The amount of the invoice corresponds to what is invoiced to the final client. You can define it either as a flat rate or on the basis of an average daily rate (ADR) which is multiplied by the number of days worked in the month (by default 20 days). In case of doubt you can determine your ADR from a gross or net monthly salary.
Position yourself well. One of the methods to be applied to save time is benchmarking: it is advisable to study the market, to understand who the competitors are, to carry out exchanges with prospects, with the aim of progressively refining your knowledge of your customers' needs in terms of objectives, constraints, etc.
Anticipating your tariffs gives you the confidence to succeed. Indeed, the question of pricing is a delicate one.
There are several ways to do this:
In this case, it is a matter of defining an average daily rate and estimating the number of working days required to carry out an assignment, and then multiplying this ADR by the time required to complete the assignment.
An MRT of €600 excluding VAT for a 3-day assignment: €1800 excluding VAT (600 x 3). Simple, isn't it?
This method is obviously the most popular one among freelancers and/or self-employed. However, even though the calculation is based on two figures at the beginning, it is not always easy to define them clearly for a freelancer starting out.
The reflex is to set it too low to attract clients more quickly. You can use online barometers, in particular the Malt barometer, which will allow you to optimise and ideally situate your TJM according to the average rates of the freelancers registered on the platform, according to their respective skills, their levels of experience and also their geographical location.
How can you accurately assess the amount of time needed for an assignment?
A low estimate limits your profitability and puts you in a situation where you are obliged to extend the duration of the mission, to work more days, to not respect your deadlines at the risk of disappointing the final client.
Excessive high estimates scare away the client or make you look bad.
What are the steps to optimise the duration of the mission?
You have the option of choosing a fixed-price package. This type of package requires you to standardise your service offer. You will then have to set up packages, adapted formulas to segment your offer, an exercise that is not easy at first. In fact, it becomes easier with time to have personalised offers thanks to a better knowledge of your market, your customers, their needs and expectations...
Clients value this type of billing because they have a condition of payment linked to the success of the service. This method is often hampered by the ability of clients to follow through on recommendations.
You can offer your clients a model that combines all of the above billing methods: fixed fee coupled with commission, low TJM coupled with commission, etc.
Your initial billing model remains dynamic and can evolve over time depending on performance, workload increases, etc.
Operating costs are costs that are not covered by your client. They respond to and participate in the good performance of your activity as a ported employee (food costs, transport and logistic costs, communication costs...) You are free to include these costs as you wish without any obligation.
- For meals at home: 5 euros including taxes.
- For meals away from home: 19.40 euros including tax.
With F2i, you are followed by an HR advisor who is your dedicated contact person from the start of your service. He or she will accompany you throughout your activity, from invoicing to the management of your expenses, and right up to the payment of your wages.
A true expert in freelance administration, he is there to support you and inform you of the possible choices for your career. He adapts to your situation to offer you tailor-made advice.
With several agencies in the Ile de France region, your Ile de France advisor will help you on a daily basis in the development of your activity, your increase in skills with your training, and will support you efficiently in your search for an assignment.
Become a salaried employee and benefit from all the advantages of salaried employment. In particular, you will benefit from numerous financial and social advantages to optimise your net return. Unemployment - Retirement Your dedicated F2i contact person will help you optimise your salary and reduce your taxes.
In a world where professionals are seeking more freedom for themselves and their families, even though they may be doing something they are passionate about, employability and unemployment have become two major concerns in many nations. Indeed, many people are unemployed after long years of study, or find themselves working in jobs that do not give them much satisfaction. This leads to various mental health problems related to professionals and people of all kinds, and to society as a whole.
It therefore appeared necessary to think and develop a federal system in which all parties concerned (employers, full-time employees, consultants, active retirees, volunteers, trainees, students) can be satisfied simultaneously.
This system should therefore take into account the direct and indirect concerns of salaried companies and their staff employed under various contracts. In this sense, entrepreneurship appeared to be a winning situation, as the professional can have all his time at his disposal, manage it as he wishes and respond to a particular societal problem that is important to him, while at the same time making a progressive financial income. As a result, nearly 131,000 businesses were created in France in 2015, contributing to an increase in the productivity of the national economy, estimated at around 1% of GDP.
This has undoubtedly led to the recruitment of staff for the various businesses created, with an estimated 63,000 salaried jobs for the French economy in 2016. In such a situation, almost everyone benefits, and the plurality of businesses allows the target citizens (unemployed, students, active retirees or any other) to choose what suits them best and what fits in with their personal and professional aspirations.
Recall that entrepreneurship is defined as an activity based on the discovery, evaluation and exploitation of opportunities to provide or propose new products and services, organisational methods, markets, processes, and raw materials through organised joint efforts that have never existed before (Shane and Venkataraman, 2000; Shane, 2003). This definition implies the discovery and resolution of a societal problem through new ideas and processes that did not exist before. As such, any citizen who follows this logic can be considered an entrepreneur in a variety of fields of activity. These areas can include services in IT, marketing, telecoms, lingerie, food, accounting, management, project design and many more.
