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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

What is Septic Tank Installation/Pumping and Who Needs It?

Almost 25% of America disposes of and treats their wastes with underground septic tanks.  The term “septic” refers to the anaerobic bacterial environment that develops in the tank which decomposes or mineralizes the waste discharged into the tank.

Septic Tank Installation/Pumping may also be known as Sewage Disposal Service.

For residents who use septic tanks, the tank is generally 1,000 or 2,000 gallons connected to an inlet wastewater pipe at one end and a septic drain field at the other.

The septic tank processes the incoming waste which then flows out to the drain field.

There are some wastes that cannot be totally processed so the septic tank needs to be periodically drained, or “pumped”.

Septic tank installers and pumpers are sometimes required to be licensed and bonded in various states through the United States.  Consumers need to be confident that their septic tank is installed properly, and maintained periodically.

Ashton Agency can provide contractors with their septic installer/pumper bonds.  For over 45 years Ashton Agency has served the bonding needs of companies throughout the United States.  Call now for a FREE quote within ONE business day!

Please visit our website at to fill out our easy-to-use online application, or call (800) 451-4854 (East Coast) or (800) 452-2663 (West Coast) to obtain your septic bond.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Home Improvement Contractors

When consumers need improvement work done to their homes, they prefer to hire licensed and bonded professionals, especially when it comes to home remodeling.  And contractors want to be known as a state licensed, insured and bonded contractor to project professionalism and confidence to their customers.

Some states require Home Improvement Contractors to be licensed, and most of those states require a bond.  The bond will protect the consumer from shoddy work by the contractor, or non-payment by the contractor of materials used on the job.

The license/bond covers remodeling to existing residential homes, usually between $3,000 to $25,000.  These costs includes materials and labor.  Projects more than that usually require a separate general contractors license and bond.

Types of Home Improvement projects include repair, replacement, remodeling, altering, converting, modernization or improvement; or addition to any land or building such as driveways, swimming pools, porches, garages, landscaping, fences, fall-out shelters, roofing, painting and other improvements adjacent.

Home Improvement does not cover electrical, plumbing, or HVAC.  These types of work are usually covered under a separately required license and bond.

Ashton Agency has been serving the bonding needs of contractors across the country for over 45 years.  Let Ashton provide your surety bond.  Click, or call us at (800) 451-4854 (East Coast) or (800) 452-2663 (West Coast).

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Florida Passes Laws on Liens, Registration Fees

On May 3, Florida passed a bill that will result in a drop in vehicle registration fees in an effort to reduce taxes and fees. Auto dealers will have an additional resource to recover vehicles under lien. The Department of Transportation bill added the amendment after Governor Rick Scott signed. The bill would go into effect on October 1st.

The new passage will follow a bill that cuts about $400 million in vehicle registration fees, which will go into effect September 1st.

Scott says that these efforts are part of his "It's Your Money Tax Cut Budget" plan and reduces fees between $5 and $11.50 per registration on cars, trucks, motorcycles, mopeds, and antique vehicles.

This is great news for Florida motor vehicle dealers. Cutting costs will certainly provide more room for expenses. Florida auto dealers should already be renewed for their surety bond. However, Ashton Agency can also help your shop with several options, including garage liability insurance, garage keeper, floorplanning and warranties.

Call the Ashton Agency today to speak with one of our representative at 1 (800) 451-4854 or visit us on our website Feel free to fill out our easy-to-use applications for a FREE quote within ONE business day!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Memorial Day Weekend 2014

Ashton Agency will be closing at 3:00 PM today in observation of Memorial Day Weekend 2014. We will also be closed on Monday, May 26, 2014.

Our normal hours of operation will continue after Monday, May 26:

Monday to Thursday 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM 
Friday 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM

If you need assistance with your bond or garage insurance, please feel free to give us a call at (800) 451-4854 (East Coast) or (800) 452-2663 (West Coast). Or visit our website at

Also follow us on Facebook and Twitter! @ashtonagency

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What are Sellers of Travel?

In Florida, the Sellers of Travel law requires any person or business who is a seller or promoted of travel related services to register annually with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, unless exempt.

Sellers of Travel are also required to provide proof of assurance in the form of a performance bond, in an amount not to exceed $25,000, or $50,000 if they sell vacation certificates.  The Department is authorized to collect registration fees and impose penalties for non-compliance of the law.  In addition, an annual filing fee of $50 is required for each independent sales agent.

