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 Chicago Business License

Who Needs a Chicago Business License?

If you are looking to open a business in Chicago, then there is a good chance that you will need to obtain a Chicago business license. Like many other permitting processes, obtaining a Chicago business license can take months without the right permit expeditor. Here, we will explain what a Chicago business license is, who is required to get one and how to easily expedite the entire permitting process.


What is a Chicago business license?

A Chicago business license is a license issued by the city’s Small Business Center (SBC). The SBC is responsible for the regulation of business activities within the City of Chicago.

Is a business license required in Chicago?

A business license is required by many different types of establishments in Chicago. Even if your business is registered with the proper county, state and Federal agencies, your business may still have to get a Chicago business license in order to operate in the city.

What kind of business requires a business license?

There are a number of different types of businesses that are required to get a Chicago business license. Here are some of the different types of business that will require a Chicago business license:


  • Animal Care and Services

  • Children Services

  • Commercial and Business Services

  • Entertainment

  • Food

  • Home Based Business

  • Home Repair and Construction Services

  • Hospital and Commercial Care Facilities

  • Liquor

  • Manufacturing

  • Motor Vehicle Services

  • Outdoor Vending

  • Parking Lot/Parking Garage

  • Pawnshop/Secondhand Dealer

    Personal Services

  • Public Vehicles

  • Tobacco

  • Valet Operator


How long does it take to get a business license in Chicago?

After a business has completed the application, paid the appropriate fees, and met with the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (DBACP) the City of Chicago will take up to 90 days to review the application. After the 90 day period, the City of Chicago will usually approve and mail the business license.


That being said, the actual waiting time can vary depending on the business. For instance, a liquor establishment will have to wait for a minimum of 35 days.

Why does the application process take so long?

One of the reasons for the long processing time has to do with zoning. The business has to be zoned correctly. For some businesses, the zoning process can be more involved.

The application process can also take a long time if the business did not complete the application properly and submit it to the right office. This can be common for businesses who do not have much experience dealing with permits and license applications in Chicago.


Finally, businesses will find the process will take longer if they don’t have an experienced permit expeditor working with city officials. An experienced permit expediter will know exactly how to complete the application, where to submit it and what steps to take to expedite the entire process.

Who is exempted from getting a license in Chicago?

There are a number of different businesses that are licensed by other agencies and they are exempted from having to obtain a Chicago business license. Here’s a look at a sampling of business that are exempt from having to obtain a Chicago business license:


The following business are licensed and regulated by the IDFPR Division of Professional Regulation:


  • Acupuncturists

  • Architects

  • Athletics

  • Cemetery

  • Certified Public Accountants

  • Chiropractors

  • Clinical Psychologists

  • Clinical Social Workers

  • Clinical Child Social Workers

  • Counselors

  • Cosmetology Schools

  • Detection of Deception Examiners

  • Dentists

  • Dental Assistants

  • Dental Hygienists

  • Dietitians and Nutrition Counselors

  • Engineers

  • Environmental Health Practitioners

  • Funeral

  • Geologists

  • Landscape Architects

  • Marriage and Family Therapists

  • Naprapathy

  • Nurses

  • Nursing Home Administrators

  • Occupational Therapists

  • Occupational Therapist Assistants

  • Optometrists

  • Osteopaths

  • Pharmacists

  • Physical Therapists

  • Physical Therapist Assistants

  • Physicians and Physician Assistants

  • Podiatrists

  • Private Detectives

  • Private Alarm Companies

  • Security Guards

  • Real Estate Brokers

  • Respiratory Care Practitioners

  • Shorthand Reporters

  • Speech-Language Audiologists

  • Speech-Language Pathologists

  • Surgical Assistants

  • Veterinarians

  • Veterinary Technicians

  • Wholesale Drug Distributors


The following businesses are licensed and regulated by the IDFPR Division of Banking:


  • ATMs

  • Check Printers

  • Mortgage Bankers and Brokers

  • Savings and Loan Associations

  • Savings Banks

  • State Chartered Banks

  • Trust Companies


The following business are licensed and regulated by the IDFPR Division of Financial Institutions:

  • Credit Unions

  • Currency Exchanges

  • Money Transmitters

  • Title Insurance Companies


A more comprehensive list of exempt companies can be found at the IDFPR website.


How can I get my Chicago business license as fast as possible?

If you are looking to speed up the process of getting a Chicago business license, then there are a couple of steps that you can take. Here’s a look at five recommended actions that can help expedite your Chicago business license application time.


Know Chicago’s specific rules and regulations

Be sure to know the specific rules and regulations for businesses that operate in the Chicago area. This will allow you to have an application that is properly filled out and understand the process. This will help prevent any possible delays during the application process.

Organize everything

Let’s face it, there’s going to be lots of paperwork involved with opening a business. The same holds true when applying for a Chicago business license. Therefore, it is important to have all of your paperwork and existing permits in place. This will allow you to be prepared if city officials ask you for any specific information or documentation.


