Street Traders and Peddlers

Street vending.

License cost £12.50

Finding out where to get them will be your biggest challenge!


A question posted onto

‘I am jobless and not in the position to be employed so I’ve been brainstorming myself for the last 3 nights on what to do next.

It needs to be something that doesn’t require a big investment and something that can start quite fast.
I’ve came to the conclusion that a street stand, selling like caramelized peanuts, candy floss, cold drinks or even coffee close to the tourists attractions would be a good idea.

Maybe in the future to extend to a sandwich mobile shop.
The thing is I have no clue where to start from. I’m thinking I need a license to trade as a street vendor from the council.


What else? Is it hard to get a license? Is it expensive?
Please let me know if you have any knowledge about this…

A, There is a BIG difference between a street trader and a peddler. The law requires a peddler to trade on the move and a street trader can sell statically.
In Britain, peddling is still governed by the Pedlar’s Act of 1871, which provides for a “pedlar’s certificate”. Application is usually made to the police.

However I have been reading on forums that this may have changed. In the late 20th century, the use of such certificates became rare as other civic legislation including the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 and the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 for England & Wales introduced a street trader’s licence.


As of 2008 the pedlar’s certificates remain legal and in use, although several local councils have sought to rid their area of peddlers by way of local bylaw or enforcement mechanisms such as making them apply for a street trader’s licence.

 Peddling laws Also see


 Peddling is an ancient form of commerce. As long ago as 1225 Britain has been peddling.
This started with foot peddlers knocking door to door with horse drawn carts and wagons.
However, modern peddlers are faced with complicated licensing requirements which vary.
Do not let this put you off!!

Resourceful traders can make it a creative enterprise. It allows you to trade in prime locations with minimal costs. Entrepreneurs often see the potential in locating spaces that most merchants hadn’t thought of exploiting, and show resourcefulness when developing strategies to gain access to these sites.

Once again RESEARCH your chosen area. Look for vehicle and pedestrian traffic spots. Note the type of shops within your route and avoid clashing products.

Always have a business plan to hand. It’s a starting point and a daily weekly diary. This is initially for your benefit. It will help you guide your way through the list of jobs and keep you focused. It will also enable you to keep to the budget (however small) and show people how organised and serious you are about your Plans.

Within your plan you will include the strategy of bringing your product to the streets, your target market and the reason why a peddler’s license would be an appropriate course of action for your product.

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 A street peddlers licence seems to be getting very hard to obtain. This is due to councils preferring a static trader who they can monitor, rather than a peddler roaming around.

We need to change the views of our local councils and we can do this by using attractive peddling barrows/carts/vans and trolleys. Have your business name on your vending equipment, certificates and business cards displayed proudly, along with neat, clean and inviting decoration and not to mention innovative products.


Obtain the necessary permits. Firstly try your local Police station. If you have no luck, try your local council. File for a business license and keep it with you whenever you are vending. As a street vendor, you are more likely to be required to verify your legitimacy than if you were selling in a conventional venue.

Develop an attractive, portable display system that you can set up and break down in a minimum of time. Because many consumers think of street vending as a fly-by-night enterprise, do everything possible to legitimise your operation.

Purchase inventory. Obtain inexpensive merchandise by researching suppliers online and using information on product labels to obtain contact information. Develop purchasing relationships directly with producers whenever possible. Call or e-mail and tell producers you are starting a street vending business and wish to buy products wholesale.
I feel the hardest part of setting up will be requiring a functioning peddler’s licence.
Regional variation: Some local authorities have obtained private Acts of Parliament which prohibit pedlar’s from trading on ‘designated streets’.


In areas where such restrictions are in force a pedlar can only trade door to door and cannot sell direct to customers in the street. You should contact your local authority to enquire about any local restrictions.
A peddler’s certificate is obtained from the chief of police from the area where you live. You need to attend at your local police station with two forms of identification, one with a photograph and the other showing an address where you have lived at for at least 28 days within the district you are applying for the licence. You must be aged over 17 to apply for a certificate.




It would be advisable to contact your local police before attending as there may be slight differences in this process from force to force.
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.
Little costing but great responsibility.

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