One of the key things we discussed was the need to set up a proper business here in France. He assured me that setting one up wasn't as difficult as it is often made out to be. He said that now it was possible to do a lot of it online and that the cost of registering the business should be around EUR 300.
He and his wife are also the brains behind the name for the company. I grabbed the domain name a few months ago and will publish it all as soon as the official business registration goes though. They're both native French speakers and were able to come up with something really catchy.
The Mayor told me I needed a proper business if I wanted to do any street work outside of the residence. It will also make things much more straight-forward when it comes to getting an agreement with our residence association. The only outstanding question is whether I'll need to take on a French partner to register the company - given that I don't have a standard French work permit. I'll look into that.