ATP Template with bundler

Door to door selling


If you are going to sell door to door only, you will need a pedlars certificate which is issued by the police.

A pedlars certificate is a certificate that allows a person to sell goods (usually trinkets, household goods and other hand made objects) door to door going from place to place. The "pedlar " cannot remain in one place and sell items; a pedlar goes to their customers to sell items rather than allow customers to come to them. If you do want to remain in one place, on a street for example, you would require a street trader's licence, which you can obtain from your local council.

You must be 17 or over to apply for a pedlars licence and must have lived for at least 28 days within the district you are applying.

How to apply

A pedlars certificate is obtained from the chief of police from the area where you live. You need to attend at your police station with:

  • 2 photos of you
  • a form of identity, eg a passport or driving licence
  • proof of your address
  • details of a referee

The police need this information to check your identity and that you are of good character before issuing a certificate. The cost of the licence is currently £12.25 and lasts 1 year.

Please note that having a pedlars certificate is in no way an indication that the goods for sale are of merchantable quality.


You will need to obtain an application form from your local council. The form will ask for your name, address, date of birth, street in which you wish to trade (a plan must be attached), days and times you will be trading, description of goods you will be trading, description of stall or any other object used in connection with trading, details of any previous convictions and they will more than likely want to know if you have been refused a street trader licence before. If you are selling food you need to get a further licence from your local council.

It is likely that you will have to send in with the form some passport photographs and a deposit.

You do not need this type of licence if you are,

  • trading as a pedlar
  • market trader operating at a licensed venue
  • news vendor selling only newspapers and periodicals.

Councils are unlikely to give consent to trade on a main road or anywhere which may cause an obstruction or congestion, such as near to schools.

Please be aware that trading without a street trader licence is an offence.

See the website in related information to find your local authority.


Very few, if any of the insurance companies sell insurance door to door anymore. If a door to door salesperson offers you car insurance and it is significantly cheaper than any of the other quotes, then beware.

It is not advisable to obtain insurance from a door to door salesperson at all, unless you can verify that they do work for the company and the insurance is valid. You are advised to contact the company yourself to verify the salesperson's details. It is advisable not to use any telephone numbers supplied by the salesperson but to obtain the telephone number yourself.

When you take out car insurance, you will receive an insurance certificate by email or post along with and a pack containing a policy booklet, schedule and possibly other documentation. If the salesperson only gives you a certificate and a schedule then it is possible that it is not a genuine certificate and you will not have any insurance.

For more information about door to door sales and your rights as a consumer, please see the government guidance at GOV.UK - door to door sales


The Trading Standards Institute gives detailed advice regarding cold callers and advice on your rights regarding them.

'Doorstep sellers' are becoming an increasing problem, usually targeting older people. Someone comes to your door with the aim of scamming you out of money or trying to gain access to your home to steal items. In some cases, the sellers portray to be reformed criminals who are looking to start their lives again.

You can put up a 'no cold callers' sign which should deter them from knocking on your door, and if a cold caller ignores this sign it is a criminal offence. Whilst the police may not be able to take action in each individual case of the sign being ignored, the information can be used to target these sellers and prevent them from committing crimes.

If you are the victim of this and the callers refuse to leave, you can contact the police. If you are not in immediate danger, we would advise that you make a report via the non-emergency 101 number or on the 999 number in an emergency.

For further guidance please see the links in 'related information' to helpful websites.


It is always advisable to use a chain or peephole before answering the door to anyone that you do not know.

If there is a person claiming to be from a company such as electricity/gas/water, then they will have official ID. If they are genuine they will have no problem with you asking to see it and telephoning the company to verify it. You can also look the telephone number up yourself. However, do not use a telephone number they give you, as you cannot be sure as this number may not be genuine.

If you have any doubts whatsoever then do not let them in, it is better to be safe than sorry. You can always then telephone the company and make an arrangement for another day.

If it is a person who wants to carry out some work on your garden/drive/roof etc. and they make a cold call to your house then be very wary. Before having any major work done on your house you should seek to obtain at least two or three quotes from different reputable companies.

If the person gives you a price that is too good to be true then it is likely it will be. Be careful, there have been cases of people carrying out the job and then demanding more money.

There are also cases of the workman offering to drive the person to the bank to get the money, which is often at a massively inflated price.

Some people who offer to carry out such tasks are genuine but there are those that are not and will take advantage of people, mainly the vulnerable and the elderly. It is advisable not to allow any workmen to carry out any tasks in your home unless they have been personally recommended to you and you have approached them.

If the person keeps contacting you about the work then be very careful as reputable companies tend to be very busy and do not need to chase work.

Local council building control can advise on building contractors on an "approved list". Also Trading Standards can advise on other contractors (e.g. burglar alarm installers). Trade associations often have a list of "registered" businesses. Plus ask the "workman" at the door for a card, website address, names and addresses of local premises where he/she has undertaken work (and contact one or two of them to verify personally).

See the websites in Related Information for more help and advice or contact Consumer Direct on: 08454 040506.

Contact your local police force

Enter your town or postcode to see information from your local force

If you can't find the answer?

Submit A Question