The golden rule has been around for a long time and it’s the basic philosophy that One Stop Tax Services Inc. instills in all its franchisees.
“We treat our customers the way we want to be treated,” owner Dr Charles Kinuthia said during a recent interview from the One Stop Tax headquarters in Houston, TX.
In fact, the franchise is such an ardent purveyor of the golden rule that it’s been nominated for an iChange Nations Golden Rule International Award to be given out April 18 in Michigan.
The tax preparation franchise has been in operation since 2009 and started franchising in 2014. Currently, it has 15 franchisees located in Texas, Alabama, Florida and California and a total of 30 locations nationwide. One Stop Tax aims to expand right across the country and has available territories in every state, with Kinuthia specifically mentioning Georgia, Missouri, Mississippi and Kansas.
“We are a young franchise, so we do have a lot of prime territories available,” Kinuthia said.
The type of person One Stop Tax is looking for in a franchisee is someone who can fit into the company culture, the owner “We like to have people who like to make money and who like to have fun while doing so, we also love franchisees that like to give back to the community” he said. One Stop tax is involved in a lot of community work from feeding the hungry,
offering scholarships to students, etc.
Tax experience is good, but not necessary, he added, as the company constantly trains franchisees and their employees. Their corporate structure is also lean rather than bureaucratic, which means the company is responsive to franchisees’ needs and can easily assist newcomers to the tax industry.
Working class people, as well as full-time investors could readily fit into their system as long as they have the right attitude, he said.
The company is fortunate to have a great group of leaders, Kinuthia said, and they believe they have a competitive edge with their golden rule approach to customer service.
That great group of great leaders is due to what Kinuthia called world-class training for both franchisees and employees. One Stop Tax’s franchising process makes it more of a partnership rather than just a financial transaction.
For the training, they first start off with a minimum five-day operations training course at the corporate office in Houston. It addresses the critical aspects of operating an income tax preparation business like staffing, marketing and IT.
After that, they also provide hands on training that happens at select franchise locations throughout the country. This training is focused primarily on taxes, how to prepare them, how to deliver and communicate financial products and any other functions related to the tax preparation process.
The company also has advanced training that focuses on how to grow a franchise so franchisees can go from having a single location to being an area developer.
They’ve established a training model that teaches franchisees how to sustain their growth and keep their momentum going once they’ve become successful.
Every Monday during tax season, Kinuthia personally hosts a conference call where he talks about the challenges in the market, different marketing trends, staffing needs, what franchisees need to be concentrating on that week to be successful, plus hot topics like tax issues that they’re seeing lots of questions about.
As One Stop Tax is big on leadership, once per month, the company also has a webinar where they talk exclusively about leadership. One of the keys to having a successful organization is developing great leaders, Kinuthia said, so they can, in turn, then develop great leaders themselves.
While not a new concept, One Stop Tax is developing green initiatives to help people go paperless. The tax industry uses a lot of paper, Kinuthia pointed out, and the company is concentrating on going paperless by developing a system where people walk in and out with no paper, but still have a reliable record of their taxes.
Plus, they are also developing an app that will allow customers to chat with tax preparers from anywhere so they know exactly what they need to bring with them when they get their taxes done. It’s not just One Stop Tax customers who will be able to download and use this app, but anyone who has tax questions.
What One Stop Tax does — help citizens fulfill their duty to their government TO pay taxes — will always be necessary, Kinuthia said. His company just wants to make the process that much more pleasant with their golden rule approach to customer service.