Have you hired a caretaker?

Hi everyone.
I’m looking to hire a caretaker for our home in France and I would like to hear your experiences if you have done the same. I’m interested in how much per month they get paid and in exchange for what kind of duties. We would prefer ours not be a live-in caretaker as we will be coming back and forth to our home and want privacy while we are here. We have some people in mind but I want to learn more to make sure we are on point with our employment offer.
Thank you for your time in sharing your experiences and or tips.
Best, Eve

Depends what you want them to do, how many hours over what period of time. You can pay the smic plus a forfait for transport via cheque emploi-service (that way you pay social charges).

Someone coming to water your garden, do a bit of pruning, sort the pool, bricolage around the house etc will probably charge the smic. If you want shopping done, beds made etc for your arrival, a bit of cooking etc you just need to negotiate it. Lots of people offer this sort of service.

Live in employés de maison/gardiens are different.

Bear in mind that a ‘private’ arrangement bypassing social charges etc may look tempting and much cheaper for you, cash in hand for your employee etc but is also likely to land you in prison (and rightly so).

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As Vero said your requirements will dictate the type of people you employ, we offer a range of services from simple regular house checks to full-on management but as registered and insured business our hourly rate is more than double the SMIC.

One thing that has always amazed us that in 12 years only one client has ever asked for references or sight of our registration certificate and insurance details so unless the OP already knows the people she is considering I would certainly want some sort of recommendation from other clients.

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Hi @Weetbixkid

Haven’t heard anything more from you since the thread in February, where you talked about buying the house.

Did everything go to plan ? Were there any nasty surprises ?? (hope not)

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Thank you both. This may sound silly but what what is SMIC? Is it like base wage? I have just arrived a few weeks ago, and we have just done the basics like getting electricity, oil, water etc.
bear in mind this is the first place I have inquired about experiences people have had about hiring. We have not contacted our lawyer to draw up employment contracts etc. as I’m a doing research first, and discovering what exactly we would need for our home.

Yes, after 6 months, we finally signed the deeds last week and are officially the owners of our home. There are many things to learn about the mas and many creatures discovered, and so many more wonderful discoveries, especially finding such a welcoming and helpful community. I was also so pleased to find our community is being so helpful, patient and kind when it comes to my present lack of language skills.

Anyway, I would be very interested to hear about other people’s experiences with caretakers. We will have a security system installed in our home shortly so it will be protected by the security company, however, I’d be looking for someone who could get the house cleaned for us (not necessarily by them, but arrange the cleaners to come) , to turn the heating on 2 days before we arrive in the winter, keep an eye on the place during our absence, and arrange for plumbing or gardeners, empty the mail, or assist with other household issues when needed.
Aside from what you have your caretakers help you with, I’m also interested in hearing what your experience was like. How did you manage if your caretaker didn’t do a good job, or had to leave?

Frankly, I think you might be going overboard - talking about Lawyers and employment contracts. (perhaps this is a language thingy - and I’m misunderstanding)

In my opinion you need to use someone who is registered to do such work (general caretaking) You tell them what you want done. They will give you a quotation of their rates and you will agree to whatever/hours are suitable.

Ideally, they will have knowledge of local plumbers/electricians to advise you if an emergency arises in your absence.

They invoice you and you pay their invoice. end of story. You can finish with them at your whim/choice.

If you go down the route of “employing” someone - you become The Boss and you will find yourself liable to all sorts of Social payments etc etc. It can be a nightmare - which many folk find out too late.

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Stella has it pretty much spot on, we have never been asked to sign any contract so our clients can dispense with our services at any time they choose.


Ah I see. Thanks for that tip. The people we plan to ask are not existing caretakers of other properties however, if they are interested, I’m sure they could arrange to invoice us for the services provided. We prefer to use locals.
After reading about ending up in jail, I assumed getting contracts and lawyers was essential and that perhaps hiring someone was more complicated in France than elsewhere. Perhaps not. (Buying a house sure was! Ha ha) However, I will continue my research on the topic. Thank you both for your responses. Much appreciated.

Employment law in france is strict, so hiring people in france can be endlessly complicated, and paying someone local in cash now and then can get you into trouble. But there are straightforward approaches for these sorts of situations. What you need to do is find a local person who is registered to do this sort of work, and then it’s easy. They send you bills, you pay them, end of story.

Provided the folk you are thinking of are Registered to offer their services (with a Siren/Siret number) you will be OK.

Talk to locals and ask who they use.