How France Directory came to be ……
In 2009 we decided that we wanted our two daughters (then 2 and 8 years old) to have the type of upbringing that we believed a life in rural France could offer us as a family. Up until then we had been living in Camberley, Surrey. I was working full-time, Andy was (and still is) a Firefighter and we ran a successful Skydiving business looking after the charity fundraisers for over 100 national charities.
We didn’t know France well, our main criteria was the location needed to be within easy travelling distance to the ferry so Andy could remain working in the Fire Service which meant commuting every 4 days.
The house we had originally planned on buying sadly didn’t work out as the proposed route for the THT (high voltage line from Cherbourg to Spain) was due to pass directly across it! So, back to the drawing board for us. However we soon found another house which we fell in love with as soon as we drove up it’s beautiful drive. We moved into this house on the 22nd of December 2009.
Because Andy would be commuting to the UK each week to complete his shift at the fire station, we really wanted some security and paid someone to fit some electric gates for us. Unfortunately the gates fell off 4 times eventually breaking the hinges. It cost us far more to correct the job than it should have which was incredibly frustrating. This was the start of our learning curve and at our expense, that not every “tradesperson” was necessarily decent, qualified, legal, insured or even honest. So, after investigating, it became clear that there weren’t any decent facilities, or websites, where we were able to find registered and recommended tradesmen.
So….. we decided to build one and the idea of France Directory was born!
Progress was frustratingly slow to begin with. We kept finding developers who preferred to use template website sites that were just not adaptable for our needs. The further we progressed the more we realised that there was something else that needed to be solved. In the end it took us over 5 years to build a website that we were happy with. We launched France Directory late in 2018. We insisted that in order to register, a valid SIRET number or a declaration of UK registration was required. This pretty much eliminated anyone “working on the black” or anyone with a bad reputation, due to our customer reviews. We offered our advertisers a platform to sell themselves to potential clients, list qualifications, display pictures and promote their own websites etc.
With the website in place we were now in the position to step up and offer a full promotional service for all our advertisers on an individual basis throughout social media pages
We work extremely hard and consistently at displaying and promoting our advertisers and also highlighting them to that famous “does anyone know where I can find a” question on over 250 Facebook groups, Twitter, Instagram and the website itself, due to our recent ‘post a request‘ section.
We’ve managed to gain over 1,300 Facebook followers alone which is now growing daily.
We love our home here and thrive on being able to work from our home office on the Brittany, Normandy and Pays De La Loire borders allowing us to combine a healthy home/work balance.
We’ve got many ideas and plans for the future of France Directory and are always thinking of new ways to keep growing the business. We are huge believers in strength in numbers and hope to encourage as many people as possible to follow our our social media pages (click on links below) and share our posts and business promotions so that we all might benefit from an increase of France nationwide coverage.
WHAT’S YOUR STORY ?
So, that’s our story! We’d love to hear about our advertisers stories and how you got to be where you are now? Please drop us a line if you’d like to share your story with us and our followers.
We’d like to feature as many as possible, so, if there is anyone out there who’d like to share a french adventure or a funny anecdote to our pages, drop us a message on firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, for readers of these stories, please do like and share them and let’s help each other to build our businesses in France.
Lucy & Andy