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Ty Korrigan

France calling...

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I thought I'd just post some advice for any-one who may be thinking about moving to France for a better life with the idea of starting up an arb business.

Others already here, please feel free to post your own experiences and advice for a more complete picture.


Why come here anyway?

Well... to live the dream of course and get away from the drudgery of Crisis Britain.

Many see the advantages in selling up a wee semi in suburbia for a sprawling rural longhouse with an acre or 2.

Low crime rate, cheap wine, every day a holiday, renovation, sun and freedom.

Well, whatever floats your boat!

France has its disadvantages too.

High rural unemployment, the long rural winter too, lack of decent bacon (I'm being silly here)

But the worst thing is the feeling of isolation that slowly creeps up on couples after a couple of years. Eventually (after the 3rd dull winter) the realisation dawns that they are living in a self imposed exile with funds running low and the renovation stalling as a result.

Man finds little work because he has NO transferable skills (formally an assembly worker for a jap car firm or a pen pusher in the city...city of Norwich that is)

and that on the black as he has not grasped even enough French to work at the local abattoir (the usual resort for hard up Brits) The missus, fed up with the local hairdressers making her look like a lesbian and the lack of shops she can relate too throws a wobbly and returns to her mothers in Bexhill.


So, to survive here in France you need transferable skills with which to earn a coin or its pig sticking at the local knackery for you.

Tree work, now theres a coin to be had there.

You don't need to justify your certificates or even prove yourself to set up in business.

You don't even need to jump through any hoops with the right advice to guide you.

Insurances are cheap, kit expensive, and taxes high (social charges) around 50-60% depending your trading status.

Warning! There is no future in chasing purely expats, you will need to market yourself to the local Frenchies.

It would be better for your business if you moved to an area of high population rather than seeking an isolated rural retreat from which to launch your new French life.

Learn enough French to be able to answer the phone and talk to clients. You'll do this best just by total immersion sur place rather than wasting hours on evening courses at the local polytechnic.

I would advise those who wish to pursue the French dream NOT to sell up in the U.K but to come here and rent a place first.

You may need an escape route more than you wish to believe.

Most ex-pats return to the U.K within 3 years, less wealthy than when they arrived in France having blown thousands on wine, unfinished hovel renovation and keeping entertained through that dull rural winter.

Now don't think other ex-pat firms will employ you, most just cannot afford to as an employee costs 2.5 times his salary again in social charges and admin costs etc.

The best route is for you to get a job with a large French concern (assuming you can speak French of course)

Go via the agencies, there are agencies who specialise in land based industries and agencies are the biggest employers here after the state.

Right enough for now.


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You sound like a man with a plan there.

On the horse front, France has very no intricate system of green lanes and bridleways for horse riders. Off road routes (at least here in Brittany) are few.

If your near the coast then la Plage is normally open for horses in the winter but often closed in summer (dogs also forbidden too)

If you are going into horses then offering riding lessons to the French is a viable entreprise. There is a shortage of riding schools around (here around Rennes anyway) with the few local ones packed during the holiday season and weekends.


Once you start up in you chosen commerce you will be registered with the Mutual Society Agricole, the government body responsible for collecting the social charges, pension contributions and administering the health care for land based workers.

Budget to have at least 10'000euros set aside in advance for your first 3 -4 years social charges which are payable whether you make a coin or not.

Currently, this is the system for land based workers.

Mr Sarkosy suggested that he may change things upon re-election but he is a weasel like all other politicians.

Social charges represent a minimum of 50% of your profit and 60% if you are a limited company. SARL/EIRL

If you have serious expenses and investment to offset such as horse feed, vet bills, diesel then a limited company is the ONLY option and you WILL be registered for v.a.t (t.v.a) No lower limit for this.

Your accountant (a requirement) will cost you 1500-3000euros depending on how much you bother them.

You cannot submit your own accounts as a limited company but you can get them in order your self beforehand.

Don't start up a business straight away.

Start to make your publicity, network and get a feel for the area.

Again I cannot stress enough the importance of moving close to a city.

Brittany and Normandy have high ex-pat populations but you will be hard pushed to make a coin solely from them and make a coin you must if you are to pay your social charges.

The only route is to attract French clients and to do this you must be able to communicate with them.

Right, enough of this storm crow talk, I'm not urinating on peoples dreams, I'm just offering the darker side of the French dream.


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Back again...

The simplest form of business is the 'micro entreprise'

This is capped at 33k turnover.

You are given a 50% allowance for expenses then pay 50% social charges on the 50% that is left.

So for ever euro, you pay 25 cents to the state.

This is not suitable for businesses with alot of expenses to offset.

It is however, good for its simplicity and for a tree surgeon starting out a good option for the first few years if your equipment is already well old.

In the first year you pay approx 2400euros, year 2 4800euros and year 3 7200euros with year 4 being the year they total up all your gross takings and 'regularise' your situation.

