Trading in Public Places

Working in the Road Corridor

Trading in public places

Are you interested in setting up a mobile trading business in the Timaru District? This page tells you what you need to know before you begin.

About public trading

Mobile traders help to add character and vibrancy to our District, and are welcomed by Timaru District Council.

Mobile traders are allowed to trade in public areas, but only if they have a Public Trading Licence issued by Council. Public areas include places such as roads, streets, the roadside, courts, alleys, lanes, accessways and other thoroughfares. If you would like to operate a business or sell goods in a public place, you will need to complete an application and obtain a licence before doing so.

Council regulates mobile trading activity in public places to ensure that it is appropriate and conducted safely. For more information please refer to the Timaru District Consolidated Bylaw 2018.

Before you apply

Download our public trading guidebook below - this contains important information to help you with your licence application.

Download our public trading guidebook here.

Applying for a licence to trade in a public place

When you apply for a licence, you'll need to provide us with information about your business, where you would like to trade and what goods or services you plan to sell.

Download public trading application form here

Submit your completed application form to:

Licence fees

As at September 2021, licence fees are as follows:

Annual mobile shop or stall permit / public trader - $185
Monthly mobile shop or stall permit / public trader - $125
One day mobile shop or stall permit/ public trader - $50
Non-compliance inspection fee - $100

Note: In some cases resource consent may be required for trading (please refer to the public trading guidebook for more information). The fee for obtaining resource consent varies depending on the zoning of the proposed trading location and other factors. If you think you may need a resource consent to trade, we recommend you discuss with our Planning Unit prior to submitting your licence or resource consent application - phone 03 687 7200 or email

Wanting to sell food?

If you’re planning on selling food, you must be registered to do so, either with Council or Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) New Zealand Food Safety. You will also need to supply your food business registration number in your application for a Public Trading Licence. To find out what rules apply to you, you can visit this website. The Food Act 2014 does have some exemptions to the registration requirement. You can also contact the food team at Timaru District Council on for more information.

Licence conditions

When issuing public trading licences, Council has a duty to ensure that proposed trading activity will not create a public safety hazard or become a public nuisance.
As such, some general conditions of licence include:

  • You may only operate your business in the day-time
  • Portable signs (such as sandwich board signs), umbrellas and flags etc are not permitted
  • You must organise disposal of any litter generated by your business - Council does not supply waste management services for public/mobile traders.

Depending on your application, further conditions may be imposed. A Council staff member will discuss these thoroughly with you upon issue of your licence.


Where am I allowed to trade?

Our public trading guidebook (download above) contains important information to guide your location choice. We recommend you phone us on 03 687 7200 to discuss your planned location before submitting your application.

Do I still need a licence if I am trading on private property?

A Public Trading Licence is not required to trade on private property, however you will need a licence to trade in front of your property (such as on the road reserve or road side). Please note that a resource consent may be required for some types of trading on private property. Regardless of location, if you are selling food you are required to be registered as a food business with MPI or Council.

If I have a stall selling thing like vegetables or crafts, and it is positioned outside of my property (for example on the grass berm) will I still need to have a licence? 

Yes, if your stall is located on public property you will require a Public Trading Licence.

If I am wanting to trade at an organised market do I need a separate licence? 

As long as you are not trading anywhere else, only the Market organiser will need a Public Trading Licence. If you decide that you no longer want to trade within the market and want to go to another location to trade you will need to apply for your own licence. If a Compliance Officer finds you operating in a location other than that specified on your licence, they will require you to cease activity.

Will Council monitor my activity once I have a licence?

The Bylaws Officer regularly monitors public trading licence holders to ensure they are meeting the conditions of their licences.
If a complaint is received about a public trader, the Bylaws Officer will contact the trader concerned and conduct an audit to ensure their licence conditions are being met. If the trader is found to be non-compliant, the Officer will communicate this and/or may suspend their licence. Traders may be charged for the Officer’s time or receive an infringement depending on the circumstance.

Last updated: 15 Jul 2024