How to become an independent trainer: the guide

Want to start a training business? Discover the guide to become an independent trainer.
become an independent trainer

Table of contents

In France, the Labor Code regulates the practice of professional training. Thus, whether you are an individual or a company, as soon as you are involved in training and skills development, you can be considered a training provider. Many actions of development of competences exist. We can mention, among others, the training actions, the apprenticeship training and the skills assessment. To all of these, we can also add actions that allow the certification of acquired experience. Training providers also have obligations. This is for example the case towards the administration and the trainees. Here is the complete guide to becoming an independent trainer.

The advantages of becoming an independent trainer

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To be a trainer is to establish training schedules and teach one's knowledge and expertise to a professional audience. The trainer must have something to pass on in terms of knowledge. Above all, he or she must have pedagogical qualities, the balance to teach and a pronounced sense of listening.

The main advantage of working as an independent trainer is that it gives you the autonomy and freedom you desire. You have the latitude to design your own agenda, submit the training you want and set your own prices.

Most training centers have few salaried trainers. They prefer to use the services of freelancers. This way, you have the opportunity to offer your expertise to different structures and companies.

The advantages of an independent trainer

A man in a plaid shirt and T-shirt, wearing glasses, holds a file in one hand and a pen in the other. The man is showing something.

Working as a freelance trainer requires multiple qualities and skills. You must learn to be a teacher. This implies that you must be able to explain, to transfer your skills through teaching methods. You also need to be a good listener in order to anticipate the blind spots of the people you are teaching, to have the right attitude and to put them at ease.

Another important parameter to integrate is that you must be creative. Don't be afraid to be creative in order to be able to make all the complex concepts you have to teach digestible. Make sure you convey knowledge in a fun way.

It is also important to understand the many tools and techniques of learning. At this level, you need to understand the different learning methods as well as the pedagogical tools in order to stimulate your learners.

Being a good trainer also means being a constant learner. It is indeed important to update your skills and knowledge to be effective as a trainer.

Cultivating and developing one's network is also part of the assets that a good independent trainer must have. Working as a freelancer means having multiple assignments and many clients. To achieve this, it is recommended to expand your network in order to create new opportunities.

The administrative steps required of the independent trainer

A man in a blue suit and tie, wearing glasses, holds files in his hands. He is sitting in front of a laptop computer on a desk with pens, a notebook, a binder of post-it notes and a vase of flowers.

Being a freelance trainer does not require you to have a degree or any special training. In order to work as an independent trainer, you can decide to work under your own name. In this case, you will have to create a one-person company. You can also choose the option of a sole proprietorship or the option of a self-employed business. After that, you will have to make an initial declaration to the prefect. This must be done within a maximum of three months after the first training contract has been drawn up.

This will allow you to have your registration number. This number must be mentioned in all your official documents. When your turnover exceeds 15,244 euros excluding tax, you will have to produce an educational and financial report every year, before April 30.

If you want your training courses to be financed, you must have the Qualiopi certification. This certification is mandatory since the beginning of the year 2022. Finally, you can also adopt the portage salarial. This is an option that ensures you get rid of all the different administrative constraints.

The legal status adapted to the profession of independent trainer

The title of independent trainer does not constitute a legal status. In order to practice in the field, you need to choose a status. You can choose between three different possibilities. First of all, you can choose the individual company. The autoentreprise is a derivative of this. Other possibilities are the creation of a one-man business and wage portage. Your professional situation as well as your project should justify the legal status you choose.

The status of autoentrepreneur and its particularities

The autoentreprise designates a sole proprietorship that enjoys an ultra-simplified status in order to exercise its activity. Your turnover must not exceed 72 600 euros in order to benefit from it.

The initial "AE" in a green speech bubble and its meaning "Autoentrepreneur" in a blue speech bubble.

The advantages of the autoentrepreneur status  

We can mention simplicity. Indeed, you just have to go on the website of the union of recovery of the contributions of social security and family allowances to create an autoentreprise. You are also exempt from social security charges. The rate applied to you is twenty-three percent instead of forty-five percent.

