Business Licensing: What Do I Need?

Business Planning StageZoning StageLicensing StagePermitting StageAdditional Requirements

All BACP offices are open to members of the public.  Learn more about BACP’s operations.  

As of September 15, 2022, late fees will be reinstated for license renewal applications filed after the experiration date of the current license. The license renewal late fee is 25% of the amount of the license fee, but in no event less than $25, per Municipal Code of CHICAGO 4-4-260.

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The Small Business Center (SBC) issues business licenses and regulates the business activities of industries as diverse as retail, food and liquor establishments, entertainment venues and theaters, day care centers, manufacturing facilities and motor vehicle repair shops just to name a few.  If you have not already registered your business with the appropriate county, state, and federal offices, please do so before applying for a business license.

How to Apply
To apply for a business license, you may APPLY ONLINE, or meet in-person with one of our Business Consultants at the Small Business Center. Appointments are recommended for in-person license applicants and may be made by calling 312-74-GOBIZ (744-6249). 

Application Requirements
Standard application requirements and documentation may be found in our License Application Requirements Information page.  License-specific requirements may be found by clicking on the business activity links in the Business License Guide below. Depending on your business activities, you may need more than one business license in order to be able to operate your business in Chicago. Please contact us, at 312-74-GOBIZ (744-6249), to help you determine which license(s) you need to obtain.

Business License Exemptions
There are business activities regulated by the State of Illinois that may be exempt from City licensing.  Please review our Business License Exemptions page for a sample list of occupations/professions which do not require a Chicago Business License.

The City of Chicago Venue Licensing Toolkit
Make informed decisions * Meet deadlines * Navigate requirements * Pass inspections * Present Legal and Revenue-Generating Entertainment

BUSINESS LICENSE GUIDE
A quick reference guide to specific licensing requirements:

QUICK LINKS
Accommodations Food Manufacturing Personal Services
Animal Care and Services Home Based Businesses Motor Vehicle Services Public Vehicles
Children Services Home Repair and Construction Services Outdoor Vending Tobacco
Commercial and Business Services Hospital and Commercial Care Facilities Parking Lot/Parking Garage Valet Operator
Entertainment Liquor Pawnshop/Secondhand Dealer  

 

BUSINESS SECTOR/Activity

LICENSE TYPE

LICENSE APPLICATION FEE / 2 YEARS

APPLY ONLINE

ZONING REVIEW

CRIMINAL HISTORY BACKGROUND

ONSITE INSPECTIONS

ACCOMMODATIONS - Complete Requirements
Bed & Breakfast Regulated Business $250 Buildings (SIP), Finance, Fire 
Hotel Regulated Business $250 + $2.20 per room  
Single-Room Occupancy (SRO) Regulated Business $250   Buildings (Electrical, Plumbing, SIP), Finance, Fire
Vacation Rental Regulated Business $250   Buildings (SIP) Finance
ANIMAL CARE AND SERVICES - Complete Requirements
Animal Boarding Animal Care $275   Animal Care and Control, Finance
Animal Exhibition Animal Care $275   Animal Care and Control, Finance
Animal Exhibition – 30 day permit Animal Exhibition Permit issued and processed by the Chicago Commission on Animal Care and Control (CACC)
Animal Grooming Animal Care $275   Animal Care and Control, Financel
Animal Training Animal Care $275   Animal Care and Control, Finance
Guard Dog Service Animal Care $275   Animal Care and Control, Finance
Humane Society Animal Care $275   Animal Care and Control, Finance
Humane Society Cafe Permit (non profit only) Animal Care $250       Health 
Pet Shop Animal Care $275   Animal Care and Control, Financel
Veterinary Hospital Animal Care $275   Animal Care and Control, Finance
CHILDREN SERVICES - Complete Requirements
Children’s Play Center Children’s Services Facility $165  √ Buildings (SIP), Finance, Fire
Day Care Facility Children’s Services Facility $165  √ Buildings (Electrical, Plumbing, Ventilation), Finance, Fire, Health (Food Protection & Health Surveillance)

BUSINESS SECTOR/Activity

LICENSE TYPE

LICENSE APPLICATION FEE / 2 YEARS

APPLY ONLINE

ZONING REVIEW

CRIMINAL HISTORY BACKGROUND

ONSITE INSPECTIONS

COMMERCIAL AND BUSINESS SERVICES
Short-Term Sales of General Merchandise Pop-Up Retail User $25/5-days
$50/50-days
$75/90-days
$100/180-days
$125/1-year
       
