Home Based Businesses (Home Occupation)

About Home Based Businesses (Home Occupation)
Home based businesses are licensed under the Regulated Business License for Home Occupation (Municipal Code 4-6-270) and applies to individuals who operate a business in their primary place of residence.

Home Occupation Defined
Home Occupation means the use of your home for a business where the business is solely secondary to the primary use of your home as a place to live.

Prohibited Business Activities
The following are examples of business activities NOT allowed as home occupations:

  • Any repairing or painting of motorized vehicles, trailers, boats, and lawn equipment
  • The dispatch, for compensation of any type, of any type of motor vehicle
  • Any animal services
  • Astrology, card and palm reading or fortune-telling
  • Barber shops or beauty parlors
  • Dancing, tutoring or children-related activities
  • Massage establishments
  • Catering or any food related business
  • Funeral chapels or homes
  • Medical or dental services/ clinics
  • Public places of amusement
  • Sale of any weapon, firearm or ammunition
  • A weapons dealer, firearms training or instruction
  • Storage of machines or bulk materials to be utilized in the operation of construction or landscaping businesses
  • Warehousing
  • Welding or machine shops
  • Personal services such as hair, nail, tattoo or body piercing

Before You Apply
Complete the following before applying for your license to operate a business in your home:

  • Review Zoning Regulations (MCC 17-9-0202 Home Occupations): Zoning regulations determine what types of business activity are permissible in different zoning districts. These regulations ensure that the home occupation remains subordinate to the primary residential use of the home.
  • Register your business with ALL of the appropriate government agencies: For example, the US Internal Revenue Service, Illinois Secretary of State, Illinois Department of Revenue, Cook County Assumed Names
  • Check state or federal laws and requirements
  • Ensure that your business plan meets all license requirements, including:
    o Not conducting any of the disallowed business activities listed above
    o Not occupying more than 300 square feet or 25% of the total floor area of the dwelling unit, whichever is larger
    o Not hiring or retaining more than one non-resident employee to work within the dwelling unit. All other employees must reside in the dwelling unit
    o Not permitting any tractor trailer delivery
    o Not permitting or accepting more than one bulk delivery per day (all deliveries must occur between the hours of 8 AM and 6 PM)

How do I apply?
You may apply for licenses in person at the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP), Small Business Center in City Hall, 121 North LaSalle Street, Room 800. The Center is open for walk-ins Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM. For general licensing inquiries, call (312) 74-GOBIZ (744-6249).

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