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The 1st Amendment and the U.S. Constitution protect the rights of door-to-door solicitors and preclude the ability of a community to ban door-to-door sales. The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld free speech for commercial purposes and the City’s ability to restrict commercial door-to-door solicitation is limited to local regulations restricting the time, place and manner of door-to-door solicitations.
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The City of Sterling requires anyone selling a product or service door to door to have a solicitor’s permit.
For more information, view the City Ordinance on Solicitation (PDF).
A solicitor’s permit helps to ensure the safety of the citizens of Sterling. A permit enables the citizens to know that those who are soliciting are individuals who have been approved to solicit by the City of Sterling.
A solicitor’s permit also provides protection for the solicitor. With a permit, the solicitor is able to assure the citizens of Sterling that they have met the requirements set by the City of Sterling to carry a solicitor permit.
All individuals who will be soliciting door to door must come in person to the Sterling Police Department and fill out an application to solicit. Current, state-issued photo identification must be provided at the time of application. A $10 administrative fee is due when the application is submitted. Permits can be applied for Monday through Friday during the hours of 8 am to 4 pm.
A background check is conducted on all applicants. Permits will be issued within 5 business days of the application.
At the time of application a $10 administrative fee is due for each applicant. In addition:
Per city ordinance, solicitors must:
Yes, all solicitors should have a permit issued by the Sterling Police Department, If a solicitor does not display and cannot produce a permit, they may not be licensed to solicit in the City of Sterling. Unlicensed solicitors may be reported to the police department at 815-632-6640, Option 5.
Display a weatherproof card, approximately 3 inches by 4 inches in size, upon or near the main door to the residence, indicating the determination by the occupant, containing the applicable words: "Only Solicitors Registered in Sterling Invited" or "No Solicitors Invited". The letters shall be at least one-third inch in height. "No Solicitors Invited" stickers are available to the public at no charge at the Sterling Police Department and the City Clerk’s office.
Join the City of Sterling "Do Not Knock" registry. This works similar to a "Do Not Call" list and will prohibit solicitation at registered addresses. Download the Do Not Knock Registry Application (PDF) or visit the Police Department or the City Clerk’s office to obtain a physical copy. To learn more, visit the Solicitation "Do Not Knock" Registry page.
Citizens should never compromise their security by providing utility account information to anyone unless they intend to enroll in an alternate energy program of their own choosing. The City of Sterling strongly recommends that residents carefully protect their account information and energy billing information from solicitors and all other non-account holders.
Residents should specifically be aware of door-to-door energy sales and solicitations. The City of Sterling does not send people door-to-door to register residents for the supply of alternate energy. When evaluating energy suppliers, residents are encouraged to visit the Illinois Commerce Commission’s complaint scorecard which tracks and compares the rate of complaints against retail tracks and compares the rate of complaints against retail electric suppliers/energy providers on the Plug In Illinois website.