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Ty Korrigan

Working in France advice thread.

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Something about business costs in France and other stuff.

 

O.K,

Now your here, registered with the CCI (Chambre of Commerce and Industry) MSA (Mutual Society Agricole) they will automatically inform 'Les Impots (tax office)

After a year you will get a facture (bill) for 300+euros called Tax Professional Fonciere, a local business tax that Monsewer Sarkosy got rid of then re-introduced with a new name only more expensive still.

Insurance:

As a guide, a one man band micro entreprise may pay around 450euros for general tree work.

Our company is Groupama and they are a bit vague about just how much your civil liability is good for but they are cheap and they have paid out without question (or even informing us!) when we killed a lampost with a well aimed branch.

However, the French are insurance mad and you even insure your kids to go to school...

No-one gives a sh#t if you run a business from home although if you register as a limited company you will get hit for another local tax for waste collection. We appealed and got a reduction to 60euros per year.

Most tips now charge about 12euros per m3 of green waste.

Your local tip may be more lenient.

Land is cheap, your house may come with enough to use as a tip but remember fires are now banned (Tell that to Johnny Onions...hhhh!)

If you are in a rural location you may get away with burning in winter but the ban against summer bonfires has always been strictly enforced.

Noise...

Professionals may continue to work through lunchtime (12-2pm) but civilians must pipe down. Some Gendarmes may get shitty with you regardless if called out by a local especially as you are British.

However, just be polite and shut up and shut down for a while and enjoy your 4 course restaurant lunch for under 11euros (tax deductable)

Thats what we do here and whats not to enjoy!

Sunday working, well, no noise full stop.

You can still work but just do it with electric saws and silkies.

Fuel...

Diesel 140cents litre

95 152cents litre

98 168 cents litre

You can buy red (Fioul chauffage) in 2 grades for about 90cents a litre for your chipper.

Using for tractors and diggers is now forbidden but does Monsewer care...? (Gallic shrug smilie required)

You will use alot more fuel here as the distances to your clients are more.

 

The minimum wage here is 9.43 gross/7.36 nett per hour = 1425 gross/1117 nett per month

If you want to earn as your own boss say 10euros nett then you should charge at least 25-30euros per hour for yourself.

If you run a chipper and truck then at least 45euros per hour is advised.

Pay a self employed groundy 120-150euros per day, own insurance and saw.

You can do your own maths to disprove mine but its a fair guess we won't differ by much.

Most ex-pat 2 man teams seem to charge out from 350-480 per day.

Those who work more for the French 600+

I would be doubtful if in todays climate you could make a living just from tree work for rural based ex-pat clients without doing other things on the side like grass, hedges or even smallbuilding works.

As I write, the pound again is dropping against the euro making pensions smaller and second home owners put trees further down their list of jobs to be done.

For our company, Brits are merely turnover and the French bring in the profit.

Employing some-one...

In short, don't.

First, you can't as a micro-entreprise.

Second, you can't afford it.

You must charge out at approx 2.5 times just to cover social charges, taxes, accountancy fees and the various hidden charges that drop through the door and slap you in the wallet.

Just find a mate to work with instead.

 

Right...

More later.

Any thing to add Sanglier? Normandy? VTS?

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So, how is everybody doing out there?

It's been a full 9 days since I had an enquiry from an ex-pat but 6 from French clients this week.

One client has just accepted 3 more quotes for hard landscaping including a boules court and fencing which will keep us further occupied for a week.

Due to make a big push on the yellow pages front to generate more local work and hope to soon have an updated web site online.

Regards

Ty

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Ah some people in France. That was some good reading about how to set up. I myself registered as an AE but not for tree work. I may have to change regiemes and become a comercent rather than an artisan. Most of the stuff I do is gardening now with the usual grass cutting,hedge trimming and clearing up which means runs to the dechetterie as I don't have a chipper. And cutting up firewood for the older ex pats, thats always a good one.

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Evenin'

 

Thought I'd contribute. Lived and worked in SW France for 10 years plus, down in the Tarn (81 - north of Toulouse.) Did some big felling contracts of oaks and worked for the biggest sawmill in France on a number of occasions. Also, the related firewood and forest management type contracts. No softwood and no climbing. Pretty much all forest based, apart from some poplar.

