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Hi All,
Moving to the Charente region sometime this year and are looking to set up or take over an existing gite business, nothing too large but enough to provide some income!!
Any advice would be much appreciated regarding registering the business etc.
Thanks
Clarkelly
 

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Hi All,
Moving to the Charente region sometime this year and are looking to set up or take over an existing gite business, nothing too large but enough to provide some income!!
Any advice would be much appreciated regarding registering the business etc.
Thanks
Clarkelly
Don't do it. Unless you buy a gîte 'business' :eek: in a location where people want to go/stay 52 weeks of the year it will never pay itself back. Even then it is debatable.

Buy a normal house without a Gîte and save yourself the money and hardship.
 

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OK, all caveats aside - if you're looking to buy an existing business, you may want to ask the sellers how they have it set up. If they are selling a registered business, it could be a bit easier than setting up a whole new business from scratch.

Best place for information about setting up a business is normally through the local Chambre de Commerce, which often has a section dedicated to people looking to set up a new business. They also offer classes that might be useful. (Even for the auto-entrepreneurs.)

Google "CCI" plus the name of the departement you're in (or going to be in). Good practice for your French, too. <g>
Cheers,
Bev
 

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fashions change

it seems that the only way to make a small fortune with a gite now is to start with a large fortune
the one in my village used to be booked all summer and half the time in may/jone/september ; last year it was used for 4 weeks total
 

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There are literally tens of thousands of gites in France ranging from an old cottage on a farm to swish upmarket pads with infinity pools etc.You need to look hard and think about your target market-families wth screaming kids,silver surfers looking for recreate their youth yuppies looking for glamour and access to upmarket resorts but one thing is true-you can no longer furnish a gite with left over furniture or grannys old bed.It has to be good quality fittings and fixtures refurbished every year you need to provide your guests with an experience as many people are now too apathetic/busy to organise and plan their holiday so think what extras you can provide or organise and be prepared for a lot of hard work possible disappointments and a big tax bill
 

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Possible if it is a sideline, not your main income. I run two gite type houses, not in France and I would agree that you need to keep it very clean and very nice re the furnishings. Even so , I see my occupancy rate has fallen steadily in the past few years due to a huge increase in supply. I have not increased the rates in 8 years. That said, I do make a good side income off of them but it is work. I have friends who have a chamber d'hôte in the Dordogne who do well with two bedrooms, however they keep it full with very low rates. It is a lot more work and people are then actually in your house and you are cooking them breakfast everyday.
In both cases, expect to be cleaning toilets.
 

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We have friends who run a very successful gite here in the Paris region. However they have very specific circumstances that allow them to do so. (Could be interesting if the OP is looking to buy a functioning gite set-up.)

As Alice has said, it really helps if a gite is a sideline and not your main source of income. (Our friends are farmers.) Then, you need to know your environment. Our friends have two fully booked (most of the year) gites - primarily because of contacts with businesses in the are that import employees for "prolonged" training or orientation sessions. Their business customers book the two gites for 3 to 6 or 8 weeks at a time. It's much nicer for the employees than staying in a hotel all that time - and ultimately it works out cheaper for the company. Their short-term guests (a week or two or less) just fill in the spaces left over from the business customers. If you can find an arrangement like that, you'll still work your butt off, but it can be a real nice side business.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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We have friends who run a very successful gite here in the Paris region. However they have very specific circumstances that allow them to do so. (Could be interesting if the OP is looking to buy a functioning gite set-up.)

As Alice has said, it really helps if a gite is a sideline and not your main source of income. (Our friends are farmers.) Then, you need to know your environment. Our friends have two fully booked (most of the year) gites - primarily because of contacts with businesses in the are that import employees for "prolonged" training or orientation sessions. Their business customers book the two gites for 3 to 6 or 8 weeks at a time. It's much nicer for the employees than staying in a hotel all that time - and ultimately it works out cheaper for the company. Their short-term guests (a week or two or less) just fill in the spaces left over from the business customers. If you can find an arrangement like that, you'll still work your butt off, but it can be a real nice side business.
Cheers,
Bev
Not sure that would work in the Charente, though.
 

