If you look back the past few years, it looks like Sept-OCt is the time to BUY. That is usually the low point and trades higher to about June of next year. Again what do you base you estimate on? Any facts?
What do you mean by 'in progress'? And what do you see that would cause the price to fall below $26 as the tax (earning) season approaches?
I think the argument has drifted into the "no I didn't, yes you did" phase. All of us can cite examples where official corporate policy (both Block and Liberty) were either ignored or violated. It's not difficult because the offices operate like small fiefdoms for a short period of time.
But the original discussion was starting pay?? (I may be mistaken because the thread has gone off on several tangents.) And to me starting pay is a useless figure. If a person is looking for a 90 day temp job to earn extra money, then tax preparation is the wrong place. Choose a fast food restaurant where you'll have a more consistent schedule and won't spend 60 hours taking classes and even more doing homework. But if you're looking at the long run, then maybe tax preparation makes sense. I would have paid Block for my first year in a tax office because it provided the experience that would serve me for the next thirty years. Even though my first year was far better than most, every person will gain more than they contribute to the company in their first year. Yes, I did 541 returns that first year (far more than I would ever do again!) and brought in some income to Block. But what I learned was far more valuable than the dollars earned. Dealing with clients, understanding the practical nature of tax returns, researching the things I didn't know and most importantly, when to refer a client to someone else when I was over my head became the basis of my new career. So whether someone starts at $8 per hour or $13 per hour is interesting, but totally irrelevant.
One final thought, and I'm done. I'm not objecting to subjective opinion. People can hold any opinion they want. However, someone makes an objectively false statement about Liberty Tax Service and they know the truth I will question their motives and call out the dishonesty - every time I see it. There's no call for that kind of nonsense, and Block folks do the same all the time.
Let me be very clear. I have been a franchisee of Liberty for over twelve years. I am in an area with many franchisees. I have seen franchisees fail. I have never heard of a franchisee either paying new preparers minimum wage or of breaching their contract with employees to pay bonuses/commissions. Since I don't know every Liberty franchisee, I cannot make the blanked statement that every franchisee does what s/he is supposed to.
However, doontoothers said, "I hate that Liberty recommends min. wage for newbies". That is entirely different than what you are characterizing. She was talking about "Liberty", meaning the corporate office / franchisor. When I called her out on this statement she has tried to change it to something else. Why dodge and weave? Why not just admit that the statement was false, wrong, inaccurate, untruthful, or in some other way not valid? Saying, "well, I know franchisees..." has nothing to do with it. I've seen franchisees do many things that did not comply with Liberty's system. I'll be Block has seen the same thing. That is NOT what we're talking about here, so let's not confuse the issue with misdirection.
floridataxguy, the disagreement between you and doontoothers seems to stem from your citing the operations manual (the way things are supposed to be run) and her citing her observations (the way things sometimes happen in the real world). You run and she works for successful franchises. You do not seem to have any contact with or knowledge of franchises who couldn't make it. She does.
I have no doubt that some new franchisees cannot pay promised commissions because they just don't have the money. Maybe they staffed for 180+ hours a week and only had 100 returns show up (some of them mandatory freebies) because they had a rotten territory, no support when the computer program went down, whatever. What happens in this case, when the franchisee can't meet payroll or commissions? The Labor Board says they have to, that employees MUST get paid, but you can't get blood out a rock. Does corporate step in and cover payroll?
It's not that Liberty ever tells them not to pay their employees, it's because they just plain can't. Other stuff, like inflating return prices with unnecessary forms, might be a franchisee's decision unprovoked and perhaps discouraged by corporate. I don't know. Ideal territory and income level help a franchisee succeed. You seem to have both, plus good employees and business savvy. Not all Liberty owners do, and doontoothers knows some of them. Truce?
The thing is, I have offered the specific page in the operations manual that gives Liberty's recommended compensation, which refutes your claim that Liberty pays its new preparers minimum wage. Yet you insist you are speaking the truth. There's some fascinating psychology going on here, but people can draw their own conclusions. You THINK you heard John Hewitt advising franchisees not to pay people for their work? If you have a problem with something you THINK you heard on a conference call, take it up with John. You have his email address. Why air your nonsense so publicly? Unless you are actively trying to damage Liberty for some strange reason, which is baffling. You're obviously disgruntled, but you have chosen a very unhealthy and unproductive way to air your grievances with Liberty. I don't care about any of that, you can express your opinions in what ever way you like. They reflect who you are. But when you state factual falsehoods (which most people do call lies) I will call you on it every time. I don't care what you claim you have witnessed. I don't believe you on that anyway, because how in the world would you know how any other franchisee besides your son runs their business?
