Skip to main content

Sidewalk Vendor and Pushcarts

When is a Sidewalk Vendor License Required?

A revocable license is required prior to any person engaging in the business of sidewalk vending.  The license is subject to review and conditions for every vendor operation and in some situations it may require an approved supplemental vendor book.

What is the Application Process?

Application to vend from a sidewalk or public right of way in the Central Business District shall be made to the Department of Permitting Services on an application for a Vendors License. The application package will require the following additional information:

  • correct legal name, present address and telephone number of the applicant;
  • type of goods or services to be sold;
  • copies of all permits required by state and local health authorities;
  • signed indemnity form;
  • description of sidewalk vending cart including dimensions;
  • a diagram showing the proposed area including distances from the sidewalk vending cart to the street, intersections, businesses, street cafes, pedestrian walkway. Applicant must allow for and show a minimum of five (5) feet of pedestrian walkway on the sidewalk for customers;
  • submit proof that they possess liability insurance in the amount of $500,000 and sign a statement holding Montgomery County harmless against any claim of liability;
  • payment of a fee as determined by the Department;
  • individuals must post a bond to cover the cost of any removal of abandoned sidewalk vending cart, damage to or clean-up of public property.

What are the Cart Standards or Restrictions?

Carts may not exceed three (3) feet in width by seven (7) feet in length including any hitch, and not exceed a height of five (5) feet excluding canopies or umbrellas, which must be a minimum of seven (7) feet above the sidewalk.  Umbrellas and canopies shall not exceed 28 square feet in area.

Carts must be on wheels.  They must be of lightweight construction so that one (1) adult person with no auxiliary power can move it from place to place.  They must be capable of transporting all vendors’ wares such that the vendor can set up and break down the sidewalk-vending cart without placing any objects on the sidewalk or street beyond two (2) feet of the edge of the cart.  Carts can only be made of durable easy to clean materials.

Carts may not be motorized or move on their own power.  They can have NO amplified sound and all advertising and other signage is limited to the name of the sidewalk-vending cart or listing of items sold and price in lettering no larger than two (2) inches.

How is the Location Approved?

A Zoning Inspector will evaluate your application and site plan to ensure all Location Requirements are met as per Montgomery County Code (See Section ).  Sidewalk vendors must not locate in or obstruct the travel lane of a public right-of-way, the pedestrian area of the sidewalk, or bike lanes at any time. 

No person may conduct business from a sidewalk-vending cart in any of the following places:

  • within twenty (20) feet of the intersection of the sidewalk with any other sidewalk or mid- block crossing;
  • any location which would reduce the clear, continuous sidewalk width to less than five (5) feet;
  • within five (5) feet of any imaginary perpendicular line running from any building entrance or doorway to the curb line;
  • within five (5) feet of any handicapped parking space, or access ramp;
  • within twenty (20) feet of any bus stop or METRO entrance or exit;
  • within three (3) feet of benches, planters or trees;
  • within twenty (20) feet of sidewalk cafes;
  • within fifteen (15) feet of a fire hydrant;
  • vend using the surface of the sidewalk or on a blanket or board placed immediately on the sidewalk or on top of a trash receptacle or cardboard boxes to display merchandise;
  • sell or offer for sale any item directly from any parked or double parked motor vehicle;
  • sell within the boundaries of a right-of-way street closure approved and permitted by the County or the State.

What Hours of Operation are Permitted?

Hours of operation will be limited to the hours of 6:30 AM to 10:00 PM Monday through Friday and 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM Saturday and Sunday.  All sidewalk-vending carts must be removed along with all trash from the vending location on a daily basis.  Loading and unloading of merchandise must comply with all traffic regulations and cannot exceed fifteen (15) minutes.

Application Package
Application Application for Vendors License
Fees and Taxes
Fee Schedules Exceutive Regulations for Fees 
 Credit Card Authorization Credit Card Authorization Form
Guidelines, Memorandum of Understandings, Interpretations
  16-61 Vendor Law pdf.
Frequently Asked Questions
311 Web Portal: Enter key word "Vendor"
Online Permitting Status Information and Inspections
Online Data Search Search DPS
Call for More Information
In Montgomery County 311
Outside of Montgomery County 240-777-0311
Other Agencies to Contact
Other Agencies and Utilities to Contact Allegheny Power
  Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. (BG&E)
  Board of Appeals
  Historical Society
  Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation
  Maryland Department of the Environment
  Maryland Division of State Documents
  Miss Utility
  MNCPPC: Historic Area Work Permits
  MNCPPC: MC Atlas
  MNCPPC: Zoning
  Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO)
  Washington Gas Light Co.