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My husband and are still thinking about a move to france. 

My husband is a ceramic tiler by trade, but also runs a small building firm here in the UK, and can do plastering, a small building works ect.

What certificates ect would he need to work legally in france.  Can anyone point me towards any web links that can guide me through this.

Many thanks



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Be prepared for a massive shock at being self employed in France. You will have to register with the local Chambre de Metiers and take a five day course in business management first which is not free and not in english either unless you live in a densely brit populated area. You then get put into the french system of paying heavy social charges for many things and compulsory too, first two years are lower and then it hits you. You will never make a fortune here, its too expensive and if you employ anyone,be prepared to pay a good 85-90% again of their wages each month in charges so you have to factor this into your estimates to cover it. Working hours are controlled for employees and anything over the standard 35 hours incurrs a 25% per hour extra charge on each cotisation if you are a small business which is very prohibitive after 39hours to do. You will need to engage the services of an accountant au fait with building trades to do your tax returns and TVA calculations and these are not cheap and insurance is compulsory for the guarantee of your work to the client and for public liability and the more trades you carry out, the higher the premium. If you are late paying bills especially to the likes of URSSAF, they automatically add interest on and have access to your bank account to help themselves in the case of non-payment so beware there.  Not trying to frighten you but to warn you, it is not easy come easy go here,a great deal of red tape exists and you have to comply.
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I forgot to say about qualifications which in some areas are not required if you can proove you ran a business previously in the UK,depends very much on the CdeM you have to registere with.It was a long time ago when we did our course and then we were the first english they had ever had and knew nothing about UK qualifications but as we had a business for 20 years previously it was no problem. I also forgot to mention that the more profit you make here, the higher your cotisations will be the following year especially for health and pensions (on  a small profit we made in 2003, our health payments to the CPAM went up over 180% on six months payment and the same with the pensions which shot up over 600%). Basically you profit,you pay for those unemployed etc. I suggest you do a lot of homework especially as to the area in which you wish to work as you will be competing with well established local firms in the same trades and if the current low rate of TVA reverts back to the full 19,6%,work may dry up as many are already fearing around here as people will put off having work done.
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Try this website Tanya


Your OH could start off by registering as a micro-entreprise. He will still have to register at the Chambre de Metiers, have some sort of proof that he was working as an artisan tiler in the UK and MAY have to go on the course which can be very useful and around here (Poitou Charentes) can be done in English. There are also start up grants and help in some rural areas.

But with an micro there is an earnings ceiling of 27000 euros, no TVA to worry about, no accountant to pay as bookwork is minimal and larger tax breaks to take into account expenses and cotisations. We were on the micro regime for a couple of years and it was simple and we never paid any income tax, in fact we got some back.

You may find that you want a more relaxed, stress free lifestyle and don't need to earn masses of money as in the UK to pay mortgages, credit cards etc. In rural France, although the cost of living can be as high as the UK, we arnt surrounded by tempting shops, pubs, cinemas etc so we don't need to earn nearly so much dosh as we did in North London!(The downside is that during the winter there is not much to do and some people go back bored to tears - depends on your attitude to life!)

As Val says, cotisations are quite high (we paid around 3800 euros per annum for first two years plus top up insurance) but got good health coverage and pension rights in that. Don't bother to employ anyone though, it's a nightmare and very costly. If you need extra help just sub the work out to someone else who is also registered!

PS Good luck. There will always be a need for good tilers in France - hardly anyone has carpets!
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