February 26, 2010
This week I headed back to my hometown of Pensacola for "On the Road 2 Better Business, Part 2." I was eager to hear from the citizens of the community I used to call home about what we at the Department of Business and Professional Regulation can do to better support the people we license and regulate.
I met with two licensed contractors who were both very concerned about the various tricks unlicensed individuals use to take business away from those who play by the rules. Both men gave me some good tips on how we can better combat this problem, and I will be taking their suggestions back to Tallahassee. We must continue to support our licensees and protect the public from unlicensed activity.
This round of meetings with our customers is different in many ways than the meeting we have held in the past, and demonstrates the effectiveness of the Governor's “Accelerate Florida” initiative. When we started "On the Road to Better Business" two years ago, many of our meetings were focused on how DBPR's application and regulatory processes had failed our customers. Now we will get one of these complaints only occasionally since they are the exception rather than the rule. We are answering phone calls in less than 2 minutes—often on the second ring—a huge reduction from the 30- to 40-minute peak hold times we had in early 2007. We are processing licenses in a little more than a week from our receipt of the application—again, a far cry from the 60 to 90 days it took us back in 2006.
When Governor Crist took office, he made both customer service and transparency his first priorities. I am humbled by the way DBPR's people responded. They accepted, and I believe, met the challenge. They took to heart the Governor's instruction to do everything we can to make it easier for Floridians to open and work in businesses, and to be open, accessible, and fair to our public while doing so. I know that we are not perfect, but we are much better, and we will continue to make improvements by making you our partners in the process.