Handyman wanted in exchange for reduced rent

Hello Sfners

I don't know if the above is even allowed so I thought I'd pose the question.

My problem is that I would really like to get my barn conversion finished. It's soo close! My dilemma is the age old "either no money or time". It has been suggested that there are people "out there" who would be willing to live rent free or at a much reduced rate in exchange for a few hours DIY each week. Where do I find these people? It would be the perfect solution as we certainly have accommodation available.....

Any advice please?

Do you know I've never met a french hen? That said, we took an interest in the "Miss Poule" competition last year.

I knew about the beaks (really!) and was pretty sure the teeth thing was a wind up but you have to ask don't you? Good segue tho' n'est-ce pas?

Doh! Wife just told me there's an English saying also - "rare as hens' teeth" - then I saw your replies. Knew it! :)


I know I'm falling for it but - do hens have teeth?

I agree (re the mates etc) but one could argue the case - first, find a cheery local taxman! :)

I do understand that Grahame, but surely this falls into a different area?

A restaurant is, surely, a business, running with a view to making a profit. If anyone works a night there either unpaid or undeclared then that is, essentially, dodging potential tax and social security payments. Not saying I agree with the fisc's attitude, but I can see their logic.

Same with company cars - some UK companies used to hand them out almost willy nilly until the tax rules were tightened up. My wife used to work in the City for what was then one of the Big 4 banks. They automatically gave a company car to people once they reached a certain level of management (whether or not they could drive). Once that was tightened up they had to change the whole pay structure!

This sort of arrangement would appear to me to be more of a symbiotic "I win you win" scenario. How would they view it if people had friends to stay who helped out with a bit of DIY whilst staying? (Possibly a bit of a red herring I know!)

We are told (http://www.emmaus-france.org/) that there is a real shortage of rental accommodation available for people on low incomes. Wouldn't this be a fab way to help out?

And thank YOU Doreen for sharing the link - I was just too lazy earlier!

Same here!

I've also been thinking about the working for free/working in the black thing. I don't think it would apply in this case. Working in the black is simply not declaring revenue, but if there is no revenue involved that doesn't apply surely?

As for working for free - that's like saying you can't do a friend a favour - and if someone is helping out in return for room and board, that's not working for free.

Interestingly (or not) there was a programme on radio 4 last night about France which is well worth a relisten if anyone missed it. The general consensus (amongst the french interviewed) was that because french politicians and civil servants have no business experience they have absolutely no idea how business works (from small to large) and have what amounts to mistrust of entrepreneurship.

Wow! what a lot of interesting replies! I have had times when Iw as looking for help and I had no idea this sort of thing existed. If only I had known........................!Good luck Karen!

There is a site called HELPX at www.helpx.net where people place adverts when they want someone to come and work for them in exchange for board (usually). Not used it, but have considered it to get some help ourselves... Someone may have suggested this already...

I guess the french authorities would consider it that way since they would consider that it is a form of payment and therefore should be declared in the usual way. However I am aware that it goes on. For example there are people who work as guardians for free accommodation. There are others who house sit for the use of your home too.

I don't know the answer but IF the person doing the guarding/housesitting/odd jobs are NOT officially resident in France then who is to know? Who is to say that they are not friends visiting and helping/working for friends just because they want to??

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Would it be working for free or in the black if you were providing accommodation, food etc at a reduced rent? I'm genuinely interested to know - as it's something we've thought of but didn't (until now) know there was any way of going about it.

I have used Workaway this year. I had a lovely. willing and able, Northern Irish guy help me with the animals, veggies and garden. At the time I wasn't allowed to drive after a major op and he was also my chauffeur! I have never used them before but would definitely use them again.

Be carefull , I'm pretty sure it is not legal over here! keep it quiet .... had all sorts of threats expressed by professional organisations over here at the induction course for entrepreneurs, they said that if they found out about people effectively working for free or in the black they will and have had them and you prosecuted.

Never used them Karen so I have nothing to recommend but someone mentioned this site to me a while ago, maybe interesting to you though?


If you're involved in organic farming at all, try WWOOFers - (Willing Workers on Organic Farms). We had lots of Wwoofers on our farm over the years and all were great. They work for food, acommodation and knowledge.

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Be very careful as you can create all sorts of legal liabilities doing what you are proposing. First insurance if he has an accident and then you may end up responsible for his medical bills - you can avoid this if he has a work contract but that I suppose is what yu are trying to avoid.

Also you run the risk of acquiring a sitting tenant with protected rights under French law.

I am NOT saying do not do it, and I think it is a good idea but get some legal advice first.

Peter S

It will end in tears. Anyone who does work for anything other than a proper wage has to be viewed with suspicion and may well turn out to be a freeloader.

Another site worth a look http://www.workaway.info/