A Seller of Travel is any resident or nonresident person, firm or corporation, or business entity who offers for sale, directly or indirectly, at wholesale or retail, prearranged travel or tourist-related services for individuals or groups, through vacation or tour packages, or through vacation certificates in exchange for a fee, commission, or other valuable consideration.  The term includes any business entity offering membership in a travel club or travel service for an advance fee or payment, even if no travel contracts or certificates or vacation or tour packages are sold by the business entity.

Please check with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at 1-800-435-7352, or click on for more information regarding your particular situation.

Ashton Agency has been serving the bonding needs of businesses across America for over 45 years.  We can help you with your Travel Bond.  Call us toll free at (800) 451-4854 or click

Monday, May 12, 2014

Benefits of Getting a Telemarketing Bond

Are you currently establishing a telemarketing firm or call center? As with any business, you will need the proper requirements and licenses before legally operating this business, including a surety bond.

Telemarketing professionals are required by the State of Florida to obtain their Telemarketing Bond to be in compliance with the Florida Statutes 501.601-501.626.

Here are some benefits of obtaining your telemarketing surety bond:

Obtaining a surety bond instills the integrity of your contract and agreement between you and your customers.

The Florida Telemarketing Act requires that telemarketing businesses acquire the $50,000 Telemarketer Bond to protect consumers who get injured as a result of the company's negligence or poor financial practices.

Acquiring the Telemarketer Bond builds trust between you and your clients. Bonded telemarketing businesses assures both consumers and the government that you will comply with industry rules and regulations.

Surety bond requirements vary within each local and state law. It's important to find out which surety bond form you need and how much coverage you must purchase. Failing to obtain the correct bond may result in penalty fines, risk of losing license and legal action.

Are you looking to get your Florida Telemarketing Bond? We can help you today!

Call us at (800) 451-4854 to speak with one of our friendly customer service representatives to get started on your bond. You can also visit our website at fill out one of our easy-to-use online applications!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Ashton Agency Returns Back to Normal Hours of Operation

Greetings from the Winter Park, Florida office of the Ashton Agency!

We will be returning back to our normal hours of operation on Friday, and will be closing at 4:00 PM EST.

Our weekday hours will still remain the same: Monday to Thursday 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM; Friday 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

If you need assistance with your bond or garage insurance, please feel free to give us a call at (800) 451-4854 (East Coast) or (800) 452-2663 (West Coast). Or visit our website at

Also follow us on Facebook and Twitter! @ashtonagency

Thursday, May 8, 2014

What is a Process Server?

The title “process server” is one that those in the legal field know all about, and those outside of the legal business probably have little to no understanding of.

Service of due process is a privilege set forth by the Constitution.  This means that all citizens of the United States hold the right to be informed of being summoned to a court of law or a another legal proceeding such as a deposition.

Process servers were intended as a messenger system to notify individuals of their constitutional rights to due process of law by “serving” them with a notification that states the legal issue that involves them specifically.  Originally legal papers were served to individuals by their local county sheriff.  As America grew, the local sheriff could not keep up with the endeavor.  So there was a need for an individual to deliver these papers legally and in a timely manner, and for that reason, process servers were formed.

In modern times, process servers perform an assortment of tasks such as filing court papers, serving legal documents, and document retrieval.  However their principal job is to deliver or “serve” legal documents to a defendant or person involved in a court case.  They are also required to provide actual evidence that the legal papers were served, called an affidavit of service, or proof of service, which must be notarized and given to the individual or company who required the papers to be served.

Process serving laws differ by state, so please check your individual state requirements to obtain your license.  Usually application, fingerprinting, and perhaps educational classes are required.  In addition most states require the process server to post a bond with the state authorities.  The bond is protection for other parties against your mistakes or if your error causes damages to someone else.

Ashton Agency has been providing license bonds for more than 45 years.  Visit our website at, or call us toll free at (800) 451-4854 to get your Process Server Bond now!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Alabama Used Motor Vehicle Dealer Bond Amount To Be Increased

The Alabama legislature has passed a bill that will increase the used car dealer bond requirement from $10,000 to $25,000, effective August 1st, 2014.  The bill also requires new car dealers, dismantlers, and designated agents to provide the same $25,000 bond.  The bill is currently awaiting the signature of the governor.

New car dealers in Alabama have always been required to provide a $25,000 bond.

Additionally, any Alabama car dealer that was previously “grandfathered” or exempt from providing a dealer bond will now be required to provide the $25,000 bond.