 

Agree with most of what has been said so far. I was micro with MSA as it was before AE came out. Before I forget, with MSA you can opt to be a "cotissant de solidarité" which means you can opt out of paying "retraite" (pension) contributions. There is absolutely no point paying these if you will only be in the system for a few years - or less than 40 - as you will get centimes only back! Basically, I just carried on making the same private pension arrangements as I'd been used to doing self-employed in UK.

 

One thing I want to say and stress (from my experience) is you MUST MUST MUST make every effort to get as fluent as possible in French. You will miss shed loads of the richness of French life if you don't. All my friends were French and boy, do they make loyal, committed and solid friends once they class you as such. I did a lot of interfacing with the Office National des Forets (Fr Forestry Commission) and there is shed loads of vocab you need to know. The Foresters are all Civil Servants and you need to know how to relate to them and the other players in the game according to the strict (un-British) hieracy. So, my tips as I lived it:

Refuse to speak English to the French and no, they don't all speak any language other than their own.

Get Fr telly! Helps a lot

Use the phone at every occasion - it can be difficult and must be beaten.

Learn plenty of swear words!

Integrate - and DO NOT live in the isolated world of an ex-pat community.

Start from a point that the French are light years different in their atttiudes from the Brits, therefore study habits, cultures, traditions and above all respect them. They are a proud lot.....

Strive to be more French than the French - they'll love that - and eccentricity is appreciated rather than frowned upon like PC UK.

 

The work. Mostly as I said, mine was big forest stuff. The management is fantastic which comes from an over-blown civil service of course. It was VERY well paid by the cube metre for felling if you are good and quick. It was however shockingly hard work. The blocks can be @ 30ha of ups, downs, young trees, undergrowth to wade through... Should have bought a quad to aid access. The heat was what really did me - easily 35+C in the shade in high summer. Just too much..... Lots of Moroccans around doing the work as they tollerate better the conditions. Fewer and fewer French and increasingly noticed a drop in standards and skills as the Economic Crisis bit. You can get taken on by mills and/or firewwood merchants but substantially lesser paid, although with the benefits of being employed. Work got tight when economics did; firms were buying the big blocks at the auctions but felling bits and pieces at a time or leaving them standing. The Fr attitude in difficult times is to keep hands firmly in the pockets or - bizarrely and like much there, contradictory - spend their way out of trouble!

 

More to follow if anyone interested.

 

My heart still there - vive la retraite for that Gloriuos Return!

 

Bucheron

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Evenin'

 

Thought I'd contribute. Lived and worked in SW France for 10 years plus, down in the Tarn (81 - north of Toulouse.) Did some big felling contracts of oaks and worked for the biggest sawmill in France on a number of occasions. Also, the related firewood and forest management type contracts. No softwood and no climbing. Pretty much all forest based, apart from some poplar.

 

Agree with most of what has been said so far. I was micro with MSA as it was before AE came out. Before I forget, with MSA you can opt to be a "cotissant de solidarité" which means you can opt out of paying "retraite" (pension) contributions. There is absolutely no point paying these if you will only be in the system for a few years - or less than 40 - as you will get centimes only back! Basically, I just carried on making the same private pension arrangements as I'd been used to doing self-employed in UK.

 

One thing I want to say and stress (from my experience) is you MUST MUST MUST make every effort to get as fluent as possible in French. You will miss shed loads of the richness of French life if you don't. All my friends were French and boy, do they make loyal, committed and solid friends once they class you as such. I did a lot of interfacing with the Office National des Forets (Fr Forestry Commission) and there is shed loads of vocab you need to know. The Foresters are all Civil Servants and you need to know how to relate to them and the other players in the game according to the strict (un-British) hieracy. So, my tips as I lived it:

Refuse to speak English to the French and no, they don't all speak any language other than their own.

Get Fr telly! Helps a lot

Use the phone at every occasion - it can be difficult and must be beaten.

Learn plenty of swear words!

Integrate - and DO NOT live in the isolated world of an ex-pat community.

Start from a point that the French are light years different in their atttiudes from the Brits, therefore study habits, cultures, traditions and above all respect them. They are a proud lot.....

