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How to set up a French company in 6 easy steps


Mar 23, 2023

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However, the process can also be challenging, especially for those who are not familiar with the country’s laws and regulations.

This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide on how to set up a company in France.

How to set up a company in France easily and successfully?

Whether you’re a foreign entrepreneur looking to expand your business or a French national starting a new venture, the following steps will guide you through the process of setting up a company in France.

Step 1: Choose the type of company you want to set up

There are several types of companies you can set up in France, each with its own legal structure, taxation, and liability implications. The most common types are:

  • Sole proprietorship (entreprise individuelle): This is the simplest form of business structure in France, where the business and the owner are considered the same entity for legal and tax purposes.
  • Partnership (société en nom collectif): This is a business structure where two or more people share ownership and management of the company, and are personally liable for its debts.
  • Limited liability company (société à responsabilité limitée or SARL): This is the most common type of company in France, where the company is a separate legal entity from its owners and their liability is limited to the amount of their investment.
  • Public limited company (société anonyme or SA): This is a company with shares that can be publicly traded on a stock exchange, and is typically used for larger companies with many shareholders.

How to set up a French company in 6 easy steps

How to set up a French company in 6 easy steps

Step 2: Choose a business name and register it

You need to choose a business name and register it with the French Commercial Court.

Your business name must not be already in use by another company, and it must not be misleading or offensive. You can check the availability of your chosen name on the Infogreffe website.

Step3: Prepare the necessary documents

To register your company, you’ll need to prepare several documents, including:

  • Articles of association (statuts): This document outlines the purpose, structure, and governance of your company.
  • Memorandum of association (acte de constitution): This document states the names and addresses of the company’s founders, the amount of capital they are contributing, and the type of shares they are receiving.
  • Declaration of creation of a company (déclaration de création d’entreprise): This document provides information about the company’s activities, address, and legal form.
  • ID documents of the founders
  • Bank statement showing the deposit of the initial capital

Step4: Deposit the initial capital

For some types of companies, such as SARLs and SAs, you’ll need to deposit an initial capital amount in a French bank account before registering your company.

The amount varies depending on the type of company, but it can range from €1 to €37,000. You’ll need to provide proof of the deposit when you register your company.

Step 5: Register your company

To register your company, you’ll need to file your documents with the relevant authorities, including the French Commercial Court, the tax authorities, and the social security authorities.

You can do this online using the Guichet Entreprises website, which is a one-stop shop for company registration in France.

Step 6: Obtain any necessary permits and licenses

Depending on the nature of your business, you may need to obtain additional permits or licenses to operate in France.

For example, if you’re starting a restaurant, you’ll need to obtain a food service permit. You can find information about the permits and licenses you need on the Guichet Entreprises website.

Cost of setting up a French company

Setting up a French company involves various costs, which may vary depending on the type of business and the legal structure chosen.

Before starting the process, it’s important to consider the costs and budget accordingly to avoid any surprises down the road.

Here are some of the main costs associated with setting up a French company:

Legal fees

The legal fees involved in setting up a French company can vary depending on the type of business, legal structure chosen, and the complexity of the registration process.

For example, if you choose to register a limited liability company (SARL), legal fees can range from €1,000 to €4,000 or more.

Notary fees

If you choose to incorporate your French company with a notary, you’ll have to pay notary fees. These fees vary depending on the value of the capital you’re investing in the company.

The notary fees can range from 1% to 2% of the company’s capital.

Registration fees

When registering a French company, you’ll have to pay registration fees to the French Commercial Register (Registre du Commerce et des Sociétés or RCS).

These fees vary depending on the type of business and legal structure chosen. The registration fees for a commercial company are about €250 – €300.

Accounting fees

Once your French company is registered, you’ll need to keep accurate financial records and file annual tax returns.

To do this, you’ll need to hire an accountant or a tax advisor. Accounting fees can vary depending on the size of your business and the complexity of your financial records.

Other costs

There may be other costs associated with setting up a French company, such as rent for an office space, utilities, and insurance.

It’s important to note that these costs are just estimates and may vary depending on your specific circumstances. It’s always a good idea to consult with a legal or financial professional to get an accurate estimate of the costs involved in setting up a French company.

Transfer money with DNBC Financial Group for foreign companies

Once setting up your French company, you will need to transfer money to and from your business account. This is where DNBC Financial Group comes in.

We offer a range of financial services to help you manage your business finances, including international money transfers, foreign currency exchange, and payment solutions.

Our international money transfer service allows you to transfer money to and from your French business account quickly and securely.

If you’re a foreign company looking to transfer money to or from France, there are a few things you need to consider.

The first is the exchange rate. When you transfer money between currencies, you’ll need to convert it at the current exchange rate. This means that the amount of money you receive in the foreign currency may be different from the amount you sent in your home currency.

DNBC Financial Group offers competitive exchange rates to help minimize this difference and ensure that you get the most out of your money.

The second thing to consider is the fees involved. Banks and other financial institutions often charge fees for international money transfers. These fees can add up quickly and eat into your bottom line.

DNBC Financial Group offers low fees for international money transfers, making it an affordable option for businesses of all sizes. With low fees and competitive exchange rates, it’s a smart choice for businesses of all sizes.

DNBC Financial Group is your trusted provider in international money transfer

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Note: The content in this article is for general informative purposes only. You should conduct your own research or ask for specialist advice before making any financial decisions. All information in this article is current as of the date of publication, and DNBC Financial Group reserves the right to modify, add, or remove any information. We don’t provide any express or implied representations, warranties, or guarantees regarding the accuracy, completeness, or currency of the content within this publication.