How do the French survive France?

Back in the UK I was self employed. I could earn my money in any way I chose, be it voice over work, singing, teaching dance, making jewelry, buying and selling on ebay, whatever. And of course I could offset my expenses against my income.

Here in France, it appears you can't just start up another income possibility, you have to be registered in that field.

And if you're registered as AE, you can't add any other type of work to it, you have to register a mixed income at the outset. And of course you can't claim expenses.

Going any other route means you have to pay SS dues up front which requires a healthy bank account.

Do I have that right, or is there a way around it? Legally, I mean!

Yes please Doug, with as much of an explanation for the various charges that lunch allowed you to remember!

Exactly as Andrew says - I think that I get around 52% paid to me now, since my commission to the portage company has reduced - a small catch though is that this is on the basis that you claim your full 10% for "frais". If you don't then you end up getting less since the higher amount going through your pay gets clobbered for all the cotisations etc (I'm still not really clear how this works despite having a full explanation over lunch with the portage company accountant a couple of years back - or perhaps it's because it was over lunch that I don't recall?)

The scale of the cotisation is high of course, but then they have to deduct all the charges etc that your employer would usually have had to pay. If you want I'll be happy to send you an example of my pay statement from the portage company by PM so that you can see what they charge for Celia

Hi Chris, re your last para, if I understood what you meant I could respond! When you say 'benchmarking', do you mean applying to them for a quote?

Hi Celia,

Portage will sign you on for a specific durations or "CDD" contrat à durée déterminée. You are "Salarié" when employed by them. So, when you don't have a job, your contract stops (you are unemployed and might be able to claim unemployment under certain conditions...) but can kick back in any time over again when you need it. You just need to let the portage company know about it ahead of time -as by Law they have the duty to advise the French authorities accordingly-.

Charge fees: a % over your gross income (your "mission" CDD income).

As to the legal/tax question(s) underpinning your last post, what would you think of benchmarking 2 or 3 Portage salarial compagnies and see what comes out of it?



Hi Doug,

I have known Akuit since inception and have no direct personal interest with them (:. What is good about them is that they will cater to your SPECIFIC needs -they are small enough to do that- vs. the major "Portage salarial" firms mostly based in Paris that now have industrialized processes targeted to diferent profiles...In other words, if you do not fit the exact -generally French profile- you might be paying for services/covers??? you cannot get or not get the exact service you wish for.

The best thing is to enquire and check if the service fills your personal needs and requirements. Also, I would advise to beware of the "Portage" costs that some outfits charge, as they can reach up to 16% of gross salary in some instances...

Hope this helps.


that was about the split I was offered, Celia.The agency pays your commission to the portage company who then pay the charges sociales and take their cut and pass on what's left to you. You then pay your impôts the following year as everyone does ;-)

One portage co that I looked at offer you 49% of your commissions when all else is deducted. All else except tax - how does that work?

Thanks for the precision, Doug, my experience is based on a specific situation some 5 years ago! It still remains a whole load easier than being in the mainstream indépendant scheme - I have all the RSI hassle, TVA at two different rates, IR and IS, CFE et al... :-O

The important point to take on board with portage salaire is that they provide you with a CDD contract, the duration of which is calculated on the basis of the anticipated earnings. You are therefore only employed when you have a CDD contract in place - there are some limitation about not having successive CDD contracts without a gap in between, but in my case the portage company do all that and otherwise extend a contract if necessary.

In fact Andrew's comment below is a little misleading - you're not "salarié" without salary, you are a "consultant" working for commission , but during the periods of your CDD you have all the usual salerié rights and obligations - if you're registered as a job-seeker with your Pole Emploi you may also be able to claim "allocations" for periods during which you don't have a CDD

In answer to part of your question - the only person paying commission to the portage company is the employee, ie you (or me in my case!) The structures vary but mine started at around 10% initially but is now down to around 6% i think since I've passed a fair amount of money through them over 5 years - they usually specify thresholds based upon gross turnover.

Ooh, this looks more like it! I was on this site reading forum messages (if the French don't understand it themselves, what hope have we ??!) but didn't find this page.

I'll have a cuppa and a read, thanks Mike!

If you don't earn anything (don't have any income from the parent company) then the portae company don't pay you. You're salarié without having a salary - the protage company facture your parent company and once paid, they pay all your charge etc and pass on what's left. At least, that's how I remember it working when I lokked into it...! second question answered within the above ;-)

This site makes it very clear that you can indeed add additional activities to your main AE activity. I added the 2nd activity some time after the first one and used a procedure I discovered online (like this one).

Rgds, Mike L

Doug and Chris, a question re. portage: What happens if you don't earn anything for a while? I take it they don't just pay you a salary anyway?

And the other bit I'm not sure of, do they only charge you commissions, or do they take from your parent company too? I'd be working for a parent company as an independent negotiator, and not just for myself so anything earned has to go to them first. How does that work?

Hi Mike, thanks for the link to this forum. Having read Ronan's answers to others' similar questions, he clearly states that it is not possible to register second or several additional job titles to your AE after having registered initially.

What this page seems to say is that you can have many hats under different regimes (ae, micro entreprise, eirl etc.) but with the same siret.

How did you manage to register 2, one after the other (unless I misunderstood you)?

On this site there is a step by step explanation and also on the 2nd link you can find advice on multiple activities:

Hope this helps,

Rgds, Mike L

PS: If you read the forum at the bottom of the second link there is some pretty useful information there as well.

Just to add, it is absolutely fine to name companies or post links - we only say no links to your own business to keep the site from getting too spammy!

Good luck with everything Celia x

I'm sure it's allowed - I'm not advertising but just passing on info

The company I work through is FCI immobilière, rue de Chazelles, Paris

It's a small company with excellent service - please mention my name if you contact them since it always helps to have a recommend. I've been with them for over five years now. They are one of only a handful of specialist immo portage companies in France. They will not take non-immo portage however the boss' brother does run a general portage company I think so may still be worth contacting them.

You should be able to find portage companies that are registered through RSAC from RSAC themselves I would think, or careful searching perhaps?

Doug, if it's allowed on this forum could you let me know the name of your portage company? Do either you or Andrew know how I can find a list of immo and agent commercial friendly companies?

Thanks for all this useful info, I feel I'm getting somewhere at last!

Concur with Andrew - no input at all from Portage company for marketing material etc, just a means to an end. The company I work with do provide useful seminars, newsheets and other add-ons which are handy, along with means to advertise properties and services though their own portal.

Not familiar with company identified by Chris Jaccon, but seems handy if there is portage company geared up to work with brits. The company I'm with has only one other brit estate agent on their books I believe, which is more to do with lack of knowledge about the system than anything else I think.

For me it's the best option, and probably for many other people too, if they knew it existed!