Related: Miscellaneous Auto Related Bonds

Once the bill is fully enacted by the governor’s signature, the Department of Revenue will provide the new bond form required.

Since most Alabama used car dealers licenses renew in September, this will affect a majority of the auto dealers, designated agents, and dismantlers when they renew their bond this Fall.

The good news is that Ashton Agency will be ready to serve the dealers in Alabama with the new bond, just as we have for over 45 years.

As soon as the new bond form is released, we will be in touch with dealers so they can renew their bond with the new requirements!

Please call toll free (800) 451-4854, or click for further information.
[You can find the latest copy of the bill here: ]

Thursday, May 1, 2014

New Sales Records in the First Quarter of Used Car Market

Both the wholesale and retail used car markets have set new records in the first quarter.

Certified pre-owned sales started with 551,707, marking the highest first quarter ever for certified sales. In March, dealers sold 206,409 certified units, reaching an all-time high.

At the top was Toyota, leading all brands with 31,687 in certified sales. Lexus also set a March record with 6,896 certified units sold.

The next quarter looks very promising for used car dealers. CarMax Auto Finance reports that income increased 6 percent to $80.8 million in the latest quarter.

To read the full article on, click here!

Are you a used car dealer or wholesale auto dealer? Have you obtained or renewed your surety bond? Find out today how we can help save you time and money!

Call us at (800) 451-4854 for our East Coast office in Florida, or (800) 452-2663 for our West Coast office in Oregon and we can help you with your bond over the phone. Or visit our website at and complete our easy-to-use online application.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Ashton Offers New Bond Programs

Ashton Agency now offers several new bond programs in new states:

We also offer the Yacht Broker Bond program in the state of California. To learn more on how to obtain the $15,000 California Yacht Broker Bond.

For more information regarding the bond programs above, please visit our bond page to see each description and requirements of licensed dealers and business owners.

Contact Ashton Agency today to register or renew your surety bond and/or garage insurance needs! Please visit our website at or call us at (800) 451-4854 (East Coast) or (800) 452-2663 (West Coast).

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mazda SUVs Recalled for Steering Issues

Over 100,000 model year 2001-04 Tribute Mazda SUVs have been recalled by Mazda North American Operations. Mazda's number for this recall is 7514D. reports that the SUVs "may experience excessive corrosion at the forward attachment of the lower control arm. A separation of the lower control arm can result in a significant loss of steering control, increasing the risk of a crash."

Mazda will repair and install the new reinforcement parts, free of charge, on the recalled vehicles. Owners are also welcome to bring their vehicles to a dealer before the parts are available to be inspected and deemed whether it's safe to drive.

Related: Used Car Sales To Rise in 2014

Tribute vehicles manufactured from May 22, 2000 to December 19, 2003 were recalled in the following states:

  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • and the District of Columbia

For bonding and garage keeper/garage insurance needs, visit our website at We can provide you with a free quote within one business day!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Rising Home Prices Help Nearly Two Million Homeowners' Mortgage

A year earlier, about 10.9 million, or 26% of homeowners were in serious debt on their home. According to RealtyTrac, the number of homeowners underwater have dropped to about 9.1 million (17%) during the first quarter. Being underwater usually equates to their debt exceeding the home's value by 25% or more.

Daren Blomquist, a vice president for RealtyTrac, believes that many of the homeowners in the foreclosure process actually have positive equity due to surging home prices. This allows flexibility in their options of refinancing or selling their home.

Read the full article at CNN Money.

Related: How To Be A Mortgage Broker

With home prices rising, home buyers will need mortgage brokers to shop the best plans for them. Ashton Agency currently issues the Mortgage Broker Bond for California and Arizona mortgage brokers. Call or click today to get your free quote within one business day!

To obtain your Mortgage Broker Bond, visit our website at or call (800) 452-2663.

Monday, April 14, 2014

How To Become a Notary Public

A Notary Public is an official of integrity appointed by state government – typically by the secretary of state – to serve the public as an impartial witness in performing a variety of official fraud-deterrent acts related to the signing of important documents.  These official acts are call notarizations or notarial acts.

Sensitive documents – such as property deeds, wills and powers of attorney are some of the documents that a Notary Public will witness.  Some documents may even require the Notary to place the signer under an oath declaring under penalty of perjury that the information contained in a document is true and correct.

Notary Public’s can trace their history back to the ancient Roman Republic around 100 BC. Where they were called scribes, writers or notaries.  Notaries are easily the oldest continuing branch of the legal profession worldwide.

