- The Essential Military-to-Civilian Transition Resource

Veterans Like Franchise Ownership Because It Lets Them Lead and Follow

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“What’s Next?”

It’s a question Andrea Burns pondered as she entered her last year of active duty as a Marine. The options were many because, as a Lieutenant Colonel, Burns had much-desired leadership and management experience.

Burns knew she wanted to own a business, and she knew she wanted flexibility. She researched franchise opportunities because she thought the franchise model would provide the training and guidance she needed as a new business owner.

Burns was introduced to Liberty Tax Service by a family friend. His success and her conversations with other franchisees helped her make her decision. There was one other thing, too.

“I liked the fact that you work really hard for 3 months,” Burns said. “Then you get a break. That drew me in.”

Liberty Tax Service has more than 2,000 franchisees like Burns who enjoy the seasonal nature of the tax preparation business. They put in long hours during the early part of the year, but find the remaining months flexible and much less stressful.

For Burns, the flexibility allows her to spend more time with her three children. She can attend school functions and do things a regular 9-to-5 job would not allow.

A Smooth Transition

Ownership has worked so well for Burns that she now has four Liberty Tax locations in California and is planning to expand in the next tax season. She said the switch from being a full-time Marine to a full-time business owner was smooth, especially because there are similarities between the two.

“In the Marine Corps, everything has a procedure that you follow,” she said. “With Liberty, you buy into a system, and if you follow it you will have success.”

One part of that system is the Tax Course ( Burns and other Liberty franchisees offer the course in the fall to help Americans learn how to do their taxes. The course is typically offered over a 10-week period. The course is free, but in some states students pay a small fee for books. Students can attend classes in the daytime or evenings. While in class, they learn about all kinds of tax rules. Refundable tax credits, student loan deductions, military service and filing status are just a sample of the curriculum.

Some of the best students in the course are former military, said Joel Vance, a Liberty Tax franchisee in Tennessee. Many are offered positions as tax preparers after they complete the class. They make great tax preparers, Vance said, because you can count on them.

“They’re disciplined and reliable,” he continued. “If they say they’re going to be there at 5, they’ll be there.”

Many who take jobs as tax preparers come back year after year to earn extra income. Several move from tax preparer to owner.

Buying a Franchise

Franchise ownership is easier with Liberty because a Liberty Tax franchise is affordable. Start-up costs begin at about $59,000. Ownership is also appealing because those in the industry know how reliable taxes can be. Each year millions of individuals file taxes, and each year more than half of them use a paid, professional, like those at more than 4,400 Liberty Tax locations across the United States and Canada.

Franchisees like the training that goes along with ownership. They don’t have to have tax experience. Liberty teaches franchisees all they need to know. And, leadership is responsive. CEO John Hewitt hosts conference calls just about every other day during tax season to help and encourage franchisees.

“Liberty is by far the best,” said Vance. “They are here for you. Help is just a phone call away.”

Vance was an enlisted Marine and Naval Officer before trying his hand at business ownership. He opened a mail company first, then a moving company. Vance found Liberty while he was an adjunct professor at a college in Tennessee. One of his students was a Liberty Tax owner.

“She told me some of her numbers, and I said, ‘Really?’” Vance recalled. “She brought her books and showed me. Next thing I know I was at the meet and greet, then EOT (Effective Operations Training).”

Vance now owns three Liberty Tax locations. He is pleased with his Liberty Tax business, but he said he does have one regret.

“I wish I took the plunge with Liberty way before I did.”

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