Ciel’s 3rd Auto entrepreneur profile

By Valérie Aston on 12 December 2010 · Viewed 4002 times · Questions

Ciel, the accounting software company for small businesses, has released its third “Auto-Entrepreneur Baromètre” based on a survey carried out in September 2010 on 180,000 auto-entrepreneurs using its free accounting package “Auto Entrepreneur Facile”.

This survey gives us a good overview of the 2010 auto entrepreneur profile and compares 2009 versus 2010. There are some major changes which I have summarised in this article.

Auto-entrepreneur’s 2010 profile

  • More women have signed up as auto-entrepreneurs, with an increase from 23% in 2009 to 28% in 2010. The survey notices the appearance of ‘‘Mompreneurs” starting their activity after a maternity leave.
  • The average auto-entrepreneur remains a man (72%) in his forties (36%) providing services (61%).
  • Noticeable increase of auto entrepreneurs with a fairly recent working experience in their field: 32% have less than 5 years experience against 19% in 2009. The report partly explains this increase by the arrival of Mompreneurs.
  • The average turnover invoiced is below 20,000€ for 84% of auto entrepreneurs surveyed.
  • 43% of auto entrepreneurs were working full time on their business (i.e excluding employees, pensioners, students and people still listed as unemployed.
  • 61% of auto-entrepreneurs provide services, 17% are related to trading (shops, e-commerce, gites) and 16% relate to building activites.

Most Auto-entrepreneurs started with no advice or business plan

  • 59% of auto-entrepreneurs surveyed started their activity without any help or advice. This is an increase of 11% compared to 2009. The information found on the Internet seems sufficient.
  • 62% of auto-entrepreneurs followed their instinct when launching their business and did not write a business plan or carry any market research.
  • The type of business help auto-entrepreneurs were looking for relate to sales advice, ways to find customers, finding the right price for their products and services and finding funds. Still, when getting stuck with these issues, 78% of auto-entrepreneurs did not look for external help.
  • Auto-entrepreneurs rely on word of mouth (90%), the web (39%) and social networks (5%) to find their customers and increase their visibility.

The fact that auto-entrepreneurs had trouble finding customers or charging the right price for their products or services is not surprising, as the market research was not carried out in the first place.

Auto-entrepreneur’s future development

According to Ciel’s report, 32% of auto entrepreneurs surveyed wish to switch to a sole trader business (entreprise individuelle, EIRL or EURL). This is a major increase of 14% compared to 2009. The reason for the switch are : a turnover reaching the authorised threshold, the need to hire an employee and the need to claim VAT back. 83% plan to change to a different regime within 2 or 3 years.

Just as a reminder of the impact the auto-entrepreneur scheme has had, ACOSS (the national agency regrouping all of URSSAF’s collecting agencies) confirmed that there were 598,000 active auto-entrepreneurs (i.e making turnover declarations) on 31st October 2010.

For more information, download Ciel’s 3rd Auto Entrepreneur Profile “3eme Barometre Auto Entrepreneur Novembre 2010” .

Valerie Lemiere: Start Business in France

About the author: Valérie Aston

I've been helping people who want to start or already have a small business set up in France since 2009. After graduating from a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree, I worked as a senior marketing consultant in the UK and France for various International companies. I worked as a conseillère en création d'entreprises (senior business advisor) for BGE here in France and run this independent business on a daily basis.