Automatic Amusement Device Operator Regulated Business $250  Finance
Private Booting Company Regulated Business $250  Finance
Clothing Alterations Regulated Business $250    
Day Labor Regulated Business $250  Finance
Debt Collections - Complete Requirements Regulated Business $250    
Dry Cleaner Regulated Business $250    
Expediter Regulated Business $250  
General Retail Sales and Services Limited Business $250    
Health Club/Fitness Center Regulated Business $250    
Heliport Regulated Business $400     Aviation and Law
Junk Peddler Regulated Business $250    Finance
Laundry Service Regulated Business $250    
Private Scavenger Regulated Business $250        
Residential Real Estate Developer Regulated Business $250  Finance
Shooting Range Facility Shooting Range Facility $2,000   Buildings (SIP), Fire, Health, Police
Weapons Dealer (including stun gun, air rifles, and toy weapons) Weapons Dealer $1,100   Police
Firearms Dealer Weapons Dealer - Firearms Dealer $3,800   BACP, Buildings (SIP), Fire, Police
Professional Firearm Curators Weapons Dealer - Professional Firearm Curators $2,350   Police
Professional Theatrical Armorers Weapons Dealer - Professional Theatrical Armorers $2,350   Police
Towing Tow Truck

$250 per truck

    Finance
Towing Tow Storage Lot - with a Commercial Vehicle Relocator License (Issue by the ICC) $250  √  
             
Valet Operator - More Information Valet Operator

$600/1-Yr.

       Finance
ENTERTAINMENT
Indoor Special Event, Class A Indoor Special Events, Class A $6,000     Buildings (SIP), Fire
Indoor Special Event, Class B Not-For-Profit Indoor Special Events, Class B $100/event     Buildings (SIP), Fire
Public Place of Amusement (PPA) Public Place of Amusement $770 - $13,200   Buildings (SIP, Ventilation, Electrical, Plumbing), Finace, Fire
Raffle Raffle $100/1 year      

BUSINESS SECTOR/Activity

LICENSE TYPE

LICENSE APPLICATION FEE / 2 YEARS

APPLY ONLINE

ZONING REVIEW

CRIMINAL HISTORY BACKGROUND

ONSITE INSPECTIONS

FOOD
Mobile Food Dispenser (truck), Pre-packaged and Pre-cooked food - More Information Mobile Food $700  √   Health, Finance, Fire (if applicable)
Mobile Food Preparer (truck), Cooking or Preparing food on vehicle - More Information Mobile Food $1,000  √   Health, Finance, Fire
Mobile Frozen Desserts, Non-Motorized Mobile Food $275  √   Heath, Finance
Mobile Frozen Desserts, Motorized (2 or 3 wheels) Mobile Food $275  √   Health, Finance

Mobile Prepared Food Vendor - Complete Requirements

Mobile Food $100  √     Health, Finance
Produce Merchant Mobile Food $100  √     Heal,th Finance
Restaurant, Grocery Store, Bakery  Deli, Café, etc. Retail Food 0 – 1,000 square feet $660.00
1,001 – 2,500 square feet $940.00
2,501 – 4,500 square feet $1,110.00
4,501 – 10,000 square feet $1,320.00
Over 10,000 square feet $1,650.00
  Health,Finance
Shared Kitchen Operator - Complete Requirements Shared Kitchen $660  √   Health, Finance
Long-Term Shared Kitchen User (2 years) - Complete Requirements Long-Term Shared Kitchen User $330  √     Health, Finance
Short-Term Shared Kitchen User (90 calendar days) - Complete Requirements Short-Term Shared Kitchen User $75  √     Health,Finance
Shared Kitchen-Supplemental - Complete Requirements Shared Kitchen-Supplemental $330  √   Health,Finance
Short-Term Sales of Pre-packaged Food Pop-Up Food Establishment User Tier I $25/5-days
$50/30-days
$75/90-days
$100/180-days
$125/1-year
       
Short-Term Sales of Food Prepared at a Shared Kitchen Pop-Up Food Establishment User Tier II
$50/5-days
$100/30-days
$150/90-days
       
Short-Term Sales of Food Prepared Onsite
Pop-Up Food Establishment User Tier III $50/5-days
$100/30-days
$150/90-days
       
Host of Short-Term Operators Selling Food Prepared at a Shared Kitchen Pop-Up Food Establishment Host Tier II $150/1 year      
Host of Short-Term Operators Selling Food Prepared Onsite Pop-Up Food Establishment Host Tier III $330/1-year     Health
Wholesale Food Sales (Business to Business Sales) Wholesale Food $660   Health, Finance
HOME BASED BUSINESS - More Information
Home Office/Occupation Regulated Business $250      
HOME REPAIR AND CONSTRUCTION SERVICES - Complete Requirements
Board-Up Services Regulated Business $250  Finance
Explosives Explosives $500   Fire
Explosives – Certificate of Fitness Certificate of Fitness $100     Fire
General Contractor General Contractor License issued and processed by the Department of Buildings.
Home Repair Regulated Business $250    
Trades licensing Trades License License issued and processed by the Department of Buildings.
HOSPITAL AND COMMERCIAL CARE FACILITIES
Adult Family Care Center Regulated Business $250 Buildings (SIP), Finance,Fire, Health
Adult Family Care Home Regulated Business $250   Buildings (SIP), Finance,Fire, Health
Assisted Living Establishment Regulated Business $250   Buildings (SIP), Finance,Fire, Health
Hospital Regulated Business $250   Finance, Fire
Long Term Care Facility Regulated Business $250   Buildings, Finance, Fire, Health

