BACP vs. IDFPR: Who regulates what and what laws do you need to follow?

bacp vs idfpr


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Entrepreneurs looking to start a business in Chicago often encounter the complex licensing world. The City of Chicago’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) oversees various business sectors, ensuring that businesses adhere to specific standards and regulations. The City of Chicago requires certain business activities to be licensed; some examples are liquor sales, motor vehicle services, outdoor vending, parking lots, pawnshops, personal services, and many others.

However, not all businesses fall under BACP’s jurisdiction. Some are exempt, falling under the purview of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR). It’s important to note that while the City’s table of professions offers a comprehensive overview, exemptions exist for certain professions regulated by the IDFPR, creating a confusing landscape for small businesses.

IDFPR Exemptions and Individual Licenses

The IDFPR regulates many professions, and many of these licensees don’t need a separate Chicago business license. Examples of exempt professions include acupuncturists, architects, certified public accountants, dentists, engineers, nurses, pharmacists, physicians, real estate brokers, and many more. The IDFPR’s oversight ensures that these professionals adhere to statewide standards, eliminating the need for additional city-level licensing.

Choosing the Right Path for the Business

So, when starting a business in Chicago, how does an entrepreneur navigate the dual landscape of BACP and IDFPR? The key is to assess the nature and activities of the business. If your business falls under BACP’s purview, ensure you obtain the relevant license based on the detailed information provided by the City. On the other hand, if the business is in an exempt profession, the business must ensure it is properly licensed by IDFPR or another state agency.

Entrepreneurs looking to establish themselves in Chicago must meticulously review the specific requirements applicable to their industry. This involves understanding the fees, application processes, zoning restrictions, and other topics discussed during the licensure process.

The process of obtaining the correct licenses for a Chicago-based business involves careful consideration of whether BACP or the IDFPR oversees the industry. By taking the time to understand the nuances outlined by the BACP or the IDFPR, entrepreneurs can properly establish their businesses and feel at ease during the regulatory process.

But What? Sometimes, you are required to be licensed by the State and City
Some businesses will be required to be licensed by the State and City. One example is a Tattoo Shop, which requires licensure by BACP and the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Navigating Chicago’s Business License Maze: Let 1818 Be Your Guide

In the intricate landscape of Chicago’s business licensing, the dual jurisdictions of BACP and IDFPR can be daunting for entrepreneurs. It’s crucial to discern which regulatory body oversees your specific industry, whether it’s BACP, IDFPR, or both.

Navigating this complex terrain demands a meticulous approach, where understanding the precise requirements, fees, zoning restrictions, and application processes is paramount. As entrepreneurs, you hold the key to ensuring your business complies with the regulations that govern it.

At 1818, we recognize the challenges that entrepreneurs face in deciphering these intricate licensing processes. That’s why we’re here to offer our expertise and guidance. If you find yourself navigating the intricate maze of BACP and IDFPR regulations, don’t hesitate to reach out to our experienced IDFPR lawyers. We can provide the clarity and support you need to navigate the licensing journey successfully. Your business aspirations deserve the best legal counsel, and we’re here to help you achieve them.


Jordan Matyas

Jordan Matyas

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Jordan Matyas is a lawyer, lobbyist, and Founder of 1818 Legal, an Illinois professional licensing defense law firm he created in 2014. With more than 18 years of experience practicing law, he represents clients in a wide range of legal matters, including professional license defense, administrative law, land use and zoning, and state, local, and municipal law.

Jordan received his Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois — Chicago School of Law and is a member of the Illinois Bar Association.