This tax pro found a perfect franchise fit when he opened up a Remedy Intelligent Staffing agency
He was born in India, grew up in Queens and has called Long Island home for the past 20 years. Even so, Kanwal Sra calls himself “a Queens boy,” and the CPA is looking forward to growing Remedy Intelligent Staffing franchises in the Long Island and Queens areas of New York City. With the launch this past summer of his first Remedy office in Lindenhurst, Sra sees big things ahead. He talks about it in this Remedy franchise review.
Where is your franchise?
The first office right now is in Lindenhurst, Long Island, which is in Suffolk County. The agreement I signed with Remedy was to open up offices in Nassau County, Suffolk County and eventually move into Queens, hopefully over the next 12 months. So we’re trying to develop the business in this part of the country.
And what were you doing before that?
I am a CPA. I did my accounting degree at NYU and then worked for one of the Big Four accounting firms, and I started my own CPA practice in 1996 and developed that into seven offices in the area. My CPA practices are still going strong there. And then in addition, I went into the franchise tax market and built out a tax franchise business with Jackson Hewitt. We have 15 offices in Long Island and Queens.
We started looking at another revenue or business service that we could add, since we have the brick-and-mortar. We searched and found out staffing kind of fit into our model, because as seasonal businesses we do a lot of recruiting between fall and the end of the year. Coming back over the prior year, we ramp up 50%, 60% of our employees over the prior year. But then we need to get a lot of faithful people. We saw the synergies between our business and recruiting and staffing, which could enhance the services we’re already providing.
What made you choose Remedy?
Demographically, we serve the same client base as Remedy. We looked at it, researched it, looked at a couple of other franchise models. The EmployBridge/Remedy model was very conducive to what I was looking to do.
I saw an opportunity where they were looking to enhance and grow their business and increase the footprint for the franchise model. And I was doing my due diligence, talking to the different franchise owners, and I felt that the new management team that was leading the company wanted to grow based on innovating the brand itself.
They had the business model, and being the largest in that light-industrial/manufacturing space, where their Associates are demographically almost the same people that we hire seasonally for our tax returns in the Jackson Hewitt offices — I saw those synergies. I saw that from a technology perspective as well. I’m a technology guy, so that was another positive point. The culture was also very in line with what I was looking to associate with.
What are some of the things you liked about the culture?
It’s a very corporate, professional culture, but at the same time it matters how we do business. Taking care of the Associates matters. Steve (Mills, President of the Franchise Division of EmployBridge) invited me to the annual convention. So I got to see how all the franchisees spoke about the Associates that they took care of. Our average tenure for a client is seven to 10 years, and we have about a 70% retention rate. How you deal with clients is a very important factor. And at Remedy, they’re not just employees, they’re Associates. They become part of your business relationships, and making sure we take care of them is important.
And then at the same time, as a franchisor, you want to make sure that the franchisees are taken care of. Steve and his team are very aware of the needs of the franchisee and how being a franchise owner is like owning your own small business. So the corporate culture is associated with that as well. You could see that in the way the team was interacting with the franchisees at the convention.
And then there’s work-life balance, making sure that the work fits into how your personal lives are. That’s kind of how my business is. We want to make sure work and life are balanced and everybody’s a team player, and those are the things we want to promote in my business, and I saw that as well in Remedy.
What do you think of the Better WorkLife Academy for Associates?
We’ve actually been promoting it to a lot of the companies that we meet out here, and they love it. We do training all the time. With Better WorkLife Academy you are able to provide resources and be able to train people in different areas. It gives people the opportunity to grow. That’s a big differentiator. I’ve seen it make a big difference when we speak to companies and employers out here.
That must make a big difference in retention.
Yes. We’re only five months old, but it makes a difference when people come in and we can say, “Oh yeah, you will be able to learn more.” and “I see how you can get your high school diploma.” We’ve been able to attract talent based on that as well.
What else should a prospective buyer know?Is there anything else you think someone should know about starting up a Remedy franchise?
It’s been a good experience. As with any new business experiences, you have the ups and downs, but I think overall it’s been great.
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