Business Compliance and Enforcement

Understanding licensing rules is one key to operating a business responsibly. The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) inspects thousands of businesses and public vehicles to ensure compliance with City laws and regulations.  BACP also responds to and investigates consumer complaints. To file a consumer complaint please call 311 or use the online services below.

Operating without a business license - The Municipal Code of Chicago mandates that no business activity take place without first obtaining the required business license(s). A pending license application does not allow a business to operate. Failure to comply may result in enforcement action.  Many businesses operating as a Not for Profit corporation require a City of Chicago business license. A business consultant can help a business determine whether a license is required. It is also possible to look up businesses that are exempt from a City of Chicago license.

Business License Inspections- Certain types of businesses require that the establishment undergo and pass an inspection from one or more City departments. Common inspecting departments include the Departments of Buildings, Fire, Public Health, and BACP. The business should be prepared for these inspections when a business license application is filed.

To help a business prepare for an inspection:

  • Attend an Inspection Workshop- offered on the first Wednesday of each month at  BACP. This workshop connects business owners with every inspecting department so you can get tips and talk face to face with an inspector.

Department Main Office

Business Affairs and Consumer Protection

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