How to Apply for a Contractor's License in Chicago, Illinois

Contractors in Chicago must apply annually for a license.
Contractors in Chicago must apply annually for a license. (Image: roof turss image by Greg Pickens from

A contractor's license is a city-issued document that gives a company permission to perform work on private and commercial structures. In Chicago, general contractors must be licensed on an annual basis. Five classes of licenses are offered, depending upon the size and cost of projects your company will contract to perform. To obtain a general contractor's license in Chicago, companies must purchase insurance, complete an application and pay a fee to the Chicago Department of Revenue.

Purchase insurance for your company. Your insurance must name the City of Chicago as an additional insured, non-contributory entity and show an A.M. Best credit rating of B+ or higher. Insurance must cover bodily injury and property damage. The amount of insurance you are required to purchase depends upon your license class and ranges from $1 million per occurrence to $5 million per occurrence as of 2010. You will need a certified copy of your insurance information to send in with your license application.

Determine which category license your company will need. Depending on the size and value of the projects you want to contract, the City of Chicago offers Class A (unlimited project cost) through Class E (no single project in excess of $500,000) licenses. The cost for the licenses as of September 2010 ranges from $300 to $2,000 depending upon class.

Print a license application from the City of Chicago. Complete each section of the application in black ink only.

Mail your application and fees to: City of Chicago General Contractor License P.O. Box 388249 Chicago, IL 60638-8249

Tips & Warnings

  • Applications are approved within 28 days of receipt and licenses are mailed to your business address within 10 days of approval.
  • Incomplete applications will be returned to the applicant and will delay you obtaining your license, so be sure to fill the application out completely and provide all requested documentation.

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