To become a Notary Public, the requirements depend on what state you reside in.  In 32 of our 50 states, the main requirements are to fill out a form and pay a fee, and many states have restrictions concerning notaries with criminal histories.  In 18 states notaries are required to take a course, pass an exam, or both.  Check with your state for specific notary requirements where you reside.

As well, most states require the Notary Public to be bonded, to protect the public from negligent acts by a Notary in carrying out their duties.

Ashton Agency can help you become a Notary Public in most states.  Ashton has been serving the bonding needs of businesses across America for over 45 years.  Call (800) 451-4854 to speak with one of our customer service representatives, or visit our website at

Thursday, April 3, 2014

What Are the Differences Between License & Permit and Fidelity Bonds?

Sheila from Ohio asks, “What is the difference between a license & permit bond and a fidelity bond?”


Thanks for the great question.  The best way to answer your question is to describe what both types of bonds are.

The most common type of bond is a license and permit bond--sometimes referred to as a commercial surety bond.  This type of bond is usually required by a city, county, or state government, and required to obtain or maintain a license or permit-- thus the name license and permit bond.  A few types of industries that are likely to require a license and permit bond include:
  • Used car dealers
  • Pawnbrokers
  • Public adjusters
  • General contractors
  • Specialty contractors  

A fidelity bond is a form of insurance that helps to protect an employer from loss due to negligence or dishonesty.  A fidelity bond is written in either first-party or third-party.  First-party fidelity bonds protect businesses from dishonesty and/or negligence that may be committed by direct employees of that business. Third-party fidelity bonds protect businesses from dishonestly and/or negligence by people working for the business on a contract basis.  A few examples where a first-party fidelity bond may be required are:
  • An employee with a checkered past.  
  • Notary
  • Public Official

Examples of businesses that may require a third-party fidelity bond include:
  • Security firms
  • Janitorial services
  • Consultants 

The main purpose of both license and permit bonds and fidelity bonds is to give an extra layer of protection for the entity requiring them, whether it be a governing body or a business.  At the Ashton Agency, we specialize in both license and permit bonds and fidelity bonds.  Visit our website to see all our bond and insurance programs!

Are you an auto dealer, public adjuster, contractor or another profession looking to renew your surety bond? Ashton Agency has been building relationships nationwide for over 45 years at the best rates! Call us today at (800) 451-4854 (East Coast) or (800) 452-2663 (West Coast) to speak with one of our helpful customer service representatives (hablamos español)!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Florida Auto Dealer Bonds Expire on April 30th--Get Started On Your Renewal Today!


All Florida motor vehicle dealer bonds have a common expiration date of April 30th! Auto dealers are required to obtain a $25,000 Motor Vehicle Dealer Bond to be in compliance with Section 320.27 of the Florida Statutes.

With the Ashton Agency, we guarantee to shop around for the best rates possible for you. We offer the Florida Auto Dealer Bond as low as $206!

You can also find our press release on FL motor vehicle dealer bonds via 8,500 media outlets! Click here to read our official press release in regards to your auto dealer bond!

In addition to the bond, the State of Florida requires that you carry garage liability insurance. Ashton Agency can write your liability coverage too. We can write your bond for up to three years, with discounts available on the second and third years’ premiums. We are your one-stop shop for all your auto dealer needs!

Start saving time and money immediately and call us today at (800) 451-4854 to speak with one of our helpful customer service representatives (hablamos español). You can also visit our website at or fax us toll free (888) 507-8661.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Miscellaneous Auto Related Bonds

There are quite a few auto related bonds separate from auto dealership bonds.  These are required bonds by businesses for repairing autos, sales of auto parts, auto dismantlers, auto parts recyclers, designated agents, vehicle inspection businesses, etc.  All of these bonds are regulated by the Department of Motor Vehicles in individual states.

Some of these are akin to what we would call “auto junk yards”, whose businesses provide a valuable service as a secondary market for used auto parts and to do-it-yourself workers who repair autos and can bypass the retail auto parts store and find parts less expensively at a recycler.

Designated Agents, after being certified by their states "licensed and bonded", can handle auto title paperwork for their various states.

Others, such as VIN inspection stations, verify vehicle inspection numbers for possible tampering or theft.

