Frequently Asked Questions
SECTION 1: MEET OUR ASSISTANTS
What does an “Assist-o assistant” mean?
An assistant is a very broad term and can cover a wide range of different skills.
At Assist-o, we focus on training and hiring professionals who provide specialized services such as web and graphic design, marketing, public relations, social media management, basic legal and tax consulting, administrative and IT support, and more.
Whether it is a business or personal matter, we can handle anything that can be done over the internet and phone.
Our employee base is constantly growing and our assistants are updating their knowledge, skills, and technologies continuously.
What are the benefits of working with Assist-o?
Working with us is the most cost-effective way to grow your team. You will get instant support from a highly skilled worker without the commitment of hiring an employee. Our flexible contracts offer you the option of working with an assistant full time, part-time, only a few hours a month, or even working with multiple specialized workers at the same time by flexibly and dynamically dividing the hours between them.
Assist-o Platform links clients all around the world with the best assistants we recruited and trained so they are ready to work with you in the most efficient way possible.
Since none of them will be your formal employees, you do not pay for lunch breaks, vacations, sick leaves, or training — we do. You will also not have to go through the hassle of hiring, interviewing, and selecting from hundreds of candidates. Also, we take care of all contracts and legal aspects of working with our assistants.
In short, you will get a trained professional your business requires at half of the price of a regular employee.
Free of the hassle of registering them for social security benefits, vacation planning, absences and wasted time that you still have to pay for – let us take care of this.
Who are your services for?
Our services are suitable for anyone who finds themselves lacking the time or knowledge to fulfill their working ambitions or personal projects. Whether your company does not have the budget or demand to hire a specialized person for a specific task, you need a replacement for an employee on leave, part-time help on a project, or simply want a discreet assistant to take care of your personal needs, our team has it all.
We offer ongoing support to busy individuals who require additional help in handling their day-to-day matters as well as to any kind of business, from early phase startups, small businesses to international corporations.
Will I be assigned a dedicated assistant?
Yes, you will be assigned a primary assistant who will be your main point of contact. Our assistants are trained and skilled professionals, familiar with most of the usual tasks we receive from our clients. You are encouraged to treat them as a part of your team and more than welcome to familiarize them with your culture and processes to achieve the best possible results.
It is very important to us that you and your Assist-o assistants establish a long-term relationship based on trust, respect, and understanding.
How do we communicate and work together?
You will be provided with an assistant’s direct email. Apart from that, we use video and audio calls, as well as texts, mostly through tools like Meet, Zoom, or iMessage. If there is any other way you would prefer to communicate with your assistants, such as setting a designated email address or a specialized tool, we will accommodate your preferred style of communication on all advanced plans.
Where are you based and what are your office hours?
We currently operate from three offices: the Swiss office is next to EPFL Innovation Park in Lausanne, our US office is located on Harvard Square in Cambridge, MA, and we also have a hub in Zagreb, Croatia.
Even though we do not set specific hours or schedules, our assistants are mainly located in Europe and therefore work on standard Central European Time (CET). That said, we do our best to meet the needs of clients from other parts of the world and ensure the support they need. Many of our clients are located in the US and Asia.
If you need an assistant available outside of the standard CET working hours, please contact us and we will do our best to accommodate you.
How do you select your assistants?
Our assistants come from a wide range of professional backgrounds. After applying for the job and completing a very extensive application form that includes everything, from submitting a CV and strong references, the next step is to answer questions that include small case studies and innovative solutions. Applications that stand out get selected for several rounds of interviews which are concluded by a final one with our founders to ensure they are a good fit for our company culture.
If they successfully pass tough interviews, assignments, suitability checks, we complete a background check and sign an NDA! After that, all assistants have to go through intensive training sessions, during which we test their resourcefulness with complicated tasks and complex problems which they have no previous experience or knowledge about.
We are highly selective in our application process and accept applications year-round at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do I need an assistant?