You may end up paying more so always save 25% of your take in a savings account ready for the day.


Your local M.S.A will advise you on any social charges payable upon land used for horses. Its not classed as agricultural for equine use.


Also for micro entreprises no accountant is required although many ex-pats choose to use one, I found friends and just going to the local tax office and smiling the best route.


Once you exceed the 33K turnover limit or register as a sole/partnership trader limited company you will require by law an accountant to formalise your books.


Important, always charge the French going rate for your services.

Too many ex-pats ignore this and charge too little to begin with then try to ramp up their prices later on losing ground in the beginning then losing clients later on.


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Some info I came across that some may find innneresting...or not.


The link: Prix élagage : les tarifs des entreprises d'élagage


quasiment incontournable, mais à quel prix ?

Prix de l'élagage : différent selon le type de chantier


Il n'y a a pas de tarif moyen pour un élagage car chaque chantier est une opération individuelle sur un arbre précis avec des contraintes spécifiques.


Le tarif moyen d'une opération d'élagage dépend de l'action ou de la suite d'actions à réaliser ainsi que de la hauteur et de la nature de l'arbre :


arbre très haut : intervention plus onéreuse que sur un arbre de taille moyenne en raison de l'équipement supplémentaire à utiliser et du temps requis pour la grimpe ;

arbre enclavé à proximité d'infrastructures : requiert plus de temps et de précautions que pour un arbre isolé ;

déplacement de l'élagueur, de l'entreprise d'élagage ou du bûcheron à prendre en considération : que ce soit pour accéder à un chantier perdu ou pour évoluer sur un versant escarpé ;

présence d'insectes dangereux (frelons, chenilles processionnaires et urticantes) : peut obliger l'élagueur à faire appel à des intervenants supplémentaires ou à procéder à des traitements non prévisibles en temps et en budget.


Un tarif horaire ou à la tâche pour le prix de l'élagage


Voici quel est le tarif horaire (sur site) d'un élagueur constaté en 2011 :


Taille d'entretien sur arbustes et haies 25,00 € 35,00 € Enlèvement.

Taille et élagage sur arbustes (<6m) 30,00 € 40,00 € Enlèvement.

Taille et élagage sur arbre (6 à 10m) 35,00 € 45,00 € Débitage & enlèvement.

Taille et élagage sur arbre haut (10 à 15m) 40,00 € 50,00 € Débitage & enlèvement.

Taille et élagage sur arbre très haut (> 15m) 50,00 € 60,00 € Débitage & enlèvement.


Voici quel est le tarif à la tâche (sur site) d'un arboriste-grimpeur ou d'un bûcheron :


Taille d'un palmier 55,00 € 80,00 € Enlèvement.

Démontage d'un arbre haut 600,00 € 800,00 € Location nacelle ou grue ou hélitreuillage - Débitage - Enlèvement - Dessouchage.

Abattage (calculé au stère de bois abattu) 50,00 € 70,00 € Débitage - Enlèvement - Dessouchage.

Les suppléments du tarif d'élagage


Voici ce que l'entreprise d'élagage peut compter comme supplément :


l'enlèvement des végétaux par l'entreprise, l'élagueur ou le bûcheron qui peut impliquer la location de véhicules, de broyeurs de végétaux ;

la remise en déchetterie, qui est gratuite pour les particuliers, est payante pour les professionnels et se monte à plus de 30€ la tonne (vite atteinte) ;

les démontages particuliers (grue ou hélicoptère) est à prendre en compte dès la rédaction d'un devis. Par contre le choix d'une nacelle pour élever le personnel sans grimpe ne doit pas être à la charge du donneur d'ordre.


Négocier un tarif d'élagage : les critères


Avant toute négociation, il est impératif de vérifier que l'élagueur ou le bûcheron est un professionnel titulaire :


d'un numéro de SIRET ;

et d'une assurance en responsabilité civile professionnelle RC PRO.


Si un grimpeur ne loue pas de matériel lourd pour le démontage d'un arbre, il prend plus de risques personnels que l'élagueur qui loue une nacelle élévatrice.


Attention ! La nacelle élévatrice et les engins sont des agressions pour un jardin, si l'élagueur prévoit ce type d'engins, faites inscrire dans le contrat la remise en état du terrain (pelouse, arrosage enterré...).


La compétence en taille d'entretien et de structure doit être vérifiée sur des réalisations antérieures.


À noter : L'auto-entreprise n'est pas du travail de moins bonne qualité que la société, mais simplement une disposition fiscale.




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how so?


Every job is different, you cannot (imo) pin people down on price according to a chart, there are so many variables, I always work by the day as over here, as I am sure you know, jobs can be many miles apart, not having a go at Ty.

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Good cos i will defend him to the death, kidding!

I know what you mean but its good to have something writen in french to show he brits that think we are all on the make. Not that i like working for ex pats, we are all wierdos!

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