Another part of this definition also emphasises the pooling of several resources, both human (intellectual and physical) and material, to achieve the common shared goal. However, entrepreneurship as presented still does not grant this desired freedom and can sometimes seem much more complex for those venturing into it. Indeed, a self-employed person will very soon be confronted with challenges related to social security coverage, for example, or with periods of inactivity due to certain uncontrolled changes within the company. Sometimes the entrepreneur will join new training and remuneration systems, based not only on his direct activity, but also on low-cost external consultancy, in order to guarantee a constant availability of cash for his company in times of hardship. Training systems can help to improve skills in order to stay up to date in the market.
Systems are needed that can accommodate young people, students, recent graduates and even retired people who are still active, have skills that need to be developed and are still interested in acquiring new knowledge, but are not officially employed in any company. They should be able to work in a more secure system, without long administrative processes, while earning a good income.
This is how freelance administration has developed in recent years as a more advantageous alternative to direct employment, free consultation, self-employment or freelancing. Indeed, it is defined as a new form of half-way employment allowing the professional to develop an independent activity and to keep his or her social security coverage as an ordinary employee. In other words, it is a triangular or tripartite relationship between three main actors: a freelance consultant, a freelance administration company and a client company.
In this relationship, the consultant is recruited beforehand by the company specialising in portage. He then carries out assignments that correspond to his skills and expertise for clients that he has chosen himself. In return, the consultant receives a salary from the intermediary company specialising in portage. The amount received by the consultant as a salary is equivalent to 48% of the amount of his invoices excluding taxes. Another specificity is that the portage consultant does not work for the portage company, and is therefore not an employee in the strict sense. Similarly, he does not receive any instructions from the umbrella company in the execution of his mission with the client company. He therefore chooses his assignments personally, even if he can be advised by the staff of the umbrella company.
In short, although this system of freelance administration is still fairly recent, it is gradually being adapted to a growing number of sectors of activity, professionals and civilians who are gradually managing to combine their personal and professional lives in a much better atmosphere.
To date, the number of companies exclusively dedicated to freelance administration in France has increased from around 180 in 2014 to just under 250 in 2017. Portage salarial finally represents a market of more than one billion euros, with more than 65,000 consultants, justifying the recent growth of this employability system. Considering the extensibility and openness of the system, freelance administration welcomes a relatively wide range of profiles of people and professionals. First of all, freelance administration was first developed in the field of intellectual services. Here, three main families of services can be distinguished: consulting, training and auditing (also known as expertise).
This implies activities related to human resources management, communication, marketing, internet, IT and management. However, it should be pointed out that certain professions considered as regulated are not allowed in freelance administration. This mainly concerns the liberal activities that are organised in order in the fields of justice, medicine or accounting. Childcare and assistance to the elderly or disabled can also be added.
In addition, a study conducted by ABC Portage among 1,500 people in Paris in 2013 highlighted that the majority of people working as freelancers were between 46 and 65 years old. Two major explanations emerge from this finding. Firstly, it becomes much more difficult to get a stable job at this age because of persistent prejudices. Indeed, most companies prefer to recruit younger salaried employees who are cheaper and who they will take time to adapt to the common vision of the company for a decade before recruiting new ones. A second explanation for this average age is also the relatively high unemployment rate for this age group, which is closely related to the first explanation. (Companies that use freelance contractors know how to appreciate what cannot be bought: years of experience).
In fact, senior citizens or elderly people find in this alternative of "portage salariale" a possibility to be more autonomous, to better manage their working time, to make the most of their expertise and experience, while enjoying the status of an employee and a very interesting financial compensation. They thus benefit from the full exploitation of their potential. Potentials that they will be able to develop through a complete system of continuous training offered by freelance administration.
It should also be noted that through this study of the ABC Portage company, we see a rise in the number of young graduates and former "classic" employees (about 26%). Indeed, the latter would have recourse to freelance administration in particular to enrich their Curriculum Vitae, by accumulating professional experiences rather varied and significant, with client companies of the desired and valorizing fields and sectors.
Rightly so, among the fields of activity identified by this survey, the new technologies sector, which includes IT, webmastering and the Internet, was the most important. The survey noted that this is because there is no crisis in this sector, as IT is ubiquitous nowadays and necessary in all respects.
Companies are always looking for experts and specialists. This is of great benefit to IT consultants and freelancers in this field. Other sectors such as translation/interpretation, telecoms, communication also had high citation rates, respectively 13.8%, 9.5% and 5.7%. A simple understanding is the expansion of the exponential learning of various international languages for ease of exchange and communication between peers around the world.
Moreover, freelance administration also represents a fairly interesting alternative for individuals undergoing professional retraining. Indeed, even when one finally finds one's way, or decides to change one's sector of activity, for one reason or another, freelance administration is a perfect transitional solution. Freelance administration is an option that provides an answer to an essential element of the professional: "keeping one's social protection without having to deal with the administrative formalities related to the new professional activity".
In short, anyone wishing to venture into the field of independence, entrepreneurship, while maintaining social protection, and wanting to increase their professional skills should find this system of freelance administration a solution worth trying. After all, shouldn't we put our shoulders to the wheel and acquire as much knowledge as possible while we can!
