Managing other people’s properties in France and letting them out to holidaymakers is a great way to earn an income. Make sure your business is a success with these 11 tips
1. Set up your business at the local Chambre de Métiers under the correct statut. Beware, there are many to choose from! You have to consider your income (you can be VAT-exempt up to an income of around €33,000), what level of costs you will have (the status of auto-entrepreneur does not suit businesses with a lot of expenses), and whether you feel able to cope with the accounting. A micro-enterprise frees you up from this, but may not be advantageous to you. Research thoroughly and take the time to get this first stage right. Changing it later is always expensive, always lengthy and sometimes impossible.
2. Obtain the all-important SIRET number, making sure that you have declared all the possible activities that you think you may be involved in. Adding an activity later can cost as much as €200.
3. Take out proper business insurance to cover what you do.
4. Offer as many services as you can, or have a reliable team on hand. Owners are not keen on finding out that you can manage their marketing and the garden but are not able to offer them a cleaner, for example. You’ll need to build up a bank of knowledge and skills (especially for managing swimming pools). Also build up a reliable team of builders, plumbers, boiler engineers and electricians.
5. Do not be tempted to offer services for which you are not registered. The French authorities come down very hard indeed on those who do. Cleaning a rental property, for example, requires you to be inside their property – so make sure you are registered for this before doing so.
6. Find your unique selling point. What can you do that is different from (and better than) other businesses offering similar services?
7. Make as many contacts as you can. It is usually easier to find properties to manage that have just been bought by someone who wishes to rent them out, so estate agents and builders can help. Talk to people, and spread the word!
8. Don’t restrict yourself to only British owners. French holiday property owners can often find it hard to tap into the UK holidaymaker market, and if you have a good level of French then this can be hugely rewarding.
9. Be ready to clock up the miles on the car. France is big and your properties are unlikely to be bunched closely together.
10. Offer a personal meet-and-greet service to all arriving guests. This is time-consuming and diesel-thirsty, but guests appreciate it and so do the owners.
11. Make time to improve your French if it isn’t good already. You never know when you’ll have to ring a boiler engineer, a local builder or the emergency services.
These tips are provided by Le Cloup Assistance Location, a property management and letting business in St Antonin Noble Val.
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