Frequently Asked Questions

A convenient, digital decision-making tool to prepare US expansion that also connects companies with dedicated experts to implement? Wow... that’s not common! Learn more with our FAQ.

Do you offer “pay-as-you-go” plans or do I need to commit? 2018-01-29T10:40:32+00:00

All of our plans are pay-as-you go plans (meaning you pay each month, and the payment is automatically renewed until you decide to cancel your subscription).

However, when you subscribe to the Expansion plan for the first time, this is an initial 3-month commitment (and your plan becomes pay-as-you-go after the 3rd month). Based on our experience, this is the typical timeframe that companies require to think through their US project and start interacting with Sherpas before they can dive into implementation. As we would advise our clients against rushing their decisions, we have decided to make this 3-month commitment mandatory, putting your interest on top of our priorities.

What kind of plan do I need? 2018-01-29T10:38:55+00:00
  • The Free Plan offers our users the ability to test TradeSherpa’s platform and to get a good understanding of the benefits they could get by accessing additional features. It will provide you with a high-level US business roadmap that is customized to your company’s profile and expansion project, which is a good starting point. You can then decide if you want to pursue your project by yourself, or if you want to upgrade.
  • The Expansion Plan is ideal for companies who are looking for more structure and who need some Sherpas at their side. Situations range from export, entity creation, M&A (for foreign companies), or search for specific experts (for companies already settled in the USA). The plan includes: a detailed, customized US business roadmap, a list of recommended Sherpas at each step of this roadmap, an ability to compare and to contact Sherpas, a 1-hour call with TradeSherpa to get direct support, and how-to guides to manage implementation. Typical expansion projects take 3 months for proper planning, so we ask you to subscribe for an initial 3-month period at $59/month; you can then continue to use the platform on a month-to-month basis to access new Sherpas, new contents, new tools, and a new roadmap.
  • The Sherpa Premium Plan provides white-glove services for companies operating complex projects in the USA like a US-flip, or a US-based company’s overhaul. The plan includes: all features from the Expansion plan (but with unlimited revisions to your roadmap), an ongoing 1-on-1 analysis of your US project and its adjustments (with 5 hours of direct support from TradeSherpa per month, on top of Sherpa services), ongoing coaching and training on various business challenges, and hands-on coordination with Sherpas. You will get a dedicated account manager, as well as the ability to request additional services (e.g. business plan build-up). This plan starts at $599/month.

See also: What if my US project changes?

Why use TradeSherpa? 2018-01-29T10:37:18+00:00

TradeSherpa is a decision-making tool that helps international companies expand to / in the USA. Unlike traditional consultants, we offer the convenience of a powerful digital tool to plan and control US expansion projects, while keeping a strong human dimension by connecting clients with vetted and dedicated Sherpas to guide them along their way.

Years of experience providing consulting services to such companies led us to identify 2 flaws in the traditional consulting approach: 1) CEOs and their teams spend a lot of time, energy, and money trying to collect information and connect with the right advisors and experts, only to find themselves misled, misunderstood, and drained; and 2) a structured and consistent approach to the USA is often only available to companies that have a significant budget, while other companies have to take a tedious DIY approach.

With TradeSherpa, international companies considering expansion to the USA, already developing their business in the USA, or looking to revamp their US business organization and operations can find exactly what they are looking for in one place: custom US business roadmaps to make informed decisions, a convenient toolbox to manage implementation, and direct access to the exact experts (“Sherpas”) they need at each step.

Who can use TradeSherpa? 2018-01-29T10:35:31+00:00

TradeSherpa typically addresses the needs of CEOs, CFOs, and local US branch managers. Situations can vary depending on the company’s progress towards US expansion.

  • Companies considering US expansion: They have no business in the USA yet but they have identified opportunities, or they do have some US leads or clients (export) suggesting market interest. Their goal is to understand & anticipate.
  • Companies who have decided to make the move to the USA: They have clients and vetted partners in the USA; they now want to create or to acquire a US entity to better manage and grow their business locally. Their goal is to plan & structure.
  • Companies with existing US operations looking to manage growth in the USA: They need to restructure the US entity, adjust operations, or switch to new experts and partners to keep up with growth and implement new strategies. Their goal is to recalibrate & optimize.
What makes TradeSherpa qualified to help me expand to the USA? 2018-01-29T10:34:03+00:00

TradeSherpa’s founders have worked many years with international companies (SMBs as well as large cap companies) expanding to the USA, helping over 200 clients manage both planning and implementation. They thus acquired a deep knowledge and experience that led them to build a platform that meets companies’ specific profiles, projects scope and constraints, priorities, and questions. They know that companies need to carefully plan while remaining flexible at each step given the sophistication of US expansion projects. TradeSherpa’s US business roadmaps, Sherpas, and US Toolbox have been prepared with that consideration in mind.

Regarding Sherpas, they all go through a rigorous vetting process, and they are matched with the companies they will serve best. TradeSherpa is not a marketplace, and we know each Sherpa very well – in fact, we have worked closely with most of them in the past. They are qualified for US expansion projects, equipped with a wealth of experience with international companies and a tailored skillset for each step and module of the roadmap we assign to them. Most of all, they have the TradeSherpa spirit, which is to put clients’ interest above their own.

How do I pay? 2018-01-29T10:32:18+00:00

In order to access an Expansion Plan or a Sherpa Premium Plan, we recommend that you use TradeSherpa’s platform and pay by credit card (please refer to our Pricing page). You will get immediate access to your account, features, and benefits upon payment.

Other methods of payment (e.g. wire transfer) seem too pricey due to international transaction fees, and they would delay your access to your account, features, and benefits considerably. We do not recommend them.

Are online payments safe and convenient for international companies? 2018-01-29T10:31:08+00:00

Yes. All online payments are processed by Authorize.net, a US-based payment getaway service provider founded in 1996 and now a subsidiary of Visa Inc. PCI-compliant, Authorize.net meets the data security standards developed by the major card brands in the world. Also, they have received many awards for their customer service: thanks to their 24/7 available support, fixing issues can be done on the spot.

How do I renew / cancel / change my subscription? 2018-01-29T10:29:48+00:00

Your subscription will be renewed automatically each month, so that you can maintain ininterrupted access to all features and benefits offered by your plan. If you wish to upgrade, downgrade, or cancel your subscription, please simply log into your TradeSherpa account and manage your subscription from your dashboard or ‘My Profile’ tab.

Is my company profile private? 2018-01-29T10:28:30+00:00

Absolutely. TradeSherpa is neither a marketplace nor a social media platform. The only people who have access to your profile are yourself and TradeSherpa’s employees (for administrative and support purposes).

How can I be sure that my company information is safe? 2018-01-29T10:27:29+00:00

We will not disclose your company information to third parties other than those involved in technical management or those you specifically request to assist you with your US project (Sherpas).

If you decide to work with Sherpas, you will have the option to send them your “brief” (the answers to the questionnaire that you complete to generate your roadmap). These answers, in addition to your email address, will be the only information that we will share with the Sherpas you have selected as recipients of your brief. All Sherpas sign a non-disclosure agreement with TradeSherpa, so that your information is kept safe.

Regarding IT, we have full ownership of our software and user data. Our software development agency must comply with a non-disclosure agreement and will only access our data for technical management purposes. For hosting and online payment solutions, we work with Amazon’s web server and Authorize.net. For more information regarding privacy and third-party liabilities, please refer to our Privacy Policy.

How does the matching process work? 2018-01-29T09:53:07+00:00

As soon as you complete your brief and access your US business roadmap, you get immediate access (or a preview, if you have a free account) to the Sherpas we recommend for you at each step, saving time on partner search and avoiding poor hires (how convenient is that, huh?).

You can bet that this access does not come out of the blue. We have worked for years to match international companies with US-expert Sherpas, carefully identifying the criteria that have allowed us to devise great matches down the road. Today, all the hard work that we have done manually has been converted into an automatized tool: that’s how powerful our platform is.

– And don’t worry, we will always keep an eye on the Sherpas listed on your Sherpa Team before you attempt to contact them, as we do not believe that robots can replace smart human beings  –

So, what about these criteria?

You will get a sense of them when taking the brief, and we believe that you will understand why we ask you to go through a questionnaire. However, we cannot disclose our secret recipe; it’s our knowledge and experience that has helped us build the algorithm and pave the way for future improvements, and we intend to keep leading the way!

How do you vet Sherpas? 2018-01-29T09:54:02+00:00

All Sherpas go through a rigorous vetting process before they become Sherpas for TradeSherpa.

We have no hesitation kicking a Sherpa out if he or she does not abide by our values: listening to clients, putting clients’ interests first, providing proactive and clear guidance at each step, being transparent on service fees, and delivering high-value services within clients’ budget constraints.

Besides proving that they have the TradeSherpa spirit, Sherpas need to demonstrate:

  • Robust experience working with foreign companies expanding to the USA, demonstrating hands-on knowledge and cultural agility
  • Appetite for guiding and servicing SMBs
  • Expert skills in their field, backed by clients’ and other Sherpas’ recommendations
  • Ability to collaborate with other Sherpas effectively (we hate communication limbos and siloes)
  • Business ethics and quality processes, so that clients can easily track and control progress as well as results
  • Specific value-add: languages, expertise on specific US regions or states, etc.
Can I compare Sherpas? 2018-01-29T09:56:15+00:00

Absolutely. At each step of your roadmap, TradeSherpa provides you with 2 to 4 suggestions of Sherpas that match your company’s unique profile, budget, and project needs. You can then review their profile, and decide to contact them all, or to contact only your favorites.

How do I contract with / hire a Sherpa? 2018-01-29T09:57:09+00:00

TradeSherpa is in charge of making the introduction between you and the Sherpa of your choice once you are ready to contact him or her. The Sherpa will then schedule a phone call or an e-call (e.g. Skype) with you directly. If you are happy with that first interaction and you decide to work with the Sherpa, then you will pursue the process directly with the Sherpa: discussion on terms, signature of the agreement, and beginning of the collaboration.

