How do I start this type of business in France?

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I am looking to set up a new business in France and the auto-entrepreneur seems very simple and cheap to set up but I have some questions.

Current situation

  • We have a house in Normandy but at present reside in the UK (as tenants).
  • Myself and wife are directors of the UK Limited company. I work in construction as a project manager.
  • I am a partner in the UK version of the same business as I intend to set up in France having invested in premises and machinery in the UK (we have ordered stock and have many enquiries in the UK).
  • The company that has developed this product is based in the USA and we have a signed legal agreement with them to solely distribute this product in the UK / Ireland and part of Spain France Situation.
  • I am in the US in three weeks from now to sign a similar agreement for the distribution rights in France.
  • At the start up the French business will be serviced by the UK operation until demand is such that we start manufacture in France.

What the Business is (very basic overview)

  • Sheet raw material is bought in from the USA (via UK to start).
  • Raw material can then be distributed to OEM’s and DIY’ers in Europe.
  • A custom option requires templates from the clients and then the raw material is cut on a CNC machine to produce a bespoke product which is then sold to the customer.
  • Standard kits are available as we have a library of templates from OEM’s. Legal status of the new business (auto-entrepreneur).
  • I will be distributing the product and the new business will need a name. Is this done in the same way as a sole trader in the UK (Trevor sandy trading as business name).


  1. Would this type of business in France sit within the 82,000 euros turnover category?
  2. I notice that TVA (VAT) registration is not possible in France, I see that as a problem (your thoughts please)?
  3. From what I can see société à responsabilité limitée (SARL) business in France is ultimately the way to go but if there is a simpler less expensive way to get things started that would suit me?
  4. Your thoughts on the importing of goods into France from both US and UK please?
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