Aurion Business Consultants

How to Start an Interior Design Company in Dubai?

Starting an interior design company in Dubai is an all-time lucrative investment. There is an increasing demand for commercial and residential properties in Dubai always. It has led to the growth of interior decoration and maintenance business in this region.

Growing Demand for Interior Design Companies in Dubai

The interior design industry is highly competitive. With the Dubai Expo 2020, and future expansion projects in line in the UAE, it is expected to drive demand for the interior design sector furthermore. 

The luxury lifestyle and infrastructure facilities of Dubai attract global investors. Interior designing is an integral part of Dubai’s construction industry.

Demand from the Construction Industry in Dubai

There is an ample requirement for interior design companies to service the demands of the construction sector.

Interior design plays a very crucial role in the overall look and feel of a building.

Be it hotels, office spaces, apartments, retail shops, or business centers, there is a growing requirement for interior design to enhance the aesthetics of the building interiors.

Going by the business opportunity for interior design, Dubai offers a host of entrepreneur-friendly company formation packages and infrastructure support for interior design companies to establish their business and operate in the UAE.

Advantages of Setting up an Interior Design Company

Following are the advantages of Interior Design Company:

  • Increased Demand for Commercial and Residential Buildings
  • Wide scope for design works due to multicultural audience base
  • Ease availability of interior suppliers and contractors
  • Work-friendly Infrastructure and availability of interior designers to recruit
  • Availability of Freelance Licensing for Designers
  • Easy setting up of office space and professional license from Free Zones or Mainland
  • Lower Taxes for Business Operations

Two Main Business Jurisdictions for Setting Up Interior Design Firms in Dubai

1. Dubai Design District Free Zone

In Dubai, the D3 Free Zone is the ideal free zone for setting up an interior design company as that Freezone is exclusively for promoting interior design companies.

It houses many of the renowned players in the market and consists of the perfect ecosystem to grow your business through networking and mutual agreements.

Business License Scope for an Interior Design Company in Dubai

The Dubai Creative Cluster Authority (DCCA) provides licenses for interior design consultancy. With the license, they are allowed to conduct interior architecture and designing, space planning, and also concept designing.

The DCCA also offers freelance permits for interior designers specializing in designing interiors and furnishings.

The scope of interior designing companies in Freezones and the mainland is limited to provide design plans, consulting ideas, and concept designing. They are not allowed to involve in any construction or installation works.

For the actual installation, construction or any renovations they must engage a building contractor to do carry out the construction works.

Any imports of furniture or other design products as part of the project scope have to be sourced separately through different companies (Import Companies with Customs Registration & Import Code).

For the interior design company to import furniture or any designer lighting, or structures from abroad, the company must apply for a trade license as well as get an import code from Dubai Customs.

Also, with respect to the companies registered in the Free Zones, there are certain free zones that require special permits for operations.

Permissible Activities for Interior Design Company

Permissible activities shall be limited to only:

  • Space Planning
  • Concept Designing
  • Interior Architecture and Designing

The following are the Non-Permissible activities under Interior Design Compay in the D3 Free Zone

  • Sponsored staff are not allowed to work outside of the Dubai Creative Clusters
  • No Implementation of the plans/drawings (that is out of scope for design consultancy license)
  • Displaying products of suppliers/vendors on the premises
  • Exterior/interior architectural drawings of building for construction purposes
  • Supply of furniture and fixtures

The Dubai Design District or D3 allows you to set up any of the following legal forms of business:

  • Free Zone Company
  • Branch of a Foreign Company
  • Free zone Limited Liability Company
  • Freelancing Permit

Procedures for setting up your Interior Design Company in the Dubai Design District Free Zone

Apply for initial approval

Submit all the relevant documents that will be reviewed by the concerned authorities for approval.

The initial approval requires the following documents:

  • Detailed Business plan
  • Trade license copy, incorporation certificate copy
  • Application for license
  • Original No Objection Certificate for the company
  • Passport copies of directors, shareholders, and managers

Registering the Company

The documents will be checked, and a Customer Confirmation Letter will be issued that pertains to the respective office space.

To register the company requires the following documents:

  • Registration Form, Board Resolution
  • Application form for company registration
  • Post-dated checks
  • Notarize the copy of the certificate of incorporation
  • Attested and notarized Memorandum of Association (MOA)
  • The signing of the lease, personnel sponsorship, and license collection.
  • Finally, Collection of customer confirmation letter and payment of the fee.

Mainland Dubai – Opening a Limited Liability Company (LLC)

Anyone who has a previous experience in the field and has a related degree can start an interior design company on mainland of Dubai. They can apply for a professional license from the Department of Economic Development (DED) and start operations in Dubai.

Applying for an interior license from mainland of Dubai will leave more room for expansion of your company.

You will be eligible to hire more staff without expanding your office spaces (no restrictions on visa quota). Also, you can apply for government project contracts if you have a mainland license.

Following are the procedures for opening an Interior Design Company in Dubai

  • Appoint a local sponsor or agent
  • Apply for a professional license at the DED
  • Approval from the Dubai Municipality
  • Trade name reservation
  • Choosing the office space
  • Acquire the tenancy contract
  • Submit company information
  • Collect business license

Apart from the Dubai Design District, there are a few other free zones in Dubai as well as other Northern emirates that offer a professional license for interior design consultancy.

The Dubai Production City (DPC), Dubai Studio City, and Dubai Outsource city are a few other free zones that offer professional licenses for interior design consultants.

Also, Free Zones in Fujairah, Sharjah, Ajman, and Ras Al Khaimah offer professional licenses for interior design consultants.

However, depending on the nature of work and project availability, it is best advisable to setup up your base in Dubai or Sharjah. It will allow you to strengthen your presence in Dubai and gain more clients.

To know more about applying for the professional license for your interior design consultancy, talk to our legal & business experts right away!

Contact: Aurion Business Consultants

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