Working with an assistant may not be suitable for everyone, but if you answer yes to the questions below, you should contact us for a free consultation and our team will be happy to find a solution for your needs.
Do you lose opportunities because you do not have enough time to go through all your emails?
Do you have a concrete project (e.g. Marketing, Design, Web, etc.) that requires extra help or skills?
Do you spend too much time on tasks that someone else could do more effectively or economically?
Do you want to avoid the risk, cost, and commitment of a full-time hire, but still need help with managing your personal or company’s workload?
Do you want to have talent in various fields available on demand and be able to scale up your hours dynamically as your business grows?
Do you spend too much time on small or administrative tasks that bug down your productivity instead of focusing on what matters?
Do you have a lot of great ideas but lack the time of executing them?
Answering yes to any of these questions is an indication that you or your team lack the time or know-how to bring all your projects to life. We would be happy to help you find out if Assist-o is a viable option for your or your business!
SECTION 2: BASICS ABOUT THE TASKS AND PROJECTS
Which tasks and projects can my assistant help me with?
To answer this question, we will divide the tasks into two different categories:
Your assistant can coordinate meetings, schedule appointments, manage your calendar, and work with many different platforms and software systems/tools to ensure all your administrative tasks are synced and done with ease.
They can place orders, make purchases, book travels, handle payments, place phone calls, and do research for your projects. They can also read, send, delete, organize, filter, and create rules for emails on your behalf.
No matter how complex, they can manage your lifestyle and support your business by taking care of all the extra stuff you have on your plate.
Generally speaking, as long as the task does not break the law and does not make a member of our team reasonably uncomfortable, there are no limitations to what your assistant can do.
You can stay on track while they take care of everything else. Trust us, they know the drill.
All of our assistants are university educated and have different professional and university backgrounds. Whether you need a short-term expert in a specific field to help you with a precise task or long-term help with developing strategies and working as a part of your team, we have got you covered. We are continuously expanding the services offered, so our specialized tasks include, but are not limited to the following:
- Graphic design
- Marketing (including everything from marketing strategies to social media management)
- Basic legal and tax research
- Creating and maintaining websites
- Translation and proofreading (English, German, French, Italian, etc.), and many others.
For a full list of our services, visit the services page.
If you are interested in a specific skill that is currently not in our offer, contact us anyway. We offer customized solutions for your business which, depending on your needs, can include on-demand hiring.
The majority of our assistants fall into the “all-rounder” category. Along with strong specialized skills, they have solid experience in administrative tasks and customer service.
Does my assistant speak my language?
In short – depends on the language. Our assistants are English-speaking, but we also communicate in all relevant Swiss languages – German, French, and Italian. We take great pride in the fact that all of our assistants are at least bilingual, with some speaking as many as five languages.
If you prefer an assistant you can communicate with in your native language or you are expanding your business to a country whose language you do not understand, do not hesitate to contact us and we will make sure to match you with the right person.
However, do keep in mind that we cannot check the fluency of all the languages in our offer, so we suggest you ensure that you are satisfied with their level of proficiency during an initial conversation.
Do assistants work during weekends and holidays?
In general, we operate Monday to Friday until late hours. Should you need an assistant available over the weekend or outside of our standard office hours, please let us know and we will try to find the best way to adapt to your request.
How do I know I can fully trust my assistant?
During our selection process, we take no shortcuts. Out of a hundred applicants less than a handful is hired and our rigorous selection process consists of numerous tasks, background and diploma checks, and more.
In short, we put a lot of work into filtering the most experienced and trustworthy candidates and our clients’ satisfaction surely speaks in our favor. With that said, we also ensure this security also legally in our contracts as breaches of confidentiality can be fined with CHF 50,000.00 plus the costs of all associated damages.
How quickly will my project or task be completed?
As a Swiss company, we take deadlines, accuracy, and punctuality very seriously. All of our assistants are deadline-driven and do not fail to deliver results promptly.
You will work with your primary assistant on a one-on-one basis, and you can discuss with them directly any expectations you may have regarding their task or project.