We have already seen that freelance administration is a tripartite relationship, in which a freelance consultant is carried by an administration company in order to carry out an assignment for a client company. This implies that the consultant must sign an employment contract with the umbrella company in order to legally enjoy his or her rights, thereby also ensuring the rights of the umbrella company. But the question that arises is what type of employment contract to sign between these various parties. To answer this question, we must first look at the differences and subtleties between the classic employment contract and the freelance administration contract.
Firstly, it should be noted that even in a freelance administration system, the consultant can opt for either a fixed-term contract (CDD) or an open-ended contract (CDI). The fixed-term contract is relatively similar to the classical employment contract and the freelance contract. The major differences appear only when we compare a classic permanent contract with a permanent contract in freelance administration.
The two main differences to remember are
It should be noted that the choice between a fixed-term contract or an open-ended contract under freelance administration should take into account several factors such as the personal situation or wishes of the freelance consultant as well as the duration and regularity of the assignments obtained. In this sense, a fixed-term contract under freelance administration generally does not exceed 18 months, with a maximum extension of 3 months, bringing the total duration to 21 months. As a result, when a freelance consultant obtains a contract lasting 24 months (a period far longer than the 18 months provided for), he or she is obliged to sign a permanent contract only, if he or she is really interested in this contract.
In addition, it is important to mention a particular type of permanent contract, the characteristics of which are quite similar to the permanent contract in freelance work. This is the "CDI de chantier" (permanent employment contract), which was originally specific to the building and public works and shipbuilding sectors. This type of permanent employment contract was later extended to several areas of freelance work, including IT, communication and many others, as we have seen above. This permanent contract is based on the duration of the contract and ends when the consultant's mission is completed. However, it should be noted that the freelance consultant can benefit from security with the advantage of being reimbursed for expenses such as: meals, purchases, mileage if a vehicle is used during the assignment and many others.
It should be noted that with this contract, when the assignment ends on behalf of a client, but the assignment continues with other professionals and agents involved, the ported consultant can benefit from paid leave. It should be added that the permanent contract is also an effective way for a client company to grow without increasing its payroll, or managing administrative formalities or possible dismissals in the event of a breach of contract. Indeed, the good results of the ported consultant are accounted for on behalf of the client company, which clearly improves its expertise and efficiency compared to its market competitors. However, the client company has the advantage of not having to deal with the long administrative processes related to the freelance consultant, as these are already taken care of by the company or the umbrella company.
It can be seen that the permanent contract is more suitable for consultants who are required to carry out several assignments simultaneously, or with a clear visibility and clarity in the succession of their assignments.
The advantages of such a contract are now well known, and it is essentially up to the consultant to choose the best option, depending on his current occupations, priorities and aspirations in the short, medium and long term.
Considering the IT field in which many companies are currently looking for external consultants, it is therefore a definite advantage to position yourself and exploit this sector. The most important thing here is to find out about the available freelance companies and the conditions of collaboration and partnership that they offer for signing permanent contracts.
As mentioned in the previous points, freelance administration is a form of freedom of work in which the consultant is his own boss, even if he receives his salary or payment through a third party. This third party, which is therefore a freelance administration company, provides a particular guarantee to the consultant, namely that he will retain his social protection or cover, without having to deal with the administrative formalities associated with the activity he is carrying out as a freelance.
It is therefore a hybrid system combining the security guarantee of a classic employee and the comfort of autonomous work, within the framework of a specific mission. It should also be noted that both the tax authorities and the Labour Code tolerate double-hatting.
Thus, a micro-entrepreneur with time and skills to develop can perfectly well join the freelance system in order to maximise his monthly income and earnings. This is not possible for a full-time employee who is directly under the orders of a company and must respect a very precise set of specifications provided by his employer.
By way of illustration, let us consider a young graduate, full of ambitions and innovative ideas, who sets up her micro-enterprise at the end of her studies. During the first few years, she benefits from an advantageous rate of deduction, which fully satisfies her.
Thereafter, at the end of the ACCRE, the compulsory deductions rise to around 25%. In addition, obtaining credit or renting accommodation is more difficult, especially because of the lack of salary slips. Nevertheless, she is a very hard worker and fighter and manages to achieve the maximum turnover of the self-employed system. In order to succeed in the long term, and to cover the various future expenses linked to her entrepreneurship, it would be more advantageous and profitable for her to take on her next missions under the cover of freelance administration.
Thus, she could keep some of her clients in her self-employed status, while expanding her area of intervention and her address book or contacts through freelance administration.
This gives her more social security and guarantees with regard to the tax authorities and the Labour Code, and also puts her micro-enterprise in a more flourishing position, because even if she is physically absent from her business, she continues to benefit from the economic and financial advantages of her new parallel occupation. In addition, it sharpens her personal skills, making her more fulfilled in the management of her main activity.
In summary, freelance administration can be used by entrepreneurs as a way to test their business idea and to get a clear idea of the feasibility of their projects (clients' expectations, market price levels, level of competition, market configuration ...) if of course all this is still at the stage of ideas. Thus, freelance administration appears interesting for people or professionals with personal projects (purchase of real estate, loan application ...).
However, if the company is already up and running, freelance administration can always be used to increase income and maintain an interesting social status with all the associated benefits, in addition to the freedom of the self-employed or independent worker.
