ATAX Seeks Area Representatives and Tax Preparers for 2021 Nationwide Expansion
You don’t have to know taxes or speak Spanish to succeed at ATAX, the 100% Latino-owned full-service tax preparation and business services franchise that serves clients in both Spanish and English.
But you do need some business savvy, management and people skills, and a desire to help others as you go into business for yourself. We spoke with three ATAX area developers to learn more about their experience with the brand and why they invested in it.
“It’s a recession-proof business—everybody has to do their taxes,” says Leo Miranda, an area developer with 15 territories in the Chicagoland area. “Today’s economy, the election, and Covid have created a lot of uncertainty, but the bottom line is that this business is recession-proof, and that’s what people like to hear.”
In addition to tax preparation, ATAX offers related personal and business financial services. These include bookkeeping, payroll, business creation and incorporation services (including C Corp, S Corp, LLC, Professional Corporation, Not-for-Profit), and more.
That “more” includes one of ATAX’s unique strengths, which sets the brand apart from other tax preparation services. As part of Loyalty Brands, ATAX is one of a family of related brands: First Choice Business Brokers, Loyalty Business Services, Estrella Insurance, and Shepherd’s Guide, a Christian business directory. This allows franchisees to take advantage of synergies through cross-referrals to fulfill their clients’ other business needs.
Another advantage is the track record of its founder, John Hewitt, a serial entrepreneur who founded Loyalty Brands in 2018—after co-founding Jackson Hewitt and founding Liberty Tax Service, both successful franchised tax preparation brands with thousands of franchised locations across the U.S.
“When people are looking into the brand and hear the person behind ATAX is John Hewitt, they become very interested,” says Jazmin Sandoval, another Chicagoland area developer (Jazmin and Leo are partners and have the 15 territories together, 12 territories in the north side of Chicago and 3 in the western suburbs.)
“It’s a huge benefit of having John Hewitt behind us,” says Dawn Sable, who doubles as an area representative for ATAX (since June 2020) and as Director of Strategic Resourcing for the parent company, Loyalty Brands (since July 2019). Previously, she was director of operations for a multi-unit restaurant group.
“I originally thought about owning my own store,” says Sable, who has 23 territories; 20 in south Chicago and 3 in a western suburb of Chicago. “I’d spent a lot of years in management, customer service and training and liked the idea of becoming a mentor, sharing my knowledge and experience and teaching others. I have a unique and special view of how ATAX and Loyalty Brands work and am extremely excited to be helping people become business owners on their own.”
Yet as Sandoval points out, while you’re on your own, you’re not alone. “Being an ATAX franchisee means having a business for yourself, not by yourself. They give you everything. There’s no trial-and-error here. It’s a proven system.”
Sable says the brand’s extensive support system is a real positive when she meets with prospective franchisees. “There are other franchisees, both with ATAX and in Loyalty Brands, you can reach out to for help and support. It makes both the company and your operation stronger.”
For first-time franchisees and independent tax preparers considering conversion to a franchised operation, she adds, “We offer a step-by-step guide to set up people as ATAX franchisees. We’ll hold your hand and teach you how to do it.”
“I think we are going to see a change in the industry as a result of Covid with a lot of small mom-and-pops interested in becoming part of a larger organization like ours,” says Martha O’Gorman, Chief Marketing Officer at parent company Loyalty Brands.
Miranda says this family of related brands creates synergistic opportunities for franchisees, including the opportunity to own more than one brand. For clients, this means referrals to a trusted network of business services. For franchisees, it means the ability to offer clients a suite of related personal and business financial services.
“This is a trend in franchising—multiple brands under a single parent company,” says Hewitt. “But Loyalty Brands is taking the trend to the next level of efficiency.”
“Each brand can offer something to other brands, and it opens up new opportunities for franchisees in all our brands,” says O’Gorman. “You can spend the winter focused on doing taxes and the summer on First Choice or another of our brands. There are a lot of ways to mix and match and do cross-marketing.”
“One of things prospects ask me is how do they continue to earn money after April?” says Miranda. “I believe our advantage is that you can keep the office open all year-round offering bookkeeping and payroll services. All these additional revenue streams add so much value to the franchise.” It’s also a way to keep retain your best employees throughout the year.
By the way, about that focus on a Spanish-speaking clientele? “ATAX is not limited to the Spanish-speaking population. We do taxes for everyone,” says Sable.
“One of the good things I have found with ATAX is that they do everything in English for franchisees. It’s up to us to serve Hispanics in their own language. That’s another thing I like about the concept,” says Miranda.
For her territories in Chicago, Sandoval says she strategically chose areas where the Hispanic market is growing. “Being Hispanic myself and speaking two languages, those territories are going to do great! You just have to have the burning desire to own your business, be your own boss, and the reward is for you to have more control of your life,” she says.
“If you’re willing to put in the work, are coachable, and listen to the experts,” says Miranda, “you’re bound to succeed.”
For more information on ATAX franchise please visit https://ataxfranchise.com/.
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