The nature of property prices in France allows many of us to afford bigger properties here than we perhaps could have in the UK. However sadly, the effort of upkeep required for a beautifully spacious home with land, tends to be easily underestimated. And people, for a range of different reasons, quickly find themselves seeking help in France.
Your dream home in France may well consist of bigger living quarters and more outside space than would be possible on your budget elsewhere. However, this can bring with it more work perhaps than anticipated. Lots of people realize quite quickly that maintaining properties and gardens here can be more than they can cope with alone. What with the constant maintenance required for older properties and the rate that gardens grow, that “to do” list can seem never ending and quite overwhelming. And, of course as time passes, and people age, they can become overwhelmed. But don’t worry. Help is at hand. Here we look at some of the options of how to find help in France.
Finding help in France
There are many ways to find help in France. But perhaps, the safest and most popular, is by word of mouth. A recommendation from someone you know, is always both reassuring and valuable. Also, asking at your local Mairie, looking at advert announcements in the supermarket or using Facebook groups asking for recommendations are just some of the other options.
A word of warning
The most important thing, is that the person you choose, is registered as self-employed to provide the service. Or works through a mechanism designed for these purposes. This gives you the reassurance of complying correctly with French labour laws. Employing people who are not registered, can prove to be a risky business.
The best advice is simply to not put yourself at risk when getting help in France. This means by ensuring you employ someone who is not “working on the black”. While this could initially appear “cheaper” than employing someone who is registered, it could, ultimately, prove more costly. In France, you can be held accountable for knowingly employing someone not registered. Or in the worst case (the provider having an accident during the course of providing services at your home) you may find yourself open to more risk than you may think.
Professionals registered to provide help in France should have a SIRET number. They will be registered differently depending on which services they provide. In France, you can and should ask service providers for their SIRET number to ensure that they are registered. You can check the activity for which they are registered using several websites, as these details are of public record and highly transparent.
This is important because if registered, you can be assured that they are responsible for paying their own taxes and dues from any income. And if required, particularly to provide certain services in the homes of others, they should have relevant insurance. Just in case of the worst happening. Whilst your sole aim may simply be getting some help in France, you should be aware that your responsibilities as an “employer” require due diligence and accountability for this.
Assuming that they have satisfied customers, it may also be a source of reassurance to see their website citing testimonials. Or to ask around in order to find anyone else who has used them. Particularly if they are previously unknown to you.
A very popular option for getting household help in France, is the CESU scheme. The “Chèque emploi service universel” (CESU) scheme, is a system designed to allow private individuals to employ home help services of all kinds. And it ensures absolute compliance with French Labour laws without the need to worry.
To employ someone through this scheme, you must find someone offering the services you require locally. This could be ironing, cleaning, gardening or pet walking, amongst a myriad of other things. Then you require their details, including their name, address, date and place of birth. As well as their social security number. Armed with this information, you then need to sign up as “an employer” online at the following link:
The way the scheme works, is that once signed up, and you have nominated your service provider, you pay the employee. This can be done either using a specifically designed chequebook for this purpose (issued when you sign up with the scheme), or with your own cheques or cash. If paying with your own cheques or cash, you must also complete an online form giving all details.
For people providing household services, this is a simple way to work in France legally. Without having to register themselves as self-employed. In turn avoiding the complications of self-employment administration. Including navigating the somewhat complicated issue of managing contribution payments themselves.
Benefits of using the CESU scheme
CESU is a highly popular in France for those looking for household help. It reassures both parties that everything is being conducted above board and according to French labour laws. It is also said to be more affordable for users of the scheme, because prices of services are regulated. And “employers” using this scheme can also claim tax relief on expenditure for those services at the end of each year, via their tax declarations.
It is reassuring to know that anyone you employ using this scheme, is registered and in turn paying their dues to the French government. As well as being covered by adequate and appropriate insurance for the specific services rendered.
French people often choose to work via the CESU scheme and many more “employ” people to get help in France through this system. It alleviates the risk of perhaps employing someone unknown to you or who you are unsure about. By ensuring accountability on both sides, it reduces the risk of never seeing your service provider again after an agreement is made. And it means no extra complications of added administrative tasks or worries past the point of initial sign up. CESU is also a very popular way for French homeowners to find help in France because it is a long standing, trusted and well-known scheme here.
So, when cleaning is the last thing you have either the time or inclination for, or you start to realize the practical downsides of a garden the size of a country park, don’t despair. You simply need a helping hand. Get looking for that valued help in France. And leave someone else to do the hard work, whilst you simply get back to the important business of enjoying your new life in France.