Business Start Guide

business start guide

This guide is a general overview of what to expect as you navigate the rules and requirements of business ownership in Arlington Heights. Remember, every business is unique, and your situation may result in different timeframes, costs, and specific requirements.  

General Information

Anyone looking to open a business in Illinois must first with the state’s requirements. You may also refer to the Starting Your Business in Illinois Handbook for more guidance.

This feasibility checklist, is a great place to start and help with evaluating your business idea. It is designed to screen out ideas that are likely to fail before you invest extensive time, money, and effort in them. 

The Village of Arlington Heights has a comprehensive all-purpose business guide.


The Village of Arlington Heights requires a business license for most businesses. The application must be submitted and approved before the business can open. It can be filled out and submitted online. The Village Clerk’s office will follow up with the applicant regarding payment. It is recommended that businesses apply for their Business License the month prior to their planned opening. Contact the Village of Arlington Heights Clerk at 847-368-5540. 

Depending on the nature of your business, you may require a professional license issued by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR). The IDFPR website has a section covering Professions Regulated by IDFPR. You can get detailed information about licensing requirements by clicking on any profession on the list.


Restaurants are permitted in commercially-zoned districts (B-1, B-2, B-3, and B-5) with Special Use approval.  This sometimes requires a Plan Commission process which involves public notification (letters, signage, etc.), a public hearing, and final approval by the Village Board.  This process typically takes 3-6 months depending on the scope of the project.  However, there are two potential alternatives to this:

  • If there is an existing Special Use ordinance for the tenant space, and the applicant agrees to adhere to all terms of the ordinance, the business may potentially be able to assume the existing Special Use without the public process.  This can therefore be approved by Village Staff administratively.
  • If there is no existing Special Use, but the tenant space is less than 4,000 square feet, the business may potentially be able to apply for a Special Use waiver.  This, again, can be done administratively, and can often be done in approximately 4-6 weeks (depending on the thoroughness of the application and supporting documentation, and responses provided to Staff).

Village of Arlington Heights Zoning Map

Village of Arlington Heights Zoning Regulations

Register a Business Name

The Cook County Clerk's office registers business names known as "assumed names" for new businesses in accordance with Illinois law. Per the Cook County Clerk's office, an assumed name is issued to any business entity that uses a name other than the name(s) of the individual(s) who own or operate the business. 

Under state law, three classes of businesses are required to register assumed names with the local county clerk's office.

  • Sole proprietorship - Businesses defined under state law as being owned by an individual or spouses.
  • General partnership - An association of two or more persons who carry on as co-owners a for-profit business entity.
  • Professional services corporation - A business corporation formed by an individual or group of individuals who are required by law to be licensed or obtain other legal authorization from the state to deliver services (examples include doctors, dentists, land surveyors, podiatrists, and some attorneys). Proof of filing with the Secretary of State's office is required.

If your business is a Corporation (excluding Professional), LLC, LLP or a Non-Profit, you must register your business with the Illinois Secretary of State

For information on how to register your assumed business name click here. You are now able to register for an assumed business name online.

Click here for tax information on the different business types.

Business Tax Registration

If you are starting a new business or have a business new to the state of Illinois, you will need to register with the Illinois Department of Revenue. To register you may chose one of the following options:

You will also need to apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) with the IRS. You can find more IRS resources for small-business owners here

Additional resources and templates:

SCORE Business Planning Template Gallery

Canvanizer (model 1.0 is free)

Illinois DCEO Step by Step Guide

Illinois SBDC Business Plan Guidebook

Census Business Builder

LegalGPS: An interactive platform that gives business owners step-by-step, customized directions to complete 50+ legal essentials in advance of working with a lawyer. It can save owners significant legal fees and 60+ hours. Must login with library card to access.