Life in the Languedoc

Thinking of starting a business in the Languedoc? tells you how!

Many people move here from different parts of the world and plan to start a business. Draw breath. Think carefully. You may have previously run a successful business elsewhere but you really need to thoroughly investigate the rules before you take the plunge here.


The French didn’t invent bureaucracy for nothing! When it comes to business they apply it to every move you make.


If your business needs office space you will have to rent and sign a contrat de location, you need to read the contract very carefully – will you be obliged to give 6 or12 months notice before leaving, etc. If you are renting a shop front you will have to purchase a Âbaile or a Âpas de portee. Check out the differences and be sure your business can support the purchase.


Your insurance will depend on your type of business, but check out how much it will cost beforehand. Will you be paying water, telephone, electricity bills, find out how much, these surprise costs can way you down in the long run.


When you are deciding on what kind of company to open an autoentrepreneur, microsociété, EURL, SARL, profession liberale, etc find out what are the ramifications of each. The type of company that you start out with can make or break your business. It starts with the siret number. You need one to start up any business. Siret numbers have to be paid for and you need different ones for different aspects of your business. If you open a shop it is highly likely that it will be checked to ensure you are not selling goods for which you do not have a siret number. You need to consult a professional to advise you.


If you want to play music in your shop, even on a radio, there will be a charge. Find out what that charge will be.


The next bureaucracy you need to know about is the social protection charges – RSI. It’s critical that you find an accountant who can explain to you exactly how much you will be responsible for paying per year. It is a separate payment from tax so don’t get the two confused. Be aware that the RSI can, and do, tell you a couple of years later that they miscalculated your dues and you now owe them extra for previous years!


If you rent premises for your business you will be responsible for local tax as well as profit tax so find out what both are likely to be.  Profit tax can appear complicated here so, again, you need a professional to explain it and register you in the way best suited to your business. There are several ways to do this and you need to be able to assess what your profit/turnover is likely to be.


If you are thinking of anything to do with serving food or drink check out the rules and get insurance quotes as you will need to be insured and the premises in which the food or drink is prepared can be inspected by the authorities. You may also need to show that you have a safe escape route should there be a fire at the premises, even if your shop is only 9m2 and its obvious where the exit is! Find out and get a quote if it is necessary.


There is also the opportunity here to start up an Association. This is not a business so beware.


Despite all of the above warnings many people have started successful businesses here and are more than happy with their income and, perhaps more importantly, with their direct contact with their clients which enables them to meet people of all nationalities.


If your aim is to start a business – go for it! Just check out what’s involved as you would anywhere else in the world. You may find the rewards are greater than the bureaucracy.


Good luck!


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