Sorry about that, I was using Henry & Richards number from 20+ years ago...... when the average return was about 79 or 119. One coworkers, did a $119 return that took her near 2 hours, (hand written, form 1116 involved with other forms) and when offered $50, she tore it up! SO, NOT everyone went along with it.
CF, you made me remember my first job working in a sandwich shop. The owner taught me how important it was to make sure the sandwich was perfect. He said do not look at this as a $2 sale, look at the customer as a $1,000 sale, because if he's satisfied he'll be back often for years. This was also the same message Henry & Richard had about customer satisfaction. When a client said "I can't afford this", we were allowed to discount, with the thought in mind, that the work was done and $50 was better than nothing at all, plus losing the clients for years to come. Henry and Richard trusted us believing since we had a percentage of the fee, we wouldn't discount lightly. I'm aware too many preparers abused the privilege, giving discount when discounts were NOT needed, thinking they could build their own client following by being cheaper than the preparer sitting next to them. Policy changed, that when a client said I can't afford this, they were send a discount coupon for the following year, and usually won back. I know Block still sends coupons to non-returning clients, as many of my clients have received them years after leaving. Keeping the client satisfied is the whole ball game.
I think the only difference between the individual small stock owners, and the large institutions, is institutions know when to pull out, as Warren Buffet did many years ago. While I have sold shares every now and then, I never stopped re-investing the dividend, because of past performance, and believing this company has the brand name that gives it an ability to keep growing. Over the years, I've watched the competition working hard hoping to achieve what Block has, and we've all witnessed the near demise of Jackson Hewitt who tried to copy Block, but did not have the resources to stay in the game. With a brand name and resources, Block not only keeps its number one spot, it has paid millions in lawsuits without losing it's shirt. They do seem to recover fast because they have a product people need, and know how to market it. While I would NOT encourage small investors to buy this stock if they're counting on cashing in short term with a need for the money, it appears its a good long term investment for those who can wait for the next high before selling.
Good reply in making some one aware of what to consider when making a decision on where to work. No one beats Block for its training, which is priceless with its $20 fee for as many classes as one wants to take. What is sad about Block is they will train for Partnership, and Corps, but do NOT have the software in most of their offices to do those type returns. While there are fewer and fewer Premium offices one can go to, the expectation of working there is after one has retained enough clients to follow them and pay more for the same service, which is NOT the best deal for the client to stay with you. Most franchises are small and keep their staff, and seldom want newbies or 1st year preparers, as they can not afford penalties or interest for errors, and will probably never pay more than a Block company office that has a high volume. Getting into a high volume office is the key to making the paycheck bigger.
Doing tax returns is the same as building a puzzle, without seeing a picture of the finished product first, meaning you start without knowing how many pieces or how long it'll take, or even how much it'll cost. You will be expected to piece it together with the client sitting there watching, asking and answering questions, while constantly being interrupted by co-workers and the telephone. Taking a moment to refresh your knowledge while your fingers hesitate, "is this 5 year or 7 year property for depreciation?" you can't just hope to get it right, it's your own reputation at stake to KNOW it's right.
AND knowing it's right, is also important to where you work and make your reputation and built your clientele.
You want to make sure your integrity is valued by the employer you choose. When you have so much to offer a company, make sure it goes two ways. One of my biggest complaints about Block is you can give all you have, NOT sign up for classes the following year, and NOT get so much as a phone call to ask why, and just be written off and forgotten!
Needed a grandchild to figure out why I couldn't post here for months! Browser problem, ain't the computer world fun? NOT!
Hard to believe the conversation is still on pricing and probably the biggest draw to new clients. 10 years ago I left Block, when one of my grips was pricing getting out of hand and long time clients telling me they wouldn't be back, that they liked me (would I do it on the side? NO.) but just couldn't afford the service any more. The phone still rings all year with the "how much do you charge?" question, while the caller lies answering "I've just got a W2" and fails to mention it's a 1099, or they have a rental, and can itemize etc.
