Member Since: 10th May 2002
2nd Mar 2013
My comment, for what it's worth....
I have not participated in any discussions in the past as I have not considered that I have much to contribute one way or t'other.
However I have been following your TaxAssist related blogs with interest.
I purchased a TAA franchise several years ago, using a redundancy package to finance it and up to that time my expertise was in a totally different service industry field, I was not, and am not a qualified accountant, however with the help of TAA I was able to build a profitable practice which I subsequently sold and have more or less retired.
My accounting knowledge was basic on day one, so not being a complete idiot I ensured that the clients I took on were within my expertise to manage, and if my expertise was lacking I was always able to call upon TAA who had and I believe, still have, a well manned qualified department to 'hold my hand'.
A few regulars have indicated that Aweb would give you support so why use TAA, however some of the questions posed on Aweb are fairly basic in nature and all too often replies along the lines of 'what are you doing in practice if you don't even know the basics', whereas no matter how basic or inane the question,TAA would always provide a civil response.
I targeted only micro businesses - I was not capable of advising where to place large amounts of spare cash to keep it safe from HMRC- so I simply ensured that complex tax advice would not be an issue which would arise.
You have been in practice for a few years and so any move to a franchise for you is based on a different set of criteria.
Whatever you ultimately decide to do will be your decision, but looking at your list of Advantages/Disadvantages I can confirm that in my experience, and assuming things have not changed all that much, the support service is indeed very good, the franchisor will push you to follow the business model, for it does work and, by pushing you to increase your client list, they also increase their management fee, so everyone should be happy.
I do suggest however that you look carefully at the exit costs, and check what the current position is if you opt not to renew the franchise agreement upon expiry, for in the past it was not feasible to simply walk away at the end of the contract.
Several contributors have advised that for the cost of the franchise you could replicate the advantages, without incurring the disadvantages, only you know if this is correct in your particular circumstances but I just wanted you to have a view from someone who has been there, done that and got the T-Shirt .
I will now retire to the outer darkness.
23rd Dec 2012
Shop front costs
As a sole trader working from home or an office, if you choose to go out for whatever reason you can simply lock up and go.All calls can be sent to voicemail/answering service or diverted to mobile.
If you have a shop front you need to factor in the cost of having staff to man the shop all day Mon- Fri as of course there is no benefit in having a shop if it is closed during the working day because you have gone out.