How do I choose French contractors and keep a tight rein on the build schedule?

Whether you’re having work done on your own French property or developing property for a living, it pays to choose your contractors wisely and control the build schedule as well as your budget.

To find registered tradesmen who are approved, licensed and insured go to the local Chambre des Metiers (Craftsmens’ Guild). When choosing always:

  • Check their Siret number – this shows they are qualified in the job you want them to do.
  • Get references – check the quality of their work first-hand by inspecting one of their previous jobs.
  • Hold money back – never pay the full amount up front for anybody’s work until you’re absolutely happy with the results.
  • Make sure you get a written estimate ‘un devis’ – to accept it , write “Bon pour Accord” and sign and date it – it is then binding on both parties.

To keep within budget you have to keep the build on schedule so someone must be on-site to oversee the work. Work done in the wrong order is a waste of money. Will you project manage the build yourself or would your time be better employed earning money to pay for the work? A project manager typically takes 10% but his presence makes sure that work is done in the right order and with reliable builders. Which is most valuable to you, your time or your money?

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About Monsieur Gilbert

Monsieur G is an English Journalist, fluent in French, who has daily contact with French Estate Agents.
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