Having spoken with Andrew about his project, I suggested he post the details of it here for everyone to discuss, please have a read through and let's get a discussion going about the pros and cons. Thanks, James (Editor SFN)
There is universal agreement that doing business in France is difficult, cumbersome and sometimes impossible. As one forum participant posted: “The administration in France is notoriously difficult to get a handle on, even if you are a French national, so starting a business can be very difficult. As with anything there can be barriers, but there are also opportunities - it often amounts to a state of mind.” (ed.CC)
Well he’s right: it does all depend on your state of mind but also, it depends on who you ask for help and what help you then receive. If you ask almost any accountant, solicitor or conseiller from the Chambre de Commerce or Chambre de Métiers in France, you’ll get the usual comparison of SARL vs. MICRO vs. AE and so on and so forth. Yes, that’s a start but it’s not really strategic advice and it will not necessarily help make your business successful. These categorisations just determine how much you pay to the state and when you pay it.
Naturally, there is no ‘one size that fits all’, but it is possible under some circumstances to operate a French Enterprise using a familiar, efficient, modern solution. The Teknos Achat Buying Service is just such a solution: relieving Artisans of the pressure: of time-wasting searches; endless phone calls to different suppliers; responsibility for manufacturer's guarantees; and the feeling that you are struggling alone against the system.
Businesses using Teknos Achat have achieved increasingly positive results through this networking, cooperation, participation and sharing approach. Acting as a group – a concept well recognised by the French - Teknos Achat intelligently uses the power and influence of numbers to the individual's best advantage – a concept less familiar in France, until now!
Let’s consider the case of a typical Artisan, who buys materials, adds a mark-up and resells them to a private customer as part of a complete project.
Should he seek it, the most common advice given to this Artisan will be to become a Limited Company (SARL or EURL) and register for TVA. Within this Company, he will offset the cost of all his materials, recover TVA against his income and draw a salary. While this arrangement may work for an Artisan with a substantial order book and a number of business customers, it is a very different story for someone just finding their way as a self-employed worker in France.
Once registered as a SARL, the Artisan will be expected to pay a steady stream of cotisations sociales, TVA and other charges, most of which are calculated at the beginning of the year on the basis of forfaits and ‘notional’ instead of actual income. Even if business is slow, the Artisan will find himself with a bill each trimester for many thousands of euros and an invoice for his Accountant's fees at the end of the year – and that's without setting aside the time required to prepare TVA returns and other paperwork, or paying someone to do it for him.
In recent years, the Artisan has instead had the option of the Auto Entrepreneur regime which allows him to concentrate on work he gets paid for and which reduces administrative duties and declarations to a minimum – but it’s not a free ride. For an Artisan in this regime, expenses, purchases and TVA cannot be deducted, and cotisations are charged on turnover rather than his actual salary. Whilst the rules allow the Artisan to declare separately prestations de service and activités commerciales, there is little room these days for a generous mark-up on materials as many private customers have the capacity to search the internet for the best possible prices. This puts the Artisan in a difficult position: does he allow the customer to source and supply materials, possibly choosing substandard imitations for the Artisan to install; or does he insist on purchasing materials himself to resell at a modest profit and at the risk of raising his turnover beyond the AE threshold and forfeiting his entire margin to TVA and cotisation costs? Why do that for no benefit?
The Teknos Achat Buying Service combines the advantages of these two systems and eliminates their disadvantages. Registered as an AE, the Artisan works under the simplified financial regime and charges his Customer for his labour only. Through Teknos Achat, the materials for each job are invoiced directly to the Customer and the Artisan receives a commission on the sale. Being a stakeholder in Teknos Achat, the Artisan is sure of the quality of the materials while the group's buying power means that the customer gets the best price and the best terms. In addition, once the Artisan and the customer have agreed on the shopping list, a Teknos Achat manager takes over responsibility for dealing with the suppliers as well as any problems such as delivery delays or exchanges under guarantee saving the artisan a tremendous amount of time, allowing him to get on with more paid work. At all times, the artisan keeps his relationship with the customer – Teknos Achat acts only on the instructions of its artisan members.
Teknos Achat is a network, helping artisans enjoy more freedom and more profit from their work. Joining is easy. Make contact and get started.
“The survival of my business depends on maximising every benefit I can find. Using TEKNOS-ACHAT.com delivers good savings and more profit out of my work.”
“I did this job with the help of the TEKNOS-ACHAT.com buying service as a partner. Not only was all the purchasing taken care of eliminating a lot of time normally wasted, but also I finished the job with a better result in my pocket. So why would I go through the hassle of buying the goods myself – it makes too much sense to use TEKNOS ACHAT to do it for me.”
“If I have to get the client to buy the goods separately, then I don’t get any commission and sometimes it ends up badly if the wrong product arrives or if there is damage. To get the same result without TEKNOS-ACHAT.com takes a lot of time and a lot of luck. I don’t see why I should take the chance- so I always use TEKNOS-ACHAT.COM”.
“It took me about 20 minutes to join and become a User, it cost nothing more than my time at TEKNOS-ACHAT.com. After that, I’m ahead almost immediately- it’s so easy. Best thing I’ve done for a long time. “
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