With their legendary bureaucracy and their particular culinary tastes (frog’s legs, cheeses, but also fine cuisine and starred chefs), the French enjoy a singular reputation among foreigners.
That’s why wanting to locate in France to do business may not be a piece of cake. Moreover, it is not a surprise since France is ranked 32nd in the World Bank’s Doing Business ranking, behind China, Spain, Japan, Russia, Austria… and many other developed countries (Ireland, Canada, Germany, Finland, United States…).
At the same time, it is paradoxically one of the most important markets in Europe. Therefore, how to succeed in setting up in the hexagon, explanations with the founding director of Brandquad.
Challenges you will face and things to know
Procedures, paperwork, finance
First of all, I have encountered Financial Barriers to open a bank account. This is because anti-terrorist financing and money laundering laws require your bank to investigate to determine the origin of the funds. So be prepared to undergo the KYC (Know Your Customer) procedure. Then, if you want to operate on a just-in-time basis, be prepared to let go: For the French, you must locate the money in France. Thus, some commercial contracts may fail for lack of sufficient guarantees, regardless of the proof you can bring with a provisioned sum in an account abroad.
The same goes for the creation of the structure, you will have to be patient with the clerk of the Commercial Courts where an incomplete file will cost you to come back the next day. All this tends to improve with the implementation of electronic procedures (such as obtaining an electronic Kbis for example).
The cost of living
France is a beautiful country, but the cost of living remains relatively high. Indeed, it is not for nothing that France is the first tourist destination in the world. The law of the market is simple and common to all areas: the higher the demand, the higher the cost of living.
Paris is the second most expensive city for office rent after London. Where you will pay 3500 € in Paris, you will pay (for an equivalent surface area) only 1200 € in Madrid and Berlin and barely 950 € in Moscow!
And as an entrepreneur, you can expect the salaries demanded to be equally high (partly due to the high cost of living and rents – which are the main expense of French households), but also taxes: corporate tax is 33%, one of the most expensive in Europe.
Politeness is also very important when it comes to business. At Brandquad, we are used to going straight to the point without wasting time and sending an email containing, for example, a “hello” followed by “file attachment”. In France, it is usual to be a little less direct. We usually start with a “Bonjour, J’espère que vous allez bien” (Hello, I hope you are doing well) then we build a real sentence (pronoun, verb, subject, complement…) according to this, beautiful, French language: “Following your request today, please find enclosed our best offer” followed by the usual polite phrases.
Despite all this, the country has a great tradition of being a ” welcoming land “: France has all the infrastructures and organizations necessary to host job-creating companies. We can even say that they are welcome and that there is a whole ecosystem to promote their success: economic promotion agencies to help them set up, numerous incubators for young companies and innovative start-ups, public investment banks, etc.
To conclude, France remains a welcoming country that can, at first glance, seem confusing. But at the end of the day, no hesitation possible: France is a country that makes you feel good!