Each summer, Plymouth police respond to calls from residents regarding door-to-door peddlers and solicitors.
Requirements for Peddlers and Solicitors
According to Plymouth City Code 1140 (PDF), peddlers and solicitors must obtain a license from the city, unless they’re delivering merchandise ordered out of state. Applications are due to the city clerk’s office five days prior to sales. Failure to comply with city ordinances may result in revocation or suspension of a license. Licenses are valid only for the period specified.
In Plymouth, permitted hours for door-to-door sales are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Solicitors cannot harass, intimidate, abuse, or threaten residents. If a peddler or solicitor is told to leave, he or she must comply. Residents should call 911 as soon as possible with concerns and complaints about a solicitor.
It is prohibited for a peddler, solicitor or transient merchant to do the following:
- Obstruct the flow of vehicular or pedestrian traffic on any street, alley, sidewalk or other public right-of-way
- Create a threat to the health, safety, or welfare of any individual or the general public
- Entering private property to make a sale or solicitation between the hours of 8 p.m. and 9 a.m., unless the owner or occupant of the property has made arrangements for the salesperson to arrive during those hours
- Cry out, blow a horn, ring a bell or make any loud or unusual noise in areas zoned for residential use
‘Peddlers and Solicitors Prohibited’ Signs
Signs that read “Peddlers and Solicitors Prohibited,” which are posted near the entrance to a home or business, legally prohibit uninvited people from selling goods or services or seeking financial contributions, even if they hold a peddlers license issued by the City of Plymouth.
Signs must be at least 3.75-square inches in size.
Signs are available for pickup in the lobby of the Plymouth Public Safety Building, 3400 Plymouth Blvd. Download a sign (PDF) to print at home.
In some cases, the city cannot prevent individuals from going door-to-door, especially in cases that involve literature distribution, because it could tread on an individual’s First Amendment right to free speech. Exceptions include:
- Individuals selling newspaper subscriptions.
- Individuals soliciting money, donations or financial assistance of any kind for nonprofit, religious, political or educational organizations. This includes taking orders for goods sold by these organizations; or selling or distributing literature or merchandise for which a fee is charged or solicited on behalf of such an organization.
- Individuals calling upon households in connection with a regular route service for the sale and delivery of perishable foods, such as bakery and dairy products. Keep in mind that this exemption does not relieve the seller from complying with other applicable provisions of the City Code.
- Individuals calling upon a household at the request of someone living in the home.