Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection
What We Do

Business Compliance and Enforcement

Understanding the rules of the road is key to operating a business responsibly. The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) inspects thousands of businesses and public vehicles to ensure compliance with City laws and regulations.  BACP also responds to and investigates consumer complaints. To file a consumer complaint please call 311 or use the online services below. 

Operating without a business license - The City of Chicago Municipal Code mandates that no business activity may take place without first obtaining the required business license(s). A pending license application does not allow you to operate. Failure to comply can result in enforcement action.  Many businesses operating as a Not for Profit Corporation require a City of Chicago business license. A business consultant may help you determine if you require a license. You can also look up businesses that are exempt from a City of Chicago license.

Business License Inspections- Certain types of businesses require that the establishment undergo and pass an inspection from one or more city departments. Common inspections include BACP,  the Departments of Buildings, Fire Prevention and Food Protection. You should be prepared for these inspections when you file a business license application.

There are a couple of things you can do that will help you prepare for an inspection:

  • Attend an Inspection Workshop- offered on the first Wednesday of each month at  BACP. This workshop connects business owners with every inspecting department so you can get tips and talk face to face with an inspector.

Alerts (Business Compliance and Enforcement)

Severe Alert Jul 29, 2016 The Second Phase of Chicago’s Plastic Bag Ban Will Take Effect on August 1, 2016
Severe Alert Apr 11, 2016 2016 Tobacco Ordinance Changes

Most Recent News (Business Compliance and Enforcement)

Mar 14, 2016 City Takes Action On Delinquent Businesses To Stop Unlawful Tobacco Sales

Supporting Information

View all Supporting Information

Additional Resources

Annual Plastic Bag Recycling Reporting Information

The Flagged Business List

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