Expat Entrepreneur in Côtes d’Armor: Jasen Saunders
British expat Jasen Saunders' carpet fitting services have been well-received by many French people who prefer the English way of fitting carpets using gripper and underlay compared with their ‘stick down all over’ method.
Name: Jasen Saunders
City of residence: Plénée-Jugon, Côtes d’Armor
Name of company: Jasen Saunders – Carpet Fitter
Date of company launch: March 2009
Can you give us a brief description of your business and how it is going.
I fit carpet, vinyl and carpet tiles, supplied by private individuals and companies. I do not currently supply carpet, however I can supply underlay, gripper, threshold bars and spray adhesive, if required.
I started fitting carpets in 1987 as an apprentice to Maurice Cole of Portsmouth, sole contractor to Knight & Lee department store, a member of the John Lewis Partnership. I pride myself on my craftsmanship, attention to detail, honesty, integrity and clear communication in both English and French. A high percentage of my business is from repeat customers and referrals.
Following a slow start to this year, I am currently very busy, as many people in France prefer the English style, or ‘pose tendue / pose anglaise’ method of fitting carpets, with gripper and underlay, compared with the French ‘stick down all over’ method.
What do you like about doing business in France?
I enjoy travelling on the excellent road network and meeting lots of people with interesting tales of their lives and experiences here in France.
What do you find most frustrating about doing business in France?
The time it takes to travel the often long distances to reach my customers.
What hurdles did you encounter when setting up?
Very few hurdles were encountered when setting up, as I registered under the auto-entrepreneur scheme, I registered online and I received my siret number shortly afterwards. Once I had taken out my decennale insurance I was ready to start.
Re-registering my van proved to be the major hurdle, despite it originally being from Belgium, it was an unknown model in France and therefore took a bit of work trying to obtain the information required to change the number plates.
How has the economic crisis affected your business?
As this has been my first year, I don’t have any comparable data from previous years to see exactly how my business was affected. I started my business in March 2009, and had a very busy first 2 months, before it eased off for the summer months. It then became extremely busy again in the months leading up to the Xmas period.
As for many people, January and February 2010 were very quiet months for me. However since March, business has picked up with this year already being much busier compared with the same period last year.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs setting up business in France?
Do your homework. Research is the key to ensuring a successful startup in any business, in any country. Employ the services of a concierge services company to help ensure all aspects of starting the business are covered.
How does running a business in France compare to running a business in other countries that you have lived in?
Compared with the setup costs of a comparable business in the UK, setting up here has been quite reasonable, apart from the compulsory decennale insurance. Running a business on the auto-entrepreneur scheme couldn’t be easier, declaring turnover and paying charges every three months online.
We invite expat entrepreneurs to share their experiences of setting up and running their businesses in France. If you too would like to add your voice, send an email with 'Please send me an Expat Entrepreneur in France questionnaire' in the subject line to editorFR@expatica.com.
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