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Working as a society or co-operative


Sarah Griffith-Head
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This is a tricky one, I'll be doing battle with the Chambre de Metiers next week and thought that I might ask for some help in advance. Please bear with me, I don't find it very easy to explain clearly.

My husband works mostly on the convertion and renovation of old property, he is a carpenter and furniture maker (he hates labels) and is involved from concept to completion of a project, often liasing and organising aspects of the project that would hold him up, all of which is unpaid work. He has two main men that he works alongside (both are exceptional at what they do), the three of them are seperately registered and they all share the same love of working on old property, they're a gifted threesome and will only do what they want to do but as a result come up with fantastic results which is leading to more and more enquiries.

Chris and his two cohorts are not interested in chasing money (it drives me mad, I want to go shopping in Paris!) but their potential has been picked up on and Chris has had offers of investment, which he point blank refuses, saying that he's not going back down the money route.

A client of ours seems to be equally exasperated with the potential of the three of them and between us we are trying to nudge the business forward. I want to be involved and so does the client of ours, he has many years of experience in business. The collective skills available really are quite amazing but yet I see Chris working so many hours when I see no need for him to have to do so.

I think I have two questions.

Does anyone have experience of working within a society or co-operative in France, the system will inevitably be completely different!?  My thoughts are that instead of working as individuals these wonderfully skilled people could be working as a team within a fiscal regime that maximises the financial returns.

I'm sure everybody could win, and I'm sure there must be a solution, the only problem so far is Chris, he is about as stubborn as they come, he is an exceptionally determined man and has never passed any responsibility to anyone else, he's a marvellous provider but it's going to kill him, please can somebody help me to brainstorm this? If I could I would hit him with a big stick, but I don't think that would work either.

I hope I am making some sense? This is very important to me, Chris, Martin and WelshChris are a fantastically gifted and creative team who work very hard, take little time off, they deserve more reward for their endeavours.

Many thanks in advance, Sarahxxx

 

 

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Sarah Griffith-Head with a partner called Chris...

Then the jokey answer comes from somebody called Chris Head...

Could they be any chance be related?

I think they need to sort each other out before we spend valuable time on them. [6]

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[quote user="Sarah Griffith-Head"]

He has been chastised and will not be writing on this subject again!

I really would like some help from somebody who has experience of this.

[/quote]

Being chastised ?, I could write a book on that subject.....................[:)]

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Yes Sarah, he is certainly well known, here and in other places [:D]. You are lucky to be married to somebody with his talents, though I know the artistic temperament has other facets too. It's as well to be sure before jumping to conclusions though, because Head is not an uncommon name - I've known several, including one called Dick.

I can't help from personal experience, other than to recommend taking to an accountant - whatever happens it's well worth having a good French accountant, one will be able to save you much more than his fees in reduced cotisations and taxes. It sounds as if a SARL would be worth looking at, which is very roughly the equivalent to a British partnership/limited company. Though there may be better options, particularly if you can swing it so you are artists rather than artisans. Cooperatives seem to work well in agriculture, I don't recall coming across any in other fields, but that doesn't mean they don't exist.

The www.apce.com web site (some pages in English) is probably the best resource for information on different business regimes, though it can be rather difficult to follow.

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Ive heard of vintners working in coops and obviously the farmers too. I always imagined that this reduced capital outlay, therefore reducing risk. In my head, everyone working separately and independantly yet for the common goal allows the individual to retain an identity yet still feel part of a team.Maybe my notion is a bit romantic, but the SARL route wasn't exactly what I was thinking of.  I totally agree with you about having a good accountant, I'll have a look at that link you sent me, thanks alot for writing, SarahX
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 Will wrote>Though there may be better options, particularly if you can swing it so you are artists rather than artisans.<

Sure we could swing it Will, but that would be immoral in my view. So times get a little sticky and you get a handout from the government, just like those seeking agricultural handouts and renovation handouts. My product is just that, a product. I'll bet the tens of thousands of minimum wage workers and equal number of gifted artisans who struggle to make a living would love that luxury. No thanks.

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[quote user="Heath"]Chris hates labels so he registered for 'Activities Artistique'.  Whats he doing working on old buildings? Is he insured for the work he does?[/quote]

Heath,

Check back through the forum for pics of his work. If Chris isn't an artist (in wood) then I dont know who is.

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Thankyou for the link Teamedup, it's interesting reading and will give me some ammunition to take to the Chambre de Metiers. My instinct has always been that society here will more readily accept people working together for a common good than individuals who are in business. I am sure they could simplify the complexities involved.

Heath, the reason for how Chris' metier is described is simply down to that fateful day when we went to register him. He ended up telling the Chambre de Metiers what he was going to do! When they said they would have to check to see if chainsaw sculpture was a recognised occupation or not, well, I don't think they'll forget his reaction in a hurry. I still cringe at that day, I'm afraid he has little tolerance for beaurocrats. In the end he left them to choose what they wanted to 'label' his work as, although on the registration certificate he is listed as being able to anything with wood, not just sculpture. He is not a builder, he supplies the components used in the buildings and the furniture people want to. I hope that helps.

Sarahxxx

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