This new system of freelance administration has advantages for all three parties involved in the collaboration. Here we discuss some of the advantages for the freelance consultant, as well as the likely disadvantages that might be noted.
Some advantages of this working model for the ported consultant:
In addition to the consultant, the advantages of this system for the freelance administration company must also be emphasised. In this sense, we can note :
In addition, Table 1 below presents a non-exhaustive comparison between freelance administration, self-employment and freelancing in order to better display some of the advantages that will guide the choices of people wishing to start up.
Table 1: Comparison between freelance administration, self-employment and freelancing
Elements of comparison
Freelance / Ltd.
Varying from 30 to 50% depending on the financial benefits
23.1% for the provision of services with an annual turnover limited to €33,100 excluding VAT
Social security system
The freelance consultant is considered as an employee of the freelance administration company, and therefore benefits from the various related advantages.
He is an individual entrepreneur benefiting from the social regime for self-employed persons which is less advantageous.
He also benefits from the social regime for the self-employed, which is less advantageous.
Continuation of unemployment benefits
The ported consultant can benefit from a cumulation with the unemployment benefit. He also recharges his rights with each assignment he signs.
He benefits from a possible continuation of unemployment benefit, but with much more restrictive conditions. However, here he does not benefit from any top-up of rights.
Exactly like the self-employed, they benefit from a possible continuation of unemployment benefit under much more restrictive conditions. Therefore, they do not benefit from any recharging of their rights.
Full contribution, with possible combination of employment and retirement.
Self-employed scheme with generally half the pension rights.
Same as autoentrepreneur, self-employed regime with generally half the pension rights.
Here, the accounts of the freelance consultant are kept exclusively by the freelance administration company, as this is included in the management fees initially established.
The self-employed entrepreneur is obliged to carry out his own accounting, or else he calls on the services of a chartered accountant. They must therefore dedicate a bank account to monitor all financial transactions relating to their professional activity.
The freelancer will also have to keep his or her own accounts, or use the paid services of a chartered accountant.
The freelance consultant benefits from a complete support package provided by the freelance administration company. This includes elements such as: marketing tools, a network of consultants, client referencing, professional liability insurance and a collection service for unpaid bills.
The self-employed person does not benefit from any particular support guaranteed by their status.
Freelancers also do not benefit from any special support guaranteed by their status.
Right to training
The freelance consultant benefits from the opening of training rights through the freelance administration company.
The self-employed person must pay a contribution to professional training in February of each year before benefiting from the right to continuing professional training.
Like the self-employed person, the freelancer will also have to pay a contribution to professional training in February of each year before benefiting from the right to continuing professional training.
Remuneration for the activity
He or she is paid a salary from the first month worked, regardless of the client's payment.
He receives his turnover only after payment from his customer.
He also receives his turnover after payment from his customer.
As with any employment status, freelance administration comes with a few disadvantages for the freelancer that should be highlighted here. These include:
- the non-opening or non-adaptation of this system to all trades for the moment. To date, not all professions have accepted the overlapping or twinning system of freelance administration.
F2i is a digital service company specialising in freelance administration. It was set up for consultants who wish to benefit from their independence, while being relieved of the administrative tasks related to the creation of companies. It is a company that has a team of experts, former independent consultants and sales people from IT service companies. The way it works is that a dedicated F2i contact person is able to offer a salary simulation and prepare the skills file for the consultant.
This dedicated contact also helps the consultant to find his assignment. He accompanies him and helps him to promote his skills. He or she also monitors the assignment at the client company. The company is essentially based on two important pillars: trust and the desire to provide the best service to the freelance consultant. The main advantages of working with F2i include
It should also be noted that at F2i, all consultants are affiliated to the general social security system. This guarantees automatic access to sick leave and health care reimbursement. Similarly, the freelance consultant is covered by a company mutual insurance and a provident contract. This means that they can be reimbursed for treatment and the purchase of certain medicines prescribed to them. If they are off sick, they can also receive daily allowances from the health insurance system. However, it should be noted that certain conditions must be met in order to receive these benefits.
First of all, a doctor will have to prescribe a work stoppage for the ported consultant, depending on his assessment of his state of health. Secondly, the value of the daily allowances to be received by the employee will be equivalent to the average of the salaries he receives and will represent half of his basic daily salary. In such a situation, when the sick leave lasts less than 6 months, the average will take into account the last three salaries to date. On the other hand, if the period exceeds 6 months, then the average will be assessed on the basis of the last 12 wages received. It is also interesting to note that, within the framework of the Universal Health Protection (PUMA), the ported consultant can also benefit from daily allowances which will enable him to pay for the costs of care, without having a minimum number of hours of activity on his own account.
In short, F2i portage is one of the companies whose partnership terms are quite interesting for the ported consultants. Its expertise and experience in IT engineering services make it one of the most sought-after companies in the IT sector. This is a major advantage for freelance consultants in this field.
