Founder and CEO of ATAX
Franchise Chatter (FC): Can you please share a bit of background on the ATAX concept – including its founding story and growth up to this point?
Rafael Alvarez (RA): I founded ATAX in 1986 with $200, two computers, a fax machine, and a $1,000 loan from 18 of my friends in my home city of New York. The plan was always for ATAX to be a full-service income tax preparation business that represents and caters services toward the Latino community. It blossomed, and we began offering additional services such as bookkeeping and accounting, notary services, and insurance analysis – often helping to better educate our community on the steps they need to take to ensure citizenship and financial success in the economy.
Additionally, every ATAX franchisee has the ability to offer supplemental services as part of their business model. These secondary services can range from English as a second language, immigration advice, passport photos, and so on, which turns the business into a year-round operation even as tax season has come and gone.
FC: What is the relationship between ATAX and Loyalty Brands?
RA: Loyalty Brands is a business services franchise group that was founded in 2018 by John Hewitt. John came to me, and as ATAX is the first Latino-owned tax preparation company, he wanted to help expand our growth model beyond the East Coast to better meet the needs of the thriving Latino community.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, an estimated 55 million Latinos live in the United States with over four million being business owners, and another 11 million undocumented. Since 2012, the number of Latino-owned businesses has grown by over 30 percent, and accounts for over $700 billion in revenue – proving to be a major driver in the growth of the U.S. economy.
With that in mind, we joined forces to fuel our expansion, and utilize Loyalty Brands’ widespread suite of services to benefit our existing franchisees. Loyalty Brands also houses five other franchise concepts that benefit one another, such as a networking and brokerage franchise. Through our existing partnership, ATAX franchisees can better understand other aspects of business, and, if they are looking to expand their business portfolio, they can enter a franchise agreement with these sister brands as well.
FC: What makes ATAX an attractive business opportunity for potential franchisees?
RA: The tax industry is attractive to business owners in that it can be seasonal; from January through April, you’re hard at work advising and preparing taxes for your clients, and then you have slower months that allow for a nice work/life balance, which is top of mind for a lot of franchise owners.
ATAX differs in the fact that it gives all its franchisees the option of being a seasonal or year-round business. I mentioned the additional services we offer, such as bookkeeping and payroll, which provide multiple revenue streams and allow business owners looking to stay open all year the ability to do so without challenge. Having that choice is really alluring for our franchisees, as it gives them ownership of their time, and the ability to dabble in additional business services beyond just tax preparation to help their community.
FC: What qualities do you look for in a potential franchisee?
RA: Anyone with a passion for helping others and who has previous business experience fits the bill of our ideal franchisee. While having a background in the financial sector isn’t necessary, we do like our franchisees to have knowledge of the management process and the cyclical tax business since they will be building – and leading – a team of experts in the field.
It also benefits our franchisees to be bilingual, as one of our optional services is teaching English as a second language, and we are a bilingual tax preparation franchise.
FC: How can people learn more about ATAX and its franchising opportunity?
RA: Anyone who is interested can learn more about our franchising opportunity by visiting https://ataxfranchise.com