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Do The Math

Weary taxpayers + good location: Does Jackson Hewitt add up?

This story appears in the December 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Each year, Jackson Hewitt Tax Service goes through a binge-and-purge ritual. More than 3,000 Jackson Hewitt Tax Service centers fill their coffers as an onslaught of tax business begins in earnest in January and disappears in April-then the rush is over. In fact, according to Bob Schiesel, the leader of a 250-member franchisee association that remains unrecognized by the franchisor, "The majority of our sales take place between January 20 and February 9 of each year."

Moreover, Jackson Hewitt Tax Service centers serve customers in the lower income brackets, and the behavior of those customers is as predictable as a salmon run. Those who expect refunds hit the tax centers early and take full advantage of tax refund anticipation loans, while the procrastinators get around to facing their issues closer to the April 15 deadline. As a franchisee, your challenge is to learn to prosper during this cycle and cut expenses during the majority of the year. Since all the Jackson Hewitt locations are run by only about 600 franchisees, the ability to prosper appears to be dependent on casting a wide net during tax season.

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