What if I am not happy with my assistant?
Fortunately, because of the time and effort we put into matching our clients with a perfect assistant, we rarely receive that kind of feedback.
However, due to the ever-present human factor, we cannot always distinguish between which personality trait or business model may be exactly what you need and which may not be your cup of tea.
If you ever feel like your assistant may not be the perfect solution to your needs, let us know and we will find the best way to resolve the situation.
Will my assistant have other clients?
The number of clients your assistant will work with depends on their schedule and existing commitments but can be influenced by the type of plan you choose. We have assistants working with one client that takes up all their working hours and some who work with a mix of clients on smaller plans.
The important thing is, we will never match you with an assistant who does not have enough time, knowledge, and experience to handle your business or personal requests.
SECTION 3: ABOUT MY ASSIST-O ACCOUNT
Do you offer free trials?
No, we do not offer any kind of free trial for our services.
The reason behind it is simple: we do not believe that a few hours of a free trial will help in deciding whether or not an assistant is a right choice for your personal or business needs.
Let us explain it further: we are on a mission to add value to both your business and personal life and a few hours of the trial period will not make a significant difference. We put our time and effort into matching you with an assistant that will surely benefit you in the long run and we found that taking the time to schedule a consultation call and introduce you to your future assistant before signing the contract has a better long-term effect than the short trials.
If you are not yet convinced, take one of our smaller plans with little commitment, and watch how it changes your personal and business life.
How do I schedule a consultation call?
Scheduling a consultation call has never been easier. Simply scroll down to the “schedule a meeting” section, select the time and date that suits your schedule, and your free 30-minute consultation call is booked! You can speak directly to one of our founders or managing partners.
If you already know which plan or service you are interested in, feel free to contact us using the contact form with pre-selected information. It will allow us to match you with the perfect person right from the get-go. Getting started with your new assistant has never been simpler.
Why can’t I just sign up right away on your website?
At Assist-o, we focus on building amazing client relationships and consultations are the first step in that direction. They are in no way an obligation to sign up, simply a chance to set the right expectations from both sides.
To protect both of our businesses, we must know who you are and what you need support with. Give us a chance to get to know you and we will find a perfect match for all your business and personal needs.
Why do I need an initial introduction call with my potential assistant?
Some of our clients expect constant communication and updates, some prefer to only be reached out to when the task or a project is done. Different people work with different business models and have very different expectations.
No matter how big or small the tasks your assistant will be working on are, we believe that the initial introduction can get you a long way. If you prefer it that way, the call can only last a couple of minutes, just to simply put a face to a name and ensure you are working with the perfect person.
Do I have to pay before speaking to the assistant you matched me with?
After the initial consultation, we will contact you with a list of people whose skills and experience match your needs. You can schedule a call with one or more assistants you see fit for the role and make a decision after you meet them.
Once you know for sure our services are exactly what you need, we will sign the contract and start getting your work done.
Can I meet my assistant in person?
At Assist-o, we have the best of both worlds. Even though we usually embrace the remote culture to the fullest while working with clients, we do have weekly office days and occasionally work together in person. Zoom calls replace the regular city commute for the majority of days, and everyone, from assistants to management, often works together online.
However, if the opportunity arises and you want to meet the assistant you have been working with in-person and both sides feel comfortable with doing so, it can be arranged.
SECTION 4: BILLING AND PAYMENTS
How does billing work?
Once you agree to use our services, we will sign the service agreement and terms detailing exactly which plan you want to use, how many hours a month you will need our support for, and all the other relevant information.
At the beginning of each month, we will send you an invoice for our services and will do so for the duration of our agreement. We have various contract durations with slightly different prices which will renew at the end of each term for the same period, unless otherwise agreed.
What happens if I need more hours?
We made this very simple. We are aware that you cannot guess exactly how many hours a certain task or project will consist of. If you used up all of your monthly hours but you still need additional support, simply let your assistant know. We will do everything we can to free up their time for your potentially urgent work. Extra hours are simply added to your next invoice at the rate stated in the service agreement.
