You do not want to get a ticket — and it’s happened.
So, is it legal to knock on doors in door-to-door roofing sales?
And what do you need to know NOW?
Many of us have knocked on doors for years and have never faced an issue. And if that’s you, you may be thinking, Why are you even wasting my time with this topic?
Well, guess what?
Just because you haven’t been caught yet does not mean that you won’t be at some point.
It’s kind of like drunk driving (by the way, I don’t drink, I do NOT condone drinking and driving, and, obviously, drinking and driving can have far graver consequences than getting a ticket). But it’s the same idea — if you haven’t been caught yet, that doesn’t mean you won’t end facing police at some point in the future.
Have You Run into These Threats in D2D Roofing Sales?
In the coming weeks, months, or years (it doesn’t matter), you’re going to be facing two threats:
- The neighborhood watchdog: I hired a canvasser (“Mike”) who ended up getting a ticket right after I hired him because the neighborhood watchdog saw him knocking on doors and called the police on him. And he hadn’t even knocked on the watchdog’s door yet. But he called me up right after and quit on the spot. More on this below.
- Competitors: As door-to-door roofing sales gets more competitive, other companies may try to snuff you out with complaints, saying that you’re not operating legally, even if you are. Why? Because if they stop you from being on doors, even for a day, they can get a strong hold in that neighborhood and take it over. And they can be at the door saying, “Hey, I just want to caution you. If you don’t see THIS from the next person who knocks on your door, I recommend you call the police because they’re not operating legally.”
Now, what is THIS that’s mentioned above?
That’s what we’re about to dig into here.
Welcome or welcome back, by the way. My name is Adam Bensman, The Roof Strategist. And everything I do here (and on my YouTube channel, Instagram, and my podcast on Apple and Spotify) is designed to help you and your team at smash your income goals and give every customer an amazing experience.
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Now let’s dive in.
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Is It Legal to Knock on Doors in Door-to-Door Roofing Sales?
The short answer — YES BUT…
Quick upfront disclaimer: I’m not an attorney, and I am not your attorney. This is not legal advice. It is up to you to make sure that you are operating in full compliance with local, state, and federal law.
Now, here’s the key thing — a permit may or may not be required to knock on doors in some areas. Let’s look at an example, using Mike, the canvasser I mentioned above, to see what I mean here (Mike isn’t his real name, by the way).
Example: When Mike got a ticket, he was knocking on doors in an area that required a permit. I didn’t know this at the time. I was only a few years into roofing sales when I hired Mike. And I had had luck in that area — I had customers in the neighborhood, and I found that there
wasn’t a lot of competition.
So, I took Mike there, and he ended up getting a ticket that landed on his personal record. And I ended up going to court to try to get the ticket passed on to the company or me. I felt SO guilty (and I still carry this weight). I ended up paying the fine, but that ticket stuck on my canvasser, and it made me feel horrible.
I want to show you how easy it was to avoid that, so you don’t get a ticket.
Also, keep in mind that these required permits for going door to door are NOT required everywhere. You have to check with the city, township, or area where you plan to canvas.
How to Figure Out If You Need a Permit to Knock on Doors
There are two phrases you need to search to check if you need a permit in a certain area:
- “Solicitors permit [town or city name here]”
- “Peddlers permit [town or city name here]”
If nothing shows up, you can always call the local police department and ask. If they say you don’t need a permit, you’re totally good.
Now, let’s look at a couple of searches to see how this works in practice.
How to Do an Online Search for Roofing Sales Permits: 2 Examples
First, I’ve searched “solicitors permit DeForest, WI.”
Here’s what pops up.
The very first result is for “Sellers Permit.”
When I click on it, here’s what I see.
Everything I need to know about permits for DeForest, WI, is right there!
Permits ARE required for direct sales, which is what we do. Plus, the application document and directions for submitting the permit application are all detailed right there. Simple enough. Just follow the directions.
Now, let’s search “peddlers permit Sun Prairie, WI.”
Here’s what pops up for that one.
Again, the first result — “Direct Seller’s, Peddler’s & Solicitor’s Licenses | Sun Prairie, WI” — is what we’re looking for.
And, again, when you click through, you find all of the information about peddler’s permits in Sun Prairie, how to apply for one, and more.
Permits in D2D Roofing Sales: How Much Do They Cost?
Each municipality has different fee schedules.
Check out the fees in Sun Prairie, WI, for example (above). They want $300 per person per year — that’s one of the pricier permits I’ve seen, and it has some pretty strict time limits.
For other areas, like DeForest, WI, it’s only $20 for a seller’s permit (and the site doesn’t say anything about it only lasting a week, a month, or a year).
The point is that costs vary, just like the requirement to carry a permit when you canvas.
Recap: Legal Issues, Tickets & Permits in Door-to-Door Roofing Sales
There are three key takeaways here:
- Search before you go: Do an online search for “solicitors permit [city/town name here]” or “peddlers permit [city/town name here]” before you get out into a neighborhood and start knocking on doors.
- Every municipality is different: It’s up to you to know the laws and abide by them. Also, I’ve heard anecdotally that, if you see a “No Soliciting” sign, but you do solicit and someone files a complaint, it could be criminal trespassing. Now, again, this is all anecdotal to me, and I’ve got my own views on that (check out my video on No Soliciting).
- Be mindful of private property: Again, it’s up to you to know the local laws and make sure that you’re 100% legal, especially gated communities and private areas.
You now have validation that, YES, door-to-door roofing sales (and direct sales) is 100% legal.
All you have to do is make sure you’re compliant with local laws by doing a quick Google search (for “solicitors/peddlers permit” and the name of the town, and you’ll find what you need.
Get More Roofing Sales Strategies, Tips & Videos
If you want more help with canvassing or anything in roofing sales, check out my all-in-one sales training, sales strategy, and sales system, the Roofing Sales Success Formula & Complete Sales Strategy. This exclusive program covers everything from knock to close. If you have questions, just call or text (303) 222-7133 for more info.
You can also subscribe for the latest roofing sales training videos and/or get a copy of my Pitch Like a Pro roofing sales training video library. It includes every roofing sales video I’ve ever done, organized by category, along with a bunch of tips, tricks, and more. It’s great for new people and seasoned veterans, and it’s updated all the time to help you and your team smash your income goals and give every customer an amazing experience.
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It’s affordably priced and comes with a 100% money-back guarantee. There’s also a playlist of instructional videos in there, explaining every single thing. So, you can watch the videos, and you’ll know exactly what to do.
Thanks for joining me, and I look forward to sharing more with you in the next blog.