Tom Wheelwright, CPA, Examines the Advantages of Franchising Your Business

UPDATED: May 13, 2024
PUBLISHED: May 13, 2024
Tom Wheelwright advantages of franchising

Most people hate taxes. Sales tax. Income tax. Employment tax. Property tax. Every day, these and a host of other taxes are sucking money from hardworking people. In fact, the average person in a developed country spends 25%–35% of their lifetime working to pay taxes. Add in how stressful it can be to pay some of these taxes, and it’s easy to understand the loathing.

On the other hand, I love taxes. Ever since I was a kid working in the accounting department of my father’s printing company, I’ve found them fascinating. As I built my career, first at some of the world’s biggest accounting firms and later as an entrepreneurial owner of my own CPA practice, I became an expert in tax law. More importantly for my clients, I became an expert in how anyone can use the tax law to permanently lower their taxes. I found a way to make taxes fun, easy and understandable. Many of my clients have been able to legally reduce their taxes to zero even as they’ve continued to grow their wealth. Now, I’m using the advantages of franchising to grow my business further.

Introducing WealthAbility®

In 2018, I set out to share this knowledge more widely. I was already doing a fair amount of public speaking and had written my first book, Tax-Free Wealth: How to Build Massive Wealth by Permanently Lowering Your Taxes, so I launched the financial education company WealthAbility®. We adopted a declaration of financial independence as our bold mission: “We believe everyone deserves to be financially independent of employers, Wall Street and the government. WealthAbility® is dedicated to providing access to the tools, education and teams that will enable all people worldwide to create their own financial independence.”

The company has grown quickly. In 2021, WealthAbility® made the Inc. 5000 list of the nation’s fastest-growing companies, and it’s remained there ever since. Part of that growth included creating a network of CPA firms that help clients implement their wealth and tax strategies. Over time, the CPA firms that were part of our network expressed a desire to do even more with the WealthAbility® systems. They wanted to share in our brand, and we wanted to give them more so that, together, we could create even better outcomes for the entrepreneurs and investors who are our clients. This mutual desire led to an exciting pivot: transforming our network into a franchise model.

How to franchise your business

WealthAbility® is believed to be the first wealth and tax advisory franchise in the world.

Franchisees have access to all the WealthAbility® systems we’ve developed over the years for creating wealth and tax strategies for entrepreneurs and investors that permanently reduce their taxes even as they make more money. These owner-operators get all the advantages of franchising such as using our proprietary software and participating in our training programs. Soon, they will have access to the WealthAbility® national tax office. WealthAbility® offers support with hiring, provides national marketing and helps franchisees create a name for themselves in their local market. On the sales side, we don’t just pass along leads; we offer comprehensive sales assistance for all new and prospective clients, ensuring that leads turn into customers.

It’s a turnkey franchise—an equity-building asset with no royalties for existing clients and no annual membership fees.

Franchising 101: Lessons from the launch

We didn’t decide to franchise lightly. We conducted a thorough analysis of the business, including the growth potential of our brand, the scalability of our business model and the feasibility of replicating our unique value proposition across multiple locations. Ultimately, we evaluated the advantages of franchising versus its drawbacks.

Once we decided it was “go time,” we enlisted the help of Rick Grossmann, a seasoned franchise development consultant and the co-author of Franchise Bible: How to Buy a Franchise or Franchise Your Own Business. Grossmann has been franchising companies, including his own, for about 30 years. The first lesson we learned in this process was the importance of having the right coach. With Grossmann’s guidance, we knew we had the strongest-possible internal systems and company to serve our franchisees.

Finally, we learned firsthand the value of having great existing relationships. Before we started marketing the WealthAbility® franchise opportunity, we reached out to our current network members—CPAs we’d personally worked with for years. They were a big part of why we went the franchising route, and we hoped they would be as excited as we were.

Having those established relationships allowed us to have one of the fastest launches Grossmann said he’s ever seen.

What’s next for WealthAbility®

Our vision is ambitious. I expect WealthAbility® to grow to 10,000 franchisees worldwide over the next 10 years, including the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the U.K. and beyond. We see global demand for our services and are committed to building a scalable organization to meet this demand.
The CPA market is large, fractionalized and consolidating. At the same time, the need for high-quality wealth and tax strategy has never been greater. This creates a huge opportunity for young, ambitious entrepreneurs to join the industry, backed by a brand with a world-class reputation and with all the systems and support they need to own their own successful business from the get-go.

This article originally appeared in the May/June 2024 issue of SUCCESS magazine. Photo by Scott Foust/Courtesy of Tom Wheelwright.