In order to provide the best offer of freelance administration to the freelance professionals with whom it collaborates, the company F2i has set up a sub-system of continuous training with its unit: F2i Academy. Indeed, the ultimate goal of this academy is to be a real professional springboard for its clients (consultants on freelance portage with F2i or other structures) while offering them the best training opportunities and improving their skills and abilities on the professional market. To do this, it relies on four fundamental values which constitute the foundations. These are :
The application of these values is reflected in the innovative and adapted training that the academy offers based on a set of tools, methods and approaches that are easy and quick to implement. In doing so, the academy aims to develop the Employability Maintenance (EM) of its consultants, thus offering them the best partnership opportunities and conditions available.
In this logic, the ported consultants have the possibility to acquire new knowledge in the fields of intervention such as IT, web marketing, Internet and many others. These consultants become better and more efficient on the market and are able to obtain very interesting contracts, which bring a financial return and prestige for the F2i company.
In addition, the F2i Academy is also involved in supporting consultants in the use of the CPF (Personal Training Account) which came into force on 1 January 2015. This system, which replaced the Individual Right to Training (DIF), makes it possible to secure the consultant's career path and gives him/her access to a wide range of training courses. This is where the F2i Academy comes in, with its rich panel of experts in IT engineering services, working in several areas of interest and future.
As shown above in the first part of this guide, the consultant, in a perspective of improvement of his professional competences and aptitudes, must constantly seek to be trained on new themes and realities in connection with his field of activity.
Indeed, we have observed that one of the main values of the F2i Academy, for example, is the resolution of everyday problems through pragmatic solutions.
It is therefore up to the ported consultant, holder of his CPF, to continually look for learning opportunities in this sense. With the help and advice of his company (F2i by way of illustration), this becomes possible and improves the productivity of the partnership for both parties (consultant and company) in the first instance, and then for the client company. It should be noted that the CPF can contribute to :
Through continuous training, the freelance consultant guarantees the best chances of staying on course in order to meet the constantly changing requirements of the company. Let's remember that the main fields of application such as IT, web marketing, telecoms and others are constantly on the lookout for new advances, making it necessary for the ported consultant to keep up to date.
This is a necessity if they are to succeed in obtaining more interesting employment contracts. However, in this dynamic, the costs of training can sometimes be high and this leads freelance consultants and self-employed entrepreneurs to opt for additional funding.
This support can vary from submission to national statutory training schemes, to personal support, or to allowances from employers in the case of salaried employees.
This second section of our guide therefore aims to address the realities of continuing education, as well as the best modalities or options available to the freelance consultant, the entrepreneur and salaried employment if necessary.
This part will present in more detail how the freelance consultant must act to benefit from these training courses which have become essential in the system of freelance administration. We will go through the existing financing aids according to each situation and how the freelance consultant should choose the best option.
First of all, it should be remembered that ported consultants benefit equally from the Personal Training Account (PTA), which entitles them to hours of training per year for their professional improvement. However, a rather disturbing fact is that most of the training courses offered are diploma courses and therefore last well over 150 hours. This requires the search for additional funding in order to cover the total costs. In addition to this reality, the rate of funding per hour is gradually decreasing every year. Similarly, it is not uncommon to find that most training areas have little in common with the actual needs of the supported consultant.
The umbrella company in its role as employer intermediary therefore appears to be an interesting alternative for ported consultants to make the most of their CPF. These umbrella companies can indeed provide a great help by taking charge of the educational costs and the remuneration of the umbrella consultant. They can also take care of additional costs such as transport, meals and accommodation.
Depending on the current profile of the consultant (student at the end of his/her studies, young graduate, senior, person undergoing retraining, retired person), it is essential to ensure that the right training is found which will contribute to an improvement in his/her professional skills. It is also necessary to work on finding the appropriate funding to meet this need. To date, the following organisations allow the consultant to make use of his CPF:
It should also be noted that the ported consultant may decide to finance his professional training from his own funds. This has the advantage of allowing them to deduct part of their fees from their taxes. Thus, the training invoices can be deducted directly from his turnover or income without him having to put his hand in his pocket.
However, this option must be studied with great care, as the ported consultant is not paid during the training period. For this reason, by choosing a full-time training course which prevents him from carrying out assignments in parallel, he will not receive any remuneration during this period. As we have already seen, their remuneration depends exclusively on the assignments they carry out.
In addition, the freelance consultant can also make use of the Individual Training Leave (CIF). This option allows them to capitalise on their rights in order to take a leave of absence for the purpose of training, development or retraining. In this case, when the ported consultant has an open-ended contract, the individual training leave can be used after 24 months of salaried activity (consecutive or not), half of which must have been spent in the present portage company.
On the other hand, in the case of a fixed-term contract, the ported consultant must also prove that he or she has been in paid employment for at least 24 months (consecutive or not), but this time during the last five years, including four months (consecutive or not) on a fixed-term contract during the last year.
More than 30 million working people in France are currently divided between various professional statuses. From the classic employee to the independent consultant or freelancer, the working conditions and requirements are not always satisfactory. It has therefore become necessary to think of a mixed system that combines these two elements into a whole, benefiting the professional. Thus, freelance administration has been established as the ideal alternative, although it also operates under conditions that need to be known and understood.
