Solicitor and Peddler Licensing
Solicitor and Peddler Application
No person shall engage in soliciting or peddling in Howard County unless that person has obtained an identification (ID) card from the Office of Consumer Affairs. Howard County Code, Section 14.700.
Peddling means moving about the County by foot or vehicle of any kind, from place to place, house to house, door to door, or upon any street or highway, for the purpose of selling and simultaneously delivering or offering for sale and simultaneous delivery, at retail, any goods, wares, merchandise, services or foodstuffs of any kind whatever.
Soliciting means traveling about the County by foot or vehicle of any kind from place to place, house to house, door to door, or upon any street or highway, for the purpose of engaging in any one or more of the following activities:
- Attempting to obtain orders for the sale and future delivery.
- Attempting to obtain subscriptions to books, magazines, or newspapers, and every other kind of printed matter not published in Howard County, the State of Maryland or the District of Columbia.
Some peddlers and solicitors are exempted from the registration or fee requirements. For a List of Exceptions, click here.
Applications and Fees
Applicants must submit a printed or typed Registration Application form. Application forms not fully completed could result in delay or denial of ID card issuance. Failure to provide complete and accurate information on the registration form can also result in the denial, revocation, or suspension of an ID card.
An applicant for the peddling of foodstuffs of any kind must first obtain a separate permit from the Howard County Health Department showing compliance with Health regulations governing food from facilities.
Fees for ID cards must be paid by cash, check, or money order made payable to the “Director of Finance.” All ID’s are renewable July 1 of each year.
The Fee for each ID card requested is $100 per year (running from July 1 to June 30). The fee of issuance of a duplicate card is $5.00. ALL FEES ARE NON-REFUNDABLE.
If during the period for which an ID card is issued there is any change in the factual information furnished on the application form, the ID card holder must fully and promptly communicate the new information to the Office of Consumer Affairs.
The holder of an ID card which is lost, stolen, or mutilated shall immediately report the loss or mutilation to the Office of Consumer Affairs, for the issuance of a duplicate ID card.
To obtain a Solicitor’s or Pedler's ID card, click here.
Rules of Conduct
- Soliciting or peddling may be conducted within the County only between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.
- The holder of an ID must not represent, or in any way imply, that possession of an ID constitutes an endorsement by the County.
- The holder of an ID card shall carry his ID card on his/her person while soliciting or peddling and shall display the ID card to any person who asks to see it. The card holder must leave the premises of a consumer immediately upon request.
- Along with the ID card, peddlers who use vehicles shall be issued a metal tag. This metal tag must be attached to the right side rear of the vehicle used in peddling and must be visible at all times.
- Solicitors and peddlers must abide by Howard County law regarding non-transit activities that take place along Howard County roads. Click here for more information.
- Under Maryland Law, door-to-door salespeople (those who make sales at a consumer’s home or from a location that is not the seller’s primary place of business), who sell goods costing $25 or more, must provide consumers with a 3-day right to cancel the sale, inform consumers of their cancellation rights, and explain their cancellation rights in writing as part of their sales contract. For a copy of the Maryland Door-to-Door Sales Act, click here.
Registered pedders or solicitors who comply with the above conditions may still be ordered by the Police Department or the Department of Public Works to cease or relocate their activities if they determine that the activity impedes traffic or endangers the public.
Non-transit Activities along Howard County Roads
Howard County Code, Section 18.207 prohibits the sale or solicitation of goods, services or donations from the paved “right of way” of any Howard County roadway (including the median area) unless the sales or solicitations are made:
By properly licensed solicitors or peddlers;
On roads that have a posted speed limit of 45 mph or less;
At a location on the shoulder of the road that is at least 8 ft. from the edge line of the travel lane, and at least 100 feet from the nearest intersection or other point of ingress or egress; and
Between 8 a.m. and sunset.
Special Permits for Temporary Non-transit Activities
Persons may conduct “non-transit” activities such as soliciting or peddling in the median area of a county road for up to four days per calendar year after obtaining a Special Permit from the Office of Consumer Affairs. Solicitors and peddlers operating under a special permit may conduct business only between the hours of 9:00 am to sunset.
To obtain a permit, an individual must:
- Submit an application 21 days before an activity;
- State the specific location of the sale or solicitation;
- Obtain approval of the location from the Howard County Police;
- Provide a signed indemnification of liability to the County;
- State the four dates on which the activity will take place;
- Pay a $100 fee.
To apply for a Special Permit, click here.
Any person who violates any of the above provisions shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be fined up to $500 or imprisoned for up to 30 days, or both. Additionally, the ID card can also be denied, revoked, or suspended for violations of the law.
Howard County licensing laws for peddlers and solicitors do not apply to:
- Persons selling produce, milk, butter, eggs or poultry which they grow themselves;
- Persons making sales on private property at the invitation of the owner or occupant;
- Persons engaged in business to business transactions;
- Charitable or nonprofit associations which register annually with the administrator (see below);
- Insurance brokers with valid insurance licenses including trainees;
- Real estate brokers and agents with valid real estate licenses and their trainees;
- Politicians, voter registrars, and individuals working on ballot questions;
- Organizations who have qualified under the “Code of Ethics” exception(see below).
Charitable or Nonprofit Associations are not required to pay for peddlers or solicitors licenses only if they register with the Office of Consumer Affairs. Please note, that in order to qualify for the exemption, a charitable or nonprofit association must provide evidence that it has §501©(3) status from the Internal Revenue Service. For a registration form,click here.
The “Code of Ethics” exception applies only to persons sell or take orders for companies that:
- Subscribe to or are bound by a policy statement, code or regulation established by the company, firm, corporation or partnership individually or by a recognized trade association of which the applicant company, firm, corporation or partnership is a member in good standing and which policy statement, code or regulation:
- Require that the offer of products or services for sale shall be truthful and accurate as to price, grade, quantity, make, value, performance, currency of model and availability;
- Require that the terms of any guarantee offered by the solicitor or peddler in connection with the sale shall be furnished to the buyer in writing and shall clearly state the nature and extent of such guarantee; and
- Prohibit the initiation or continuation of any deceptive or any unlawful trade practices;
- Have established a procedure for processing consumer complaints within a reasonable time and providing consumer redress, if it is determined that the consumer was aggrieved by a violation of the policy statement, code or regulation or an unlawful trade practice, and
- Are in compliance with all orders directives, stipulations and agreements between them and the Howard County Office of Consumer Affairs.
If a peddler or solicitor works for a company that has a Code of Ethics or other policy statement that meets the above criteria, s/he may apply for a Code of Ethics Exception. If the application is accepted, the Office of Consumer Affairs will issue a block of numbered ID cards to the company for use by their peddlers or solicitors. The license fee is $50 per card. The organization must maintain a control list of whom they give the cards to. If one of the company’s solicitors discontinues his/her activities, it is the company’s responsibility to collect the card prior to the person leaving and provide the Office with the information on the new holder of the card. If the company stops doing the business for which the cards were issued, it is the company’s duty to return the block of cards to the Office of Consumer Affairs. For more information about the Code of Ethics Exception,click here. To apply for a Code of Ethics Exception click here.
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For further information, please contact:
Office of Consumer Affairs
6751 Columbia Gateway Dr.
Columbia, MD 21046