A sample of some actual bonds required are:

  • Dismantler and Parts Recycler bond in Alabama
  • Auto Repairers/Rebuilders bond in Connecticut, Oklahoma and Utah
  • Designated Agent bond in Alabama
  • Motor Vehicle Inspection Station bond in Louisiana
  • Auto Salvage bond in Florida
  • VIN (Vehicle Inspection Number) bond in California and New Mexico.

Check with your individual states’ MVD agency for more state specific information.

If your business has need for any of these miscellaneous bonds, we here at the Ashton Agency can help! We have been selling bonds for over 45 years throughout the country.

Call (800) 451-4854 (East Coast) or (800) 452-2663 (West Coast) for assistance with one of our friendly customer service representatives or visit our website at for your bond at the best rates!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

How To Be a Pawnbroker

Did you know that pawnbrokers are members of an ancient profession operating in the Middle East, China, Greece and Rome – in much the same way that they do today?  There are even several television shows, including hit TV reality show Pawn Stars, about owning and running a pawn shop.

What is a pawnbroker and what do they do?

A pawnbroker is an individual or business that offers secured loans to people, with items of personal property used as collateral.  When someone borrows money from a pawnbroker, he or she has the right to reclaim the personal items used as collateral within a set period of time by replaying the loan and interest.  If the loan is not repaid within that set period of time, the pawnbroker can sell the item to the general public.

Pawnbrokers need to keep careful records and be cautious not to take in stolen goods.  A pawnbroker must use good judgment and have a general knowledge of all the various items that are brought into their shop for pawning.

How to get a Pawnbrokers License:
  1. Submit a pawn application form to the non-depository division of the Department of Financial Institutions in your state.  States vary, but most will ask for a personal affidavit, employment history, credit check, criminal background check and fingerprints from your local police department, and financial statements with your assets and net worth.
  2. Apply for a sales tax permit and federal tax ID, as well as a Federal Firearms License if you want to sell guns.
  3. Many states require a surety bond in order to secure your license.  The bond protects customers who have pledged assets for a loan in case the pledged assets are sold, or honoring the sell back price and interest cost agreed upon, etc. Various states require different bond amounts, usually running from $1,000 to $25,000.  
Pawnbrokers provide a valuable service to consumers that encounter sudden financial emergencies for loans that are not offered by banks and other traditional lending institutions.Ashton Agency has been providing license surety bonds to Pawnbrokers for over 45 years.  We can supply your pawnbroker bond in most any state you are located.

Visit our website at or call (800) 451-4854 to speak with one of our helpful customer service representatives. We can provide you with a free quote within one business day, so call now!


Friday, March 21, 2014

Contractors Are the Backbone of our Country

Artisan contractors – the backbone of our economy.  When contractors come to mind, we sometimes forget how many, how diverse, and how many types of contractors provide services to homeowners and businesses across the country.  Electrical contractors, mechanical contractors, carpenters, roofers, masons… many more.  According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there are over 3.7 million artisan contractors in America.

General contractors – generally responsible for the entire construction project.  A general contractor probably will hire Artisan Contractors to build certain areas in the total project.

Many government entities regulate the contracting industry by mandating that various contractors obtain a license, and many times a surety bond.  The regulating body could be the state, city or county, or other governmental entities.

Most contractor license bonds protect the public against contractor negligence, defective construction, and sometimes unpaid wages by the contractor.  Each government entity’s laws are different, which is why it is important to check each state’s rules and regulation codes.

Various contractor organizations across America are available as resources for artisans, including:
  • Artisan Contractors Association of America
  • Your local Home Builders Association
  • Your local building trade association
  • Your contractors association in the state in which you are working, 
  • Specialty contractor associations such as the National Tile Contractors Association or the National Electrical Contractor’s Association, among many more.
When your work requires a bond, click or call (800) 452-2663 for the contractor bond you need.  Our customer service agents will start the ball rolling to immediately provide you with your bond, so you can get to building America!

Ashton Agency has been servicing contractors for over 45 years, providing license bonds throughout the nation.  Our offices in Winter Park, Florida and Portland, Oregon can provide your contractor bond, usually at the lowest prices and within one business day!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

How To Be a Mortgage Broker

Thousands of homes are sold every day. Even with a troubled economy, buyers still need mortgages for their newly purchased houses.

A mortgage broker acts as an intermediary who assists in searching and negotiating the financing of mortgage loans on behalf of individuals or businesses. Mortgage brokers do not close and fund a mortgage with its own funds (often confused with mortgage bankers), they negotiate and facilitate transactions between clients and bankers.

