Florida's allure is much deeper than just the balmy weather that has earned it the title of "Sunshine State." With one of the lowest tax burdens of any state and a booming business-friendly environment, Florida is also a great place to start a business. Whether you're in construction, insurance, auto sales, or nearly any other industry, Florida offers access to some of the largest and most diverse U.S. markets for goods and services.
It's important to know that starting a business in Florida often requires obtaining Florida surety bonds. Surety bonds provide protection for customers and governments by providing a financial guarantee that businesses will follow relevant laws and ethical standards. Surety Bonds Direct offers dozens of types of Florida surety bonds to our customers, with fast, easy quotes, affordable premiums, and friendly service. In this article, we'll give a quick summary of six bonds that are among the most popular with our Florida customers.
Florida Contractor License Surety Bonds
For many Florida contractors, acquiring a Florida contractor surety bond is a key part of how to get a contractor's license in Florida. If a contractor has a FICO score below 660, they will first need to obtain a Florida contractor license surety bond (also known as a 660 bond). The penalty sum of the surety bond varies depending on whether the contractor is considered a Division 1 (for general residential and commercial contractors) or Division 2 contractor (for specialty contractors such as roofers and pool builders).
Note also that many counties and municipalities in Florida require additional surety bonds for contractors, with penalty sums of up to $25,000. Contractors with designated Financially Responsible Officers must also file Florida Financially Responsible Officer bonds.
Florida Adjuster License Surety Bonds
Florida public insurance adjusters prepare, file, and negotiate insurance claims for their clients. To get a Florida public insurance adjuster license, an applicant must first obtain a Florida adjuster license bond (in addition to other requirements, such as taking a Florida Certified Adjuster course and passing a state exam). The adjuster license surety bond must cover a penalty sum of $50,000.
Florida Dealer License Surety Bonds
Any kind of Florida motor vehicle dealership is required to obtain a Florida motor vehicle dealer surety bond before the state will issue a Florida dealer license. Motor vehicle dealer surety bonds guarantee that a dealer will represent all vehicles' condition accurately, pay all applicable taxes, and generally obey Florida vehicle sales laws.
Each different type of dealership requires a different bond, including Florida independent used-vehicle dealership surety bonds, Florida mobile home and RV dealer bonds, Florida franchise dealership bonds, and Florida salvage dealership bonds. All types of Florida dealer bonds are required to cover a penalty sum of $25,000.
Florida Yacht and Ship Broker Surety Bonds
Florida has over 8,000 miles of coastline, which means that yacht and ship sales are a popular business. To ensure that yacht and ship brokers follow the law, any business that sells yachts or ships is required to apply for a Florida yacht and ship broker license. As part of the licensing process, the broker must obtain a $25,000 Florida yacht and ship broker surety bond. Individual yacht salespeople may also be required to obtain a $25,000 Florida yacht salesperson bond.
Freight Broker (BMC-84) Surety Bonds
Florida's numerous ports also make it a logistics hub for international trade. That includes freight brokers—businesses that broker and coordinate cargo shipping through third-party logistics carriers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires each freight broker to obtain a BMC-84 surety bond with a penalty sum of $75,000 to ensure compliance with applicable federal laws. Alternatively, freight brokers may create a $75,000 BMC-85 trust through a financial institution, but BMC-84 surety bonds remain a popular option due to their lower upfront cost.
Florida Seller of Travel Surety Bonds
Vacation and travel have long been among Florida's biggest industries. Florida law states that sellers of travel, such as travel agents and any other businesses that sell pre-arranged tours or vacation packages, must register with the state government each year and obtain a $25,000 Florida seller of travel surety bond. For businesses that sell vacation certificates, the penalty sum is increased to $50,000, and the business must pay an additional $100 fee when registering with the state.
The process for getting a Florida surety bond can be simple and painless when your business works with Surety Bonds Direct. Our experts are ready to answer your questions—just call us at 1-800-608-9950, or start by getting a free surety bond quote online.