First of all, with so many different freelance administration companies on the market, making a choice can quickly become quite complicated. Thus, the question that arises and which we will try to answer here is how to choose the right freelance administration company and to find one's way among all the aids. It is important to emphasise that a freelance consultant cannot enter into a partnership with every existing freelance administration company. These selection criteria, which we will discuss in the following section, will save the freelance consultant time and avoid having to go from company to company before making a choice and settling down.
We agree that everything starts with the choice of a freelance administration company. The latter is the intermediary company with which the freelance consultant signs an employment contract (fixed-term or open-ended) in order to work in his or her areas of expertise on behalf of a client company. However, the choice of a company may seem difficult, for the very first reason that many professionals do not really know its importance. Also, it happens that several different companies acting in the same field offer their services to the ported consultants at the same time. The latter must therefore rely on a number of criteria relating to the freelance administration company in order to make their choice.
In this sense, the very first criterion is the financial health of the freelance administration company. The freelance consultant can therefore base his decision on the turnover and cash flow of the company he wishes to join. They must also ensure that the company has a solid financial guarantee. This is all the more important because, in the event of default, the freelance consultant must be reassured that he or she can still receive the remuneration due to him or her in the context of the assignments he or she has undertaken. In addition, the freelance consultant should also ensure that he has access to legal assistance and a continuous training programme in order to improve his skills. He must have the possibility to participate frequently in events related to his profession.
These elements therefore allow him to progressively improve his skills and competences in the portage process. This makes him more competitive on the job and consulting market. Similarly, the freelance consultant should also benefit from the support of his umbrella company in responding to calls for tender and from access to the network of independent experts of the umbrella company. This allows him to connect with these experts and to continuously exchange the various collaboration opportunities that may arise. It is also an ultimate advantage for the ported consultant to learn from the experiences of these independent experts, especially if he is new to the world of consulting. Then, still in the optimisation of the choice of the umbrella company, the ported consultant could take into account the management or not of his invoicing and the recovery or not of his remuneration from the client company. The right umbrella company should also communicate, without diversions, on the rate of management fees that it intends to apply within the framework of the partnership.
This allows the freelance consultant to have a precise idea of the remuneration that he could receive for the execution of his portage missions with his client companies. He will also be able to compare this management fee rate with that of other portage companies on his list of choices. It should be noted that this rate generally varies from 5% to 10% of the turnover achieved by the ported consultant. This factor is therefore a key and determining element in the choice of an umbrella company. Indeed, one of the main objectives of the freelance consultant is to improve his annual income at the end of the day. Finally, it is necessary to check that your freelance administration company is really involved in its business through its membership of the main freelance administration institutions in the country. This gives it a certain notoriety and can help it to defend its interests, those of its clients, as well as those of its ported consultants.
In addition to the conditions relating to the freelance administration company mentioned above, the freelance consultant should also have a look at the Pôle Emploi aid from which he can benefit in the exercise of his activity as well as the conditions of access to the latter. In fact, the freelance consultant can, under certain conditions, combine his freelance activity with unemployment benefits or aid in two situations:
All these measures and information taken into account allow the ported consultant to evaluate the most interesting situation before launching himself. They clearly present him/her with the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats linked to each portage company with which he/she could collaborate. The ported consultant also has an idea of the assistance available to support him in this process. He therefore comes out better equipped for this rather exciting journey.
The DIF (Droit Individuel à la Formation) was introduced in France in May 2004 to enable salaried employees in the private and public sectors to undertake continuing education. It was seen as a means of access to training offered to these private or public employees on fixed-term or permanent contracts, on their own initiative and with the agreement of their employer. In concrete terms, it consists of acquiring a credit of hours, in particular 20 hours per year which can be accumulated up to 120 hours in six years. Each year, the employee is informed by the company's Human Resources department of the total number of hours acquired under this Individual Training Right scheme.
The CPF (Personal Training Account) came into force on 1 January 2015, and succeeded the Droit Individuel à la Formation (DIF). The main difference with the DIF is that the CPF is linked to the person (the employee himself) and not to his company. In this sense, the employee himself activates this account which records the training hours he has acquired throughout his working life, as well as the training he can still benefit from. Thus, the CPF is automatically replenished at the end of each year in proportion to the time worked by the employee. It should be noted that this working time is limited to a ceiling of :
Table 2 below summarises the main differences between these two systems.
Table 2: Main differences between the DIF and the CPF
The Individual Training Right is attached to the employment contract. In fact, only people with an employment contract can benefit from it. It is therefore linked to the employing company.
Personal Training Account attached to the employee himself. This account follows them throughout their working life, from the age of 16 until retirement.
Portability of rights
The DIF is portable in the event of a change of company or resignation. Also, in case of dismissal, it may be allowed, but under certain conditions.
The CPF is fully portable. As it is linked to the employee, all the hours in the account remain acquired in the event of loss of employment or change of professional situation.
120 hours in six years, at a rate of 20 hours per year.
150 hours, 24 hours per year (for 5 years) and 12 hours per year (for 2 years).
Qualifications obtained at the end of the training
Qualifying and non-qualifying training courses
Exclusively qualifying training with acquisition of a certification.
Employees and civil servants
Employees and jobseekers
Procedure in the event of a change of company
Retention of acquired hours only with the agreement of the new employer.
Retention of acquired hours without condition; these hours are retained until retirement.
