The sunshine state is home to more than 40,000 small businesses that are owned and operated by franchisees. They offer more than 404,000 jobs to Floridians and have an annual economic activity of $35 billion. Said investments from franchisees range from hotels and restaurants, retail and convenience stores, home-based services and automotive service stations. Though many are associated with nationally recognized name corporations, they are owned and are the product of local individuals who risked finances to start a business to pursue their American dream.
Franchisees are constantly investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in their businesses, and they also give back to their communities. They employ Florida citizens, they pay Florida sales and property tax, but the disproportionate power and unjust practices of corporate franchisers raise concerns about franchisees losing everything.
With the Protect Florida Small Business Act championed by Sen. Jack Latvala and Rep. Jason Brodeur, small business owners of franchises will receive the same basic protections other industries already possess. The legislation seeks to create protection for Floridians who choose to make the risky investment of buying a franchise. The bill does not diminish the brand’s integrity or authority, but it ensures that people who have invested life savings into large, nationally recognized corporations will not be intimidated or dominated.
As it stands, the state of Florida currently provides no security for small businesswomen and businessmen who decide to invest their resources in a business opportunity. In response, the legislation promises protection from restrictions on sales and transfer, from unjust terminations, from non-renewal of a franchise agreement, from further unlawful acts and practices by franchisors, it ensures the right to monetize equity the investor has built and asks for the right to the application of Florida state law.
Automobile dealers, beer distributors and agricultural equipment dealers have legal protection under Florida state law from any abuse at the hands of manufacturers, and 23 states have taken further measures than Florida has to make sure that small business owners who’ve invested money into business ventures are protected from abuse by franchisors.
As Florida continues to outpaces the rest of the country in terms of economic development and job growth, it is important that Florida protects small business owners who’ve invested in the state and the work force to continue making it successful.
The bills’ sponsors, Sen. Latvala and Rep. Broduer, recognize the importance of a level playing field for small business owners across the state. The legislators support these protections as a means to provide more jobs and boost Florida’s economy.