Have you always been interested in the real estate business and mortgage industry? Are you looking for a new career path? Being a mortgage broker can have great income potential and time flexibility.

Assess Your Strengths and Qualities
  • Trustworthy
  • Detail-oriented 
  • Salesmanship
  • Strong oral and written communication
  • Assessing the market
First, it's important to find out if this is the right career path for you. Learn your strengths and weaknesses that may be applicable to being a mortgage broker. A big part of being a mortgage broker is having a natural skill of talking with people, making right decisions, and finding the best solutions. Strong salesmanship can determine whether a mortgage broker is successful or not. You also must establish trust between your clients. They will be entrusting you with all their confidential information and finances.

Find Out Licensing Requirements For Your Service Area

Like with most professions, you need to be properly licensed in order to become a mortgage broker. There are certain licensing requirements for different states and provinces, even if you work for a firm or for yourself. Below are a few places you can find this information in regards to licenses.

Education and License Testing

Along with getting licensed, you also need to go through an education course to learn the fundamentals, laws and regulations of mortgage brokering. You will need to pass the licensing examination which will test you on your knowledge of the mortgage banking and loan industry, as well as government regulations and state laws.

Get Credentials

Separate yourself from the pack. Having professional certifications will assist you getting a job with a broker group, establish stronger credentials with clients, pad your resume/portfolio, and best of all, may increase your income. Here are some credentials we recommend.

Start Your Business

If you decide to be an independent mortgage broker, there are a few options:
  • Lease an office space and hire employees
  • Work from your home office
  • Work under another broker
  • and/or a combination of all the above!
Have you thought about becoming a mortgage broker? Some states, such as Arizona and California, require you to obtain a surety bond. This bond is called a Mortgage Broker Bond.

Call us at (800) 452-2663 to speak with one of our helpful customer service representatives to assist you on your bond today and get started with your new career! 


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Georgia House Passes Medical Marijuana Bill

Georgia patients may soon be allowed to legally use marijuana for medical treatments. It will be used to treat patients with cancer, glaucoma, and seizure disorders. According to CNN, medical marijuana will be given in an oil or pill form for ailments.

The Georgia House of Representatives on Monday voted a 171-4 majority to approve the bill on "Crossover Day". Georgia could become the first southern state to pass a medical marijuana law if Georgia’s senate approves and Governor Nathan Deal (R) signs the bill into law.

Overall support within the state seems to be split, with a slight edge to favoring the bill. Fifty-seven percent (57%) of voters supported legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes; and 62% of Georgia voters support ending criminal penalties for marijuana.

Do you need a medical/retail marijuana bond in Denver, Colorado? We offer $5000 bonds, which is required in the state of Colorado. Let us help you write your bond with the best prices and quickest turnaround time!

Call 503-253-7330 for assistance with one of our friendly customer service representatives or visit our website at for your bond at the best rates!


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Weather Causes Fall of Auto Sales for Third Consecutive Month

According to ABC News, General Motors and Ford reported declines in U.S. auto sales as harsh weather conditions reigned over the auto industry. Auto sales have steadily increased over the past four years until this year's rough winter weather--and, earlier in the year, predicted to rise.

Since December 2013, sales have remained stagnant while vehicle inventories continue to increase. Industry analysts do predict a slight rise of about 1 percent for the month, but still slow compared to 8 percent from last year.

GM and Ford predict sales to continue to trend low in February. Volatile winter weather remained in many parts of the nation which kept several people in major metropolitan areas out of dealerships for long periods of time.

It's reasonable to blame the weather conditions for the lack of sales, but executives are looking for solutions to pick up sales. Stock market fluctuations can also play a role in the drop. However, automakers are confident sales will pick up in the next months. All automakers were due to report February sales yesterday, Monday, March 3.

Are you an auto dealer looking to renew your dealers bond? Ashton Agency has helped thousands of auto dealers nationwide to get their auto dealer bond and garage liability insurance at the best rates! Call us today at (800) 451-4854 (East of the Mississippi) or (800) 452-2663 (West) to speak with one of our helpful customer service representatives (hablamos español).


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Ashton Agency now offers $100,000 Florida Prescription Drug Wholesale Distributor Bond

The Ashton Agency has been approved to underwrite $100,000 Florida Prescription Drug Wholesale Distributor Bonds.

