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Advice really apreciated please


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I currently live near Brest, Brittany since 2003. I have been working as a Charpenterie/ menuiserie for local companies for 7 years, until Thursday when my boss said that he is closing the company down. I have an option to receive training courses whilst i am on unemployment benefit. Which I will no doubt use.

My Wife( who is French) and our 2 lovely kids want to really sell up here and move further south to benfit from the warmth etc.

I was thinking of going for an Auto entrepeneur approach on things and offer services for renovation/ clearing / maintaining properties. Would a specific training course help me with giving out a profesional image?

I appreciate that the economic situation is dire for most of europe,but feel that now is the time to move before the kids and me get too old.

I have all my french social security numbers etc so i wont need to go through the bureaucratic procedures.

As an Auto Entrepeneur can I still work part time with other builders?

I think thats it for the time being, and thanks for reading my plea for advice.

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You could look on


for some answers to questions about what you can and can't do.

There is also Valerie's excellent site, but for some parts it's paying


Sorry to hear about your situation.

The south is in a very bad way in terms of unemployment, so do some careful research before committing your self to a move

D'après l'Insee, les régions de France où le taux de chômage est le plus faible (en moyenne trimestrielle- données CVS) sont au premier trimestre 20119

Les régions de France métropolitaine où le taux de chômage est le plus élevé (en moyenne trimestrielle- données CVS) sont au premier trimestre 2011 ;

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Be very careful with considering AE as a route for anything in the building trades. Because it is outside the TVA net you could actually find yourself out of pocket on renovation work.

TVA registered artisans only charge lower rate (5.5%, 7% ?) on this and can claim back all their TVA on purchases. In your case you would be hit for full TVA on materials, plant hire and suchlike with no way to offset it.

You also have a turnover limit of about 33,000€ for the labour component, on which you pay 23% in cotisations. Remember that that is on turnover; AE does not allow for any deductions for costs or expenses. Yes, the turnover limit for materials supplied extends to about 82K (at 12%), but for an artisan it is the labour component that limits things.

For combining AE and unemployment benefit, as far as I know AE is still treated as 'an active step towards seeking work'. See page 21 of the AE Guide.


Also go to the horse's mouth here:


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  • 1 month later...
Strikes me you could use some professional advice ?

I haven't personally used this service, but she appears to be talking sense, - (found it through personal interest in setting up Auto-E.)

OK it may cost 50euros for a year membership, but compared to what it would cost you to get it wrong, sounds like it may be worth it.


Good luck.

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Sorry to hear about the loss of your job but this could be the famous silver lining of the least famous cloud. We have our house in 82 and find it real hard to find good artisants (roofers, window makers, staircase makers etc..) and when you find a good one, you have to wait 2 or 3 years to get your work done. How about taking the free course and start on your own if you are good at it???
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Finding work is difficult for everyone at the moment. I think setting up as AE may be your only option as none of the larger entreprises are recruiting at the moment. Any jobs going seem to be CDD due to the economic uncertainty. Whilst getting a 4/6 month contract may help in a way it's putting off the inevitable. I would bite the bullet now, move to your location of choice, register and start making contacts.

By the way. I think you'll be eligible for a grant if you set up your own business after being made redundant (and exoneration of charges).

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