August 13, 2010
On Monday, I went to Stuart for "On the Road to Better Business." Rep. William Snyder hosted us in his office, where I was available to meet with customers and hear about their experiences.
About three years ago when we began this initiative, people turned out in droves to share their horror stories of poor customer relations from DBPR. As everyone knows, businesses faced wait and hold times of 30 to 40 minutes when they tried to call, and it took us between 70 and 90 days to process an application for a license.
We tackled our problems, and now we have peak wait and hold times of under two minutes. On Monday, Maria Wells gave me a personal glimpse of how these improvements have helped her business at Lifestyle Realty Group. Maria said that three years ago, it took months to process some real estate paperwork. Recently, she applied for a branch office, and the process took 24 hours.
Maria then gave us some ideas for changes we can make to help Florida's real estate community. In her scenario, Florida's laws have not kept up with the fact that businesses have increasingly used technology to become mobile and faster. There are archaic laws that don't recognize the use of these technologies and efficiencies that, in effect, bind businesses to physical locations or impose brick-and-mortar requirements on their operations.
While businesses have turned to technology for speed and efficiency, regulatory laws and rules just haven't kept up. This echos one of my observations—government agencies are monopolies and don't tend to change on their own since they are not subject to the competitive pressures that force businesses to keep innovating.
Maria's suggestion was well taken, and we moved on to discuss her business, which is a prime example of an entrepreneur seeing a need and developing a business model to meet the need. Lifestyle Realty Group occupies a niche that caters to older Floridans in transition. Having been a healthcare administrator for years, Maria uses the compassion and insight she gained, along with her real estate broker's license, to help elderly citizens, their families and friends relocate and find homes that suit their changing needs.
Maria shared with me how our laws function when applied to real business situations, which is something we should never lose sight of. Now, the challenge for us in Tallahassee will be to modify laws and rules in order to reduce the regulatory burden on entrepreneurs like Maria.
UPCOMING BOARD MEETINGS