Liberty Tax Service Set for Supercharged Growth as Winning Franchise Opportunity
Liberty Tax is diving into 2021 with an eye on innovation and a bold approach to fast franchise growth.
With 1.6 million customers and about 2,700 locations, Liberty Tax is the nation’s third-largest institutional tax preparation service provider and the second-largest provider of such services in Canada. The Dallas-Fort Worth area-based brand, founded in 1997, has made its mark with a customer-centric approach to individual and small business tax preparation and tax-related financial products such as prepaid debit cards and refund transfer products. With the pending acquisition by NextPoint Acquisition Corp. in the works, Liberty Tax stands primed to thrive as a diversified, cutting edge financial services platform backed by strong leadership. We checked in with Liberty Tax Service CEO Brent Turner to learn how the brand deftly navigated the pandemic positioned for a bright future as a top trusted franchise.
Brent, you took the reins at Liberty Tax in mid-2019. Tell us a little about the company, then and now.
In 2019, the company was at an inflection point. We had a limited revenue model, which constrained the value that our franchisees needed or wanted. Some of our core platforms, like our tax software, needed significant upgrades. Clearly, there was a lot to do and not a lot of time to do it.
I have been fortunate enough in my experience to work with some very talented executives, and so, I assembled my executive team within two to three months, and we went to work. We concentrated first on the core systems and adopted best-in-class tax software. But we didn’t stop there. We customized that software to our unique business standard and delivered a high availability experience, one in which our franchisees have confidence and pride. This same work gives us modular flexibility to add features and capabilities to our platform without impacting our core tax calculations and thereby ensuring integrity to that build.
For instance, late last year, we delivered two mobile apps. The first is our consumer-facing app, which enables clients to interact with, and even complete a tax return 100% remotely, with the assistance of a local Liberty Tax franchisee.
The second app was a franchisee-facing one that enables our franchisees to manage their business, from start to finish—all from their mobile devices. The mobile app features dashboards, tickers and reminders, and a full representation of back-office operations. It can even let the franchisee know how long someone has been waiting in the lobby of a location to connect to the client via two-way texting.
Our second big initiative was to evolve the business to offer other related year-round services, such as small business and personal loans, mortgage origination, insurance, bookkeeping, banking as a service and tax debt resolution. Many of our Franchisees have spent a decade or more building a trusting relationship with their clients, so it makes sense that we’d offer a full suite of services and enable our franchisees to remain open year-round and fulfill as many of those needs as possible.
Where is the company headed in the next two to four years?
It was recently announced that Liberty Tax, along with consumer and small business lender LoanMe, would be acquired by NextPoint Acquisition Corp., with an expected close date of Q2 2021. The move is going to create an enormous amount of value for franchisees. The union of these two industry leaders will create opportunities on both sides to grow each business organically through cross-exposure. While we were already on the path to becoming the one-stop destination for financial service clients, this transaction will supercharge the pace of our vision.
What are Liberty Tax’s key value drivers for prospective franchisees?
Without a doubt, the number one value proposition is our low franchise fee of $40k, relative to the net margins achievable in this business. I can’t say that it will always be that low, but for today, Liberty Tax is a great value, particularly when compared to similar businesses. But in addition to that, our suite of financial services offerings, under one roof, is unparalleled. We create the opportunity to be a “one-stop-shop” in our communities. And, I can’t say this enough, our technology stack will continue to separate us from the pack for the foreseeable future.
What do you do in your leisure time?
It’s an amazing thing to be working at your hobby. I am one of the few who are gifted in the sense that I enjoy doing what I do and do not see work as a means to live, but rather my work is woven into my life. It may sound like I am working all the time, and I probably work more than most (counting mental time and capacity), but I do not feel like it’s work. It’s fun! When I am completely off the grid, I love to take my family (especially my granddaughter) to our house in Angel Fire, New Mexico, no matter what time of year. That is one of the most special places I know, I grew up going to Angel Fire, and it always feels like home. We all love to ski or snowboard, ride four-wheel vehicles, hike, fish, and boat… you can do all of that right In our backyard.
To learn more about freedom and flexibility and the Liberty Tax franchise opportunity, visit LibertyTaxFranchise.com.
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