BUSINESS SECTOR/Activity

LICENSE TYPE

LICENSE APPLICATION FEE / 2 YEARS

APPLY ONLINE

ZONING REVIEW

CRIMINAL HISTORY BACKGROUND

ONSITE INSPECTIONS

LIQUOR - More Information
Caterer’s Liquor – Establishments located within the City of Chicago Caterer’s Liquor $4,400  √ Finace, Local Liquor Control Commission and Health
Caterer’s Liquor with a Consumption on Premises Caterer’s Liquor with a COP $2,200  √ Finance, Local Liquor Control Commission and Health
Caterer’s Registration – Establishments located outside the City of Chicago Caterer’s Registration $6,600  √ OFinance, Onsite Inspection Details
Incidental liquor sales - Restaurant serving liquor incidental to food Consumption on Premises (COP) $4,400  √ Finance, Local Liquor Control Commission, Buildings (SIP), Fire and Health
Late Hour  - Two extra hours for the serving of liquor Late Hour $6,000  √ Finance, Local Liquor Control Commission
Not-For-Profit Social Club, Liquor - Private club for members only Not-For-Profit Social Club, Liquor $1,100  √ Finance, Local Liquor Control Commission, Buildings (SIP, Plumbing, Ventilation), Fire and Health
Serving of liquor outdoors on private property Outdoor Patio $1,760  √ Finance, Local Liquor Control Commission, Buildings (SIP)
Liquor store or retail sales of unopened liquor Packaged Goods $4,400  √ Finance, Local Liquor Control Commission, Fire and Health
Early Sunday Liquor Sales – Sales of Package Goods liquor three hours earlier on Sundays Package Goods with Early Sunday Liquor Sales - Complete Requirements $250 to add Early Sunday Liquor Sales to an existing Packaged Goods license  √     Finance, Local Liquor Control Commission
Pushcart – Midway Airport Liquor – Airport Pushcart $600   Finance, Local Liquor Control Commission
Pushcart – O’Hare Airport Liquor – Airport Pushcart $600   Finance, Local Liquor Control Commission
Tavern Tavern $4,400  √ Finance, Local Liquor Control Commission, Buildings (SIP, Plumbing, Ventilation), Fire and Health
Wrigley Field Wrigley Field $1,000  √ Finance, Local Liquor Control Commission, Buildings (Electrical, Plumbing, Ventilation, and SIP), Fire & Health

BUSINESS SECTOR/Activity

LICENSE TYPE

LICENSE APPLICATION FEE / 2 YEARS

APPLY ONLINE

ZONING REVIEW

CRIMINAL HISTORY BACKGROUND

ONSITE INSPECTIONS

MANUFACTURING
Hazardous Materials Regulated Business $250   Finance, Fire
Manufacturing – mechanical and/or chemical processing Manufacturing $275   Finance, Fire
MOTOR VEHICLE SERVICES
Filling Station Filling Station $220   Fire
Motor Vehicle Repair Motor Vehicle Services $240    
Tire Facility Motor Vehicle Services $240   Finance, Fire
OUTDOOR VENDING
Street Peddler Street Peddler/Street Performer $100, or $50 for seniors, veterans or disabled        
Street Performer Street Peddler/Street Performer $100, or $50 for seniors, veterans or disabled        
Outdoor or indoor sales from a kiosk at Navy Pier Navy Pier Kiosk - More Information $125       Health (for food items)
PARKING LOT / PARKING GARAGE - Complete Requirements
Commercial Garage Public Garage $19.80/300 sq. ft.   Finance, Fire
PAWNSHOP / SECONDHAND DEALER
Secondhand Dealer  - Valuable Objects Secondhand Dealer $1,100  Finance
Secondhand Dealer - Non-Valuable Objects Secondhand Dealer $1,100  Finance
Secondhand Dealer – Children’s Products Regulated Business $250    Finance
Pawnbroker Pawnbroker $5,280  Finance
PERSONAL SERVICES
Immigration Services - More Information Regulated Business $250    
Massage Establishment
- More Information 
Massage Establishment $550 BACP, Finance
Nail Salon Limited Business $250    
Salon/Spa Services Limited Business $250    
Tattooing, Body Piercing, Tanning Regulated Business $250    Health Surveilance, Finance
Tax Preparation  
- More Information 
Limited Business $250    
TOBACCO - Complete Requirements
Retail Sales of Tobacco products and accessories Retail Tobacco $500 + $330/register
1 Year
 √ BACP, Finance, 
Business to business sales of Tobacco products and accessories Wholesale Sales of Tobacco $550 / 1 Year
 √ BACP, Finance, Fire

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