It was January 3rd, 2009 and our second year to own a Liberty franchise. I was experiencing the typical frustration that so many franchisees face of finding and then keeping good wavers when two gentlemen came into the office in response to our "Get Paid to Wave" ad. As I interviewed them, I realized they shared the same address. When I asked if they were roommates they told me they both lived in the same house along with a lot of other men. That was when I realized they were part of a county program.
After being imprisioned for alcohol and/or drug addiction related law violations, these men spend a couple of months in a county halfway house as their last stop before they return to a hopefully productive life again. There are 32 men at the house who are expected to seek, gain, and keep employment until they are released. Tyler's economy is made up of mostly smaqll businesses, has no major industries, and very few large employers so getting a job is not nearly as easy as it may sound, especially given our economic climate the last several years. I asked if there were more guys looking for a job and two big grins filled up both of their faces! And, that was the beginning of what has become a fantastic relationship between our county and Liberty Tax! The other Liberty Tax franchisee, who has been here for three years, also employs them.
For six years now, when the first of January rolls around, I simply call the counselors at the house and tell them to start sending the guys over to apply. Not only are they street dancers but they work weekends doing door hangers with us. They all love working here, especially when I tell them they are responsible for 60% of our new business each year. They make this aspect of running a Liberty franchise so very simple and we, in turn, are providing these men with a good place to work, a job history on their resumes, plus a hope and a leg up for their futures.
I have had a few who have stayed in the area who have come back for a couple of years to work for me again during tax season. I have always been glad they would want to come back, but also a bit sad as I wish for them full time employment and a higher pay scale than I can afford.
But, this is the BEST part. I hear from many of them year after year. We still do some of their taxes, but many of them who have moved off or moved home call to let me know that they are still clean and sober and are becoming more and more productive citizens. That is when a big grin fills up MY face!