Do No Soliciting Signs Work? Prepare To Be Shocked

No Soliciting Sign

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Imagine you just got off of work. It’s been a long day and all you want is to kick your shoes off, head to the couch and binge your favorite show on Netflix. As you prepare to press play, you hear a ring at the door. The sound might as well be nails on a chalkboard.

You aren’t having a party and weren’t expecting company. Maybe it’s a package from Amazon or someone spreading their beliefs, instead it’s a door to door salesman peddling a product you probably don’t need.

If the bright idea of buying a no soliciting sign has crossed your mind, you’re not a lone. No soliciting signs might sound like a great idea, but you’d be surprised at how door to door sales reps actually look at them.

What Does No Soliciting Actually Mean?

The Merriam-Websters definition of soliciting is: to ask for (something, such as money or help) from people, companies, etc. So when a door to door salesman is coming to your door asking for something, this by definition is a solicitation.

Is Door to Door Sales Illegal?

Across the board in the United States, door to door sales is 100% legal as it falls under the definition of direct sales. This simply means selling good and services without a retail storefront by going direct to consumer.

One of the ways is by going directly to your home, setting up booths at a carnival, heading into businesses, etc. For example: Girl Scout Cookie sales people is a form of direct sales.

No Soliciting Signs and Your Rights

Posting a no soliciting or no trespassing sign falls in line with your First Amendment right to freedom of speech. You’re expressing that you don’t wish to be bothered at your residence. You 100% have a right to express this in the form of a sign.

The reality however is much dimmer as there really aren’t any rights when it comes to freedom of privacy or seclusion (to be left alone). In fact, privacy isn’t even mentioned in the U.S. Constitution.

You can express your first amendment right (freedom of speech) to be left alone but you technically don’t have the right to be left alone? It’s a bit of a catch-22. On one end you have the right to express wanting to be left alone but on the other side of the door (pun intended) the sales person has the right to free enterprise and freedom of speech.

The only real protection you have from door-to-door solicitation is time constraints, as most state ordinances place solicitation hours between 8:00am and 9:00pm.

By definition a trespasser is someone who enters onto your property without your permission. You can post a no trespassing sign but again, laws against trespassing and no soliciting will vary from state to state.

The Reason Solicitors Ignore Your Sign

It can be frustrating being bombarded with pest control, alarms, window, lawn services, or solar companies bombarding you with their products and services. Except the girl scout cookies – they’re the exception to the rule, right?

The real reason why no soliciting signs don’t work as well as you’d like is because of what makes the United States such a great country – opportunity.

Most of the sales reps, yes a girl scout is a sales rep, are simply trying to provide valuable products and services that can actually benefit your life.

While you might not like the reason or the time that they knock on your door, it’s their legal right to do so. If anything the big red sign that you posted acts as a bullseye.

The irony in the sign you put up is that you bought it! It indicates that you answer your door when someone knocks. As far as they’re concerned, you’re someone who buys if the pain is great enough.

Local Ordinances

On a national level things are a bit different but door to door laws will vary from state to state. In some cases, small towns and even cities have local ordinances that can be posted that violate municipal codes.

Some cities may even provide a no soliciting sign that you can print out and post to help deter door to door soliciting. Violations can range from $100 to $500 for door salespeople, religious organizations, or any other unwanted visitors who don’t respect your sign.

Gated Communities With an HOA

Regardless of where you live, gated community or not, trying to ban salespeople is a violation of their first amendment right. While sales people don’t get the best look, politicians are treated much differently if they’re going door to door to campaign.

If you do however live in a gated community, it’s a lot harder for these sales reps or political solicitors to get into your community. More often than not the security guard will need to give them clearance to get access into the community.

Posting Signs Will Deter At Best

So will posting a no soliciting sign actually work? In short, no. They’ll definitely help keep solicitors from knocking at your door, although they might leave door hangers instead.

Humans in general have a fear of rejection. Posting signs will help deter unwanted solicitation but it won’t entirely eliminate it. Overall these people are out to earn an honest living.

It may be scary since there definitely are door to door scams but not all direct sales reps are bad people. Since they more often than not are getting paid on 100% commission, they act as independent contractors.

If they don’t sell, they don’t get paid. Which is why sometimes they ignore posted signs all together. There’s a fine line between being respectful and not being able to earn a living.

Next time someone knocks on your front door, try to go easy on them.

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