Florida requires any prescription drug manufacturer, repackager or wholesale distributor to provide a $100,000 prescription bond. The purpose of this surety bond is to ensure compliance with the requirements of and for wholesale distribution of prescription drugs as set forth in the Florida Drug and Cosmetic Act, Chapter 499, Florida Statutes, and to ensure payments for penalties. The statutes also require the same bond to wholesale distributors of veterinary drugs.

Are you a prescription drug distributor looking for a surety bond? We offer the quickest turnaround time at the most competitive prices. Call us today at (800) 451-4854 for assistance with one of our helpful customer service representatives (hablamos español).

Visit our website to apply online or explore our other bond and insurance programs.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

How to Boost SEO for Your Used Car Lot

Before the digital era, newspaper postings and traditional print was enough to get exposure for your used car lot. Not anymore. Used Motor Vehicle Dealers do not have the luxury of corporate backing in their marketing and promotions.

In today's online world, digital marketing is a must for almost any business. What is SEO? SEO is an abbreviation for Search Engine Optimization that businesses are constantly trying to improve. Why SEO? Improving your online presence is not to just simply be on the Internet. Being ranked high on search pages such as Google, Yahoo, Bing and more can make or break your business. Sure, you can have paid ads that will push your website up to the top, but 70-80% of users ignore the paid ads. Readers want organic links, which is generated through SEO and quality content.

We want to help you boost your used car lot and company's SEO. Here are some simple and easy tips to improving your Google search page ranking and online presence.

1) Content Is King

Getting readers and future clients to your website is the first step. The next step is retention. You want to have your readers come back to your site rather than a one-stop click. Simply, your website needs to have information that readers will either benefit them or interest them to read it. Blogs are a great way to keep your readers interested on new and fresh content. It's also a great way to create "How To's" for reading pleasure. For example, we wrote on How To Obtain A FL Motor Vehicle Dealer License, and is still one of our most clicked on article posts. Used car shoppers usually have many questions--your website may be able to address them and, as a result, be the shop they choose to shop with.

2) Use Strategic Keyword Phrases

When you search something on Google, do you usually type 1-2 words or a phrase of what you're looking for? Like most people, you probably type phrases and bunch multiple keywords. Make your website as descriptive as possible without over-flooding duplicate words. Create effective title tags that incorporate your target keywords. For example, on blog posts, use strategic titles with keywords on the URL links.

3) Connect Via Social Media

Social media has dominated online communications for the past several years with the emergence of Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and various outlets. These social sites are a great way to connect to your customers on a personal level. Allow your clients to see some personality in your business rather than an advertisement robot. Social media is also a great way to share your content, blog posts and promotions, which creates traffic to your website.

4) Use Backlinks on Posts

Backlinks, also known as incoming links, inbound links, and inward links, are hyperlinks to another website or web page. Allow your readers to navigate easily through content they want to know. For example, if you want to provide information on the current used car industry and economic trends, notice how the previous phrase has been hyperlinked for an easy direct connect to information on how to renew.

5) Have a Well-Designed Layout

In terms of ranking, well structured and organized pages tend to be favored over poorly designed pages. Web pages with an appealing layout are preferred and become more popular over time. SEO will recognize the pages users return to. Cater your used car lot page with easily accessible information along with great pictures of cars and inventory. Liven up your website rather than drowning it with words and texts.

6) Reviews and Testimonials

Ask your clients and satisfied customers to leave a positive review on third party sites such as Yelp, Merchant Circle or other respected review pages. A fantastic way to improve your SEO is when your business has numerous positive (as well as negative) reviews. Also request testimonials from loyal customers and strong influences. Shoppers will search for a used car lot that is well known and has strong approval ratings.

7) Create Promotions and Contests

People always love winning free things, no matter how big or small. Social media is a great way to promote the contest and gain followers. Post announcements on how to win or enter a chance to play. Creating excitement will separate you from your competition. Be sure to publish on your website as well for additional information.

8) Participate in Other Websites/Forums

Staying in one spot will never get your name out there. Network with other auto dealers and professionals in the auto industry. Join used car forums and exchange strategies and ideas. Some forums allow you to post your website which will generate traffic. It's another great way to share stories and tips on raising your SEO. Although some readers will be auto dealers, there may also be car shoppers who stumble upon your website, creating leads and potential sales.

Improving your company's SEO takes constant mangement. Setting up a website and putting a few social media posts will not generate traffic for your used car lot. Blogging weekly (even daily), engaging potentials on social media, posting daily and all the above are important for SEO.