Content and date of the course
The choice of content and date of training is made with the agreement of the employer.
The choice of content and date of training only requires the employer's agreement when the training is taken during working hours.
It should be noted that when the CPF was introduced, the hours acquired under the DIF remained valid and usable under the CPF for six years, i.e. until 31 December 2020. Beyond this date, these hours will be definitively lost by those who have not been able to use them in full.
However, due to the health situation related to the coronavirus, this date has been postponed. It is now set for 30 June 2021. This means that there are still six months to go. This delay will allow all those who have not yet converted their DIF hours to their CPF to regularise their situation.
The Personal Training Account (PTA) is attached to every person from the moment they enter the labour market, i.e. from the age of 16 until they retire. A special dispensation is granted to 15 year olds who manage to sign an apprenticeship contract. In fact, any person, whether a school leaver, an employee, a job seeker, a civil servant, a self-employed or freelance worker, or a self-employed entrepreneur, will be able to use his or her Personal Training Account, regardless of his or her professional status.
Similarly, retirees wishing to return to work under the "cumulation of employment and retirement" scheme can again use their CPF. Moreover, the refusal of a holder to mobilise his CPF is not a fault in itself, as each citizen is free to act as he wishes. The most important thing is that they still have access to it if they decide otherwise in the future. Table 3 below summarises the people who can benefit from a CPF since its entry into force in January 2015.
Table 3: Who can benefit from a CPF?
Right to CPF (Yes or No)
Young people aged 15 to 16 on an apprenticeship contract
Young people from 16 years of age
Employees under private law employment contracts
People looking for a job
Persons accommodated in an establishment and service for assistance through work (Esat)
Self-employed and freelancers
For the employee, the mobilisation and use of the CPF can be done at two levels. Firstly, it can be done when the employee is outside his working time, i.e. the time allocated to his workload within his company. He can mobilise and use his personal training account at will. Indeed, he will not have to make a specific request to his employer. His non-working time is not controlled by his employer. They can therefore use it as they wish to accumulate hours on the CPF account in particular. Secondly, during his working time, the employee who wishes to submit a request for training is supposed to obtain his employer's agreement or approval at first sight. The latter, in turn, has 30 days after the date of the request for agreement to give its opinion. After this period, his silence is deemed to be acceptance.
This means that the employer has conceded to the employee's request. Moreover, the law also provides for cases in which the employer's agreement is not necessary. Thus, the employer can in no way call into question the employee's wishes. It should be noted that the interest of the CPF is to optimise access to relevant training in relation to the employee's position or development. Thus, the latter must choose training courses that belong to specific, qualifying categories. Only such choices will enable him to be more useful and necessary for his company.
This would also encourage the employer or manager to agree. In this case, the employer can pay for the educational costs and related costs such as transport, accommodation, catering and so on, in the context of the employee's training. This is all the more possible when the company has concluded a company agreement with the employee on his personal training account. However, it is important to note that in the absence of an agreement between the two parties (employee and employer), the costs of the employee's training will be covered by the Organisme Paritaire Collecteur Agréé (OPCA).
In addition, provision will be made for the use of the CPF right during the employee's working time, particularly for training courses that enable the employee to acquire vital language skills. Similarly, if the employee has not taken any training, VAE or interview during the last six months, then he/she is entitled to a corrective top-up of 100 hours on his/her personal training account. In this case, the employee must make his or her request at least 60 days before the start of the training, if the training is supposed to last less than 6 months. However, if the training is to last longer than 6 months, the request must be made at least 120 days before the start of the training. In either case, the absence of a response from the employer from the date of the request until the start of the employee's training constitutes acceptance. The employee can therefore start the training without fear.
The CPF thus makes a significant contribution to mitigating the training costs paid by professionals in the context of their career development. By way of illustration, a recent investigation revealed that the average cost of a training course in France in 2018 amounted to 2,400 euros, 2/3 of which was financed by the CPF and the DIF. For this investigation, the most popular training areas were: languages (39%), IT (12%) and transport (12%). It should also be noted that depending on the status (employee, job seeker or freelance consultant) of the person seeking training, the training offers proposed differ. This is therefore an undeniable advantage for the freelance consultant who, as an independent option, chooses the training courses that suit him or her, depending on the skills and competences that he or she wishes to develop.
He must obviously take into account the specific expertise and skills sought by the client companies with which he intends to work. Moreover, the choice of the best portage company that he has already made previously will be an advantage in this process.
The F2i company, for example, in its mission to support the ported consultants with its panel of available experts, could be of great help in maximising the CPF for the benefit of the latter.
As mentioned above, the Personal Training Account is an interesting option that is available to all people aged 16 and over, regardless of their status. In fact, when asked if a self-employed person is entitled to the CPF, the answer is without any hesitation "Yes". Indeed, the autoentrepreneur benefits from the CPF and can use it to improve his or her levels of performance and operation to the satisfaction of his or her target client group. In fact, he should consider that there are never enough bows to his strings.
