How to Start a Hotdog Vending Business in Detroit, Michigan

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Starting a hot dog vending business in Detroit, Michigan, will take some preparation, knowledge and the drive to succeed. While Detroit may be seen as a tough place to start a business, the hot dog business is considered by many to be a recession-proof business. People will always need to eat and the average hot dog stand provides a cheap and easy solution to hunger. A hot dog is a quick and easy lunch or snack.

Start Your Business the Right Way

Filing the appropriate forms
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Every business will require some paperwork to get started. This could be as simple as filing a "Doing Business As" certificate with the Wayne County Clerk's office. You can now file this form online at

For more complicated business structures, such as corporations, partnerships, and limited liability companies, it is always best to work with a lawyer who specializes in setting up companies.

Welding the new hot dog cart
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Once you have officially started your company, obtain a hot dog cart. Thankfully you can find a variety of new or used hot dog carts online. Ebay is a great source for used carts, but if you decide to purchase new, you may want to find a local welding company who could build one for you. All American Hot Dog Carts is an example of a company who specializes in the construction of new hot dog carts.

Business Permits
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Once you have obtained your new (or new to you) hot dog cart, get it inspected. Starting a hot dog vending business in Detroit will require a permit.

According to, visit the Buildings & Safety Engineering Department Zoning Counter in the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center Room 402 to obtain any required permits. After the cart has been certified for your intended business use, you must obtain a Business License from the Business License Center in the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center Room 105 before opening your business. The center's phone number is (313) 224-3179.

A happy customer
man eating a chili dog image by Leticia Wilson from

To start conducting business, drive around various Detroit neighborhoods during lunchtime and see where large groups of people are walking or gathering. These are your potential customers. With some hot dogs, buns and condiments, you can get selling!


  • It's always better to ask than assume when it comes to obtaining the right permit to sell your hot dogs. If possible, go down in person so you can pick up all the forms you need.


  • Never start selling food without getting your cart and your business inspected. Selling food that could get your customers sick could land you in court.


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