?-Grass Roots Marketing and Ordinance Compliance

tankeytankey Posts: 11subscriber
edited July 2009 in Marketing
Here is my dilemma:
I am trying to get the word out about my business, in the most economical way possible:  Distributing Flyers and posting Signs.
At the same time, I wish to be "on the level" about everything and in compliance with any ordinances. 
Problem is, whenever I look into laws about these things, I find that in my city, some of these grass roots methods are prohibited and carry a fine if you violate them, while other methods require all sorts of permits. 
For example, I see signs all over town, in common, high traffic areas,  advertising people`s businesses.  But if you contact the city officials, or look on the website, the posting of signs is prohibited and is a class one (I think) misdemeanor, which carries a hefty fine.  I decided not to post my signs, for concern some "dutiful" citizen would report mine, even though the signs are everywhere.  I don`t want to be that person, that when caught breaking the rules or laws, is backed into "But Everyone is doing it" defense. 
So, I decided to go around and stick flyers on the doors of my neighborhood, even on houses with signs that say "No Soliciting" because to me I am not soliciting.  I am not "selling" anything on these flyers, just directing people to a website for basic neighborhood info (we don`t have a Civic League)...This is just a way of getting my business name out there.   Furthermore, I am not ringing anyone`s door bell, asking for their time.  I figure most people will just toss the flyer, but a few will read it, and that is who I am trying to reach.  I called our city`s info number to find out if what I am doing is "Soliciting" by law.  The person could not dig up anything, but gave her opinion that she did not think I was soliciting, based on what I`ve described here.
When I looked on the city`s website, I found that any "solicitor" has to get a permit.  However, any search for what legally constitutes as solicitation is absent in my searches. 
Everything associated with getting a solicitor`s permit seems to revolve around selling goods and merchandise, and requires a permit costing anywhere from $50-$300 dependent on what is being "peddled". Therefore, I do not believe what I am doing is soliciting.
My question for some of you....do you go through all the legalities, when embarking on grassroots marketing or public relations (see my post in the Public Relations section regarding a related delimma)?  Grassroots marketing seems to be obsolete if one can`t post signs and so forth.  Part of me just wants to post signs in several places, since it is blatantly done, but I have a feeling that I will be the one reported.  When I distributed flyers, a patrol car seemed to be "tracking" me for a couple of streets.  I am almost positive someone got a flyer on their door, and they were either really annoyed or really suspicious, and called the police, and the officer just came out to observe to see if I was doing anything wrong.  Therefore, if I post signs with my business name, I feel that someone will be like, "Oh, I got that annoying flyer on my door from them, let me report this sign".   I wonder if many grassroots entrepreneurs just "do there thing" and don`t get reported, and if so, get let off with a warning if they were unaware of the ordinances involved.  I don`t see how an average person, of a modest net worth, along with mortgage, cars, daycare, etc. can afford to be in compliance with all the ordinances that are out there.
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