This will allow him/her to seek further development by learning new things if possible. Thus, from mastering English, German, Spanish, Portuguese or Mandarin (to name but a few) to opening up to the international scene, there is a wide range of skills and competences to develop. The freelance consultant can also acquire new knowledge and skills in marketing, management, web design and many others. Moreover, if the freelance consultant manages to combine the status of self-employed and employee, he or she can also combine his or her CPF and training rights acquired as a self-employed person. In this sense, Grégoire Leclercq stated: "Whether the self-employed person has contributed 1 euro or 100 euros, he will have access to the same training rights. This rule thus allows all self-employed people to improve their skills throughout their career.
One of the questions that might now be asked is how the autoentrepreneur uses their CPF and training credits. This requires two basic steps, the very first of which is to apply for training via the personal training account. Indeed, since 2020, self-employed and freelancers can use their CPF in the same way as salaried employees. This will be done via the My Training Account website. This process can be summarised in three sub-steps as follows:
Following this first step in the process, the second step is to apply for training through your Training Insurance Fund (FAF). This takes place in three sub-steps:
At the end of the training, the training costs of the self-employed person will be partly covered in advance by his CPF, and the rest reimbursed by his Training Insurance Fund. In short, it should be noted that the status of autoentrepreneur does not change the rights to the CPF. On the contrary, the autoentrepreneur should seize the opportunity represented by the CPF to accumulate training hours during his or her working hours in order to improve his or her skills for the labour market.
Moreover, this represents a major asset which allows the self-employed person to open up to another world of employability which is more flexible and more adapted to the way in which he or she can use his or her personal and professional time.
These training hours can also be used to improve the performance of his company, as he will develop skills that are useful both for his personal company and for his portage activity in parallel. In this way, he succeeds in being more efficient and in having a positive influence on all his staff, who benefit from his newly acquired skills.
Considering the example of language training, mastering a new language offers excellent opportunities to expand the services offered by one's company. Finally, the advantage of a portage company that also offers continuous training becomes a determining factor in the selection of the best collaboration option for the ported consultant.
As mentioned above, the autoentrepreneur can join organisations that manage the financing of training for autoentrepreneurs, also known as the Training Insurance Fund (FAF). However, to do this, they must first meet three essential criteria, namely
Once the three criteria have been met and depending on the field of activity of the self-employed entrepreneur, a distinction is made between the following funding bodies
It should be noted that depending on the status of the autoentrepreneur, he/she pays a contribution to vocational training in addition to the social security contributions. This contribution is determined according to the turnover of the autoentrepreneur, and corresponds to :
As soon as the contribution is paid, all self-employed persons have a payment certificate available:
The amount entered on this certificate corresponds to the amount of CFP paid by the self-employed person during the past year of activity. This amount is reset to zero each year. These various forms of aid therefore enable the self-employed contractor and the consultant to benefit from the best training opportunities available in order to improve their skills. It is important to remember here that the company or the umbrella company can play an important role in supporting and advising the freelance consultant with regard to the best funding available for continuing education.
Regardless of their professional status, all ported consultants should always seek the advice of the qualified staff of the portage companies who are supposed to accompany them throughout their lives. Moreover, the management fees paid to the umbrella company represent an insurance policy for the advice, and not taking advantage of it is simply a loss for the umbrella consultant. It should be noted that, if properly advised, he will be able to make an appropriate choice for his person and his personal business. The well-being of his being, and that of his collaborators and partners, is at stake.
Finally, in order to make the freelance administration market sustainable and to improve the status of freelance workers, the Fédération des Entreprises de Portage salarial (FEPS) has set specific objectives to be achieved, in particular
Achieving these objectives will significantly improve the distribution and uptake of freelance administration in the years to come, ensuring greater security for employees and freelancers, and empowerment for different social and professional groups. Indeed, a projection of freelance administration to 2025 offers encouraging prospects, as summarised in Table 4.
Table 4: Portage salarial in France by 2025
Prospects for freelance administration in France by 2025
588,000 jobs created
15 billion euros in turnover
5% of national employment
0.9% of GDP
The picture is not only encouraging, but it is also a good indication in terms of national statistics of a net improvement in employability and job creation. Freelance administration will well deserve its general recognition at national and international level.
The portage companies will also have to provide quality support, due to the popularity and exponential number of ported consultants to be known.
Freelance administration opens up new and interesting perspectives for people. The advantages are both financial and social. There is also the well-being. All this is done in a feeling of autonomy, without forgetting the possibility of developing one's employability, thanks to the training plan, which F2i ACADEMY offers to all consultants or any profile wishing to increase their skills.
It is necessary to note that this real attraction for freelance administration is still in its infancy. Consider, in particular, the number of exclusively freelance administration companies in France, which has grown from around 180 in 2014 to just under 250 in 2017. This number is still growing. Such a craze for this status is only indicative of progress.
More and more, people want to be fulfilled in their work and to be in good conditions. The world in which we live requires adaptation. It is therefore necessary to know how to question oneself and take certain risks. This is what a large number of entrepreneurs (men and women) are already doing, and for many people it pays off! However, before taking the plunge into this formidable adventure of entrepreneurship, freelance administration is the best way to go.
For F2i, the importance that freelance administration will take in the next few years will become widespread in many more fields of activity. It is a real springboard to entrepreneurship.
So make the right choice, F2i portage is there for that!