Auto Entrepreneur - getting started

Not sure where to start. Living in the Civray area 86400 of Vienne and husband wants to start up a general house/garden maintenance company. He has good all round DIY skills and is a qualified plumber (but not that keen on pursuing that side of things here). No intention of working full time just being able to do jobs for people as and when they ask.

Can he apply for a Siret number online? Or will he have to go to an office in person and fill out some forms, if so does anyone know where that would be in the Civray area?

Any general advice on this type of business would be welcome.

Hi Andy. Do you still have a list of codes. I am struggling to find the right one on line. I only want to register a general handy man, meeter and greeter of guests but I can't find anything on this site that matches. And every time I select something remotely similar the site pushes me to register with Chambre de Metier. Thanks for any info. K

Hi I still have the document it's dated 2009 so things may have changed, it's a pdf so send me your email, I think we have to be added as friends first.

Hi everyone,

I recently had a conversation with two separate Pole Emploi counsellors (who happened to be at our house on two separate occasions). I thought I would share the pearls of Auto Entrepreneur wisdom they gave me.

Thé first was that thé reason the Government is looking to 'scrap' the AE is that too many artisans who would normally be registered under the old 'cotisations up front' regime have switched to being AE in order to save money (and why not?). In effect, there are numerous cases of employers, especially in the building trades, who have been laying off their staff and encouraging them to register as AE so they can be re-employed as contractors for less money all round. Both sides win. The only people to lose out are the Government as they are no longer getting the higher level of cotisations and they are not getting the employer contributions.

This has also led to great resentment, again particularly within the building trade, as there are now huge discrepancies between the levels of cotisations and tax paid by artisans doing roughly the same work.

Secondly, I was advised to make sure that I reported a reasonable figure for revenue on every return. One of the other bugbears of the Government is that too many AEs are registered but are not actually earning enough and so are 'benefitting' from the system but not contributing. Apparently, the move afoot is to withdraw AE status after one year if your returns are not high enough.

From both of these people, I got the impression that the AE system is here to stay but that it needs overhauling to make it fairer and for it to continue benefit the people it was intended for - small start up businesses.

This is, of course only thé opinion of two people, but I thought as they are working at thé AE coal face (one of them is an AE advisor at thé Pôle Emploi) they probably know as much as anyone.

Bonne continuation!

Hi Trish. Don't worry. It was one of the least nightmarish brushes with bureaucracy I've had. The percentage of tax to pay has gone up to around 25% this year, but I don't know about anything else. Rumour has it that the system will be abolished but I have no idea on the latest there. I'd probably get registered and see what happens - at least you'd be on the system. Also, I have no idea where I stand concerning health cover. I'll get round to looking at this when I'm not so busy. The priority for now is to stay well.

Hi Alex,

thanks for posting this link. I'm thinking of AE as a possibility next year and this is all good background.

Cheers, John

Hi Andy,

I'm planning a move to France in 2014 and I'd also be interested in the documents you mention. Any information I get get my hands on about the AE scheme would be gratefully received. I can give you an email address if you have then as PDFs and are willing/able to share then?

best wishes,


Alex, I'm toying with the idea of setting up as an AE and read your posts--sigh. Sort of the kind of nightmare you come to expect. But sometimes I get lucky and things are surprisingly easy--maybe this time ;)

A colleague of mine was saying the charges have changed/are changing in 2014. I am attempting to get through the URSSAF phone labrynth and get an appt to have this all explained to me--but do you know anything about it?

Not bad. A bit slower, probably that is all. You are the sole beneficiary although you gave your OH's details, whereas I have both children on mine and she has nobody but herself. That is, it seems, the way it goes.

Thanks for clarifying Christina, I now understand it better.

Hi Brian...I had understood that now you have to make a declaration even if your earnings are 0€. And it took them 9 months to take me into the RSI system...wouldn't even let me declare earnings to begin with as they took so bloody long...luckily I was already covered but don't hesitate to phone up and hassle very nicely.

Fun isn't it!

Hi... just a point, ACCRE is for people who are setting up in business who are currently unemployed.

The versement libertaoire is a set rate of 2% which is paid each time you declare any earnings. Only no good if you know that by the end of the year you wouldn't normally have to pay any taxes by not having earnt enough - This is all info from when I started up 3 years ago.

From another Brian, just to add confusion. We did it nearly four years ago. It is rather dodgy because they don't want people to be AEs this long. However, we had no problems. Sirets came in a couple of months, quickly followed by all the RSI stuff and Carte Vitale. We were able to submit returns for our second quarter after applying.

Hi Brian

i found it not too onerous (around January / Feb) but maybe you are experiencing the summer malaise !

did you get a siret ? as for me this triggered everything else

have you chosen a mutuelle ? as they deal with you on behalf of RSI

re the mutuelle - i wish i had selected one with a local office as tgis would have made it easier to provide all the paperwork and deal with someone face to face if needed.

its all ok now and we have a temporary carte vitale in place for healthcare and the online payment set up is ok to use so no complaints.

But i expect they will drag their heels until you declare some revenues otherwise anyone could use the AE just to get into the system and never contribute.

be persistent - it paid off for me


Thanks Wendy! Can't ask for better feedback than that!

Steve I've recently registered as an AE and am still waiting for contact from RSI regarding healthcare cover. it's been 6 weeks now and I'm not sure whether to sit tight and wait 9usual bureaucratic delay) or whether it is paying tax that triggers it. I haven't done a return yet as I haven't earned anything yet. What was your experience? Regards Brian

loved your bog posts, Alex. Informative, witty and highly readable!

One comment, take a look at the 'mixed entrepreneur' pages.

Once registered it seems you can't add a different type of work (I've tried). So if you think you might do rather well at buying and selling on ebay for example, or anything else unrelated to your current metier, apply to do both. You'll have to choose which will be the main earner: buying and selling gives a much higher income platform to allow for the added expenses which you aren't allowed to reclaim.

And although you have to fill out all earnings on the same form, you're required to keep separate books for each job - well, that makes sense doesn't it!

Also, opt for ACCRE if you think you'll need help establishing the business (I don't know much about this, not having done so) and don't opt for Versement Liberale as I think the taxes are based on previous earnings. Filling out your earnings online is quick and easy, all the calculations are done for you, but be sure to do it within the time limit as the form changes for the next trimestre after the due date and you can't get it back!

Again, others will inform you better about this.

Good luck!

Thanks Annette - that is really helpful. Will let you know how we get on. Mary