Understand zoning

You also need to make sure that your plans, materials, and specifications are within the zoning guidelines. If you don’t have a full understanding of the zoning rules in the City of Chicago, then you may have trouble obtaining your Chicago business license.


Focus on one permit at a time

When opening a business in Chicago, you’ll find that there are a number of permits that you are going to have to deal with. In order to ensure the least amount of delays, it is best to focus on one permit at a time. This will allow you to submit an error free application that satisfies everything that city officials need in order to grant your permit.


Get a permit expediting service

Because it can take months to get a Chicago business license, you may want to seek permit expediting services to help speed up the process. With the right permit specialist, you can have a seasoned professional guide your application through the myriad of hoops that are required to get a Chicago business license. If getting your business up fast is important, then a Chicago building permit expeditor is going to be a smart investment.


What does a permit expeditor do?

A permit expeditor will guide your business through the application process and advise you on what the city will want and how to satisfy their requirement as soon as possible. A top permit expeditor will also be able to handle any questions and objections that the city may have. This can help prevent any delays or rejections in the permit approval process.


What kind of background does a permit expediting service have?

A permit expeditor should have a background in planning, construction, real estate and architecture. They will be able to anticipate issues that can affect your permitting process as well as help you keep your construction on schedule. The best way to think of a permit expeditor is that of a project manager who is going to keep your construction process on track.


What services does a permit expeditor provide?

The main goal of the permit expeditor is to ensure that your construction or business provides the government with all the requirements needed to obtain the necessary permits (in this case, a Chicago business license). Here is a look at the more specific services that a permit expeditor will offer during the process:


  • Research zoning, codes and planning associated with your project.

  • Work and coordinate with the client, city officials and plan reviewers.

  • Make sure that the construction drawings are in compliance with city codes and ordinances.

  • Review construction materials.

  • Work with city officials and complete pre-submittal proposals.

  • Negotiate an expedited process for an RTI (Ready to issue).


A permit expeditor will have years of experience working with city officials and they can really smooth out the process, detect potential red flags and expedite your construction schedule. Chances are that you will have many things to think about why opening your business. An experienced permit expeditor will free up your time to work on other parts of your business. In short, the right permit expeditor is going to be the one of the best permit solutions for your project.


What to look for in a top permit expeditor

Not all permit expediting services are the same. Therefore, you want to make sure that you hire the right professional who can guide your business through the permit expediting Chicago experience. Here’s a look at three qualifications that you should look for when hiring the best Chicago building permit expeditors.



You want to make sure that the permit management program that you choose has all the qualifications to handle your project. For instance, how long have they worked in the City of Chicago as a permit specialist? Does the permit expeditor have a background in construction, architecture, and the permitting process? Does the permit management service have a good relationship with the City of Chicago officials? This will all play an important role in the overall effectiveness in their ability to get you a construction permit or Chicago business license.


Past project experience

You should ask any professional premiere expediting service what past projects that they have worked on. It’s a good idea to see how long there were any to get the permits for their previous client. That will give you a good idea as to how long it will take for them to get a permit for your business.



Finally, you will want to check to make sure that you are dealing with a trusted permit expediting service. You can quickly check the background of the company by performing a business search from the Better Business Bureau. A top permit management service should have a high score with little to not complaints on their record.


Work with a top business expeditor in Chicago

When it comes to experienced permit expediting services, Permit Studio should be at the top of your list. We have the unique experience in the City of Chicago to provide your business with the permit expediting service that you need. Whether you are looking to obtain a Chicago business license or a construction permit quickly, we have the relationship with Chicago city officials and the know-how to get things done.

​​Permit Expediting

Time is money. That’s right we have a system in place to expedite the permit process from start to finish. We have unique experience in dealing with building and special projects. Our permit specialty includes the Easy Permit Process for non-structural repairs, CDOT permits and the Standard Plan Review. Here’s a look at other permitting services that we offer:


Business Meeting

Our Permitting Services

At Permit Studio, we provide a wide range of permitting services that allows you to take the stress off of the permitting process. That allows you to focus on other parts of your business while we take care of the permitting legwork. Here’s a look at the permitting services that we provide:

Permit Management

As a full-time permit management service, we can help all of your permits with ease. Here’s a look at some of the tasks that we can complete on behalf of your business:


  • Gather project data

  • Complete all paperwork

  • Supervise the permitting process from start to finish

  • Review and submit blueprints to the proper offices

  • Respond to any inquires from city officials

  • Create a task timeline

Done Deal
Pensive Freelancer

Permit Expediting

At Permit Studio, we provide a wide range of permitting services that allows you to take the stress off of the permitting process. That allows you to focus on other parts of your business while we take care of the permitting legwork. Here’s a look at the permitting services that we provide:

Office Desk

Contact Permit Studio today

Make it easy for you to get the permit that your business needs. Permit Studio can help expedite your Chicago business license application as well as any other construction permit application for your business. Contact us today to learn more about our permit expediting services. Our permit specialists are ready to get to work for you.

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