Sunday, 1 June 2014

Renovation project - Registering a business in France

Renovation project - Registering a business in France

I received a letter from the Greffe, this had my registration documents in it for the agent commercial, I know it is asking me for something, I am just not quite sure what, I ask my friend to help (the one who has been amazing and helped me throughout this process) and apparently I have missed a bit, I also have to state which assurance I will be using (this is the health bit).

Now this is the upsetting bit, I am finally registered at CPAM and my carte vitale is on its way as we speak, I now have to go and change it, CPAM is for those who work for an employer or have moved from the UK using a S1 form or are retired, so all the headache I have had to get my carte vitale has been in vain and I have to go and change it.

We did get a break yesterday, somebody sent me a link to SOS Anglo, this is an organisation that will complete forms and many other bits and pieces for you in France. We e-mailed them and they completed the auto entrepreneur forms for John it took me 20 minutes to send the info and scans of his documents and 2 hours later everything arrived for only 19 Euro’s, I so wish we had known about this company before!

But back to the original forms and another trip to the CPAM office, this time I really study before I go, as they are no longer allowed to speak any English, I know what I need to say (I have also written it down just to be on the safe side).

We arrive and speak to an official who looks at my forms (I have taken a copy of everything with me) I explain that I need to change from CPAM to Ram, Simples!!!!!!

No it's not, we are at the wrong office, we need to go to the tax office, no problem I know where this is, but that's the wrong office, we actually have to go to the Pépinière d'Entreprises (chambre of commerce, I didn't even know that they had one of these).

We're given the directions and we head over, I ask if we can speak to somebody and we wait a few minutes, My French is really improving now!

The woman is very helpful and she goes through my forms, all I have to do is cross a couple of boxes and send it back with a cheque, What I didn't mention is that this process has a time limit, if my forms were not received, correctly completed the whole process would be stepped and I would have to start again!

At this point I ask her where we register the B&B to make sure that the tax d'habitation is correct and it is at this office, hurray something simple, unfortunately we have not brought all of Johns docuuments with us, so we make an appointment for tomorrow.

Tomorrow arrives and we go in with everything, I start with my usual sentence, biggest tip ever, is to always try your French first, it gets you so much further, another tip is to learn the sentence:

I am sorry but my spoken French is not very good is it possible for you to speak slowly for me!

This is like my mantra in France, but people do speak slowly and quite often you will find people will also speak some English because you have made the effort.

Anyways, the woman actually speaks perfect English, but I ask if I can continue in French and she says that is perfect (I've just made a new friend!)

She starts to complete forms on the computer and after about half an hour, she explains that she is registering John as an auto entrepreneur, I explain that we have already done that, and we only want to make sure that the B&B is registered for tax purposes, she stops at this point and apologises she thought we had wanted her to register John, and explains that she can do all of that for us, free of charge and have it fully completed there and then!

So to summarise:

  1. I have spent 4 weeks with the help of friends to get my registration (I also needed a bit extra with the Greffe)
  2. John has spent 19 Euro’s and somebody else’s time getting registered
  3. The Pépinière d'Entreprises will do it all for you, correctly and instantly for free!!!!!!!

But on the plus side, at the time of writing this, I have not had anything sent back to be corrected and hopefully we are both registered, via the scenic route, but registered!

Top tips

  1. If sending any post to an official department ALWAYS send it recorded delivery
  2. If ever going to any official department always take your ID and photocopies (passport, birth certificate, proof of address, social security number if you have it and marriage certificate if you are married)
  3. Read this post so you don't have to do what we did!


  1. Hi,
    We have been following your blog since the beginning and are also a couple of Stopfordians (if that is the correct term). We moved to the Aveyron in March and are looking to register an autoentrepreneur business so your blog was really useful. We don't mind admitting that the bureaucracy is rather daunting when your French is basic at best but we will get there. Glad to see the B&B is up and running and getting good reviews. Pete and Bev

    1. Hi Pete and Bev
      thanks for following us, the Bureaucracy is quite daunting at first, but once you get your head around it it seems to be OK (though will let you know if that changes with any new letters!!!!)
      Good luck inn Aveyron and if we can help in any way just give us a shout :)