Home Repair (Regulated Business) License

A City of Chicago regulated business license for the activity of home repair (home repair license) is required to engage in the business of fixing, replacing, altering, converting, modernizing, or improving any property primarily designed or used as a residence. If the work requires a building permit, a general contractor license is required instead of a home repair license.

Regulated business licenses are issued by the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP).

Frequently Asked Questions

When is a home repair license required?

A home repair license is required to engage in the business of fixing, replacing, altering, converting, modernizing, or improving any property primarily designed or used as a residence. Home repair includes the construction, installation, replacement or improvement of driveways, swimming pools, porches, kitchens, bathrooms, basements, chimneys, chimney liners, garages, fences, fallout shelters, central air conditioning, central heating, boilers, furnaces, hot water heaters, electrical wiring, sewers, plumbing fixtures, storm doors, storm windows, roofs, awnings, and other improvements to structures within a residence or upon adjacent land.

A home repair license covers all employees of the license holder. (Separate licenses are not required for each employee performing home repairs.)

A home repair license is not required for:

  • the sale, installation, cleaning, or repair of carpets
  • the sale of goods or materials by a merchant who does not, directly or through a subsidiary, perform any work or labor in connection with the installation or application of the goods and materials
  • the repair, installation, replacement, or connection of any home appliance, including, but not limited to, disposals, refrigerators, ranges, garage door openers, television antennas, washing machines, telephones, or other appliances when the person performing the work is an employee or agent of the merchant that sold the home appliance
  • television repair
  • landscaping

A home repair license is not required if the individual performing the work owns the property or is an employee of the owner of the property.

A home repair license is not required for an individual or business that holds a general contractor license.

Are there different types of home repair licenses?

No. While a contractor may specialize in a specific type of work, there is only one type of home repair license.

Who may obtain a home repair license?

Home repair licenses are issued to businesses, including sole proprietorships.

For more information, contact the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP).

What is required to obtain a home repair license?

Contact the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) for application requirements.

How do I apply for a new home repair license?

To apply for a home repair license you may use Chicago Business Direct, or meet in-person with a BACP Business Consultant at the Small Business Center. Appointments are recommended for in-person license applicants and may be made by calling 312-74-GOBIZ (744-6249).

How do I renew an existing home repair license?

To renew a home repair license use Chicago Business Direct.

How much does a home repair license cost?

License Classification License Fee Renewal Fee
Regulated Business (Home Repair) $250.00 $250.00

How long is a home repair license valid?

A home repair license is valid for two years from issuance.

What are the legal duties of a home repair license holder?

Any person engaged in the business of home repair (work with either a home repair license or general contractor license) must:
  • Maintain commercial general liability insurance with a limit of not less than $300,000.00 per occurrence for bodily injury, personal injury and property damage arising from home repair activities.
  • Print or display the licensee's name and  license number:
    • on the front page of contracts or estimates for home repair
    • in advertisements to perform home repair
    • on vehicles used in the course of home repair
  • Prepare a written estimate of repairs before performing any work. The written estimate must include the total cost of:
    • parts (identified by brand name or equivalent)
    • labor
    • incidental services
    • charges, if any, for preparing the estimate
  • Provide home repair customers with a signed copy of the written estimate before performing any work. The word ESTIMATE must appear prominently on the document.
  • Provide home repair customers with a written invoice for any home repair work performed upon completion of the home repair. The invoice must include the licensee's name and address and describe in detail all services or work performed and all parts supplied and the exact charge for each part or service.
  • Notify the customer and obtain prior approval before performing any work that will result in charges in excess of the amount specified in the written estimate.
    • It is illegal to require a customer to pay more than the amount specified in the written estimate if the customer did not approve the additional costs before the work was performed.

Ordinances and Rules 

Municipal Code of Chicago, Chapter 4-6, Article XXVIII: Home Repair

This information is provided to help you better understand licensing requirements in the City of Chicago. It may not reflect all conditions, limitations, or exceptions that may apply to a particular situation and is not intended as a substitute for legal advice. To the extent the information on this page differs from the Municipal Code of Chicago or applicable rules, the ordinance or rule controls.