How Do I Get a Vendor Permit?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 14 May 2020
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In many municipalities, a vender permit is necessary in order to engage in any type of street vending or other temporary vending activities for a special event. The requirements for obtaining a permit will vary from one jurisdiction to another, although there are certain qualifications that are highly likely to apply in any municipality. Among these are contact information for the vendor, a detailed description of the stand that will be used for the vending, and proof of insurance that meets the basic standards set in place by the municipality.

There is sometimes confusion between what is meant by a vendor permit and a vendor license. While the two terms are used interchangeably in many areas, a vendor license is normally authorization to operate the business for an extended period of time, such as a calendar year. In contrast, the vendor permit may be issued for shorter periods, making it ideal for vendors who wish to participate in a weekend event.

The first step in obtaining a vendor permit is to contact the local municipality and obtain a vendor form along with a list of vendor requirements. This will make it easier to determine exactly what information is required and identify the proper sequence of steps necessary to secure the permit. Once the form is reviewed and the vendor is in compliance with all the requirements, it is possible to begin preparing the actual vendor application.

Municipalities will determine the scope of information that is required in order to obtain a vendor permit. Typically, the name of the vendor must be provided, along with a permanent mailing address and physical address. A contact telephone number is also often required. Increasingly, municipalities are also providing the option of including an email address at the discretion of the applicant. A complete description of the vending stand must also be included in the application, describing the dimensions and visual layout of that stand. Most municipalities will also require a full description of the goods that the vendor will offer for sale.

Along with basic contact information and a full description of the stand and the product line, the application for a vendor permit will often require proof of some type of public liability insurance that is for at least the minimum amount required by the municipality. It is not unusual for the application to also request specific information about the location in which the stand is stored when not in use. This is so the municipality can confirm that the storage location is up to local health and safety codes.

Assuming that all the paperwork is in order, many municipalities will have a health inspector visit the storage location and inspect the stand carefully, to make sure it complies with all current health standards and codes. Upon passing the inspection and the verification of the public liability insurance, the vendor pays the necessary fees and is granted the vendor permit. Once the stand is in actual use, a health inspector may follow up with a site visit, making sure that the stand that is used at the event is the same as the unit allowed by the permit.

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