Hello Marc. For the past 6 years, you have been working as an independent consultant abroad, using the services of SAGE to handle the administrative side. Could you tell us more about your job?
I work for major multinational companies in the aerospace industry. As an engineer, I have specialised in the marketing of highly technical products. I have clients and partners all over the world but at the moment mainly in Switzerland. My remit is to help them expand their markets in France and Europe. I travel extensively for my clients to locations around the world representing cutting-edge products that are manufactured in their factories: representation, travel, negotiation, technical recommendation, the signing of contracts, management of operational issues and reporting are the main focus of my daily work.
How did you hear about SAGE SA?
I first encountered SAGE back in 2015 at a trade show. I very quickly decided to work with them. It was Bernard who took charge of my file at the beginning, and I was immediately impressed by the welcome I was given and by how smooth our interaction was, both with him and with the other members of the team. I now think of Bernard more as a friend than a business partner. Right from the start he was able to assist me effectively in setting up the sometimes complex contractual relationships with my clients, thereby making my daily practice easier by freeing me from the constraints of the administrative paperwork. This allowed me to concentrate fully and exclusively on my work from the start, with complete peace of mind.
winegrower, a poultry producer or a confectioner.
In your opinion, what are the benefits of SAGE SA’s international umbrella services?
Like many of the consultants who use SAGE’s services, the main reason for choosing this system was to free myself from all the accounting, legal and payroll administrative tasks inherent in running a business. But I find there are other advantages, too. I can adjust the amount of salary I draw according to the period and how much I am earning. I have excellent social security and pension cover. Lastly, the team helps me to manage complex business travel.
At what point in your career did you adopt this way of working as an independent professional?
At the age of 54, I had been working for the French subsidiary of a large international corporation for 15 years when I was made redundant. At this pivotal age, I had two options for continuing my professional career: either seek a new salaried position or become self-employed. I knew my business sector, aerospace, very well: the production chain, the components, the global functioning and the players. It made sense to make use of my expertise and my contacts.
I chose to be independent, which offered me more opportunities for working, a wide range of actions, and personal liberty. I could have set up my own business, but sole trader would not have suited my situation. Setting up a company brings its own set of administrative complexities, especially when dealing with international partners and clients, and with large volumes of business.
Through SAGE’s services and knowledge of international labour law, I was able to identify an ideal modus operandi for myself and my clients.
Being independent also allows you to choose your clients, your employees and your partners. I think this is a plus.
In the past 6 years I have never questioned my choice.
How many clients do you have through these tripartite contracts?
I have developed about 15 clients, 6 of whom are usually active at any one time.
How did you manage the lockdown period imposed by the health crisis?
First of all, I had already discovered working from a home office in 2014, so the lockdown was not a major change for me.
The most problematic aspect was the restrictions on visits to suppliers imposed by my clients. The transition to virtual mode was painful. It was more difficult to sell, in a sector that was very much affected.
Thanks to my network of contacts I have been able to diversify.
My business pace has slowed down by 50%, but SAGE allows me to manage my income and smooth out my salary payments. I used my reserves and now things seem to be returning to normal.
In conclusion, what would you like to say to our readers?
Umbrella services in general, whether international or national, are relatively unknown as a Human Resource management solution. I would like to tell companies and consultants alike that they should not hesitate to take the plunge. For both sides there can be many benefits and lasting trust.