Telemarketing in Florida, Anyone?

2The following is a guest contributed post from Todd Bryant, president and founder of Bryant Surety Bonds.

Thinking about starting a telemarketing business in Florida? The times are certainly suitable, as currently there are 3,000 active telemarketers in the state, down from 4,799 licensed salespeople back in 2012.

While the competition is lower, giving you a good opportunity in the field, the rules for telemarketers across the country are quite strict. Obtaining a Florida telemarketing license is your first step in launching your business. The licensing process entails that you meet all Florida telemarketing license requirements, including obtaining a telemarketing surety bond.

Getting licensed secures your compliance with the Florida Telemarketing Act, which governs the way the industry operates in the state. While it does mean you need to undergo a rigorous administrative process, your license is also a proof for your customers that you are safe to do business with.

Ready to start your telemarketing company in Florida? Let’s take a look at how to get a telemarketing license in Florida.

Getting to know the Florida telemarketing license requirements

As with any procedure to meet legal requirements, your journey to obtaining a telemarketing license in Florida starts with doing your homework.

The first point of reference is the Business Services division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Since this is the authority that regulates your trade, you should get closely familiar with the rules that it imposes on telemarketing businesses in the state.

Whether you are located in Florida or not, you still need a license to conduct solicitation of purchasers living in the state. Additionally, even if you solicit out of state purchasers, you also have to get a Florida telemarketing license.

All your salespersons need to be licensed as well. You need to inform the Department of all the telephone numbers you are going to use. The law requires that all salespersons identify themselves with their full real names and the name of their company when they are calling customers.

Your Florida telemarketing license application

Once you’ve gotten acquainted with the rules set forth by the Florida Telemarketing Act, the next step you need to take is to complete a Commercial Telephone Seller Business License Application and Commercial Telephone Salesperson Individual License Application for each salesperson on your team.

Make sure you fill in the application forms correctly, as any mismatches can slow down your licensing. You need to provide information about your business entity, criminal background check, and previous professional experience. A script or outline of the text that will be used for soliciting is also required.

Besides submitting the mentioned documents, you need to pay a $1,500 application fee per year for your business and $15 per salesperson per year. You also need to obtain a security of at least $50,000.

Getting your Florida telemarketing surety bond

To meet one of the most important requirements to getting a Florida telemarketing license, providing a $50,000 security, you have three options – a surety bond, a certificate of deposit or a letter of credit. Getting a telemarketing bond, however, is the top choice, since both other options mean that you have the whole security amount blocked.

A Florida telemarketing bond is a type of surety bond, whose purpose is to guarantee the lawful operation of your business. It ensures you will follow applicable state rules, thus protecting citizens from any abuse, and provides reimbursement to any affected parties if the bond rules are breached.

To get bonded, you need to pay only a fraction of the set amount, which is usually in the range of 1%-4%. The exact bond price you will end up paying varies from case to case. The surety examines the overall finances of bond applicants and sets the bond premium on the basis of their financial strength.

Don’t forget that similarly to your telemarketing license, your surety bond is a strong signal for your customers that your telemarketing business is legal and their interests will be safeguarded.

This short, yet thorough overview should be of help when you’re launching your telemarketing business in Florida. Have some questions or comments? Feel free to share them below.