Establishing a new business in France?

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We are in the process of emigrating from South Africa to France and have lived in France for a couple of years having qualified for a Talent and Compétence visa.

We envisage to start 2 linked business in France (a) providing picnics in 2VC vehicles in the area, and (b) offering gîte accommodation. We have acquired 2 buildings (housed in a SCI) and are in the process of renovating these, which we expect will take another 18 months to complete.

We have just bought our first 2CV and are ready to start this as soon as possible. We are a married couple and will still earn an income as directors from a South African company (this will be taxed in South Africa but declared in France once we registered for tax here).

  1. Would you suggest that we start as a micro-entrepeneur and in later years, once the Gîtes are fully operational, consider changing this to a SARL when our costs may reach 34% of our turnover.
  2. Are we correct that as micro-entrepeneur we will be liable for social charges as soon as we achieve a turnover? Will this allow us to immediately qualify for benefits or do we need to achieve a minimum turnover? Also, once registration of the micro-entrepeneur is done, will this allow us to be registered for social security and be issued with the relevant numbers? (We will be changing our tax residence to France in the next month).
  3. Will both of us be able to qualify if we operate as a micro-entrepeneur as we will be operating the business together?
  4. To provide the service of renting vehicles (to be driven by guests themselves) with a picnic packed by us, we are concerned that in the case of an accident, we may be held liable in our personal capacities. What protection are we given against this as a micro-entrepeneur? We understand that we will be responsible for costs and losses the business may suffer, and will obviously have the vehicle insured, but need to protect against ourselves from a potential law suit from for any reason.
  5. Can we register the vehicle in one of our personal names and then use it for the micro-entreprise, or should it be registered in the name of the micro-entreprise?
  6. The packed picnic will include food and wine. Do we need to do ‘traiteur a la domicile‘ training to provide the packed lunches for the picnics? If so, where would we get more information on where to do this training? Would we need a licence to provide wine if this is not sold separately?
  7. What other registrations would we need to do apart from registering the micro-entreprise and how long should this take before we can be legally operating?
  8. If we decide at some stage to take on staff in the micro-entreprise, how will the social charges and taxes for an employee be handled. i.e. how will this be calculated and collected from the micro-entreprise?
  9. Are we able to register the SCI owning the building for TVA and claim back the TVA paid to contractors during renovations? In turn, the SCI will then have to charge a rental to the micro-entreprise (or eventually SARL) for the Gîtes which I think will attract TVA.
  10. We are planning to serve breakfasts - will this be allowed in a Gîte or only in a chambre d’hote?
  11. We are planning to have a large kitchen in the Gîte to be used for demonstration cooking by invited chefs to residents. Would we need any special permission and registration to provide this?
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