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:

Inspections, Permitting, and Licensing

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

 

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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 page.

 

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 Oct 24, 2014 Know Your Local Business Development Centers
Low Alert Jun 5, 2015 E-Plan Update: Tech Support and Classes
Low Alert Jun 1, 2015 New Procedures Regarding Multiple Dwelling Registration
Low Alert Apr 1, 2015 Crane Operators may now sign up for new written test
Low Alert Jan 30, 2015 Rules and Regulations for the Problem Landlord List

Most Recent News (Inspections, Permitting, and Licensing)

Aug 25,2015 City of Chicago Launches New Workshop Series Focused On Startups
Jun 26,2015 City of Chicago Hosting Free Minimum Wage & Plastic Bag Ban Workshop
May 29,2015 City of Chicago Inspectors Available to Answer Questions at June Workshop
May 08,2015 Second Stop For City of Chicago's ‘Small Business Center on the Road’ is the Arturo Velasquez Institute on May 9
Apr 30,2015 City of Chicago Hosting Free Business Workshops Throughout May

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

Services

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Supporting Information

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