There is just no way to give a price till we see what they actually have and what forms they need, but most of them want a "cap" price before they come in. We have capped many prices based on misinformation and some will walk if we don't stick to it. AND, the old "$200 is better than nothing" after the return is done makes sense, makes the client happy, and we know we can up the price next year. Nothing sounds better than after 4-5 years with that client when we tell them it's $300-400, they tell us "thank you".
Weird call yesterday. Caller said he's calling all Liberty employees inviting them to open their own franchise. Special deals are being offered.
Told him since I work for my son, I didn't think my son would like the competition, and that ended the call. Now I wish I had heard a bit more to see if it was a scam or real. Can a big company like Liberty "steal" employees away from their franchises like that? Or was it an honest call just showing opportunities exist?
Wishful, I agree with your assessment of NOT signing others returns, but it was always a practice at Block when I worked there. Because Block's policy was to never point a finger of blame on some one making an error, it was no big deal who signed it. Working in the Quality Control Dept (way back when) it was common for us to sign returns preparers send to us unsigned. (YES, after checking it), as it would have been foolish to reject it and hold it up over a signature, when some preparers only came in 3 days a week. It was also common for another preparer to finish someone else's return, adding no more than one item to Sch A, or a birth date or dependent SS# and then signing it. For years we would use memo paper to make a note: Joe started this, but Jane finished it, so the commission could be split between the 2, but it had to be more than just adding a dependent, at least an entire new form or a 1/2 hour or more time had to be needed by the 2nd preparer. Signature did NOT mean it was only that preparer that received the commission. We always trained the receptionist to LOOK for a preparer signature on a return that was being picked up to be mailed, and she was instructed to go to the nearest preparer to get a signature before showing the client where to sign. If we were with a client, there was NO way to check the return before signing. Block did NOT want the penalty for a missing preparer signature. I do not mind signing any of my co-workers returns, AFTER I check them first!
Gargano, you are so wrong. Criticism should be constructive, not hateful. To criticize a stranger is the same as picking out a novel for it's cover and then 3 pages in you realize you wasted your time and money, it's not the story you thought it would be. Please watch Bambi and listen real carefully to Thumper's Mother. "If you don't have something good to say...................... say nothing!
Good points, cantgetoveritall. Block's longevity is their best advertisement. They have the brand name that sticks out since they are number 1. Say tax, and people think Block. They also have pros with 25-35 years of experience and fantastic tax classes on every single tax code, and for a one time $20 fee, pros can take as many classes as they want. I've taught most of them, while also taking the most advanced classes they offered. Their franchisee pros are included to take these classes. While I do see Liberty growing, with great potential the success stories I know about are due to location, experienced staff, who take outside tax courses at their own expense, and franchise owners who have "heads" for business. The unsuccessful franchises I've witnessed can't hold on after franchise fees are MORE than profit, after rent and labor, due to expectations of greater results. Allowing people to think they can give a basic class and run an office using newbies, just above min. wage in such a complex tax system is a recipe for failure. It's one thing NOT to make it, but it's another thing altogether when their bitterness is spread across the Internet, and word of mouth gives Liberty a black eye. It's one thing to have a client say "Block screwed up my return, I won't go back", but when it's a franchise owner saying "Liberty screwed me" then name all the "skeletons", makes it twice as hard for the successful stores to bring in new business.
Growth happens when the tax codes change........ 2014 might be the year as the government will want MORE new taxes to cover Obamacare for 33 million new folks. Even America doesn't have enough 1%ers to cover it all.
Good question thinknlearn. That's why I'm wondering why no feed back. I have not bought this stock as I hold HRB stock, and the way that bounces around, I honestly can't imagine that Liberty could do better, as it doesn't have the advertising/marketing dollars to compete with Block. Door hangers annoy people, and most of the required FREE returns never return, and many offices don't have the software or experienced staff to do pay roll, partnership, estates or corp. returns, so they are NOT full service. I can only guess at this point (from the franchise where I work), and the stock creeping upwards, that is had to be a good year?
OH MY, did everyone just go away? NOT one word from anyone now that tax season is over? It was such a good year with a fantastic 2 week ending peak, I expected someone to mention it. Have we all been "burned out"?
