Supporting Information Facts
City Services

Business Licensing: What Do I Need?

Business Planning StageZoning StageLicensing StagePermitting StageAdditional Requirements

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 (available for certain license types), 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 online or 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.


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  
Entertainment Liquor Pawnshop/Secondhand Dealer  

 

BUSINESS SECTOR/Activity

LICENSE TYPE

LICENSE APPLICATION FEE / 2 YEARS

APPLY ONLINE

ZONING REVIEW

CRIMINAL HISTORY BACKGROUND

ONSITE INSPECTIONS

MUNICIPAL CODE

ACCOMMODATIONS - Complete Requirements
Bed & Breakfast Regulated Business $250 Buildings (SIP), Fire 4-6-290
Hotel Regulated Business $250   4-6-180
Single-Room Occupancy (SRO) Regulated Business $250   Buildings (Electrical, Plumbing, SIP), Fire 4-6-220
Vacation Rental Regulated Business $250   Buildings (SIP) 4-6-300
ANIMAL CARE AND SERVICES - Complete Requirements
Animal Boarding Animal Care $275   Animal Care and Control 4-384
Animal Exhibition Animal Care $275   Animal Care and Control 4-384
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 4-384
Animal Training Animal Care $275   Animal Care and Control 4-384
Guard Dog Service Animal Care $275   Animal Care and Control 4-384
Humane Society Animal Care $275   Animal Care and Control 4-384
Pet Shop Animal Care $275   Animal Care and Control 4-384
Veterinary Hospital Animal Care $275   Animal Care and Control 4-384
CHILDREN SERVICES - Complete Requirements
Children’s Activities Facility Children’s Services $165   Buildings (SIP), Fire 4-75
Daycare Facility Children’s Services $165   Buildings (Electrical, Plumbing, Ventilation), Fire, Health (Food Protection & Health Surveillance) 4-75

BUSINESS SECTOR/Activity

LICENSE TYPE

LICENSE APPLICATION FEE / 2 YEARS

APPLY ONLINE

ZONING REVIEW

CRIMINAL HISTORY BACKGROUND

ONSITE INSPECTIONS

MUNICIPAL CODE

COMMERCIAL AND BUSINESS SERVICES
Automatic Amusement Device Operator Regulated Business $250   4-6-120
Private Booting Company Regulated Business $250   4-6-230
Clothing Alterations Regulated Business $250     4-6-030
Day Labor Regulated Business $250   4-6-070
Debt Collections - Complete Requirements Regulated Business $250     4-6-160
Dry Cleaner Regulated Business $250     4-6-200
Expediter Regulated Business $250   4-6-250 & 260
General Retail Sales and Services Limited Business $250     4-4-020
Health Club/Fitness Center Regulated Business $250     4-4-020
Heliport Regulated Business $400     Aviation and Law 4-83
Junk Peddler Regulated Business $250     4-6-150
Laundry Service Regulated Business $250     4-6-040
Private Scavenger Regulated Business $250       Streets  and Sanitation 4-6-130
Residential Real Estate Developer Regulated Business $250   4-6-050
Shooting Range Facility Shooting Range Facility $2,000   Buildings (SIP), Fire, Health, Police 4-151
Weapons Dealer Weapons Dealer $1,100     4-144
ENTERTAINMENT
Indoor Special Event, Class A Indoor Special Events, Class A $6,000     Buildings (SIP), Fire 4-156
Indoor Special Event, Class B Not-For-Profit Indoor Special Events, Class B $100/event     Buildings (SIP), Fire 4-156
Performing Arts Venue (PAV) Performing Arts Venue $110 (0-499 person capacity); $2/person (500 plus person capacity)   Buildings (SIP, Ventilation, Electrical, Plumbing), Fire 4-156
Public Place of Amusement (PPA) Public Place of Amusement $770 - $13,200   Buildings (SIP, Ventilation, Electrical, Plumbing), Fire 4-156
Raffle Raffle $100/1 year       4-156

BUSINESS SECTOR/Activity

LICENSE TYPE

LICENSE APPLICATION FEE / 2 YEARS

APPLY ONLINE

ZONING REVIEW

CRIMINAL HISTORY BACKGROUND

ONSITE INSPECTIONS

MUNICIPAL CODE

FOOD
Mobile Food Dispenser (truck), Pre-packaged and Pre-cooked food - More Information Mobile Food $700     Health, Fire (if applicable) 4-8
Mobile Food Preparer (truck), Cooking or Preparing food on vehicle - More Information Mobile Food $1,000     Health, Fire 4-8
Mobile Frozen Desserts, Non-Motorized Mobile Food $275     Health 4-8
Mobile Frozen Desserts, Motorized (2 or 3 wheels) Mobile Food $275     Health 4-8
Produce Merchant Mobile Food $275       Health 4-8
Restaurant, Grocery Store, Bakery  Deli, Café, etc. Retail Food $660 - $1,100   Health 4-8
Shared Kitchen Operator Shared Kitchen Operator $660     Health 4-8-038
Shared Kitchen User, Long Term - 2 years Shared Kitchen User – Long Term $330       Health 4-8-038
Shared Kitchen User, Short Term - 90 days Shared Kitchen User – Short Term $75       Health 4-8-038
Shared Kitchen, Supplemental Shared Kitchen Supplemental $330     Health 4-8-038
Wholesale Food Sales (Business to Business Sales) Wholesale Food $660   Health 4-8-010
HOME BASED BUSINESS
Home Office/Occupation Regulated Business $250     4-6-270
HOME REPAIR AND CONSTRUCTION SERVICES  - Complete Requirements
Board-Up Services Regulated Business $250   4-6-190
Explosives Explosives $500   Fire 15-4-300
Explosives – Certificate of Fitness Certificate of Fitness $100     Fire 15-4-260
General Contractor General Contractor License issued and processed by the Department of Buildings.
Home Repair Regulated Business  $250     4-6-280
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), Fire, Health 4-6-080
Adult Family Care Home Regulated Business $250   Buildings (SIP), Fire, Health 4-6-110
Assisted Living Establishment Regulated Business $250   Buildings (SIP), Fire, Health 4-6-090
Hospital Regulated Business $250   Fire 4-6-170
Long Term Care Facility Regulated Business $250   Buildings, Fire, Health 4-6-100

