Is Facebook a good place to source tradespeople in France?

It has begun to worry me lately, being a keen ‘Facebooker’ myself, how many of us Expats are becoming reliable on this avenue of social media for sourcing so many of our needs in France. Don’t get me wrong, I think Facebook provides a great platform for many service providers and small businesses wanting to get a foot in the door when starting out, hell I have a FB business page myself and am not ashamed to use it! I can also see how we are attracted as consumers to it’s ‘friendly’ online environment and its easy usability, particularly those of us who are just not that internet savvy, it can be a great resource to find specific things or garner advice for those more experienced.
Facebook can also be great place to ‘meet’ new people and exchange ideas, look for relocation advice, get a recommendation for a school, workplace, product or restaurant and here I have no problem, these things in general could not have a serious impact on our lives or irreversible financial consequences should you choose to follow the advice given. However, the wave of Facebook sites promoting tradespeople i.e. builders, plumbers, electricians and also offering advice from DIY ‘experts’ which have appeared - and a new one seems to pop up every other week because it really is THAT easy! - recently is starting to both annoy and concern me.
I am annoyed because as the partner of a trades person and business owner in France I know only too well of the expectations to acquire the correct registration documents, know the complexities and financial burden of being insured for the services we provide and the time it takes to build a good reputation. To me the unregulated Facebook communities who advertise trades people over here are bypassing all the regulations specifically set up to protect consumers by recommending those with potentially no experience of France, no registration documents and even more commonly no insurance in place. These pages are allowing people to advertise for free, and to undercut the other more reliable traders. Unlike those of us who are doing things by the book, they do not have the financial burden of a decennial ten year insurance to pay or regular professional courses to attend and couldn’t give a toss about following any of the regulations that apply to the building industry in France.
I am concerned as, more and more often these days, I see builders, electricians, plumbers etc advertising from their front rooms in the UK touting for work over here, I see cut-throat behavior from new trades making the mistake thinking that it is easy to make a quick buck, not understanding the lay of the land or giving a moments thought to the consequences of not having insurance in place should something go wrong. I’m worried for the consumers who are getting sucked into this obvious trap of seemingly’ helpful’ people who have 'renovated their own property and are now ‘experts’ willing to take your money to replace your roof without a conscience or worse still giving you advice on how to rewire your own home with only a fork and a 2 euro book for Brico Depot! Has the world gone insane!?!
Would any of us go to an unqualified and uninsured dentist? Would we trust our children to an unregistered childminder? Would we want a neighbor who used to ‘tinker’ with his lawn mower to service our cars? These are things that most of us don’t mind paying the going rate for as we recognize their value. So my question is that when we come to France, why are we willing to put thousands of euros and trust into the hands of someone who was recommended on Facebook?
My request is that people start to make informed choices when choosing their trades person on this side of the pond, just as you would back in the U.K. By all means look at his Facebook page but also check his registration documents and that he is correctly insured for your own protection and peace of mind. Don’t rely on his facebook recommendations that could have been written by an aunt or other family member and NEVER employ someone ‘on the black’ or for cash as this is completely against the law and you could end up being fined or even worse serving a prison sentence!
If you are someone who ignores all of this advice for the sake of saving a few euros or because you think you know better, then good luck, but don’t come complaining to the rest of us about ‘Expat builders’ - you only have yourself to blame!

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I agree with your mindset up to some extent. Facebook is growing soon into a marketplace and now people are hiring but you cannot obviously verify it. I read something similar on PrizeLava about this.

Though there are full-fledged platforms like LinkedIn, or Craigslist to find these kind of professionals but people are preferring FB & Instagram more because of its familiar sense of attachment.

LOL - that’ll be interesting after 29 March ! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Welcome to SF Rosie & Jay !

Hi Rosie… Welcome to our Forum…

I see that you are President of “”… and I’m wondering if you have noted a falling-away of customers/members or whatever… 'cos folk are using Facebook instead of your business ???

Here, on this forum… if you run through the threads, you will see that we are always urging folk to use properly registered/insured workers… and to double check the paperwork…

As you suggest FB can be unreliable… a bit like wikipedia… :roll_eyes:

Funny thing is…I’d never have thought of using FB to find a local artisan until I saw this posting…counter intuitive maybe ?? :thinking::thinking::thinking:

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Hi Stella,
I haven’t seen a decrease in members just a reluctance for a lot of artisans to give over their documents to be scrutinized. In general we have about a 40% success rate of trades passing our pretty simple vetting process i.e. producing registration documents and insurance documents that actually tally up with the services they claim to provide. On top of that we check at least two of their previous references by contacting the clients directly. For this reason we are not just an advertising avenue but a reliable resource for people to use but most people want a quick fix.
Its sad to say that sometimes integrity is not valued as much as being popular on Facebook!

I wouldn’t hire an artisan through fb, that said I wouldn’t be likely to hire a non-local, non-French artisan either.


Great advice!!!

There are a lot of horror stories out there and Facebook is a very large part of the way these stories begin.

I can point today to several Facebook “builders” I’ve been lucky enough to “uncover” before hiring - great pictures - testimonials - long list of “qualifications”.

But they’re all “sham”.

Visits to the sites where the pictures werre taken show a very different story one of incompetence and a callous carelessness with other peoples dreams. Talk to the poeple who wrote the testimonals - close friends and very unreliable.

So, use locally recommended - always check all credentials AT SOURCE (don’t relie on paperwork which can be easily faked - and always insist on inspecting previous work unaccompanied (and not anyone from a testimonial, ask to see a list of verified past customers and pick some at random - respectable builders won’t mind sharing customer details and happy customers won’t mind talking).