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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.