In the first year, you can take advantage of the assistance for starting or taking over a business with an eleven percent rate. Up to 34,400 euros of turnover, you do not have to pay any VAT either. To all this, we can also add the fact that the accounting is very light.

The disadvantages of the autoentrepreneur system

The flaws of the autoentrepreneur system are no less numerous. You have little social protection. In other words, you are more exposed regarding unemployment, retirement or social security. There is also a personal risk. At this level, both personal and professional assets are confused.

In order to separate them, you will have to choose to be an individual entrepreneur with limited liability. The real problem with this regime lies in your inability to withdraw its charges and professional expenses. You benefit from a flat rate deduction of 34% to determine the income tax.

The status of sole proprietorship and its characteristics

As soon as the turnover threshold exceeds 72,600 euros, the self-employed entrepreneur automatically loses the microsocial and microfiscal regime. He then remains a sole proprietor. Indeed, it is possible to create a sole proprietorship without taking advantage of the microenterprise regime.

When you decide to operate as a sole proprietorship, you work on your own account. Thus, you will have to make all decisions alone. This is in contrast to companies where the power is shared between partners and managers. The only exceptions are the simplified one-person company or the one-person limited liability company where you remain the only partner.

The advantages of the sole proprietorship status

A sole proprietorship is easy to create. You will just have to file a file at the business formalities center. No statutes need to be filed, nor any share capital. If your turnover is less than 72,600 euros, you can benefit from the microenterprise regime. You will also be able to deduct charges and other professional expenses.

The disadvantages of the sole proprietorship status

The weakness of this system is the social security contributions of 45% of the turnover. You also enjoy little social protection. Indeed, you have no employee status, no social security, no unemployment contributions, or even no employee pension. Better still, you take a personal risk because you work in your own name.

In this case, your business assets and your professional assets are mixed up. To remedy this, you can adopt the individual company with limited liability. You are also subject to taxation because the higher your rate, the higher your turnover. This is a progressive tax.

The status of a one-person company

It is possible to become an independent trainer by deciding to create a one-man company. It can be a simplified joint stock company with a single shareholder or a one-man business with limited liability.

The advantages of a one-person company

The main advantages are the limited liability. Indeed, when you opt for the creation of a legal entity, your liability depends on your professional capital. You also benefit from the withdrawal of fees and charges, as well as the possibility to open the capital to other partners or shareholders.

The disadvantages of a one-person company

For the creation of a one-person company, the procedures are more restrictive. Among other things, you will have to file a status, have a share capital, a registered office, a professional bank account or a deposit at the registry. The same applies to social, accounting and legal obligations, which are more difficult.

This is the case, for example, for the holding of a general meeting, annual accounts and various declarations. You also lose unemployment coverage by adopting the single-member company system. Indeed, you do not contribute to the unemployment insurance as a director. You cannot therefore create new rights.

Faced with all these difficulties, you can use the services of a service provider to deal with the legal, tax, accounting and social aspects. Keep in mind, however, that this involves a cost. Better yet, in case of error or litigation, keep in mind that you will be held solely responsible.

Which status with the portage salarial ?

By opting for freelance administration, you can also work as an independent trainer. However, there are some prerequisites. The company you select must be in the training business. It must also have an approval number. It must also be Qualiopi certified. These advantages will allow your different clients to benefit from financial support for the different training courses that you organize.

As far as the umbrella company is concerned, it becomes an intermediary between your clients and you. It therefore inherits from you everything concerning the management, whether it is fiscal, administrative or accounting. It is also the company that contracts with your clients and pays you a salary. The "société de portage" also issues invoices for you, takes care of the reminders and changes the fees into a salary.

The portage salarial allows you to enjoy the status of an employee. In addition to all this, the freelance administration company takes care of the administrative aspects as well as the documents required for the profession of independent trainer.