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Not sure that would work in the Charente, though.
Having read thro this post and comments appended above, I would tend to agree, for once, with all the points mentioned so far.
Having resided here for twelve years I have seen at least five English couple arrive in France, buy a biggish house and try to make a go of a Gite business. Ten to twelve years ago it seemed to work for them, never making a living , but getting by. Most of the guests then were other Brits looking for their own property. As the property market in France has stagnated, so have the bookings. Very few, if any French Reps., use these facilities in the course of their business travels, they now tend to use Formule 1 or one of the other cheaper chains of hotels. All of the people that started B anB have now given up, in fact did some four years ago. A combination of over regulation, forced facilities for handicapped people, smoking regs etc ., made it impossible for them to continue.

Another error made by Brits and others that start up Gites is their inherent honesty when dealing with French local authorities, as opposed to French people that know how to"work the system". An acquaintance of mine, not far from here, purchased a nice sized village house with an idea to conversion to a five bed gite, keeping one original bedroom for themselves. On arrival the tax Habitation and Impot were cheap and affordable. He refurbished the property in good style and expertise and at the end completed his tax forms mentioning proudly that he had installed four new en suite bedrooms for guests. The new bills for various taxes that followed had trebled in one hit. No way was he, or ever would , take enough money to cover his costs. They closed and left.

I could quote you other cases of people known to me that have ended up in the same boat.

My only suggestion would be to look very carefully at where you buy. I would suggest that you stay clear of deepest darkest France, which, although is very beautiful and peaceful. Look for somewhere on a main route with traffic, you will pay more but will enjoy a greater" footfall" of traffic going past your door. If you are catering for people with special needs. Ie, horses, painting, hot spas etc , then fine. But the average punter will require something on their route to wherever.

If you look at a map of the EU you will note that all major road and rail lines are placed to take goods and people from North to South and vice versa from UK down to the Med and other places. Very few major routes run East to West.

Anyway I wish you the best in any endeavour you embark upon. But do not be surprised if it does not work. Now is not a good time too start up in France unless you specialise in some particular subject. The way to look at is, if it fails, be prepared to walk away , write off your investment and put it down to experience. If you hang on when it is not paying for your lifestyle it will drag you down. Be pragmatic in all business ventures.

Hope it works for you. If it does then book me in for a visit. I only pay cash.

Fletch.
 

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I have just returned from a weekend in the Pyrenees. The train service which used to exist has been axed and most of the journey had to be by coach, which made the journey twice as long as it used to be. Locals who run gîtes and let summer houses/appartments are complaining because many people are now preferring to go elsewhere.

So never take anything for granted - the closure of an unprofitable railway line could kill your business, as can a bypass or the development of another nearby centre.

Choose very carefully where you go.
 

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I have just returned from a weekend in the Pyrenees. The train service which used to exist has been axed and most of the journey had to be by coach, which made the journey twice as long as it used to be. Locals who run gîtes and let summer houses/appartments are complaining because many people are now preferring to go elsewhere. So never take anything for granted - the closure of an unprofitable railway line could kill your business, as can a bypass or the development of another nearby centre. Choose very carefully where you go.
Couple of points I overlooked. France is in the depths of a huge depression, in the countryside anyway. No one talks about it, no one admits it. The average French man that doesn't work enjoys big benefits for him and his family. Not wanting to be political but it Socialism at its finest. It got close to happening some years ago in the Uk.

Two examples of what is happening in my area due to the shut down in the construction industry. Not far from me is the biggest producer of roof tiles in France. Been operating full pelt for donkeys years. A whole big town is employed by the Company. Couple of weeks ago they closed for an initial three months and laid everyone off. They might open again or they might not, it is a massive operation.

A good French friend of mine is a qualified Geometre , fully qualified, 45 years old and worked for the same company for twenty years. Full employment as much overtime as he needed before the ridiculous 45 hours a week ruling. He is now finished every day at 12.00. and paid accordingly for his reduction in hours.

Does anyone hear about these things in the French newspapers. Do the French people discuss it openly. Strange how these downturns coincide with the stagnation of the French property market and huge reduction of other nationalities being able to afford to live in France.

I only really mix with the French. No one talks about it. Any problems , then have another Pastis, plant some lettuce, go to a Chasse dinner, the problems just disappear.

Keep smiling. Fletch.
 
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