BUSINESS SECTOR/Activity

LICENSE TYPE

LICENSE APPLICATION FEE / 2 YEARS

APPLY ONLINE

ZONING REVIEW

CRIMINAL HISTORY BACKGROUND

ONSITE INSPECTIONS

MUNICIPAL CODE

LIQUOR - More Information
Caterer’s Liquor – Establishments located within the City of Chicago Caterer’s Liquor $4,400   Local Liquor Control Commission and Health 4-60-043
Caterer’s Liquor with a Consumption on Premises Caterer’s Liquor with a COP $2,200   Local Liquor Control Commission and Health 4-60
Caterer’s Registration – Establishments located outside the City of Chicago Caterer’s Registration $6,600   Onsite Inspection Details 4-60-045
Incidental liquor sales - Restaurant serving liquor incidental to food Consumption on Premises (COP) $4,400   Local Liquor Control Commission, Buildings (SIP), Fire and Health 4-60
Late Hour  - Two extra hours for the serving of liquor Late Hour $6,000   Local Liquor Control Commission 4-60
Not-For-Profit Social Club, Liquor - Private club for members only Not-For-Profit Social Club, Liquor $1,100   Local Liquor Control Commission, Buildings (SIP, Plumbing, Ventilation), Fire and Health 4-60
Serving of liquor outdoors on private property Outdoor Patio $1,760   Local Liquor Control Commission, Buildings (SIP) 4-60
Liquor store or retail sales of unopened liquor Packaged Goods $4,400   Local Liquor Control Commission, Fire and Health 4-60
Pushcart – Midway Airport Liquor – Airport Pushcart $600   Local Liquor Control Commission 4-60
Pushcart – O’Hare Airport Liquor – Airport Pushcart $600   Local Liquor Control Commission 4-60
Tavern Tavern $4,400   Local Liquor Control Commission, Buildings (SIP, Plumbing, Ventilation), Fire and Health 4-60
Wrigley Field Wrigley Field $1,000   Local Liquor Control Commission, Buildings (Electrical, Plumbing, Ventilation, and SIP), Fire & Health 4-60

BUSINESS SECTOR/Activity

LICENSE TYPE

LICENSE APPLICATION FEE / 2 YEARS

APPLY ONLINE

ZONING REVIEW

CRIMINAL HISTORY BACKGROUND

ONSITE INSPECTIONS

MUNICIPAL CODE

MANUFACTURING
Hazardous Materials Regulated Business $250   Fire 4-6-210
Manufacturing – mechanical and/or chemical processing Manufacturing $275   Fire 4-224
MOTOR VEHICLE SERVICES
Filling Station Filling Station $220   Fire 4-108
Motor Vehicle Repair Motor Vehicle Services $240     4-228
Tire Facility Motor Vehicle Services $240   Fire 4-228-305
OUTDOOR VENDING
Street Peddler Street Peddler/Street Performer - Complete Requirements $100, or $50 for seniors, veterans or disabled         4-244-030
Street Performer Street Peddler/Street Performer - Complete Requirements $100, or $50 for seniors, veterans or disabled         4-244-161
Seasonal or temporary / Indoor or outdoor / tradeshow  or special event sales of general merchandise Itinerant Merchant - Complete Requirements $25/2 weeks         4-212
Outdoor or indoor sales from a kiosk at Navy Pier Navy Pier Kiosk - More Information $125       Health (for food items) 4-360
PARKING LOT / PARKING GARAGE - Complete Requirements
Accessory Garage Accessory Garage $19.80/sq. ft.     4-232
Public Garage Public Garage $19.80/sq. ft.   Fire 4-232
PAWNSHOP / SECONDHAND DEALER
Secondhand Dealer  - Valuable Objects Secondhand Dealer $1,100   4-264
Secondhand Dealer - Non-Valuable Objects Secondhand Dealer $1,100   4-264
Secondhand Dealer – Children’s Products Regulated Business $250     4-6-140
Pawnbroker Pawnbroker $5,280   4-240
PERSONAL SERVICES
Immigration Services - More Information Regulated Business $250     4-6-240
Massage Establishment Massage Establishment $550   BACP 4-92
Nail Salon Limited Business $250     4-4-020
Salon/Spa Services Limited Business $250     4-4-020
Tattooing, Body Piercing, Tanning Regulated Business $250     4-6-060
Tax Preparation Limited Business $250     4-44
TOBACCO - Complete Requirements
Retail Sales of Tobacco products and accessories Retail Tobacco $500 + $330/register   BACP 4-64-090
Business to business sales of Tobacco products and accessories Wholesale Sales of Tobacco $1,100   BACP, Fire 4-64-010
Sampling of Tobacco products to persons over 18 years of age Tobacco Sampler $660     4-64-094