How to Obtain a Florida Collection Agency License

Category: Licensing Guides
Published: Sep 12, 2019
florida collection agency license

 

If you’re thinking of launching a collection agency business in Florida, it’s a good idea to get acquainted with the administrative procedure that you have to go through. 

In order to operate legally in the state, you have to obtain a Florida collection agency license from the Office of Financial Regulation. This is how state authorities ensure that you are a suitable candidate for running a commercial collection agency. You have to fulfill a number of licensing criteria, among which is posting a Florida collection agency bond.

In this guide, you can find the essential details about launching your collection business, including the main licensing and bonding requirements. 

The licensing process for Florida collection agencies

The Florida Office of Financial Regulation is the licensing authority for commercial collection agencies in the state. If you want to offer the service of collecting consumer debts for other parties, you have to obtain a license from this body and to meet all of its requirements. 

In order to get started, you have to complete the Office’s collection agency license application online. Together with it, you have to provide a list of documents that showcase your personal and business history. 

The requirements include:

  • Business name
  • Entity documents 
  • Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • Personal information for all control persons (including president, CEO, CFO, COO, chief legal officer, chief compliance officer, director)
  • Fingerprinting for all control persons
  • $50,000 surety bond 
  • Payment of $200 annual fee

The Office has to review your full application in order to assess your suitability for offering the professional services of a collection agency. It also has to ensure your compliance with Chapter 559, Part VI of the Florida Statutes and other applicable laws. 

The Florida collection agency license renewal

If the Office approves your application, your licensing period runs for one calendar year. This means that you have to undergo the renewal process before December 31st of every year, so that you continue the licensing for the next 12 months. 

With every renewal, you have to showcase that you still meet all criteria for collection agencies set by the state Office. This includes renewing your surety bond.

How to get bonded

Obtaining a $50,000 surety bond is one of the indispensable requirements for consumer collection agencies in Florida. The bond works as a safety mechanism that protects the state and your customers against unlawful actions on your side. It guarantees your legal compliance. In cases of fraud, misuse, or other malpractices, the bond can provide fair compensation to harmed parties. 

The bonding process entails that you cover a small percentage of the required amount, which is $50,000. It is called the bond premium and depends on the strength of your finances. The main factors that affect it include your credit score, business finances, and fixed and liquid assets. 

The typical rates for applicants with stable profiles are in the range of 0.75% to 5%. Thus, your bond cost can be between $375 and $2,500. In order to lower the bond premium during the next licensing cycle, you can work on improving your credit score and clearing any unpaid items on your report. 

Have more questions about getting a Florida collection agency license and bonding? You can get assistance from our bonding experts by calling us at 877.514.5146

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Victor Lance is the founder and president of Lance Surety Bond Associates, Inc. He began his career as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving two combat tours. As president of Lance Surety, he now focuses on educating and assisting small businesses throughout the country with various license and bond requirements. Victor graduated from Villanova University with a degree in Business Administration and holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business.