What I have witnessed goes against what you believe, making you feel you have the "high road", and can throw out the word liar. Truthfully, it doesn't bother me, doesn't make me mad, as I learned a long time ago, when some one doesn't want to believe something, any thing said against that belief is a useless conversation. Those that know me know I am NOT lying, and that's all that counts.
Do you remember the conference call of how to get FREE labor by using people without pay for XXX number of hours? I think it was John's son that came up with that idea. Hopefully NO ONE used it!
Now you are grasping at straws. I am attacking only dishonesty. Yes, there might be a franchisee somewhere that fails to follow Liberty's system and fails to execute employment agreements. Then they would be giving those employees access to sensitive information with no contractual obligation for confidentiality, no non-compete agreement, nothing. Do you really thinl that is how Liberty offices run? Do you think that is what Liberty recommends it franchisees do? You love to slam Liberty, stating nonsense like saying that Liberty pays its preparers minimum wage, and this is what you're hanging your hat on? You can say any honest negative thing you like, but when you make up lies (for what ever nutty reason you're doing it) I'm going to confront you and I'm going to provide the truth. I'm sorry if that makes you mad. Yes, I know people who were not successful as franchisees. I know a man who lost $450,000 trying to make it as a franchisee of Atlanta Bread Company too. He ran a dirty restaurant. People do fail. And sometimes, when they say Liberty pays employees minimum wage, they also sometimes lie. Just stop it and I'll shut up, okay? If I didn't know that you know the truth it would not be as irritating.
As I've said before, I and numerous other Liberty franchisees have looked at average new preparer compensation over the span of more than 10 years and it typically comes in between $12-13 an hour. That is better compensation than an HRB newbie gets. After 15 years, and HRB preparer probably makes more than a 15 year Liberty preparer, but there really aren't many 15 year Liberty preparers so that's just a guess on my part.
Can we agree there are low volume franchise offices? That a new office needs to be staffed 76 hours a week (9-9 weekdays 9-5 weekends). Can we agree there are many "dead hours" during tax season? . Staffing an office is done by a guesstimate of how many clients are expected on a day to day basis. New franchises haven't got a clue and tend to over staff. Too many preparers can lessen the bonus for all, too few preparers losses business when clients won't wait. It takes time for any new business to grow and establish a reputation.
With 3-6 preparers some will get more "dead time" than others, won't have the availability for max peak hours, and no repeat request to fill March's calendar. A bonus for them will be nothing to brag about.
When I worked at Block, they would close any new office that did less than 800 returns. Most HRB pros will refuse to work a new office, as the risk of less pay is too high.
I did complain about pay when I discovered the new starting pay at Block is $9 with NO commission, as 10 years ago it was $10 with commission. I do NOT understand why a worker in a service industry working one on one with clients, as the representative of the company, who are capable of putting out a start to finish product while building trust, that brings growth wouldn't be more valuable with all the training one has to learn on their own time. A filing clerk starts at $12.50 an hour, knowing nothing more than the alphabet.
Again you "assume" all franchise's have employees sign a contract! That all franchises' follow every rule and regulation. You seem to love the attack mode should any one dare to disagree or say anything negative about Liberty. I have a personal relationship with 2 EA's who had to shut down, (one filed for bankruptcy) and one CPA with a highly successful accounting business that added Liberty Tax Prep to his office, which did NOT work out for him. After two years, he peeled Liberty's sign off his window, and stayed opened till his death a few years later. I KNOW what all 3 of these really good guys went thru, from buying into what they believed to be their dream business, to the stress and strain and cost of failure.
FYI, I have retired, and am training my replacement. Because it's my son's office, I will only take on long time clients that won't go to another preparer. Most have been with me since my HRB days. Like it or lump it, both HRB and Liberty have their B.S. factor. I've told you more than once, I was happy for you and my son for having a successful Liberty, there are many, and hopefully Liberty will keep growing. Being reduced to having a temper tantrum and cussing while trying to advertise Liberty's value on the HRB message board is NOT the best way to win customer confidence, or make preparers want to work there.
