Something I thought might be worth passing on to anyone newly arrived in France – think twice about DIY!
Not only that but the professionals also negotiate a discount from their regular suppliers so they can make a double saving – paying little tax on goods that they can obtain much cheaper than you. Some of the discounts they negotiate can be huge and if they want the work they can often be persuaded to pass at least some of that discount on to you. Last year the guy who laid my floor tiles obtained a 30% reduction in their retail price. The saving to me (taking account of the full retail price and the 20% tax I would have been obliged to pay) more than covered the cost of his labour.
In French law, tradespeople are obliged to quote a price for the job and once the price is agreed they may not add extra charges. In producing the quote, they describe the price of materials and their labour charges so it can be quite easy to estimate whether there is any saving or additional cost – and then, if necessary, negotiate a lower price by asking the guy to pass on some of the discount he has probably negotiated with the supplier.