This is a very specific posting for my first post on these forums, but I need to clarify the position here, before my dreams run away with me. I'm a self-taught woodworker one day dreaming of leaving the rat-race to adopt a slower pace of life and start a small business in France making furniture and other wooden items for sale locally and on the Internet (globally or just in the Eurozone). That's not any time soon, so I have plenty of time to prepare and research. That said, I do need to be crystal clear on the position so I'm prepared.
I'm trying to get my head around company law and tax rules. Most likely I'd be self-employed, at least to start with, so it seems the auto-entrepeneur category seems to be almost ideal but for one catch: It seems to be a requirement to provide some form of accreditation (like UK's NVQ qualification I suppose). There seems to be something called CAP and BTM - what's the difference between those? A 'CAP ébéniste' qualification takes 2 or 3 years so that would be an expensive and time-consuming route for me to go through. I would learn a few things I'm sure (particularly a lot of specific French terminology to wood craft which would be potentially useful), but to be honest the essentials would not bring anything new to me. Have a read the rules correctly in this area? Would some photographs of finished items of furniture I have made suffice? I have a few certificates of the odd course I've done - but nothing like a full 2 year diploma or equivalent. Perhaps the chambre de metiers vary from one region to another? Is France really so strict in this area? No chair-maker in the UK would be required to provide certificates - at least not to the tax man! Perhaps it's something to do with union rules?
Alternatively, if I were to set up a company (or buy an existing one), would I then be free to employ whoever I liked (including, of course, myself) irrespective of their qualifications?