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Start your vending machine business in Dubai: Step by Step

Wednesday August 17, 2022

The UAE is home to a thriving network of businesses of all sizes across a range of eclectic industries. For every million dollar tech company, there is a tenacious startup making great strides in a niche many may not have even considered.

Take vending machines, for example. While they may not be the first business idea that springs to mind when you think of Dubai, many entrepreneurs are making considerable – and largely passive – income in this area. If you’d like to join them, keep reading to find out:

    • Is a vending machine business profitable?
    • Steps to start a vending machine business in Dubai
    • Advantages of starting a business in Dubai
    • Documents needed to start a vending machine business in Dubai
    • Cost of acquiring a vending machine permit in Dubai
    • How Creative Zone can help

Is a vending machine business profitable?

It certainly can be. Get it right and it’s possible to make anywhere from tens to hundreds of dollars per day from a single machine. However, this will depend considerably on the location of your machine and the goods you stock.

For this reason, it pays to do your research before making your first investment. Consider goods that are likely to be in high demand in certain locations. This could be as simple as water in hot outside areas or confectionery in places like malls or transport hubs.

These are just a few examples, but the potential options are endless. There is a vending machine for just about everything, from hand sanitiser and sunscreen to laptops and gold bars (yes, really!). The same goes for location. Providing you have the correct permits, you can set up a vending machine anywhere with power, from car show rooms and hospitals to apartment buildings and hotels.

Steps to start a vending machine business in Dubai

As always, the best advice when starting any business in Dubai is to work with a local expert. Creative Zone can advise and guide you through the following steps, tailoring our services to your specific needs.

1 – Registering your company name
The first step in UAE company formation is usually to choose and register your trade name. When picking a name here in the UAE, you will need to avoid any words that could be considered offensive or blasphemous. You should also make sure that your chosen name is not similar to any other existing businesses or institutions.

Your name must also be available to register – for this reason, it’s a good idea to put forward a few options in case your preferred choice is already taken. Once you have made your decision, we will submit your trade name registration on your behalf.

2 – Choosing a setup and location
With your company name chosen, it’s time to consider the type of business that you wish to start. There are two common options in the UAE: free zone and mainland. You can start a mainland business anywhere in the UAE and can trade freely with the local market.

Free zone businesses must work from designated economic zones and with an agent or distributor to trade with the local market.

The team at Creative Zone will get to know the needs of your business before advising on the setup that’s right for you.

3 – Acquiring a business licence
Now it’s time for the all-important step – applying for your vending machine licence. This process differs slightly depending on whether you are starting a mainland or free zone business.

Mainland licences are issued by the Department of Economic Development or equivalent municipality. Free zone licences are issued by free zone authorities. In either case, we can manage the application process on your behalf, to ensure a speedy and straightforward application.

4 – Completing the visa process
You will require a visa to live and work in the UAE. Once again, we can guide you through this process. While a little more comprehensive than the licence application process, with the right support, you can have your visa stamped in your passport in no time.

To obtain your visa, you will be required to undergo a medical and fitness test, a chest X-ray and blood test. Once you are officially a UAE resident, you can sponsor the visas of your dependants, such as children, spouse, parents and domestic staff.

5 – Opening a bank account
The final step before you can trade freely is opening a corporate bank account, so you can start sending and receiving payments in the UAE. This can be a complex process for non-GCC citizens; however, the team at Creative Zone will make it easy, putting you in touch with the banks that are most likely to offer the services you require.

Advantages of starting a business in Dubai

The advantages of starting a business in Dubai could fill an article by itself, so I’ll stick to the main benefits here. For one, the UAE offers an incredible trading location, within easy reach of Europe, Asia, Africa, and the rest of the Middle East.

The country also proudly boasts a fast and welcoming company formation process, with minimal barriers to entry for entrepreneurs from every corner of the globe. The business environment out here is just as welcoming, too, so you’re sure to find support for your enterprise. This could be through networking and mentoring, or incubator, acceleration, and funding programmes.

Documents needed to start a vending machine business in Dubai

As part of the trade licence application process, you will need to submit at least some of the following documentation. The exact documents required will depend on your chosen setup type as well as the licence that you require.

    • Trade name registration
    • Articles of incorporation (if necessary)
    • Passport copies for all shareholders
    • Brief descriptions of intended business activities

Cost of acquiring a vending machine permit in Dubai

There are multiple costs involved in starting up a vending machine business in Dubai, UAE. The first is the trade licence which costs in the region of AED 10,000 to AED 12,000. You will also need to consider the costs of permits and approvals that may be required depending on the location of your machines. Then you must account for the cost of ground rent, office premises, equipment, staff and visa requirements.

For a full and personalised breakdown of the costs involved in starting a vending machine business in Dubai, get in touch with the team at Creative Zone.

How Creative Zone can help

As one of the largest and most trusted business setup advisory firms in the UAE, Creative Zone is on hand to help you through every step of the company formation process.

Our team of registration professionals have helped over 45,000 budding entrepreneurs to launch and grow their businesses out here with our simple yet ground-breaking model. We are here to serve as your one-stop shop for all things relating to business setup in Dubai.

As well as support with licences and visas, we also offer a range of additional business services to help you and your business long after launch. And we offer flexible payment plans and tailored packages to help keep costs low. If you’re ready to start your vending machine business in the UAE, get in touch to find out more.


Prices offered by free zones are subject to change without notice. Please get in touch with Creative Zone for an updated price based on the current promotions and availability.


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