Tax Time: New Mt. Airy Franchise Sees Business Spike
J. Travis & Associates has been in Mt. Airy since January.
For at least one area tax preparer, it turns out that a change in location has made a major difference.
J. Travis & Associates moved to Mt. Airy in January as a Smart Tax franchise. Over the course of the past few months, it's seen an uptick in business, thanks to the support it's received from the company.
Jeffrey Travis, who runs the franchise, has been preparing taxes on his own for 32 years. He was in West Philadelphia, but he was looking for a way to expand his business.
He contacted H&R Block, but they weren't interested, saying that J. Travis' 1,100 clients weren't enough. Enter Smart Tax, who took on Travis' business and did work looking for a new location for the business.
Travis was in an office building in West Philadelphia. But Smart Tax found him a storefront at Germantown Avenue and Slocum Street, which saved Travis from needing to search for one on his own.
Since he's moved, Travis said, and as tax season draws to a close, business has improved. The number of businesses he serves has increased by 10 to 15 percent, while the individual clients he works for has gone up by 8 to 10 percent.
"They helped us with the demographics in picking successful and profitable locations," Travis said.
Travis is now in the process of scouting out new Smart Tax locations. He has a five-year lease at 6751 Germantown Ave., and he hopes to open a new franchise every year for the next four years.
Meanwhile, clients who left him when he was in West Philadelphia are coming back after not filing their taxes for several years.
All of that has enabled Travis to take an optimistic stance on his future.
"If we're working together, I think I can take over Philadelphia with Smart Tax," Travis said.
Nick Rizzi, who is the CEO of Smart Tax, said there are other reasons why J. Travis could increase its business in the next few years.
This is the final year paid tax preparers can file returns without being registered with the IRS and having passed a test instituted by the IRS. Because Smart Tax preparers will be required to take that test, Rizzi said he hopes clients will be attracted to them since some current preparers won't be eligible to do business in the same way anymore.
Rizzi, for his part, said Travis has been helped in one specific way by working with Smart Tax.
"He doesn't lack experience and talent," Rizzi said. "What he did lack was knowing how to market."