- Steven
(Palm Coast, Fla.)

Can I travel from flea market to flea market and state to state selling hot dogs from a hot dog cart? Do I need a license in every state or is there a national license that I can obtain?

Comments for Hotdogs

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Hot Dog Vending Cart

Hi Steven,

Hot dog carts go over big not only at flea markets, but at other events, as well. Consider fairs, craft shows, town festivals, farm shows, car shows, farmer's markets, rodeos, and auctions. With all the activities going on, you should be able to travel most anywhere you want and find a place to set up your hot dog cart.

Setting up business with hot dog vending cart (or any food concession) requires you have a local health inspection and food license. As far as I know, there's no national license. You need to go to the health department in each state where you work. It is likely that you will also need a county and/or city license, too.

The flea market or event sponsor may have forms or additional information for you.

Jumping through the hoops to get the required permits and such can be a hassle. However, food concessionaires tell me that it can definitely be worthwhile. I'm sure you've noticed that at some events the food vendors are the busiest ones there.

Good luck with your business. Bob and I are among those who patronize the food vendors when we go to the flea markets, or most any event. Maybe we'll see you there.

Bureau-cratic Red Tape Eliminated

The bureau-cratic red tape can be a real headache when it comes to licensure. However, it may not be necessary to get a state license for so many states.

There are many flea markets and other events going on, that you may be able to spend your season in one state or even do several gigs in the same county. That presents you with the opportunity of fewer licenses being required, since you may be able to do all your work in one state or 2 or 3 counties.

Problems are opportunities in reverse. Look at the money and time you will save by not having to travel long distances, often.

Hotdogs for Office Workers

I used to work at an office bldg. that had a vendor drive up to the parking lot each day at lunchtime (with the management's permission, of course) and one could get his special of the day (hot dogs, hamburgers, or whatever) plus the sides (chips, drink, maybe cookie) for one reasonable price. Look into something like that.

I also used to have a job overnight in a factory and there was NOTHING in the area and nowhere to go in half an hour. A drive up cart in the middle of the night with ready hot food would have been GREAT!

Hotdog Cart

I worked for a city government and have been involved in street festivals in the past, and in order to sell at a street festival or fair you would go to the governing agency and apply for a vendor's license. If you are accepted then you would set up you station and the city's inspector comes around to make sure you have the proper water and heat source to maintain a certain temperature.

Of course, all cities run differently, so you just have to pick those that are easier to work with. Many of the smaller towns would be ideal as they do not always have a large selection of vendors.

Pick your festivals and call the sponsoring festival agency and find out the regulations.

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