I can attest to this. The $8 an hour rate is the lowest one and it goes with the very highest commission percentage. There are options for franchisees to make the hourly rate $9, $10, $11, or $12. The thing that varies in that case is the percentage, but for a first year preparer it typically works out to be about the same amount. It is patently untrue that Liberty recommends paying preparers minimum wage. They make substantially more than minimum wage, and franchisees can't just decide not to pay part of someone's compensation. That's just nonsense.
"Low pay is only for the lazy and folks dumb enough to work for the likes of HRB!!!" What an arrogant, mean statement. We have now heard from lots of HRB pros who make $25-30+ an hour, not exactly "low." And you are the "simpleton," Mr. simpleman (pun intended) to think that HRB pros are dumb. The company requires lots of continuing education every year, and every course has an exam that must be passed with a score of 80% or better. These exams are tough, and that is coming from someone who really studied the stuff and has an EA and Masters in Taxation.
You forget the human side of employment. Pros get attached to their colleagues, classmates, and clients. They commiserate about the shoddy treatment they receive at the hands of KC management but support each other and get through it. They are neither lazy nor dumb, but dedicated. That's why HRB gets away with all the #$%$ they throw at their preparers. I believe they are the best trained among all the chains, which is why I believe HRB has a chance at surviving the post-RAL, computer in every home or phone, landscape better than the other chains.
"As I also pointed out the bonus is dangled, I'm aware of a few franchise's that had zero profit, and did not have the means to pay it."
Yet more lies. The bonus is part of the same employment contract as the hourly rate. It is not "dangled", it is a contractual obligation. If a franchisee does not pay it they are in breach of the employment agreement just as much as if they didn't make their bi-weekly payroll. Where do you come up with your #$%$ from? And I gave the very page on the operating manual where franchisees are give a choice or range of recommended rates between higher hourly rates and lower bonus percentages and vice versa. Liberty gives franchisees a choice of recommendations. You know the #$%$ you are spewing about Liberty compensation is false. Why are you doing it? That's a legitimate question, why are you misrepresenting your own son's franchisor's recommendations? Have they #$%$ you off badly enough to state outright misrepresentations? Again, NO FRANCHISEE CAN AVOID PAYING THE CONTRACTUALLY AGREED BONUS without being in breach and subject to legal sanctions. That's a fact, no matter how badly you want to damage Liberty's reputation.
Yes this is a hard time for those trying to survive in corp America. Companies spend billions to buy back stock and increase bottom line, and employees are just expenses.. HRB's price at all time high so why would they be listening to our complaints. High unemployment is a disaster for workers, And 401K to fund retirement will be a disaster for many (most?) as they are not funded enough. A few years back in our area in Fl hospitals were offering $5000 sign on bonuses for nurses when there was a shortage. But for the average worker 100 apply when there are openings for 2 positions. My wife retires this year after 15 years at United Health Care. We were diligent with 401K and IRA's, but with no pension really she is just 'giving notice' not retiring. She did get a $200 bonus for 15 years.
I agree with you. Block is NOT for those who want it as their primary income source. And I guess that is why they can get away with a lot. I don't track my hourly rate, only the dollars I make. I used to 'forget' to punch in some times and had a higher draw. Now I do better and get 'paid' less. People talk about 'pay' and 'bonus', but that is incorrect. We do not get paid or get a bonus. We are 100% commission and get a weekly draw. So I don't care if my hourly is $15 or $25. I moved to a new office two years ago, and in that time three long time preparers retired. I got a lot of new clients and now work more hours, but still just consider it a part time job. So again, if you want maximum pay, your best bet is to open your own business or work for a private company. If you like the flexibility then stick at HRB. Just because you are not seeking maximum pay, doesn't make you lazy or dumb. At age 66 my 'maximizing' goals are behind me.
Just to let you know, I made $30 an hour last year at Block. If you work hard, take care of your clients, and become a Master Tax Advisor, you CAN make a lot of money. I made this on my 7th year after starting at $10 an hour. I am not lazy or dumb. I am a CPA who chooses to have the flexibility to take care of my kids instead of working full time.