October 6, 2015

Time to Start Your Tax School? Not.

Hi, I’m Mario Costanz, also known as The Problem Solver. I’m the CEO of Happy Tax Franchising. Thank you for joining us.

In this week's session, I'll answer a question from someone we will call Brandon from Nashville. Brandon wants some help about starting his tax school in order to be ready for the upcoming tax season with competent preparers. Brandon has a tax office and has struggled finding good tax preparers to work for him each year. Like many others in the industry, he tries to recruit experienced preparers and also runs a tax school in order to recruit, train, and hire new preparers to work for him. Brandon owns a franchise at one of the other national tax prep chains so he asked that we disguise his name so his franchisor doesn’t find out he’s seeking advice from us. 😉

Now, at Happy Tax, our franchisees don’t have to even ever worry about holding a tax school as our CPAs do all of the prep work for them. However, I do want to help Brandon so here is what has worked well for me years ago before we figured out a better and more efficient way to run a tax practice.

Just like marketing in tax season, your marketing needs to be consistent and strategic in order to fill up your tax school with people who will become good preparers. There’s good news and bad news. The good news is that there are some people out there that are good at both the tax preparation process - you know, tax law, computer data entry, problem solving as well as sales, marketing and customer service side of the business. The bad news is that under 5% of all people are good at these skill sets. So in order to find those 5% of people, you have to train lots and lots of people. And in order to train lots and lots of people, you have to really get the word out and fill up your tax schools. Generally, less than 50% of all people that enroll in a tax school will even finish it. And of those 50% of people that finish it, many will only want to work part time. And of those that do want to work full time, you’ll probably only want a handful of them. So, in my experience, if you start a tax school with 100 people, only 50 of them will finish. 25 of them you won’t want to employ and of the 25 that are left, only 1 or 2 will be good at both taxes and customer service. In the traditional retail world of tax prep, you’ll probably need to hire more than that if you want to have a high volume office. So you’ll have to hire part timers and also people who are good at only 1 of the 2 required skill sets in order to be a great tax preparer.

So how do you fill up a tax school with 100 people? It’s not easy. I have done it many times over my career and it requires careful planning, aggressive marketing, and having a system in place to handle inquiries, sign ups, logistics, testing, and interviewing.

In terms of marketing for the tax school, typically, Craigslist is the best place to fill it up. The key is to list the ad in multiple categories even if you are in the city that requires payment for each ad. You’ll get tons of resumes and responses if you do it right and you have an ad that is well written. Also, marketing to the PTIN list works very well. The PTIN list is people who have registered with the IRS to be a tax preparer. You may be thinking that these are experienced tax preparers. However, in many cases, they are not. Many of them still need tax school as they have little or no experience or need refreshers.

As I mentioned, here at Happy Tax, our franchisees don’t even have to run tax schools as their business model is a smarter way of doing things. They focus on the sales, marketing, and the initial customer service and we handle the tax prep and processing of returns for them. Enabling them to focus on business development and growing their business without hiring employees.

Last week, we announced in a press release our quarterly results here at Happy Tax. It has been an amazing quarter with franchisees coming on from across the nation. We also announced the roll out of our Area Representative Program. Happy Tax Area Representatives become our vested partners in their given area and share in our royalties and franchise fees in return for their assistance in recruiting and supporting franchisees in their area. They pay a one time upfront franchise fee of their own based on the population in their area and they own that area to develop and grow as their own business with our support. To learn more about our area rep program, email sales@happytax.com and we’ll get you the info you need.

Have a wonderful and productive rest of the week and take care.

For more information on Happy Tax

Go to GetHappyTax.com

or email me at


Happy Tax.  - Smile, It’s Time to File. 😉

Happy Tax

The #1 tax filing solution that combines expert CPA tax preparation with a fast, easy, convenient, and secure mobile experience!
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