So, you’re going door to door, are you? Well, whether it’s distributing fliers, selling items, handing out notices, getting sign-ups, and, whether it’s volunteer work, selling for a school or organization, a full or part-time job getting the word out, letting people know of an event or lost pet, or any other legitimate reason, etc., there are some things to know.
Go When You Can Be Seen
Firstly, do go when you can be seen, that is, during the day. Morning and early evening is ok, too, so long as there is sufficient light for someone to see what you look like. If it’s too dark to see what other people look like, then it’s too dark to be going door to door. For one, you might not see the potential assailant. And, for those whose homes you are going to, you’ll appear as just a dark menacing shape to them and, they may be extra suspicious of you, and for good reason. In some cases, their reaction may be extreme. Some years back, I heard of a guy getting shot as he and his group were knocking on doors, selling items to people. They had gone out late at night and one person, thinking it was a home invasion robbery about to start, shot one of the door to door salespeople. Most people won’t react to that extreme, but they may not open the door, and probably won’t want to listen to what you have to say, and you won’t have a chance to get them the information or make the sale. During the daytime, those same people, seeing what you look like instead of some dark, menacing shape, will be much more likely to welcome you, as they are much less likely to feel threatened.
Go to the Front Door
Obviously, if your going door to door requires actual contact with the resident, you be going to the front door. But, even if you’re just distributing literature with no need to contact the resident directly, it’s still always a good idea to go to the front door. Even if there’s no adequate place to put the flier. If there really isn’t a place or way to put the flier in the front door area, then skip that house. If neighbors see you going to the garage, or especially, the back yard, they could rightly become suspicious and call the police on you. Always only go to the front door area!
Also, if you come up to a house and the front door is ajar or fully open and no one is there, skip that house. It’s most likely the owner just forgot to close the door and is probably inside, but, my feeling is that, if something in the house goes missing, you might be held liable and suspected of theft, even if you had nothing to do with it. It’s just a measure of self-protection that I believe in.
Finally, don’t place items you’re distributing in the resident’s mailbox or mail slot. I know in the United States, it is illegal to place non-postal or non-postage-paid items in any postal receptacle or slot, and this may be the case in other countries, too.
Respect “No Soliciting” Signs
I still distribute fliers and I do respect “No Soliciting” signs. While it’s most likely true that most people who put up those signs don’t want their doorbell rung or the knock on the door and wouldn’t mind the simple placing of a flier at their doorstep, it’s still a good idea to pay heed to those signs, regardless. When people see that you respect their wishes, they tend to respect you more. And, only if you are not selling something, if you see someone outside of a home with a “No Soliciting” sign, it’s ok to ask them if they want the flier. I’ve found that the resident will accept the flier much more often than not in these cases.
Sometimes, you will come across variations of the “No Soliciting” sign, such as “No Peddlers or Agents”, or simply a “No Trespassing” sign. Other wording, too, can tell you that they mean, “No Soliciting”, so do read and pay attention. In the case of the “No Trespassing” sign, if it is on a gate leading to the back yard and not in the front door area, then I’ll still go to that house, since they most likely mean, “Stay out of my back yard!”. But, if it’s on the front door or window, then I skip that house.
Sometimes you may by chance be at a house, then somehow spot a “No Soliciting” sign so small and obscure that an eagle would almost need glasses to read it! In these cases, unless you’ve made contact with the resident, it’s best to just skip that house. But, a word of advice to those of you who have put up a “No Soliciting” sign, please, don’t make it so small that it requires a magnifying glass close up to read, and don’t put it in an obscure place where someone is not likely to look. It keeps more of them from disturbing you and also allows them to skip your house and waste less of their time. Just a two-way courtesy where both sides win.
So, just pay attention to this advice and your door to door selling or distributing has a much better chance of going without incident.
Happy distributing, selling and good luck!
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