A coalition of franchisees is urging the legislature to support small business owners in Florida through legislation unveiled today by state Senator Jack Latvala and Representative Jason Brodeur. The proposals would level the playing field for owners of franchised small businesses in Florida and provide legal protections that they say will lead to more economic growth and jobs in communities across the state. The Protect Florida Small Business Act would only apply to renewals and new franchise contracts after the bills effect date, according to a press release from the coalition.
“More than 400,000 jobs in Florida are directly tied to the hard work and efforts of franchised small business owners,” said Senator Latvala (R-16), the bill’s Senate sponsor. “Currently these small businessmen and women have no real protection if the national corporation drops them as a franchise holder. This is not a level playing field, this is wrong, and it must change.”
“As a legislator, I want to continue to make sure Florida has the most business-friendly climate in America. As a chamber of commerce president, I’m particularly sensitive to the threats against small business owners from out-of-state companies.” said Rep. Brodeur (R-28), the House sponsor. “I want to be sure that there is a level playing field for all business owners in Florida, whether they are a small independent shop or a franchisee.”
The Coalition of Franchisee Associations (CFA) says they have signed on to support the new legislation for the upcoming Florida legislative session. In a press release, the CFA says, their group was founded in 2007 as an organization of franchisee association leaders that provides a forum for its members to share best practices, knowledge, and resources for the benefit of all small businesses that operate independent franchise establishments.
CFA says that if the legislation is enacted into Florida law, the Protect Florida Small Business Act will:
- Create more financial certainty by protecting small business franchise owners from unjust terminations. Currently, national corporate brands can terminate franchises without cause or warning.
- Add protections for local franchise owners from unfair restrictions on sales and transfers, therefore giving these small business owners the opportunity to seek a fair return for their business success.
- Provide needed safeguards for unsubstantiated non-renewal of their franchise agreements. Local business owners often invest their savings and years of hard work building up their franchise business, yet the corporations can decide not to renew an agreement even if the business owner has fully complied with its terms.