January 24, 2003

The Little Latino Biz That Could

Bilingual Services Taps Into Spanish Speaking Niche Market

Temecula — In 1991, Elvira “Bobbie” Reyes was working out of her home as an independent vehicle registration consultant to several major auto dealerships in Los Angeles. The drive to Los Angeles several times a week started to wear on her and she no longer found joy in her work. She decided to start her own business. Only problem was she had no idea of what she wanted to do. One afternoon, a Mexican laborer who had immigrated to the U.S. a few years earlier, knocked on her door and asked if she could help him fill out some forms. He also required a letter in English. Reyes agreed to help him out, more out of a sense of loyalty to her Mexican background and her father who so long ago had also worked his way up toward the United States. She knew how hard it was for him at the beginning when he spoke little English.

Reyes had no problem with the documents, but for the letter, she asked a lifelong friend, who is a professional writer, to help her. When the friends met and the work was finished, both women looked at each other and realized that Reyes had just discovered an untapped niche market, the Spanish-speaking community of Temecula and its surrounding areas. Bilingual Services opened its doors in 1992, in a small Old Town office.

“At first, I would sit all day long waiting for the telephone to ring,” Reyes recalls. “It was so slow and there were days when I wondered if I had gotten into the right business. I only had four customers.”

Four loyal customers, who every week would walk in with one or two more referrals—as a result of these four clients, Bilingual Services has enjoyed a steady growth. Today, Reyes has a client base of over 1,500, who return each year for income tax services; immigration document preparation; small business marketing presentations; bookkeeping and payroll services; insurance (auto, health, home) and for correspondence drafting.

My goal, after realizing that the Spanish-speaking had no one to turn to in this area, was to make Bilingual Services a one-stop shop. Through the years, I have continued with my own education, getting trained and certified as an income tax preparer; obtaining my insurance broker license; keeping up with the latest in immigration laws and requirements. I did everything required in order to give my customers the best possible service. My work is guaranteed, and this requires I am at par with everything,” Reyes states.

Her immigration document preparation has earned her an irrefutable reputation of integrity. Her customers trust her, because she is a woman of few words.

“I won’t take a new client, if I know nothing in the world short of a miracle will get them immigrated or legal. But there are others,” she rolls her eyes, “who don’t care and take advantage of innocent and trusting Latino nationals. They end up taking their money knowing full well, there is nothing that can be done. That’s despicable.”

It is no wonder Reyes has immigration document preparation customers that come to her from as far as Fresno. In addition, Reyes works closely with immigration attorney Luis Vargas, a Temecula resident who practices in San Diego. “Any client who I know needs more than just documents typed, I refer automatically to Luis. We don’t take risks nor do we waste the money of our clients,” Reyes says.

Reyes says her original first customers are still with her. Today, Bilingual Services is also the only authorized office in Temecula to receive Verizon telephone payments. Through American Payment System, they also accept payments for over 75 companies. In 2002, Reyes took over Discount Tax Services and incorporated it into her own income tax subsidiary.

“Business is good,” Reyes smiles. “But best of all, is the satisfaction knowing that we provide more than just good typing, we provide services that help improve the quality of lives for many of our Spanish-speaking citizens.”

Bilingual Services is located at 27780 Jefferson Ave., Suite B, Temecula.

Return to the Frontpage