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Ty Korrigan

Working in France advice thread.

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I am increasingly recieving enquiries from U.K arborists asking about work opportunities here in France.

So I thought maybe if those already here could share their experiences on a thread then it would be simpler for any-one to be re-directed to this forum for advice.

What say the esteemed members of this parish?


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So you want to come to France and 'live the dream'...

1st thing is.

Until you know you can make it here, rent don't buy.

Don't sell up in the U.K, rent it out.

Don't get off the property ladder if you can help it.


That delt with, finding work here can be easy...or it can be hard.

First, there are no specific requirements for tree surgeons to show they hold any certificates pertinant to the trade.

Insurance is reasonable enough, I paid under 500 euros per year for civil liability as a one man band.

There are very few rules and regulations regarding trees.

However it is always good practice to ask at your local Marie (town hall) if there are any 'zones' where tree work is regulated.

To date, I have only worked on 2-3 protected trees and even then, short of felling them the owner could commision any works they felt where required.


How to 'register' as a tree surgeon.


Now here is a pretty can of worms...

Or not.

Simply, France is complicated beyond all ken.

There are no less than 5 business models BEFORE you get to one that is akin to being self employed in the U.K.

One that concerns you is a status known as 'Micro entreprise' (micro-bic)

You register first at the Chambre-de-commerce (Chamber of commerce)

The formalities take under an hour cost perhaps 75euros and leave you thinking "well that wasn't too bad eh?"

Tip: ignore any demands to register at the Chambre-de-metiers (Chamber of trades)

If you do fall into this trap then you will complicate your life but it is not the end of the world.

Bascially, We offer a service, we are traders as a result NOT artisans/tradesmen.

If 51% of your work is cutting trees down and 49% is laying patios then you are a 'commercant' if the opposite is true then you are an artisan and you are FCUKED.

Artisans are more tightly controlled than commercants and the first nightmare you will go through is an obligitory 5 day business course in business level French...which YOU WILL PAY FOR my friend.

So just tell the sour faced bitch at the desk your a simple tree feller and smile ALL the time.

So we have got you as far as the registration process.

More later.

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And we think we have it tough. Good on you for letting us in on how hard it can be in La Belle

Met a Frenchie the other day who was just loving English food especially bacon butties at roadside vans. HeHe. British food= worlds best kept secret:thumbup:

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Watching and adding to this one Stu.

I was passed from pillar to post and ended up with the chambre d'agricole because a tree comes from the agricultural land?????

Also, i was only able to get insurance by showing quals.

Could this be another case of different communes and mairies????

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So to recap.

I can confirm that when you set up as a tree surgeon you do not need to prove diddly squat, either to the Chamber of Commerce or your insurance company.

Right, once you have registered at the centre of formalities which is located at the chambre of commerce you will recieve your business registration number and certificates.

This you are well advised to carry with you and include the number on your quotes.

Written quotes must be in French to be legal by the way...

After a short wait you will be contacted by the Mutual Society Agricole (MSA) and it is to this organisation you will pay your 'social charges' too.

'Social charges' are like N.I contributions except very much more, income tax is also charged and is paid to the tax office (Les impots)

If you have registered as a micro-entreprise you will be paying charges on your turnover rather than actual profit.

This works like this.

You earn 100 euros.

You are given an allowance of 50% (50euros) with which to cover your business costs.

This leaves 50euros of which 50% is paid to the MSA

So 25euros to the MSA and 25euros for yourself.

Another way of looking at it is 100euros 25euros to the MSA and 75euros to pay your costs and wage.

You must keep a basic account of expenses and receipts, all ins and outs in case you are 'controlled' at some point.

So...it is in your interest to keep costs low as you can't claim back any expenses to offset costs.

Your maximum earning ceiling is 33k

If you exceed this then you automatically are transferred to another 'regime' which requires vat, accountancy and a whole world of shoite you really don't want until you are ready.

Stay under 33k, do all you can not to exceed this, I'm sure you know how too...hhh!

No account is required and when you recieve your 'declaration' frm the MSA at the end of the year you state your turnover. If in doubt about filling it in just visit your local office, they are helpfull if you look sad and sorry and apologise for being British...hhh!

I recommend that you help yourself by automatically saving at least 30% of your turnover in a savings account to cover these charges and also local business tax. Don't spend it, you'll be sorry if you do!

There are other business models you may choose akin to limited companies in the U.K but frankly, don't go there until you have built the makings of a viable business.

Do not employ any-one but find trusted like minded others to work with.

As a micro-entreprise you can't actually employ any-one anyway as you can't offset any costs.


Now you have registered and have had a beer to celebrate, you need to find clients.

There are the traditional sign written vans, roadside signs and or course very important business cards.

Choose French over English or go for bi-lingual.

There are few Brits here compared to French and so attracting French clients will help ensure a viable future and also you will see they pay far better.

There are web sites, newspapers and magazines dedicated to the ex-pat population, all get you exposure, whether they work for YOU is another thing. Web site is de-rigour that is to say an absolute must.

Facebook too as studies have shown people trust social media more than advertising.

Yellow pages works too but only if you have a decent population around you.



This is only my experience and may not in fact be reality...


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