You have launched a business, and the best way moving forward for you is to establish your company's headquarter offshore, considering the focus of your company and the benefits offered by an offshore jurisdiction. Your next step is looking for the best offshore service provider (OSP) that can guide you through the (complex) process.
You started your research online. As you google your way, you'll soon learn that there are literally hundreds of OSPs, and all of them seem to promise you top quality offshore incorporation services.
However, just like any other service providers online, you can't trust all of them – in fact, there is only a handful you can truly trust. So, how can you find the best OSP?
Here are five tips – in the form of questions – that can guide you in spotting trusted OSPs:
1. Do they have the expertise?
This one is obvious: Only deal with OSP, who has the expertise. Now, “expertise” is often ambiguous. So, the best way to know whether the team behind the OSP is an expert or not is by directly asking them about their track record.
Testimonials help, but the best way is to email them. Obviously, they won't tell you who their clients are (offshore company formation is all about confidentiality!) but you can ask anything about their background and other indicators of expertise.
2. What kind of support will you get?
A quality and trusted OSP will guide you – by hand – through the process, from start to finish – no matter how simple or complex your needs are. Not stopping there, you can always have access to their support and service, post-sales.
You are in a long term relationship with your OSP, so you need to be sure that you are comfortable with the level of support you are receiving.
3. Can you find their contact info easily?
This is simple, but useful check you can do instantly: Go to the contact section, and start looking for contact info, including the physical address.
Email address or form is typical, but the physical address is a good indicator of trust. If an OSP uses a P.O. Box address, it should raise a yellow flag: Why would someone trusted use a P.O. Box, when there are plenty of other choices, such as virtual address, that may cost more but has trust-boosting qualities.
4. Are they transparent in their pricing?
The biggest turn-off when it comes to using OSP's services is the hidden fees. Some OSPs don't disclose additional fees that may apply in setting up an offshore company.
A trusted OSP should be transparent in their fee schedules, which eliminate the worries related to hidden fees.
5. Any social proofs exist ?
Perhaps the most overlooked trust indicator is the OSP's social media presence. Some OSPs don't have any Facebook, Twitter or other social media accounts for one reason or another. This is not helping in gaining trust from potential clients.
A trusted OSP should have social media accounts, where everyone can have a look and follow what they are up to via their updates, shares, and other activities. These social proofs are great indicators of trustworthiness, and are used by major companies in validating their potential partners, clients, and job applicants.
For an additional online reputation check, consider searching for any reviews on the OSPs. Are there rants or complaints about the OSPs? Are there good words shared about the OSPs? Do the OSPs respond to the complaints? How do they respond to them?
No companies are perfect. However, doing some check can reveal the most reputable ones among the rest, which will give you a nice list of OSPs to consult with.
As always, do your due diligence; while DIY your check is possible, you should seek for recommendations from your trusted colleagues, partners or family members. They have been there in your position, so they know the pros and cons about working with a particular OSP.
While you are at it, you can learn more about what a trusted OSP can offer you – contact us to learn more.
Read also "Offshore Banking Scams: How to avoid"