How To Set Up a Business as a Commercial Broker in the UAE

commercial broker in the UAE

Establishing a business as a commercial broker in the UAE provides excellent prospects for entrepreneurs who seek to leverage the booming economy. By setting up this type of business, there is a sea of various opportunities and advantages, such as the UAE’s geographical location, strong economy, and business-friendly regulations.

For entrepreneurs to have a successful venture, it is important to have a deep insight into the market, possess a vast network that can help them master the local market dynamics, and, more importantly, navigate through the regulatory environment. Setting up a business as a commercial broker requires a specific license, which can easily be obtained from SPC Free Zone, where you gain several advantages and the opportunity to choose from seven categories of business activities 

Here, you will gain insight into seven different activities offered under this single license. You will have more clarity on what type of offering suits your knowledge and expertise when you set up your business.

4610.11 Commercial Brokerage Services

This activity relates to the role of a business or agents in bringing buyers and sellers together and undertaking a commercial transaction for a specified product or service. These types of agents, as well as all other wholesalers, conduct deals on behalf of other entities. These transactions commonly take place through face-to-face meetings or by legally authorizing a representative to oversee the deals. An increasing number of these transactions are currently taking place on online platforms. The services usually involve facilitating transactions, negotiating terms, and providing expert advice to clients seeking interest in selling, buying, leasing, or investing.

A commercial broker conducts services through expertise, usually covering certain aspects that can include classes such as agricultural raw materials, live animals, textile raw materials, and semi-finished goods; fuels, ores, metals, and industrial chemicals, including fertilizers; food, beverages, and tobacco; textiles, clothing, fur, footwear, and leather goods; timber and building materials; machinery, including office machinery and computers; industrial equipment, ships, and aircraft; furniture, household goods, and hardware. This category also includes wholesale auctioneering houses, which enable buyers to sell various goods and commodities through competitive bidding processes.

However, this category does not include activities such as wholesale trade in their own name, activities of commission agents for motor vehicles, auctions of motor vehicles, retail sales by non-store commission agents, activities of insurance agents, and activities of real estate agents.

Third-party Approval: This business activity does not require third-party approval.

Filing of Economic Substance Returns: This requirement does not apply to business activity 4610.11.

Anti-Money Laundering Compliance: This requirement does not apply to business activity 4610.11.

4610.12 Services Broker

This category covers the activity of a services broker who provides a seamless process for conducting a business transaction between a consumer and a provider. Commission agents and wholesalers, acting as intermediaries between buyers and sellers, typically facilitate this indispensable service online or in a traditional setting.

From fuels, industrial chemicals, and agricultural raw materials to furniture, home goods, and machinery, service brokers can deal in a wide variety of products. They mediate transactions, utilizing their expertise and connections to ensure that the transaction process goes smoothly for everyone involved. To further broaden their horizons in the world of commercial trade, service brokers can also participate in wholesale auctioneering.

However, this category does not include activities such as wholesale trade in their own name, activities of commission agents for motor vehicles, auctions of motor vehicles, retail sales by non-store commission agents, activities of insurance agents, and activities of real estate agents.

Third-party Approval: This business activity does not require third-party approval.

Filing of Economic Substance Returns: This requirement does not apply to business activity 4610.11.

Anti-Money Laundering Compliance: This requirement does not apply to business activity 4610.11.

4923.06 Means of Transportation Services Broker

Under this category, the transportation services broker mediates between shippers and carriers, facilitating logistics and determining the most efficient routes. They facilitate the movement of products by coordinating customized transportation services that cater to each cargo’s unique needs. Businesses set up to provide this service are vital in facilitating the movement of commodities from their origin to their destination, whether it’s via the coordination of the delivery of perishable items in refrigerated trucks or the management of the transfer of enormous cargo through heavy haulage vehicles.

When it comes to moving goods, transportation on the road for a wide variety of goods and services falls under this category, including but not limited to: haulage for logging, heavy, automobile, stock, refrigerated and bulk goods, and waste and material transportation. Furniture removal, truck rentals with drivers, and freight transport by human or animal-drawn vehicles are among the tasks that transportation service brokers manage. Brokers can meet the diverse needs of their clients in a variety of industries and sectors by coordinating these operations to ensure efficient and timely delivery of goods.

Transportation services brokers usually provide other value-added services, including freight management systems such as cargo tracking and route optimization, to make their clients’ transportation experiences more streamlined and dependable.

Although a wide variety of activities are involved, this category does not include log hauling within the forest as part of logging operations, the distribution of water by trucks, the operation of terminal facilities for handling freight, crating and packing services for transport, post and courier activities, or waste transport as an integrated part of waste collection activities.

Third-party Approval: This business activity does not require third-party approval.

Filing of Economic Substance Returns: This requirement is exempt from Business Activity 4923.06.

Anti-Money Laundering Compliance: This requirement is exempt from Business Activity 4923.06.

5229.08 Brokerage for Ship and Aircraft Space

This category includes activities for brokerage in the ship and aircraft space. These types of brokers mediate between shippers and carriers by using their professional expertise and market awareness to provide the best possible transportation solutions. They ensure commodities are transported safely, efficiently, and affordably by negotiating contracts and agreements for chartering ships and aircrafts. Furthermore, brokers that are licensed in this category are a great resource for advisory services, as they usually understand regulatory mandates and guidelines, possible routes, and market demands or trends. This type of business is crucial to streamlining supply chain operations and helping firms achieve logistical goals with precision and reliability by supporting the efficient allocation of ship and aircraft space.