Gargano, what a good chuckle for the day! Sure makes me wonder what HRB office you walked into! I might agree with you about pricing, (one of the reasons I quit) but talking trash about the staff is so 3rd grade, as I'm sure you did NOT get to know all of them. That you connect obese, old and ugly with brain dead, as my Grandmother use to say: Don't criticize another as you don't know how you yourself will end up! Block is still number one when it comes to the tax prep business, and millions and millions are happy with the service they get. SMART people KNOW you interview a preparer and ASK for their experience before hand.
Gosh, Florida you are entertaining. That's not the first time you've told me to quit my job. Since you told me you know who I am, please call my Bosses and ask that they fire me, I've been trying to retire for the last 2 years. Somehow they see the value of the bottom line since I'm booked solid year after year, Tell me honestly, would you honestly want to get rid of a pro who brings in 6 figures year after year, only because they disagreed with company policy & procedure?
"There is nothing dishonest about it, you raise your price so you can give the customer an immediate advance." Florida.
Is it advertised as an advance? NO, that's why it's dishonest! Allowing folks to believe we're giving them "free" money when they're going to pay it back in a higher price without being aware of it sounds dishonest to me. What is one supposed to do when the coupon is thrown on the desk? Tell the client, sorry, you'll
have to go to another Liberty that does honor it after the return is all done? NO, you sit and eat it! That's why I wrote: wink wink........
Some one else posted about the Sch C fraud, and was not the first poster who worked for Liberty to mention it....... In fact about 12 years ago there was an ad in our local newspaper that said: Call this number, pay $10, and we'll tell you how to lower your tax bill. Of course I had to call........ the voice said to make up a business and take losses against other income to double the refund. IRS shut the guy down! Sch C is widely known, and as I stated NO self respecting pro would ever do it. Can we "assume" Liberty only has self respecting pros, and I was NOT insinuating anyone at Liberty was doing it?
I do not think I'm anonymous on a public board. What details were you expecting? Cash in a flash, yep, that's really on the up and up, wink wink. Sch C..... YES, I've heard, and assume no self respecting pro would ever use it! Do you really want me to go on? I don't think so!
I do not agree with you radinfo1, but will not post why on a public board. Another poster mentioned how Liberty doesn't do good PR on franchises that close and give up, and leaves them with "a bad taste" towards the company, and yes, I know a few of these folks who threw in the towel and didn't do anything wrong. They just didn't make enough money to pay rent and wages to stay open 7 days a week. Their dream of having a business died. They were NOT prepared for NOT making it after hearing Liberty's cheer leading message on how successful they would be, and did not understand Liberty's fees could be higher than what income they did bring in, and one can only mortgage the house so many times!
I think those of us that do have a success story have had luck in the right location, hiring experienced pros, and have good marketing skills plus good management skills in scheduling and controlling cost.
When I compare how many clients I have from out of state Liberty priors, to how many clients I have that came from Block, Block numbers are 4 times greater, and most of them are looking for a lower price, which I can do, while Block can't.
I do NOT own a franchise, I am the Mom who LOVES this business and knows what works in the client/preparer relationship. I do NOT like doing FREE returns unless it's for relatives or best friends or dependents. It's my job to bring money in not give my time, knowledge, and service to some one looking for a freebie who I will never see again, as they just wander store to store looking for the next freebie. It devalues the product, cost the company nothing, but does put a burden on the franchise owner who still has to pay wages for time spent, plus supplies. If John Hewitt thinks this is a money making idea, shouldn't he offer franchises cash for each free return he insist they do, parting with a few bucks to prove freebies are good marketing?
This next 3 weeks of tax season, is a department stores' December, end of the year profit. May all be Blessed to "bring it in". Get those COD's picked up and paid for, and call the Hold returns and finish them this week. Hope everyone has Easter Sunday off to enjoy family time, as I predict the following 2 weeks of the last minute crowd is going to hit hard. Keep finger foods in the break room and the coffee pot fresh, and don't forget to give your receptionist a few breaks during the day. Make sure there is enough toner ink on site, and enough envelopes for balance due vouchers. Be sure the staff knows the benefit of direct debit for the 9465, that lowers it's cost. Good luck to all, may your extensions be few.