Mobile Food Vending

Mobile Vending is a great way for food and beverage entrepreneurs to bring their concept to market quickly, as well as provide a wide array of choices to customers and enliven city streets and sidewalks. Below you will find information on mobile food vending in the City of Vancouver. This includes required licenses and permits, mobile vending in the public right-of-way, mobile vending at special events and in public plazas, and contact information for City staff that can answer questions about mobile vending.

Desired location
Sidewalk vending in the Public Right of Way (ROW) Mobile Food Unit in the Public Right of Way (ROW) Mobile Food Unit on Private Property — Temporary Mobile Food Unit on Private Property — Permanent Mobile Food Unit in Parks — Special Event Spaces

A mobile sidewalk food vending unit (push cart) that locates on the public sidewalk.

A mobile food vending unit (truck/trailer) that locates in the public right of way.

A mobile food vending unit (cart or truck/trailer) that locates on private property and leaves the site daily.

A mobile food vending unit (cart or truck/trailer) that locates on private property and does not leave the site daily.

A mobile food vending unit (truck/trailer) that locates in Esther Short Park or the Sculpture Garden at 9th and Broadway.

Approvals/Permits Required (listed in the order they should be applied for)

1. Clark County Health Permit: Fee varies

2. City Business License: Fee varies.

3. City Food Vendor’s License: $25

4. City Street Use Permit: $28

*Note: WA State Department of Labor & Industries approval is not required for push carts

1. State Department of Labor & Industries Approval: $128.40
*Note: this process can take several months.

2. Clark County Health Permit: Fee varies

3. City Business License: Fee varies.

4. City Food Vendor’s License: $25

5. City Street Use Permit: $28

6. City Parking Services Food Cart Pilot Project Permit for on-street parking approval: $75 per space per month

1. State Department of Labor & Industries Approval: $128.40
*Note: this process can take several months.

2. Clark County Health Permit: fee varies

3. City Business License: Fee varies.

4. City Food Vendor’s License: $25

*Note: The City requires a Site Plan Review approval (Type I) for any new permanent food truck site on private property.

1. State Department of Labor & Industries Approval: $128.40
*Note: this process can take several months.

2. Clark County Health Permit: Fee varies

3. City Business License: Fee varies.

4. City Food Vendor’s License: $25

1. State Department of Labor & Industries Approval: $128.40
*Note: this process can take several months.

2. Clark County Health Permit: Fee varies

3. City Business License: Fee varies.

4. City Food Vendor’s License: $25

5. City Parks Special Event Space Food Cart Permit: $75 per space per month

Required Permits

City Business License

Each business operating in the City of Vancouver is required to hold a city business license, in addition to any state-required licenses. The city partners with the Washington State Department of Revenue (DOR) and Business Licensing Service (BLS) for the administration of its new and renewing city business licenses. Please visit DOR BLS’s Vancouver website for more information and instructions on how to apply for a city business license.

Food Vendor Special License

Each mobile food vendor operating in the City of Vancouver is also required to hold a city food vendor special license issued by the city’s Finance Department. To apply, complete and return the Special Licenses Application along with the required fee.

Home Occupation Permit

A mobile food business addressed from a residence located in Vancouver city limits must comply with the city’s home occupation requirements and may be required to hold a city Home Occupation Permit issued by the city’s Community & Economic Development Department (CEDD). Please visit the city’s Home Occupation Permit website or call CEDD staff at 360-487-7803 to verify if you must to hold a city Home Occupation Permit.

Street Use Permit

Any mobile vending unit that operates in the public right-of-way is required to obtain a street use permit. Street Use Permit applications should be submitted via email to Traffic Engineering at TrafficEngineering@cityofvancouver.us or at the customer service desk in the lobby of City Hall.

Mobile Vending Parking Approval

A limited number of permits are available for mobile vendors to use public on-street parking, via the Mobile Food Vending Parking Approval pilot project. It is available on a limited basis in certain parking zones. Please see Mobile Food Vending in the Public Row below for more information and contact City of Vancouver Parking Services for permit availability.

Clark County Public Health

All food businesses must get a license to operate a food establishment from Clark County Public Health. Visit the Clark County Food Safety website for more information.

Washington Department of Labor & Industries

Mobile food units are reviewed and inspected by the Washington Department of Labor & Industries to ensure they meet health and safety standards, and a state permit is posted on each truck. Please visit the Department of Labor & Industries Conversion Vendor and Medical Units webpage for more information.

Please see the Mobile Food Vending Permits and Approvals matrix for a full list of requirements.

Mobile Vending in the Public ROW

Ten Mobile Food Vending Approvals are available to mobile vending units to park at metered parallel parking stalls without payment of the meter and to exceed the posted time limits while the permit is properly displayed on the vehicle. The approval is only valid in some parking zones, and must be renewed on a monthly basis. The cost is $75 per parking stall per month. Please see the Program Fact Sheet for additional information and a map of locations where the approval is valid. All other applicable regulations must be followed while participating in the pilot project. Find the pilot project application here, and contact City of Vancouver Parking Services for more information, 360-487-8650 or parking@cityofvancouver.us.

Mobile Vending at Special Events and in Public Plazas

Other opportunities for mobile food vending include special events and a downtown public plaza that is currently open to food vendors-the Sculpture Garden at 9th and Broadway. Interested parties should complete and submit an application.

Esther Short Park is considered an event venue, and mobile vending in or adjacent to the park is only allowed as part of City-permitted special events. This includes the park, the immediately adjacent sidewalk, the street, and the far sidewalk.

Mobile food vending at Turtle Place on 7th St. between Washington and Main is being organized by the WA Food Truck Association.

If you would like more information about this new food truck vending opportunity, the Association’s Lot Management Program or how to participate, please contact: Washington State Food Truck Association at 360-223-3801 or email lori@wafoodtrucks.org.

Mobile Vending Pre-Application Meeting with City Staff

Requirements for mobile vendors differ depending on location and whether the unit is temporarily or permanently located in a given location. Prior to submitting permit and license applications, City staff will sit down with mobile vendors to help them understand what is required of them and how the process works. For more information or to set up a meeting, please contact Kristian Corbin at kristian.corbin@cityofvancouver.us or 360-487-7818 or Krystal Sanchez at krystal.sanchez@cityofvancouver.us or 360-487-7820.