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City Permit ... has ANYBODY heard of this??

Intrepid_Chef

Legend Member
Silver Member
Nov 6, 2007
5,161
20
The things one learns being in the media!

I attended a city meeting tonight, where a resident (who happens to be an appointed city councilman) came to the city for a permit for his direct sales business. He sells boxes out of his home, does not meet customers there and told me that he drives many miles just to meet with them where they are and discuss their packaging needs. I was in the man's home. He doesn't have a single box there and apparently does pretty well.

One of the commission members was whining that this could open a "can of worms" but the others were pretty happy that he was coming to them for a permit at all. He'd flown under the radar for some time, until one of his opponents complained after he ended up on council.

As they described his business (no inventory, doing business out of a small office and going on the road) I couldn't help thinking that his business sounds a lot like ours.

In my church, almost everybody sells something — one sells jewelry, I sell PC and others sell phone service and insurance. On my street, my next door neighbor is a district manager for Avon and her sister in law used to live next door to her and sell Avon as well. UPS comes to her door more often than FedEx comes to mine, and neither of us are disturbed by the quick deliveries. Frankly, UPS or FedEx make more deliveries to people who aren't selling anything.

Did any of you get permits from the city, or even know that such a requirement exists? I'll bet you there are NUMEROUS consultants for various low-key direct sales company in this city and the neighboring one who never got a permit for anything — including one guy who sells stuff on E-Bay and can't get a permit from the city because he maintains inventory.
 

Chefstover2

Advanced Member
Jan 7, 2007
597
0
I have never gotten a permit, but I DID look into if it was necessary. I think it depends on where you live. Some cities and/or neighborhoods have strict rules about this. I was not able to have my magnets on my car in Florida in my neighborhood b/c I didn't park in my garage. I didn't have a permit b/c I didn't meet customers in my home and no money was exchanged in my home (I think that was it).

Here in NC, there's been no issue.

HTH
 

Nanisu

Veteran Member
Gold Member
Sep 1, 2005
1,201
12
Yeah my city does this too....but they aren't enforcing it because it is a HUGE can of worms. The City Clerk is a good friend of mine and when I questioned her on it her response was "let's pretend we didn't have this conversation". It is a stupid law but cities are hurting for $$$ so expect to see more of this.
 

quimbychic

Novice Member
Nov 12, 2009
32
0
Our home owner's association bans us from selling out of our home. I had a Pampered Chef flag in our yard. When we were fined, I read the policy VERY CLOSELY and it actually forbids direct selling that requires inventory. Which PC doesn't! So they had to rescind the fine. And they were VERY unhappy about it.
 

esavvymom

Legend Member
Staff member
Sep 8, 2008
7,895
146
Our home owner's association bans us from selling out of our home. I had a Pampered Chef flag in our yard. When we were fined, I read the policy VERY CLOSELY and it actually forbids direct selling that requires inventory. Which PC doesn't! So they had to rescind the fine. And they were VERY unhappy about it.

I don't see how they can do that anyway. Truthfully, legally they probably can't unless you have people coming to your home (parking issues). I've read of several stories where homeowners fought and won against silly rules like that. HOAs and City's get so ridiculous sometimes.
 

Sheila

Legend Member
Gold Member
Mar 26, 2008
5,375
75
We are required here on the military base in Japan to get a "business license" from the base in order to do business on base and/or out of base housing. But it's the military & they are more strict than most civil jurisdictions. But yes, most cities require you to get a permit for ANYTHING that you do ... garage/yard sales, remodeling, etc. It only stands to reason that many would want you to get a permit to run a business in their jurisdiction. If your home is in an area that's zoned for both businesses as well as residences, then they could ask you to pay taxes on your income to the city as well. The rules can vary from state-to-state, city-to-city and for the various zones within a jurisdiction. ;)
 

lesliec

Veteran Member
Mar 31, 2010
1,001
6
I know that they can do these things, but if they truly tried to enforce them, none of us would even be able to afford to do business. For our landscape business we have to pull a permit for each job we do. They usually run btwn $40 and $75 each. On top of that, some of the towns require us to pay a fee to even be a contractor in the town. I know the one I recently paid was $120 for the year. We wouldn't be able to make any money if we had to pay for a permit for each show.
 

Intrepid_Chef

Legend Member
Silver Member
Nov 6, 2007
5,161
20
  • Thread starter
  • #8
It's not for each show. It's merely a one-time permit to do business out of your home. I have no idea how much it would cost. They basically want to make sure you don't have people coming to your house, that you don't maintain inventory and you don't have a sign.

The person I mentioned who DOES have inventory is a city official in another town ... TRIED to get a permit but couldn't because that town's ordinance is more strict — home businesses must not maintain inventory.
 

esavvymom

Legend Member
Staff member
Sep 8, 2008
7,895
146
It's not for each show. It's merely a one-time permit to do business out of your home. I have no idea how much it would cost. They basically want to make sure you don't have people coming to your house, that you don't maintain inventory and you don't have a sign.

The person I mentioned who DOES have inventory is a city official in another town ... TRIED to get a permit but couldn't because that town's ordinance is more strict — home businesses must not maintain inventory.


See!! Now if someone in that town hadn't been harassing folks and asking "wanna have a show? wanna have a show?", they wouldn't have ticked off the city-council to pass an ordinance. LOL
 

Intrepid_Chef

Legend Member
Silver Member
Nov 6, 2007
5,161
20
  • Thread starter
  • #10
Yeah, except his business is 100 percent online (ebay shop) and he keeps a "secret stash" in his basement, and runs to the post office on his way to work. No shows involved.

I wonder what they do with Mary Kay ladies who keep a secret stash of makeup, or even we consultants who keep a secret stash of scrapers and paring knives?

Seriously, I wonder what they do about somebody who sells jewelry one year, PC the next and Tupperware after that. Does she have to get a new permit for every business?
 

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