Pronto Tax School

Scale to Success with Glen Wielandt

Success with Glen Wielandt

In episode 11 of Tax Pro Nation, 37-year veteran tax pro and entrepreneur Glen Wielandt speaks about scaling franchises with the “Big 3” tax franchises and what it takes to succeed in the tax business. He has trained more than 100 area developers and 250 franchisees. He is the former Director of Franchise Business Development at Fiesta Auto Insurance and Tax® and has owned and operated 18 tax preparation offices in the Denver, Colorado, area.

We asked Glen to speak about how independent tax pros at the multiplication step of The Pronto Path can succeed at growing their team and their business.

With only a few players in the industry that have managed to build up to operating hundreds or thousands of offices, Glen has an inside view into these rare few. He’s worked with all the big companies that have scaled up to that level: H&R Block, Jackson-Hewitt, and Liberty Tax.

Many independent tax pros struggle when they hit this phase of trying to ‘multiply’ into more offices, more employees, etc. We talk about why so many people struggle with the multiplication phase of the tax business.

For the companies that do succeed in growing, Glen talks about the characteristics that allow these companies to scale up to having a larger operation.

Glen also served in the Army for 20 years and shares how the military taught him organization skills that helped him during this multiplication step in his career.

Being personally mentored by John Hewitt, Glen has plenty of great insight into the mind and motivations of the great entrepreneur.

We also talk about what running various offices and having a bunch of employees does to your actual tax preparation work. Do you need to give up doing client work? Can you both do a lot of client service work and multiply your business?

Glen shares his marketing insight he learned from Liberty Tax, who was known early on for the genius of their guerilla marketing.

After his time at Liberty Tax, Glen built a tax franchise for Roni Duetsch, expanding it rapidly into 65 office locations.

He also shares about his time at Fiesta Auto Insurance, a company that wanted to add tax services to their existing insurance offices. Glen directed the expansion of their tax department and took the company from doing 500 tax returns per tax season to over 25,000 tax returns per season.

We also talk about the recent challenges — increase in self-filers, new tax law supposedly simplifying tax filing — in the tax business and why it is still a great business.


Quotables:

[13:06] “It’s not the number of offices you own, but it’s the amount of tax returns you do in each office that’s important.” —Glen Wielandt
[19:04] “If I had delegated the amount of tax returns that I did myself and paid more attention to my offices, I probably could have been more successful.” —Glen Wielandt
[24:37] “It’s really important if you are going to be a multiple-office owner that you really learn more about business than taxes.” —Glen Wielandt
[53:38] “As you grow, you need to take care of the people that take care of you.” —Glen Wielandt


Tax Pro Nation is sponsored by Pronto Tax School, Inc. Sponsored links include:

The Pronto Path infographic (free)

Basic Income Tax (Federal) course link

Business Tax Verified online course link

Topics Discussed:

[03:47] Why a tax business is notoriously difficult to scale
[05:56] Why a franchise model works better than corporate-owned stores
[08:02] The role mentorship plays in scaling during the Multiplication step of The Pronto Path
[09:45] The 2 skills Glen’s Army and VITA experience taught him that helped his career
[11:20] How Glen moonlighted with H&R Block and saw an opportunity for 28,000 tax returns
[12:03] How Glen bought his first territory with Jackson-Hewitt
[13:06] “It’s not the number of offices you own, but it’s the amount of tax returns you do in each office that’s important.” —Glen Wielandt
[14:44] The 3 groups of tax pros that will benefit most from this episode
[16:44] How Glen’s past District Manager of H&R Block (now head of CTEC) mentored him to see more opportunity
[17:14] Glen’s pitfalls he ran into in his first offices and how he lost money over and over
[19:04] “If I had delegated the amount of tax returns that I did myself and paid more attention to my offices, I probably could have been more successful.” —Glen Wielandt
[21:59] The important difference between a tax preparer and an owner of a tax business
[24:37] “It’s really important if you are going to be a multiple-office owner that you really learn more about business than taxes.” —Glen Wielandt
[24:56] Glen’s insights from being mentored by John Hewitt
[28:09] The “FTS” secret in the franchise model to guarantee a 90% success rate
[32:54] What works in this new tax business environment? What’s an example?
[35:40] Glen’s Liberty Tax experience and franchise scaling insights
[37:38] Jeff asks about a poorly branded tax business he would drive by in TN
[40:28] Guerilla Marketing tactics Liberty Tax used as they grew
[42:02] The shift in marketing from the foot traffic tactics to the mobile phone
[45:35] Building a culture of sales at Fiesta Auto Insurance and Tax
[49:10] Feeling like you cannot charge what you should and what to do about it
[51:15] Glen shares his experience growing franchises with Roni Deutsch
[53:38] “As you grow, you need to take care of the people that take care of you.” —Glen Wielandt
[58:10] In light of all the recent changes to the tax industry, is the tax business dead?
[01:01:51] Glen shares an encouraging story of a franchisee who went from being $35K in debt to owning 35 tax offices

Scale to Success with Glen Wielandt
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