Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection
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What We Do

Business Licenses

The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) issues business licenses in the City of Chicago and regulates industries as diverse as retail, food establishments, day care centers, manufacturing facilities and motor vehicle repair shops. BACP also regulates the sale of retail liquor in Chicago. 

Most types of business licenses can be applied for online, or in-person. When applying in-person, a BACP, Small Business Center (SBC), Business Consultant will help determine what license(s) or permit(s) you need, process your application, and also connect you with business resources. To request an appointment to meet with a Business Consultant, please call our Business Contact Center at 312.74.GOBIZ (744.6249).

Shared Housing & Accommodation Licensing Button

Pharmaceutical Representatives Licensing Button

Please select the appropriate button above to review important information about the NEW business license type(s) before applying for a business license. Shared Housing and Pharmaceutical Representative business license applications are processed by the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, Small Business Center, either online via the Chicago Business License Application System (CBLAS), or in-person at City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle Street, Room 800.

Public Way Use Permits

In addition to issuing business licenses, BACP is the department which handles General Grants of Privilege for the use of the public way. If your business has a sign, canopy, awning, bench, or anything that extends over, under or is on the public way, it may require a public way use permit. There are several different types of public way uses including sidewalk cafés

You can apply for a public way use permit, at the BACP-SBC Public Way Use Unit, in City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle St., Room 800. Please call our Business Contact Center at 312.74.GOBIZ (744.6249) to request an appointment to meet with a Public Way Use Representative.

Alerts (Business Licenses)

Severe Alert Jan 30, 2017 Shared Housing Ordinance Prohibited Buildings List Affidavit
Severe Alert Jan 10, 2017 Delegate Agency Documents

Most Recent News (Business Licenses)

Sep 18, 2017 One-Thousand Pharmaceutical Representatives Licensed
Jul 17, 2017 City Launches New Pharmaceutical Representative License
Jul 25, 2016 Emerging Business Permit Paves Way For Parking App Company To Operate In Chicago
Mar 6, 2015 Weekly & Monthly Food Truck Fests Coming to Daley Plaza,Willis Tower
Oct 24, 2014 Mayor Emanuel Announces Addition of Permit Intake Center to Chicago's Small Business Center

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Supporting Information

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Additional BACP Resources

Free Small Business Education Resources

Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for Initial Microlender Trainee Candidates

Department Main Office

Business Affairs and Consumer Protection

  • Phone: 312.744.6060
    Toll Free:
    TTY: 312.744.1944
    Fax: 312.744.0246
  • 121 N. LaSalle Street
    8th Floor
    Chicago, IL 60602   
    Get Directions

Small Business Center


312.74.GOBIZ (744.6249)


121 N. LaSalle St., Rm. 800, Chicago, IL 60602

Hours: Mon. - Fri.; 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM