Inspections, Permitting, and Licensing
City Services

Visit the Small Business Center for information on licenses, permits, and additional resources

Visit the Small Business Center website, for information on licenses, permits, and additional resources

 

Resources

Links to related Departments:

  • Department of Buildings (DoB)
  • Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection (BACP)
  • Fire Department (CFD)
  • Department of Housing & Economic Development (DHED)
  • Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD)
  • Department of Public Health (CDPH)
  • Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT)
  • Department of Water Management (DWM)

Inspections, Permitting, and Licensing

Information for homeowners, builders/developers/contractors, business owners, and more!

 

Photo of Chicago Flag

City of Chicago's Guide to Inspections

The 4 Main Types of Inspections:

  1. Permits (inspections to achieve a permit)
  2. Annual / Quarterly (inspections to maintain status)
  3. Business License (required inspections to obtain new licensing)
  4. Complaints (inspections prompted by a complaint)

Common Reasons for Failing an Inspection

Inspections are required for several reasons and at various times during the life a business.  View common reasons that businesses fail inspections, including both NEW businesses and EXISTING businesses.

 

Important Steps Before You Start a Business:

Before taking out a business loan, signing a lease, or applying for a business license, ensure that the site where you intend to operate is in an appropriately zoned area and that it complies with the current Chicago Municipal Code.  The Code is frequently updated so a new owner needs to check current zoning and code regulations and not assume the previous owner's designation applies.

The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection also holds FREE business workshops the first Wednesday of every month.  To download the schedule of dates and additional details please reference this PDF.

 

Photo of retail worker cleaning a kitchen

Retail Food Service

This link provides information regarding businesses that sell or serve food and/or liquor.

General Retail - photo of women shopping

General Retail / Professional Services

This link provides information regarding professional service companies and retailers other than food retail.

Manufacturing

Manufacturing / Warehouse

This link provides information regarding manufacturing industrial businesses.

 Photo of 2 workers doing construction

Construction / Renovation

This link provides information regarding new construction and rehabilitation work as well as additional developer / contractor links and information.

Contractors - third party

Contractor / 3rd Party Certification

This link provides information regarding self-certification for business/property owners as well as required certifications for contractors.

Street with signs above shops

Signs

This link provides information regarding requirements and permits for signs that hang over the public way or require Department of Buildings or Zoning approval.

       

Alerts (Inspections, Permitting, and Licensing)

Severe Alert Jan 15, 2015 Looking for a Small Business Loan – The City of Chicago Can Help
Severe Alert Jan 14, 2015 New Third Party/Expediter Database Helps Businesses Research and Report Violations by Expediters, Attorneys, and Other Third Party Processors
Severe Alert Dec 11, 2014 Taxi Driver Fairness Ordinance
Severe Alert Oct 24, 2014 Know Your Local Business Development Centers
High Alert Jan 12, 2015 Fund Your Business Through Seed Chicago

View all Alerts (Inspections, Permitting, and Licensing)

Most Recent News (Inspections, Permitting, and Licensing)

Mar 17,2015 City of Chicago Partners With Western Union to Host Five Neighborhood Small Business Expos
Mar 13,2015 CITY OF CHICAGO LAUNCHING ‘SMALL BUSINESS CENTER ON THE ROAD’ BUSINESS EXPO SERIES
Mar 06,2015 WEEKLY & MONTHLY FOOD TRUCK FESTS COMING TO DALEY PLAZA, WILLIS TOWER
Feb 05,2015 City of Chicago's Small Business Center Presenting Final ‘How To Obtain A Sidewalk Cafe Permit’ Workshop On Feb. 6
Feb 02,2015 Mayor Emanuel, City of Chicago Officials Provide Update On Continued Winter Weather Response And Efforts To Help Keep Residents Safe

View all News Releases (Inspections, Permitting, and Licensing)

Services

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Supporting Information

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