Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Business Opportunities

Laws and Regulations

Florida Statutes
Chapter:  559

Florida Administrative Code and Register
Chapter:  5J-10

A business opportunity is a set of products, services, supplies and equipment that you buy or lease to start your own business. Some business opportunities are real, but others are scams.

Examples of common business opportunities include:

  • Stuffing envelopes at home
  • Assembling toys at home
  • Doing medical billing at home
  • Operating vending machines
  • Operating retail display racks

Many times, unscrupulous sellers of business opportunities imply that investors can see a substantial return with minimal effort.

Protect Yourself from Bogus Business Opportunities

  • The Florida Sale of Business Opportunities Act requires the business to give you, the potential investor, a copy of the disclosure statement for review three working days before any money is given to the seller or a contract is signed. As part of the disclosure, you are entitled to a copy of the contract before you sign it. Before purchasing a business opportunity, get as much information as possible. Read the disclosure documents and the contract carefully. Understand what you are purchasing.
  • Shop and compare. Look at other operations of the same type. Other companies may offer a better deal.
  • Ask questions. Investigate earnings claims. Keep in mind that once you invest your money, you may be competing with other, more experienced independent operators.
  • Talk to current investors; preferably, visit them in person and see for yourself. Their names and addresses may be in the disclosure document. If they are not, ask the business to provide them. Ask these investors whether information in the disclosure statement matches their experience with the company.
  • Consult an attorney and/or accountant before investing.
  • Get all promises in writing from an authorized representative of the company.
  • Investigate and determine if there is a market in your area for this product or service. In the case of vending machines, racks, etc., are you going to find locations to place them? Check with your local Chamber of Commerce, Better Business organization, local consumer affairs office, or the business directories at your local libraries for more information.

Recognize the Signs of Fraud

  • Pressure to sign a contract immediately.
  • Unsubstantiated claims of extraordinarily high or guaranteed earnings, possibly on a part-time basis.
  • Claims that profits can be achieved easily or with little work or time investment.
  • A required initial investment that greatly exceeds the fair market value of any products, kits or training.
  • A large fee payable before you receive anything in return.
  • A promise that no selling or other experience is necessary.
  • Evasive answers by the salespeople or unwillingness to provide the disclosure documents required by law.

File a Complaint

To file a complaint about a seller of business opportunities, use our online form or contact the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352).