Also read: Portage salarial or freelance: which status to choose?

 The advantages of freelance administration

As far as the advantages of freelance administration are concerned, we can mention simplicity. Indeed, under this system, you have almost nothing to manage. You also benefit from a protection because you contribute to several levels. This is the case for the employees' pension and unemployment insurance. You are also part of the company mutual insurance and are then protected by the providence.

Another advantage of freelance administration is that it respects legal requirements. Indeed, the portage company takes care of all the declarations and administrative documents, since it is a training office. You also have a great deal of freedom to concentrate exclusively on prospecting for clients and carrying out the various assignments that are yours.

To all this, we can add an accompaniment because you receive help for the efficient management of your activity. The same applies to the search for your customers and the implementation of an optimization strategy.

The main disadvantages of freelance administration for the trainer

As a flaw, we can mention the financial impact of the portage company. It is between 8 and 15% of your turnover. To this, we can add the fact that the social contributions are high because they are those of an employee.

What about the steps to become an independent trainer?

The different steps to become an independent trainer vary according to the status chosen.

The steps concerning the portage salarial

First of all, you can opt for the portage salarial. Simple to set up, this mode of organization exempts you from creating a company or a corporation. The portage company will take care of signing all the possible deals in the framework of the training but also with your clients.

Then she concludes an employment contract with you as well as a portage agreement. She will then have to take care of all the administrative procedures with your clients and the organizations. This very practical system also exempts you from having to have a registration number. The one of the umbrella company is enough for you.

Better yet, you no longer need Qualiopi certification or a pedagogical and financial report. It is obviously the most practical and easiest status to establish. No steps are imposed on you with freelance administration and you have to manage zero paperwork.

A smiling man carrying files under his arms, standing in front of a desk on which are placed various objects: laptop, file, pen holder, plant, calculator, notebook, telephone.

The steps concerning the microenterprise

You have the possibility to adopt the microenterprise as the related steps are simple. All you have to do is register on the platform of the Union de recouvrement des cotisations de sécurité sociale et d'allocations familiales. However, if you want to create a sole proprietorship, you will have to prepare a file. This file must contain many documents.

Also read: How to obtain a K-bis extract while being an auto-entrepreneur?

The steps concerning a company

The steps to create a company are more demanding. To do so, you must proceed to the drafting of the statutes. You will also have to publish a notice of incorporation in a legal newspaper. You must also open a business bank account that you must fund with the company's capital.

You should also take other steps such as registering your company. All these steps may worry you if you do not know how to approach them. However, it is possible to get help. The business formalities center of the chamber of commerce and industry is ready to help you.

It should be noted that you are subject to formalities if you choose to create a microenterprise, a company or a sole proprietorship. After you have your first contract, you must make an initial declaration to the prefect. This must be done within three months. This will give you a trainer registration number. This number must be displayed on all your commercial documents.

You must also produce an annual educational and financial report. This is required as soon as your annual turnover exceeds 15,244 euros excluding tax. You must also anticipate the Qualiopi certification if you aspire to trainings eligible for financing.

How to start your own training business

To start your own business as an independent trainer, you must adopt your own commercial approach and establish privileged links with clients. Unlike an employee, you have to find your own clients, agree on the rates and define the different modalities to carry out your missions.

It is therefore necessary to know, first of all, the real needs of the market you intend to reach. Then, you will have to define a positioning strategy. It is important at this stage that you are easily identified.

To find your assignments, you have three main channels. You can apply for training assignments. At this level, you could apply by offering your services on specialized sites. It is also possible to gain popularity via platforms reserved for independent consultants.

Finally, you can use your personal and professional network . To do this, use social networks. To make yourself visible, join discussion groups and forums. If the results do not come quickly, do not get discouraged.

Professional training is a business in its own right and is full of advantages. In this article, we have outlined the process of becoming an independent trainer. If this is an activity that interests you, you now know what to do and what path to follow to get results and grow, as you should.

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