Strive to be more French than the French - they'll love that - and eccentricity is appreciated rather than frowned upon like PC UK.

 

The work. Mostly as I said, mine was big forest stuff. The management is fantastic which comes from an over-blown civil service of course. It was VERY well paid by the cube metre for felling if you are good and quick. It was however shockingly hard work. The blocks can be @ 30ha of ups, downs, young trees, undergrowth to wade through... Should have bought a quad to aid access. The heat was what really did me - easily 35+C in the shade in high summer. Just too much..... Lots of Moroccans around doing the work as they tollerate better the conditions. Fewer and fewer French and increasingly noticed a drop in standards and skills as the Economic Crisis bit. You can get taken on by mills and/or firewwood merchants but substantially lesser paid, although with the benefits of being employed. Work got tight when economics did; firms were buying the big blocks at the auctions but felling bits and pieces at a time or leaving them standing. The Fr attitude in difficult times is to keep hands firmly in the pockets or - bizarrely and like much there, contradictory - spend their way out of trouble!

 

More to follow if anyone interested.

 

My heart still there - vive la retraite for that Gloriuos Return!

 

cheron

Interesting stuff, you clearly have a handle on life out here,I have worked with a few fallers out here and have been very impressed, I await the next installment!

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Hello,

Good post at last, it's been a while.

About Cotissante de Solidaritie, it costs an additional 350euros a year which includes health insurance for whilst you are at work NOT at home.

So if you have a work based accident your fine but a home cardiac then you must finance your own health care unless you are with the CMU which is the states health scheme for poor folk.

You pay your (tax) social charges once a year but are limited to less than 8k turnover.

It's really for very part-time or retired folk who wish to continue working in a limited way.

I did this for a year myself in 2004.

Regards

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Salut...

 

Good to know that folk found my post of benefit and/or interesting. I tend to keep myself to myself and hesitiated before posting. Anyhow, to respond.....

 

Cotissant de solidarité: May well have been an additional payment - I forget. However, no limit on earnings for me. This may well be the usual thing in France about it depending on who you are talking and working with. The bureaucracy is a nightmare and the French don't really get it, so it is quite possible that one MSA rep - or region - has a different take on it to another. Another reason why you really need to build these relationships, because you are likely to know personally the bloke who does you tax, your bank manager (mine once phoned me at home at 8pm to sort out an error I'd inadvertantly made) your insurance chap, your dentist is also the local mayor (VERY important chap!) etc. etc. These people can have real power over you if you get on the wrong side. I stress again that once your in, they love you for life. My MSA rep was excellent. My dossier had to go before a tribunal to be approved before I could legally work and initial feedback was that it was likely to take a long time and not be approved because of uncertainty about my experience. (You need to prove a certain amount of this before going self-employed and if you are foreign that can be tricky.) I had a large contract waiting to start and was not impressed! Knowing how to play it, I said I was going to do it anyway, got a Lettre d'Attestation from a state forester confirming my credentials and various other stuff. Got approved immediately...... (Note: I remained initially tax resident in UK and for the first few years worked via my UK status, declaring tax in UK but completing a complimentary Fr declaration too. See below.)

 

There are other ways to work which might suit people looking to put a toe in the water. For example Cheques Emploies. (Don't have experience.) Also, it is perfectly legal if you are not tax resident in France to work under - say - your UK regime. This I checked with the Inspecteur de travail. You need to inform them of your intended contract, plus have documentary proof of your UK tax status and inform the Mairie of the commune where you will be staying. They then pass the details on to relevant authorities. (I'd tell my MSA rep too to avoid any stupidity, if as has been muted I go back for the odd job.) But a word of caution: Do not be tempted to work "on the black" (we've all done it and is a national sport over there....) unless you know exactly what you are doing. You can and most likely will get a control, especially in the Forets Domaniales. The inspectors know the game, drive round until they hear a saw and demand to see all you papers that you must have with you (in the vehicle). You don't mess with these guys who are not rigolo. OK, so if in the middle of nowhere doing a bit of firewood you can get away with it. The deal for personal cutting of firewood is usually 2/3's for the bucheron and 1/3 for the owner of the land. But if you've laid waste 3ha for a merchant it can be hard to use the excuse of cutting for personal consumption if your papers are not in order!

