Big Business on the Street
If you’ve been to a big city where there are a lot of street vendors and peddlers, you may notice that on occasion, some may suddenly grab up all their stuff and run away. That’s a good indication that they are not licensed and that a police officer is nearby.
Peddlers, solicitors, hawkers, and street vendors can make a living selling goods, wares or merchandise on foot, from a cart, or from a vehicle. Peddlers can also go house-to-house to perform household repairs or services. They can travel from town to town, or from place to place in the same town quickly and easily, with no rent or utility bills to pay. Their customers often enjoy convenient locations and great prices on everything from food to souvenirs, books, and other goods.
Most cities require these business owners to be licensed, and a part of licensing can include obtaining a surety bond, which helps make sure that sales taxes are paid, and can also help protect consumers from fraud.
Each city has its own laws regarding peddler licensing, and business owners would need to research their city’s licensing regulations before starting. The license is typically quite inexpensive at $100 or under. If a surety bond is required, the bond amount is also quite small, such as $200 to $5,000. The premium busines owners pay for a bond starts around $100.
Exemptions for licensing could include selling for charities or other non-profit groups, garage sales, auctions, food grown by the person selling it, and religious purposes.
Information you may need when applying for a license:
- Name of business, business address, home address and telephone number
- Recent photographs of the applicant that show the head and shoulders
- Type of goods, wares, merchandise, food, services or subscriptions to be sold
- Location where the applicant intends to sell
- The length of time the applicant intends to sell
- A description and license plate number of all vehicles to be used
- List applicant’s crime and/or misdemeanor convictions
- The applicant’s state retailer license number
- Name, address and telephone number of a contact person who will respond to consumer complaints
- Supply fingerprints
- If the applicant is using a motor vehicle, then they may need to file a certificate of insurance showing liability insurance
- If the applicant is using a building, room, shop, booth, cart or other structure, the applicant may need to file a certificate of insurance showing proof of liability insurance
- If the applicant is selling food or beverages, they may need to be reviewed by the local Health Department, which can include an inspection to ensure sanitation requirements are met
Violations could include:
- Conducting business in improper zoning areas
- Making in-person door to door sales attempts outside of certain hours
- Impede the flow of pedestrian or vehicle traffic, or obstruct the view on a street
- Generate litter that is not removed by the licensee
- Sell beverages containing alcohol
- Use an amplifying device
- Selling in or on a motorized vehicle
- Acting in an unlawful manner
- Engage in an activity that poses a threat to public health or safety
- Harass, intimidate, coerce or threaten an individual to make a sale
- Selling unwholesome or tainted food
- Falsely misrepresent the quality, character or quantity of an item for sale
- Refusing to show a license to anyone requesting it, including police officers and customers
How Do I Get a Surety Bond?
If you are a peddler, solicitor, hawker, or street vendor that is required to obtain a surety bond for licensing, contact the Surety Bond Specialists at SuretyGroup.com for a free quote that fits your specific needs. Call 844-432-6637, apply online, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.
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