Please remember that TradeSherpa is not a party of the contract between you and the Sherpa. TradeSherpa’s mission is to facilitate the matching and introduction process, but we do not interfere with the Sherpa’s services.

Of course, we will follow-up with you to make sure that you are happy with the services delivered by the Sherpa. Also, don’t forget that a phone call with TradeSherpa is included in your plan, so you can ask us questions, request to look for another Sherpa, or provide us with feedback on your collaboration with the Sherpa if needed.

When should I contact Sherpas? 2018-01-29T09:57:59+00:00

Basically, you should contact them whenever you are ready. Your US business roadmap provides you with a timeline for each step and each module to help you assess when it is best for you to contact Sherpas; you then decide. Some companies will want to talk to Sherpas very early in the process to make sure they have everything under control and to get organized ahead of time; other companies will rather decide to contact them as they progress through their US business roadmap.

Since you will have to digest a lot of information as you start implementing your US project (and to connect many dots!), we recommend that you do not wait until the last minute, of course.

How much do Sherpas charge? 2018-01-29T09:59:12+00:00

Looking at your US business roadmap, you will see an estimation of fees for each step and module, specifying whether these fees correspond to monthly expenses (recurring fees), or to one-shot expenses (flat fees). This budget estimate is based on our experience working with the Sherpas we recommend for you and your company, so there should be no surprises.

Make sure that all the information you provide in the “brief” is correct in order to get accurate estimates.

Make sure that you get all the information you need to validate upcoming expenses with your Sherpas before you sign a contract. Your US business roadmap will help you check that everything has been covered and will be kept under control.

Of course, if you notice a significant discrepancy between the estimates we provide on your US business roadmap and your Sherpa’s proposal, please contact us. We value your feedback, and we’ll be happy to look into the matter or find another Sherpa if needed.

How do I pay for Sherpas’ services? Who is billing? 2018-01-29T10:00:00+00:00

Since you will be working directly with the Sherpa, and since TradeSherpa is not a party of the contract between you and the Sherpa, the Sherpa will in most cases bill you directly.

Sometimes, the Sherpa may ask TradeSherpa to bill you on his or her behalf for convenience purposes. We will proceed accordingly of course.

Regarding payment methods, Sherpas usually request wire transfers or online payments.

Note: If you intend to pay Sherpas using wire transfer, you may find Transfermate useful for international payments. Transfermate, an Ireland-based company awarded by top companies, enables you to make automated international wire transfers using the internet, with better exchange rates and lower bank transfer fees than traditional wire transfer options. The solution is simple for you, and it does not require any legwork from your Sherpa, so we recommend that you check it out.

How does TradeSherpa make money? 2018-01-29T10:01:52+00:00

TradeSherpa’s revenue consists of online subscriptions and commissions on Sherpas’ rendered services. We commit to being fully transparent and fair regarding our processes.

  • Online subscriptions: We derive part of our revenue from monthly subscriptions (Expansion and Sherpa Premium plans).
  • Commissions on rendered services: We earn 10% commissions on Sherpas’ revenue for services rendered to TradeSherpa’s users (except for Sherpas who are members of a regulated profession), up to 12 months after a contract has been signed. We do not discriminate, meaning that this commissions amount is the same for all Sherpas. Also, our US business roadmaps have been built to match companies with Sherpas that are well suited to meet their needs and their specific budget constraints; we will not push any Sherpa on our clients if we believe he / she is not calibrated to your needs. We do not receive commissions from Sherpas who are members of a regulated profession.

We can also perform specific services internally for our users, upon request (e.g. custom cost simulator, business plan, etc.). In that situation, the value of such services will be discussed directly with our users.

Do I have to file tax forms? 2018-01-29T10:03:09+00:00
  • If you are a non-US company, you have nothing to file for the USA. Some European countries do not require any form pertaining to your collaboration with Sherpas in the USA, but we recommend that you check tax regulations pertaining to your home country, be it in Europe or on other continents.
  • If you are a US company (or have a US entity) and if you want Sherpas to bill you in the USA, don’t forget to ask them a W-9 form so that your accounting department can comply with US tax regulations. It applies to LLCs, LLPs, and freelancers or independent contractors.
Do I get an invoice? 2018-01-29T10:06:24+00:00

You will of course receive an invoice for all Sherpa services rendered and billed, whether the Sherpas bill you directly, or whether TradeSherpa bills you on Sherpa’s behalf.

Can I contact you directly if I need help? 2018-01-29T10:08:33+00:00

Yes, you can contact TradeSherpa directly. We are all human beings, located in the USA, and striving to help you succeed!

You will have 2 options to contact the team:

  • 1st option = Talk to us during the call that is included in your plan (for Expansion and Sherpa Premium plans). It will be a great opportunity to review your US business roadmap together, answer your questions, and get you off to a good start for implementing your US project. Simply log into your account once you have completed your brief and have access to your US business roadmap, then click on the ‘Schedule a Call’ button from your dashboard, and let us know when you wish to talk.
  • 2nd option = Contact us through the ‘Feedback & Contact’ tab of your account, which will allow you to share your request. We’ll then get back to you, ready to discuss your challenges!

Talk to you soon!