This category includes a range of services to maximize the efficiency of commodity transit via air and sea routes. Activities like freight forwarding, transport organization by rail, road, sea, or air, and group and individual consignment arrangements fall under this category. Brokers that focus on this area of expertise also help with warehousing and distribution, as well as its planning and support. Their work is crucial in ensuring the smooth movement of goods across borders by issuing and procuring waybills and transport documents. Additionally, working with customs agents to navigate regulatory frameworks and allow international trade is an integral part of ship and aircraft space brokerage.

Given the wide variety of services under this category, it does not include activities such as courier activities, provision of motor, marine, aviation, and transport insurance, activities of travel agencies, activities of tour operators, and tourist assistance activities.

Third-party Approval: After acquiring the business license for this activity, approval from the Civil Aviation/Ports & Customs Department (Sharjah) is necessary.

Filing of Economic Substance Returns: The Filing of Economic Substance Returns is required for this business activity.

Anti-Money Laundering Compliance: This requirement does not apply to business activity 5229.08.


5229.12 Aviation Business Brokerage

This category covers the activities of setting up an aviation business brokerage that enables clients to navigate through the complex processes involved in the aviation market of buying and selling aircrafts. Brokers who provide this type of service have a deep understanding of the aviation market, keeping track of industry trends, price variations, and demands involved in aircraft transactions.

Researching, choosing, or selling aircraft can be a complex process, and professionals need to be well-informed, especially for clients who seek guidance for market information. This knowledge is essential for clients to navigate and make informed decisions about transactions. Furthermore, aviation brokers should have the ability to conduct smooth negotiations and have a broad network that can meet clients’ specific budgets and preferences.

Due to the dynamic scope of the market, there is a certain level of expectation from clients. Typically, this category offers services such as meticulous transportation planning, warehousing, and distribution. Moving aircrafts efficiently via regulatory channels, issuing and procuring waybills, and other transport documentation. In addition, customs agents and aviation business brokers work closely to enable movement by navigating complex regulatory systems. They also ensure safety and efficiency by supervising product-handling processes.

Given the scope of services provided in this category, it excludes activities such as courier activities, motor, marine, aviation, and transport insurance, travel agency activities, tour operator activities, and tourist assistance activities.

Third-party Approval: Before acquiring the business license for this activity, approval from Civil Aviation Sharjah is required.

Filing of Economic Substance Returns: Business activity 5229.12 is exempt from this requirement.

Anti-Money Laundering Compliance: Business activity 5229.12 is exempt from this requirement.

6820.01 Activities of Real Estate Agents and Brokers

This category covers the activities of real estate agents and brokers. They form an integral part of the real estate industry, offering a comprehensive array of services on a fee or contract basis. Businesses set up under this license mediate transactions between buyers and sellers, helping to facilitate transactions and make deals that work for every party involved. On behalf of property owners, they also monitor rental agreements, property maintenance, and tenant relations.

Real estate agents and brokers also provide appraisal services. As a commercial property broker, they have a deep insight into the real estate market, which helps them precisely determine the value of properties in order to assist with pricing decisions and investment strategies. In real estate deals, they can also operate as escrow agents, overseeing the movement of money and paperwork to guarantee openness and adherence to regulations.

As an agent and a commercial real estate broker, they play an essential role in the real estate market to help clients manoeuvre through its complexities using their expert knowledge and advice. Their management experience efficiently operates and maintains real estate assets, while their intermediary services simplify the process of purchasing, selling, and renting properties. The real estate market as a whole relies on agents and brokers to drive transactions, maintain property values, and keep the market running smoothly.

This category covers essential services that can be offered under this category, however, it excludes legal activities, facilities support services, and management of facilities such as military bases, prisons, and other facilities (except computer facilities management).

Third-party Approval: After acquiring the business license for this activity, approval from the Real Estate Registration Department is required.

Filing of Economic Substance Returns: Business Activity 6820.01 is exempt from this requirement.

Anti-Money Laundering Compliance: Business Activity 6820.01 is exempt from this requirement.

7490.02 Business brokerage activities

In this category, the acquisition and sale of businesses (small and medium-sized enterprises), is facilitated through business brokerage activities. The provision of this type of service entails expertise in mediating between buyers and sellers, using specialized knowledge about market trends and demands, and carrying out successful negotiations to complete deals.

Business brokerage, as opposed to real estate, is primarily focused on businesses and assets. These brokers understand the hurdles faced in the market, are able to determine prices and perform due diligence to achieve a seamless process between the parties involved. Furthermore, this category also includes patent brokerage activities where they arrange patent transactions, appraisal activities (for antiques, jewellery, etc.) other than real estate, and insurance, and other technical consulting requirements. This type of brokerage service helps businesses and investors take advantage of opportunities and make the most of their assets, which in turn helps the commercial marketplace run smoothly.

 This category does not include the following class of activities: wholesale of used motor vehicles by auctioning, online auction activities (retail), activities of auctioning houses (retail), activities of real estate brokers, bookkeeping activities, activities of management consultants, activities of architecture and engineering consultants, engineering design activities, display of advertisements and other advertising design, creation of stands and other display structures and sites, industrial design activities, activities of convention and trade show organizers, activities of independent auctioneers, administration of loyalty programmes, consumer credit and debt counselling, activities of authors of scientific and technical books, activities of independent journalists.

Third-party Approval: There is no third-party approval required for the activity.

Filing of Economic Substance Returns: Business Activity 7490.02 is exempt from this requirement.

Anti-Money Laundering Compliance: Business Activity 7490.02 is exempt from this requirement.


Did you find what you were looking for? Explore the other guides in our Activity Hub for exploring unique business ideas in Dubai and navigate the essentials of business setup with ease.

You can also calculate your business setup costs easily using our handy cost calculator and choose from our customized company setup packages to find your perfect fit.

Get your business license in the UAE today and explore a world of opportunities waiting for you.

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