I have spent years grappling with the finer details of French business administration and the intricacies of French bureaucracy in everyday life. I have also filled in forms, made phone calls and accompanied lingustically challenged friends to meetings for all sorts of different reasons from doctors’ appointments to carte de séjour applications and have accumulated a lot of experience.
Recently it occured to me that I might as well put this to good use and do it professionally. Around the same time, somebody I know who is being posted abroad for a couple of years, asked if I would look after her house while she was gone, check for leaks, forward post and organise any work that might need doing etc., so I decided to add that as well. This is an explanation of what I had to do to add those activities.
The deciding was the easy part. It goes without saying that it’s not like England where you can just decide what to do, organise extra insurance if appropriate and then start advertising your services. In France, you have to register each activity that you undertake with the correct CFE (Centre de formalités d’entreprises)
I then spent a while researching the correct NAF (nomenclature d’activité française) for each activity and finally decided that what I wanted to do fell under “assistance administrative à domicile” and “services d’appuis combinés liés aux batiments”. The first is under URSSAF, the second under the CCI. I had a further look and found something on the URSSAF site that seemed to suggest that I was okay to just contact URSSAF as the vast majority of my work was under them and the house thing is really just an after thought and unlikely to ever be for more than one or two clients. I downloaded and filled in the form CERFA 11931-05 which is the P2 PL form for modifications to an existing business for Professions Libérales. For anyone interested, I had to fill in the following bits on this form:
1. Put a cross against Lieu d’exercice ou établissement : ouverture, modification, fermeture.
2 – 4. Add company and personal details.
12. Here you need to put the address of the business premises to which the changes apply. It pays to remember that each business address is treated as a different business in France, so you could be registered for one activity at one and another at another. In most cases this will just be your main business address.
13. Put the date when you are planning to start and the activities that you are going to be doing, including those that you already do. Repeat the one that is the main activity on the line “Dans le cas où plusieurs activités sont mentionnées, indiquer la plus importante :”
18. Give your contact details
20. Sign and date it.
I then posted it to my local URSSAF and sat back and tried to come up with a good brand name for the business.
A few days later URSSAF contacted me – they couldn’t register the house checks, I needed to contact the CCI. I can’t say I was surprised, as I was more than half expecting it. I went onto the CCI site and sent a message telling them what I was intending to do and that URSSAF had told me to contact them. A couple of days after that I had a phone call from a lady at the CCI in Perpignan. As it was only a tiny part of my business, she didn’t really think it was a real commercial activity, and so not worth registering me at the CCI with all of the paperwork that that implies. I was to get back in touch with URSSAF and tell them to add the words “et conciergerie” to the end of the assistance administrative and just declare and pay charges to URSSAF. I duly did as I was told, and heard back from URSSAF that they couldn’t/wouldn’t do it, at which point I decided that I would just leave it at that, carry on regardless and declare the income in with the rest of my turnover, as I had been given the CCI’s blessing to do so.
Now all I have to do is come up with a brand name and start marketing myself.