Are there any additional fees I would have to pay?
There are no additional or hidden charges – once we sign the contract, you are good to go!
That said, if you require the assistant to pay any kind of subscription, travel expenses, postal charges, or software uses, they would have to be reimbursed and the expenses would be simply added to your upcoming invoice.
Do I pay a different amount if I work with more than one assistant?
Once you sign the contract and agree on a certain number of hours, they can be used by any of the assistants from our team who is currently doing business with you as long as you are on an advanced plan.
Let’s say you have a designated assistant and you require them to translate something into German. They will contact one of our German-speaking assistants to do the job quickly and efficiently. They will simply bill the hours on your project in our time tracking software and you will receive a time report where you can clearly see who worked on what and when – we are very transparent about this. This service is called the back office.
Another possibility is that you need some simple legal help, and don’t want to hire an expensive lawyer. Your primary assistant would then delegate this task to our legal experts in the back office, potentially saving you thousands of dollars.
How do I keep track of my hours?
This is another one of those things we can discuss over the initial consultation.
Our assistants track their hours using a time-tracking platform where they clearly describe the exact task they have been working on and how much time each of the tasks took.
They usually send it to their clients on a weekly basis. Every Monday, the clients receive a PDF with a detailed list generated from our platform.
That said, if you prefer to be updated daily, or not at all, discuss it with us and we will do our best to accommodate your request.
Will my hours roll over to the next month if I don’t use them up?
We allow a certain amount of hours to roll over to the next month if they are left unused. This is subject to your assistant’s availability. Contact us to discuss your options and ways to accommodate your request in the best possible way.
SECTION 4: TECHNICAL AND SAFETY MATTERS
Which software will my assistant use to work?
All of our assistants are provided with a typical set of software suitable for their day-to-day tasks, such as Microsoft Office. Assist-o also uses G Suite, along with Google Hangouts and G Drive, Zoom. For internal daily communication, we use Slack.
Time tracking is currently done through Harvest and task monitoring through FreshDesk.
Our PAs will happily join your workspaces on any mentioned platforms. Beyond that, if you prefer to use some other software or platform your company works with internally, we will do our best to accommodate your request.
Can my assistant have an email account with my company?
Absolutely! Even though everyone in our team has a designated Assist-o account, most of our clients prefer to grant their assistants access to a company email address.
It makes the software usage and syncing up the inboxes and calendars much easier and more personalized. For instance this allows you to set an ‘out of office’ or vacation auto-reply that prompts people to contact your assistant when urgent and your assistant can keep you updated about the most relevant details. Not to mention, it will give both sides a feeling they became a part of the team.
Additionally, this feature comes free of charge for all plans upwards of the starter plan.
How do I share confidential information?
Our clients share their confidential information in many different ways. Some even prefer to do it over the phone. Our suggestion is to take advantage of the software made specifically to keep your data safe and encrypted.
LastPass has proven to be an excellent tool for password managing, while Dropbox, Firefox Send, WeTransfer, and even G Drive are some of the most commonly used ways to transfer confidential documents.
I am still worried about confidentiality.
All of our employees went through thorough background checks and signed very detailed NDAs. On a practical level, legally binding contracts between Assist-o and its employees, as well as between Assist-o and you, contain strict confidentiality clauses written by specialized lawyers (in Switzerland, the EU, the US). Given the nature of our business, we worked hard to make sure any data we gain access to is 100% legally safeguarded.
Will I sign an additional NDA with my assistant?
The NDA you signed before beginning to work with your assistant is legally binding for both sides. That said, there is no need to sign an additional NDA with any of our assistants, as everything is covered with an existing one.
However, if you would feel more comfortable if your assistant signed an additional NDA between them and your company, let us know before you start working together. We will review it and do our best to accommodate your needs.
You still have questions?
We have answers!
If you can’t find what you’re looking for in our FAQ section, please schedule a meeting using a calendar below, or an online submission form on our Contact page.