Hervé Novelli, the Secretary of State for SMEs has recently announced a series of measures that will mean increased regulation for auto entrepreneurs registered as artisans. While there has been no mention of a deadline, the new measures are expected to be implemented in autumn 2009.
The auto entrepreneur system has been seen by already established artisans as unfair competition. According to the Union Professionnelle Artisanale (UPA), the body representing more than 50 professional federations) and the Confédération Générale du Patronat des Petites et Moyennes Entreprises (CGPME), the organisation for small and medium-size companies), the threat of many new entrants to the market, some of whom do not have the required qualifications, is not fair on those already enrolled in the existing classic business structures.
As part of their push to limit the auto entrepreneur system, the president of the CGPME, Jean-François Roubaud, asked Prime Minister François Fillon to limit the auto-entrepreneur status regime to three years, after which it would be compulsory to join one of France’s classic business structures.
This request was rejected for small and medium sized businesses. However, Novelli has confirmed that the current system will be modified in the following ways:
Increased control of artisans’ qualifications: Auto entrepreneurs will have to prove their qualifications when registering their business. This will entail showing either a diploma that confirms official qualifications, proof of at least three years experience in the trade or a Validation des Acquis et Experiences, a diploma that takes a year to obtain and officially confirms an artisan’s level of experience. In practice this is nothing new since artisans were already required to have the necessary qualifications but these requirements will now be more strictly controlled than before. The method of verification has yet to be confirmed but it is likely to be carried out by the Chambre de Métiers.
How do you know whether your activity requires a qualification? Most regulated activities that relate to food preparation (baker, cook, butcher), the building trade (builder, plumber, electrician), maintenance (car mechanic, equipment repair), or manual services (florist, hairdresser, beauty therapist) require a qualification. Contact your local Chambre de Métiers for a full list.
End of the exemption from registration with the Registre des Métiers: Until now, auto entrepreneurs, were exempt from having to be listed in the registre des metiers or trade directory which lists all professional artisan. However, they will now have to register, via Chambre de Métiers, at a cost of about €130. Novelli has suggested that the extra cost will only be charged after the first three years of activity but there is yet no confirmation of this.
Students and pensioners will not be affected by these new obligations.