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How to Start Your Own Transport Service in Dubai in 2024

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Have you seen all those iconic white taxis and luxury cars zipping around Dubai? And wondered if you could start such a thriving transport company too? Well, you most certainly can!
In this step-by-step guide, I will explain everything you need to set up your own transport empire in Dubai. Whether you want taxis, limousines, school buses or refrigerated trucks – this article covers it all!

Why Dubai is Great for Transport Companies

Tourism in Dubai grows very fast. The government keeps improving roads, ports, metro lines too. Online shopping is booming here and companies need delivery vans. Expo 2020 brought millions of visitors. All this means rising demand for transport operators in Dubai!
You can provide taxis, limousines, school buses, tourist coaches, cargo delivery vans, ambulance services and much more. Plenty of great options to choose from.

Licenses You Need

The Commercial Transport License allows you to carry people and goods for hire. Depending on your vehicles, you may also need:

  • Vehicle permits (taxi permit, school bus permit etc.)
  • Route permits
  • Driver permits

I explain these later. First, let’s see the step-by-step process.

How to Set Up Your Transport Company

Choose a Business Location

Register in free zones for easy rules and full ownership. For example, Dubai Airport Free Zone (DAFZA) lets foreigners have 100% ownership without a local sponsor.

LLC offers more credibility but costs more to setup. Sole establishment has lower startup costs. Consider professional advice on the best structure for your plans.

Get Document Approvals

Authorities first review your business plan, manager’s CV and Memorandum of Association (MoA) if an LLC.

Reserve a Unique Trade Name

Search names on DED website. Shortlist good ones and reserve before someone else takes it.

Obtain Commercial Transport License

Apply to Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) or Department of Transportation (DoT). Approval takes around 2-4 weeks if all documents are complete.

Register for VAT

Mandatory 5% VAT registration if turnover exceeds AED 375,000 per year. Easy online application process.

Open a Business Bank Account

Necessary for financial transactions and operations. Takes 1-2 weeks usually.

Obtain Vehicle Permits

Register each vehicle with RTA. Different permits for taxis, school buses, refrigerated trucks etc. Inspections and tests required too.

Hire Drivers and Staff

Hire qualified drivers and handle their visa sponsorships. Ensure they clear mandatory RTA tests for commercial vehicles.

Get Supporting Permits

Annual vehicle inspections, route permits if applicable, technology systems etc. Varies by vehicle.

Create a Marketing Plan

Define services, pricing, sales channels etc. to attract customers.
I expand on costs and timelines in the FAQs next. Feel free to reach out if you need any help!

FAQs on Starting a Transport Business

How much capital do I need?

Between AED 100,000 to 500,000 depending on number of vehicles. License itself may cost AED 10,000 to 15,000.

What vehicles can I operate?

You can apply for small taxis, large buses, refrigerated trucks etc. Permits vary by vehicle type.

How long does it take to setup?

Approximately 2-3 months if all approvals happen smoothly.

Do I need a local partner?

Yes in mainland. Free zones allow 100% foreign ownership.

I hope this detailed guide provides clarity to start your own transport success story in Dubai! Let me know if you have any other questions.

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Pranav Modi

Mr. Pranav Modi, CA is supported by 12+ years of Consulting, Auditing and Accounting practice across diverse sectors.

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