license within 24 hours|
Can you go directly to free zones to set up your company?
Yes, you can. Free zone authorities generally require minimum paperwork and have a straightforward process. You can check the step-by-step guide here. The biggest benefit of working directly with free zones is that you do not have to work with a third party and the cost can sometimes be more affordable.
There are more than 50 free zones in all of UAE. Each of them has their own unique advantages, processes and requirements. Some free zones are also designed to serve specific sectors or business activities, while some can accommodate various trade activities.
Therefore, you will need to research your options carefully. You will have to contact them one by one and check their benefits, requirements and processes before you decide on one. To choose the best free zone for your business, you must weigh their individual pros and cons and see which one can benefit your business the most.
This is where working with a business setup consultant can make things a whole lot easier and simpler for you, as well as give you the peace of mind that you are not blindly doing things.
Company formation experts have the knowledge, market insight and experience that can help you easily identify the most suitable free zone for your company and business activity.
In the long run, working with a business setup specialist is your best option if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of learning and doing everything on your own, nor take the risk of making a costly mistake.
Setting up your company does not have to be a trial-and-error process, if you work with the right business setup consultant. On that note, let us now go to our recommended business setup services provider.
And our top business setup company is…
Taking a careful look at these business setup providers and what they have to offer has been quite the challenging task. They are all competitive, have a good reputation and offer services that go beyond setting up a business. However, one name stood out from the rest and we’ve listed down the reasons why Virtuzone is our top pick:
- Significant industry experience and client base of 60,000+ entrepreneurs
- Huge network of local and international partners (both private and government)
- High success rate in opening business bank accounts
- Fair and objective approach to business setup
- Industry awards and recognitions (e.g., Corporate Services Provider of the Year by Entrepreneur)
- Fast and efficient process (That 24-hour license is a definite advantage.)
If you plan to set up your company in Dubai or anywhere else in the UAE, Virtuzone can help you.