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Shopping for an ATV (All Terrain Vehicle)

Shopping for a new ATV? For first-timers, it can be difficult finding the right vehicle in good condition for a great price. We've helped layout a quick guideline for ATV buyers. Some dealers can be extremely helpful, while others are looking to only close the sale.

Take a look at some steps you should take before pulling out your wallet.

Know Your ATV
As with any big purchases, you need to do your research and homework. There may be several brands, types and background information you must know before taking on an ATV dealer. Bring a friend or someone knowledgeable in ATVs and products.

Be sure to look closely into the engine, frame, mounts, chains, and other parts. A common problem that can cause engine failure is low oil or coolant. Check to ensure all fluids are at the proper level to avoid any damages. Use a flashlight to inspect for any signs of rust, cracks, wear and tear, and leaks.

Adjust Your Ride
Sit on your ATV and get comfortable with your ride. Adjust the handlebars to your liking, as well as the clutch levers, brake levers, foot shifter and the controls. Turn on the engine and listen to it (experience needed). Check all the lights--headlights, taillights, signal lights. It’s important you understand where all the controls and functions are when you’re riding.

Ride It!
No matter how many times you sit on the ATV and steer, it is NOT the same as driving and operating the vehicle. Take the ATV out for a ride! It may turn out to be a vehicle that does not drive the way you imagined; or it could be the perfect ATV.

After you decide on an ATV that you like, keep in mind of the price tag. Is it affordable within your budget? ATV Dealers usually have years of experience and may not lower their prices unless you can come to terms of agreement. If you’re shopping for a used ATV, you will need to make sure the price reflects the proper value, in terms of mileage, year, condition, etc.

Buying a new or used ATV can be a big commitment. It's important you are satisfied with your purchase. ATV Dealers also look for ways to help enhance their clients' shopping and riding experience.

However, there are times when contracts and agreements have been broken between the seller and buyer. ATV Dealers, a surety bond could protect your clients from any financial losses as a result of poor financial decisions, damages, unethical decisions, or a failure to follow state and local laws on the part of you. Obtaining an ATV Dealer Bond will help your customers perceive you as a trusted Principal that will stand behind your business decisions.

For a free quote on an ATV Dealer Bond, visit our website at or call (800) 452-2663 to speak with one of our helpful customer service representatives to assist you on your bond today!


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

7 Steps to Becoming A Motorcycle Dealer

Starting a motorcycle shop--like any other business--can be extremely stressful and difficult. However, it has lucrative benefits with strong business and financial plans. Here are 7 steps to helping you start up your own shop and become a Motorcycle Dealer.

Step 1
Register Your business. You must obtain a business license, register for taxes, and follow all requirements of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. These are some prerequisites (depending on your state) for obtaining an auto dealer permit.

Step 2
Strong Business and Financial Plan. As with any business, you need a solid business plan that details every aspect of your shop, ranging from expenses to marketing. You also need a sound financial plan in order to obtain loans and gauge cost expenses for inventory, staff, mechanics and parts.

Step 3
Contact the Manufacturer. You must arrange who you will be purchasing inventory, equipment and orders from. Discuss warranty options, shipping fees and bills of sale regarding customs. Also ask about each manufacturer's requirements in terms of minimum purchasing orders and necessary liquidity. Keep in mind how much floor space you will need for bikes and other inventory.

Step 4
Market Your Shop. 8 out of 10 small businesses fail in the first year. Why? Marketing is a major factor that can determine your motorcycle shop's success. Your shop will need exposure and advertisements via print, online, and word-of-mouth. Communicate your mission, products and services to offer unique value to your customers.

Step 5
Hire Staff. Selected qualified and knowledgeable dealers and mechanics may be a challenge. They should have product knowledge, preferably a background in sales, and understanding of how the business works (products offered, financing options, brands, etc).

Step 6
Stock Up Inventory. Whether you are planning on a small or large shop, you will need all the necessary purchases, such as parts, motorcycle gear, and custom orders. Most shops start off as a small business so they must budget smart and not overstock their inventory.

Step 7
Get a Surety Bond For Your Motorcycle Dealership. Not only do states often requires this to obtain a business license, but it also protects your customers from their purchases and contracts. Your establishment will be much more trusted among clients with a Motorcycle Dealer Bond.

Ashton Agency has helped thousands of auto and motorcycle dealers nationwide to get their dealer bond and garage liability insurance at the best rates. Call (800) 451-4854 (East of the Mississippi) or (800) 452-2663 (West) to speak to one of our helpful customer service representatives to assist you with your bond today!