All persons who sell goods and services by going door-to-door must obtain a license under the City's ordinance. The only exceptions are for newspaper delivery and for other licensed entities, such as utility or telecommunications companies that have a franchise agreement with the City. Residents should ask all door-to-door salespeople for their license before continuing the conversation much farther.
Click here to view and print solicitor application.
Fraud & Crime Prevention
The purpose of the licensing ordinance is to prevent fraud, crime, undue annoyance and harassment, and to protect the privacy, safety, health, and welfare of the citizens of Sterling Heights. Nevertheless, although the City can perform background checks and require photographs and other information from the salesperson or organization, the City cannot ever guarantee that a salesperson is legitimate. Residents should always remember the age-old adage: "buyer beware." Before opening your door, use a peephole or chain to determine who is at your door. A legitimate individual from a utility or cable company will show you identification.
After taking the identification information, you can call the company yourself to verify the person's legitimacy. Always look up the number for yourself. Do not rely on a number provided by the person at the door, because that number could be a fake to convince you that the person is legitimate. If you are not convinced that a City license or registration is authentic (if you think it might be a forgery), contact the City Clerk's office and ask someone to look up the license and verify that it was properly issued. If you still have doubts, do not let the person in. You can always reschedule if it turns out that the visit was from a legitimate company or contractor.
A solicitor's license issued by the City offers no guarantee that the person is legitimate or can be trusted. The fact that the person has a license only means that he or she paid the licensing fee, filed the required paperwork, and had his or her background investigated. The license does not mean that the person is honest, truthful, credible, or trustworthy. Always exercise sound judgment before deciding to let anyone into your home.
No Solicitors & No Trespassing Signs
It is a misdemeanor in the City of Sterling Heights to disregard signs with language similar to "No Trespassing" and "No Soliciting." Even if the individual has a license or a registration certificate from the City, he or she may not solicit at your home. The only exception is for political or religious speech without any request for funds. For example, a candidate for public office or a preacher from a church group may disregard your signs and knock on your door because they are not soliciting anything from you. Rather, their only intentions are to provide you with information. If the conversation changes into a solicitation for money, you may demand that the person leave your premises and/or you may contact the police.
Hardware stores usually sell them, and a variety of online websites also offer them for sale. Be sure to check with the City's Code Enforcement Department to ensure that you are not installing anything that would violate the City's sign ordinances or zoning regulations.
- Do individuals from political and religious groups need a license if they go door-to-door to promote their cause?
- Does the City restrict the hours that individuals may solicit?
- What should I do if an individual solicits at my home and ignores the “NO SOLICITORS” or “NO TRESPASSING” sign that I have posted on or near my door?