 

One thing not mentioned so far is the "Complimentaire" - a supplementary health insurance that is essential if you are a permanent resident. The state covers the basics but the Complimentaire is a standard part of the landscape, especially if you do risky work, which ours is. Loads of companies do it so shop around. My wife, who was an Estate Agent for a Fr agency, ended up somehow with 2 NI numbers. It got messed up when we registerd for the Comp. They never deducted twice but I was paranoid that they'd see it as attempted fraud so kept a paper trail clearly delineated. We never got it sorted out - took 4 years. At one stage I was informed - without a ghost of a smile - that it was because my wife had died several months previously. She was sitting alongside me at the time..... Another case our rep told us about a man and wife in the office discussing their policy, which also covered the 2 kids. The agent then asked about the 3rd child that was on the account. This was news to them but the missus took it badly and assumed Mr had a love child elsewhere he was looking after! She could not be persuaded it was a fictitious, computer generated error, threw a tantrum and stormed out. Apparently their marriage has never been the same....

 

More too follow on the actual work next.....

 

Amicalement,

 

B

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Salut...

 

Good to know that folk found my post of benefit and/or interesting. I tend to keep myself to myself and hesitiated before posting. Anyhow, to respond.....

 

Cotissant de solidarité: May well have been an additional payment -

 

Ty say's

You currently pay 61euros per year for your work based health assurance and 25% of your gross turnover which IS limited to around 8k

 

My MSA rep was excellent.

 

Ty say's

Ours are nice people but totally off the ball.

 

My dossier had to go before a tribunal to be approved before I could legally work and initial feedback was that it was likely to take a long time and not be approved because of uncertainty about my experience. (You need to prove a certain amount of this before going self-employed and if you are foreign that can be tricky.) I had a large contract waiting to start and was not impressed! Knowing how to play it, I said I was going to do it anyway, got a Lettre d'Attestation from a state forester confirming my credentials and various other stuff.

 

 

Ty say's,

You currently do not need to 'prove' your credentials if you wish to register as a tree surgeon.

If you are an artisan involved in the building trade, restaurant owner or a hairdresser then yes you will have to prove your qualifications and or experience.

 

(Note: I remained initially tax resident in UK and for the first few years worked via my UK status, declaring tax in UK but completing a complimentary Fr declaration too. See below.)

 

Ty say's

Things have changed.

Strictly speaking, if you are paid in France then you are taxed in France.

So IF you are working for a U.K company offering a service in France and the company is paying your salary from the U.K then you can for short periods work without registering with the French tax authorities.

Tax residency is 180days.

However...

If you come here to tout for trade here whilst still being self employed in the U.K the authorities will look askance at your activity and regard you as working illegally.

EVERY business has a registration number which is displayed on all quotes and billing notes.

If you are stopped by the flicks on a spot check and are unable to justify why you have tools of the trade and no SIRET number then don't come crying on here when your vehicle etc is impounded and your banged up for a few days.

Seriously, one of the ladies who help with a war memorial set up a stall to sell small art items to raise funds for our association and was arrested and kept overnight for trading without a proper licence, in other words a SIRET number.

 

There are other ways to work which might suit people looking to put a toe in the water. For example Cheques Emploies. (Don't have experience.)

 

 

Ty say's

Tree work is forbidden under this system, it's a payment system for home and garden helps.

 

Also, it is perfectly legal if you are not tax resident in France to work under - say - your UK regime. This I checked with the Inspecteur de travail. You need to inform them of your intended contract, plus have documentary proof of your UK tax status and inform the Mairie of the commune where you will be staying. They then pass the details on to relevant authorities. (I'd tell my MSA rep too to avoid any stupidity, if as has been muted I go back for the odd job.)

 

 

Ty says's

Like I alluded to above, you need to have a specific contract from a U.K company rather than simply coming over to look for work.

Touting for work without registering with the tax authorities is not recommended.

The French have a reputation for denouncing which the ex-pats have taken onboard and made their own.

 

Amicalement,

 

I am enjoying being able to discuss life here though.

Since I posted this discussion ALL the calls asking for work have dried up:thumbup:

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