Business in France

Many people making the move across to France, need an income from their property in France, and often the preferred choice is a gîte business or B & B activity. There are of course many other business options, including restaurants, camp sites, equestrian centres to name but a few. We have grouped all of our suitable properties together on this site, to facilitate the search for those clients looking for a property that can produce an income.

A lot of the properties here are up and running as existing businesses, some are not, but we feel that they have serious business potential. There can be taxation issues in taking over an existing business, so it is more common to buy a property without the “business element” attached, unless of course, you are looking at a restaurant or something similar.

Often, vendors of businesses do not want their affairs broadcast via the internet, as it can impact severely upon bookings. Therefore, we often have properties within our portfolio that are not publicised on the websites, and remain within what is referred to as our “discreet portfolio”. To find about these properties, you will need to speak to us passing on your specific requirements about your search.

One of the 1st questions that we ask our clients is why they are going into the hospitality business, if that is their goal, and whether they have the skills set to go with it. Starting your own business at any time is not for the faint-hearted, but starting one in a foreign country with a new home requires even more bravado, and starting one in France, which is renowned for its administrative red tape is going to be, shall we say, challenging!!

France is the No 1 destination in the world for holidays, which is a great opportunity, if you are looking to receive holidaymakers. But above all, what you need is a good business plan, some hard work and sheer determination to make things work. You cannot rely upon a website promoting your B & B to pull the punters in. You need a detailed marketing strategy, and nowadays, this also involves embracing social media.

Most people will register as Auto Entrepreneurs (AE), a scheme introduced in 2009 as part of France’s micro tax regime. It applies to a one-person business involved in a commercial business, sales, a skilled trade or craft of professional nature with an annual turnover below 82,200 € for sales and 32,900 € for services. On 1 January 2015, it was merged into the micro-enterprise scheme.

The main advantages of the AE scheme are the lower social charges, which can be crippling when you start a business in France, and that they are applied on a pay-as-you-earn basis, calculated from your actual turnover in previous months. 

Registration is relatively simple. You have to complete an application form and provide identification, to the local Chamber of Commerce, Chambre de Métiers or URSSAF (Union de Recouvrements des Cotisations de Sécurité Sociale et d’Allocations Familiales) the latter being an organisation responsible for social security payments). You will then receive your business registration number, which is called a SIREN.

We can point you in the right direction for hand-holding services, accountants and website design. As a word of warning, if you are going to offer a service and you are based in France, you need to have a website in French, and we know that many gîte complexes for example, do not comply to this requirement.