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How to Check if a Tradesman is Registered
by Dave • Tue 07 Feb 2012 11:39

In France the responsibility to ensure that tradesmen are properly registered and insured lies entirely with the person employing them. If you use an unregistered person this consequences can be serious indeed - it is not only the tradesmen that will go to court and receive a fine, but the householder too. Further to this if you employ an uninsured tradesmen and they had an accident whilst working on your property, you are potentially liable for all their medical and social security costs until they are fit to work again, which might be for life in the case of a serious accident.

It is vital therefore that you know how to check that the person whom you wish to employ is registered and insured. This is not difficult and you can do this when you sign their devis.

Start with the Devis
All registered tradesmen will provide you with a devis, which you must sign before they start work. This not only sets out the work to be done and the cost, but it must also contain information you can check

  • their Name and Address
  • the SIRET Number
  • the TVA registration number
SIRET Number
French SIRET numbers are made up of fourteen digits, the first nine are the SIREN number. All legitimate tradesmen must be registered with either the Chambre de Metiers or the Chambres de Commerce - some businesses are registered with other government bodies but this is very unlikely for tradesmen working on your house.

You can check the SIRET number for free online, or you can telephone the Chambre de Metiers in Guéret on 05 55 51 95 30. This takes only a few minutes and it will confirm that SIREN is valid, is for that person and for the trade in which you are employing them. If something doesn't look right then you can check it with the tradesmen or simply reject them and select someone else.

Identification and Insurance
Once you have selected the person you want to complete the work, ask them to come to your house for the signed devis and deposit check rather than posting these back, and tell them that you would like to check their insurance and registration at the same time. This is not considered rude and if they make a fuss, just give the work to someone else. They should bring three things:
  • their Carte d'Indentification which will have their photo and trade on it.
  • the Registration document from the Chambre de Metiers with the SIRET and trade on it.
  • the insurance document for the Decenal guarantee (10 year cover).
The last one isn't always required (for example for gardening work), but is required for most trades including roofers, electricians, plumbers and alike.

Online SIREN Check
There are various websites where you can check a SIREN number but you must keep in mind that these are not 100% accurate. It takes a while for new registrations to be included and they do not always show the correct trade for a person with more than one registration. Even if they are listed and have the correct trade you should always ask to see the documents as this is the only way to ensure they are up-to-date, which is especially important for the insurance.

Here are a number of places that you can check the SIREN for free:-
Pont Noir uses these to check for entries for inclusion in the Directory and they have mostly been accurate, although there have been some omissions.

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Dave
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Aug 2004
Re: How to Check if a Tradesman is Registered
by Creusebear • Tue 07 Feb 2012 15:08

Excellent info Dave, thanks.

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Creusebear
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May 2007
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