Business opportunities for expats

Business opportunities for expats

If you are planning to relocate to France and are still at the age where you need an income, you may be dreaming of setting up your own business. Perhaps you know exactly what it is you want to do, or are looking for a business opportunity in France.

Below are some of the businesses that expats in France do:

A popular profession for expats in France is becoming an estate agent. British buyers make up a considerable proportion of second home buyers in France and therefore, coming from the UK can work to your advantage. Before you can start working as an estate agent, you will need to apply for your Carte Professionnelle as it is illegal to work in the industry without one.

For many who move to France, running a gîte is an idyllic lifestyle with the right work and home balance. Nevertheless, the gîte market in France is ultra-competitive and to make it work you have to be committed, focused and tough. For further advice on setting up a gîte in France and to read real life stories about running a gîte business visit our Gîtes Business zone.

With property prices in most areas of France still considerably less than in the UK, many expats can afford a much larger house in France than they had in the UK. This provides an ideal opportunity to run a B&B or Chambres d’ Hotes as it is called in French. As with any business there are legal issues to be aware of when setting up a Chambres d’ Hotes.

Staying within property related businesses, with the number of second homes in France, another opportunity exists not in running your own gites, but in managing other peoples!  Until recently this business sector was not fully explored, but now good property managers are prized by their clients, taking away the strain of being an absentee property owner and working with them to maximise the rental revenue from guests by being on hand locally to sort out any issues as they arise.  Even if you have your own gites, running a property management company can be a great second string to your bow and keep you out of mischief all year round.

Working online can be a good solution for expats looking to start their own business in France. Running a website allows you to work from home and there are many types of website you could run, whether it is a publishing site, service provider, advertising site or all of these, the possibilities are endless.

Other businesses expats in France have included running a restaurant, running a building business and working as an independent financial adviser.

Whatever business you are looking to establish in France, it is important to be aware of the French self employment system which is very different to that in the UK. It is wise to find out everything you need to know before taking the plunge, see our top tips and advice for starting a business in France.

When you have decided on which business you would like to establish, it is important to ask yourself whether the business is viable, after all, setting up a business is a process that needs a lot of time and preparation if you are to succeed and enjoy what you are doing. It can be a good idea to write a business plan with an outline idea of what the business is, who the customers will be, how you will reach them and how much money is needed to cover expenses. A plan will help you to determine whether your business is feasible.

Once you’ve done your business plan and are confident that your business will work, you will need to check whether you can legally practice. Therefore, the next step is to choose the legal structure under which you will operate. This will either be as a sole trader or as a business with multiple ownership. An important development in French legal structures for businesses, which came in to practice in 2016, is the micro-entrepreneur (formerly known as auto-entrepreneur) system for small businesses aimed at reducing the taxes and financial costs of running a small business or being self-employed in France. Finally, before you start trading you will need to register your business.

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