Doing Business In Gurnee

The Village of Gurnee earns its reputation as the Community of Opportunity by providing exceptional services to its residents and businesses. Outstanding location, a strong local economy, high-quality programs and services, and dedicated residents make Gurnee an ideal place to establish a business.

Gurnee is a balanced community with approximately 60% of its land zoned residential, 20% commercial, 10% industrial, and 10% parks/open space. The Village has a land area of 13.5 square miles and is located midway between Chicago and Milwaukee in northern Lake County. Interstate 94, as well as Routes 41, 21, 120, and 132, run through Gurnee, making it easily accessible from any direction. Gurnee’s unemployment rate has historically been lower than the National, State, and County rates as shown by Illinois Department of Employment Securities statistics. The Village of Gurnee has transformed itself from a sleepy, little town of 3,000 residents in 1970 to an economic powerhouse of approximately 31,000 residents today.

Current and prospective business owners are urged to familiarize themselves with the annual licenses required below: 

Business License

  • New Businesses
    All new businesses are required to obtain business licenses prior to opening in Gurnee. License fees are based on the square footage of a business and are renewable annually. New business license applications can be downloaded from the Village's licensing page and faxed, mailed, or brought in person to Village Hall. For more information or to download an application, please reference the information below and visit the Village's Business Licensing page.
  • Renewals
    While new license applications must be processed at the Village Hall, renewals may be done either at Village Hall or online for no additional charge via the Citizen Self Service Portal. Renewal forms are mailed to you prior to license expiration and will contain the 5 or 6 digit code you will need in order to renew online. Please visit the Business Licenses page for more information on renewals.
  • Not-for-Profit Business Licenses
    License fees are waived for non-profit organizations, but such groups must still apply for a business license, occupancy permit, etc. For more information on applying for a license, please reference the information below or visit the Village's Business Licenses page.

Building Safety Division

  • Certificate of Occupancy
    After applying for a business license (and before the business license is approved/issued), the Village also requires you to obtain an occupancy permit before starting a business in Gurnee. Come to the Village Hall to pick up a "Commercial Building Permit Package," or contact the Building Safety Division for further information at (847) 599-7550.
    • Requirements: Complete a Building Permit application and Certificate of Occupancy application, bring in a layout of how you will utilize the building space, and pay the permit fee. Prior to business opening, call for a final inspection. Upon passing the final inspection, you will receive your Certificate of Occupancy and be allowed to open for business.
  • Renovating Business Rental Space
    If you wish to renovate the space you've rented, the following must be submitted for review:
    • Your materials will be reviewed by the Building Safety Division and the Fire Department. Once your application is approved and the permit fee has been paid, renovation may begin. Inspections are required during renovation, including a final inspection prior to business opening. Upon passing the final inspection, you will receive your Certificate of Occupancy and be allowed to open for business.
    • Information Required on the Permit Application
      1. Street address, including space number, if applicable
      2. Business name
      3. Illinois State Tax ID Number
      4. Nature of business (i.e., merchandise sold, insurance office, etc.)
    • A building permit application
      1. Four (4) Illinois architect stamped drawings.
        a. One (1) drawing must be stamped and signed on every page.
        b. The remaining three (3) drawings must be stamped and signed on the first page.

Fire Department

What the Fire Department Needs From You
Prior to opening a business in Gurnee, you will need to supply the following to the Fire Department:

  • Name of the owner/occupant of the business.
  • The emergency key-holder list for the business.
  • Keys for the fire department key box.

Certificate of Occupancy/Inspections
The Village of Gurnee Fire and Building Departments will issue a Certification of Occupancy prior to opening. Some of the items inspected will be exit lighting, emergency lighting, fire extinguisher placement, exit aisles, and proper operating fire suppression and fire alarm equipment, if any. (The Building Safety Division will schedule all final inspections.)

Your place of business will be inspected 1, 2, or 4 times a year depending on the type of business. Codes used by the Fire Department are:

  • 2003 International Building Code
  • 2003 International Fire Code
  • 2003 International Mechanical Code
  • N.F.P.A. Standards

Back flow preventers, fire suppression systems, and fire alarm systems require annual inspections. Kitchen fire suppression systems require semi-annual inspections.

The Fire Department will provide the following training on request:

  • Fire Extinguisher Training
  • Fire Safety Training

For additional information, please contact the Gurnee Fire Department at (847) 599-6600.


In an effort to improve communication with suppliers, reduce administrative costs, and streamline this process, the Village of Gurnee will use DemandStar by Onvia to post Invitations to Bid and Requests for Proposals to all interested businesses.

DemandStar is an independent, unbiased service that is offered to all interested suppliers. DemandStar is an automated notification service that will send new opportunities to registered companies once their online account has been activated. Currently DemandStar has over 485 agencies and 3,000 purchasing officials utilizing the tool to increase access and provide equal opportunity for all suppliers.

Call DemandStar today at 1-800-331-5537 to add your company to our vendor list for future Village of Gurnee vendor notifications, or visit their website to view current Requests for Proposals and Invitations to Bid at Copies of Requests for Proposals and Invitations to Bid may also be obtained by calling the Village of Gurnee at 847-599-7500.

Smoke Free Illinois Legislation

As a courtesy to our business community, the Village would like to remind you Smoke Free Illinois legislation became effective January 1, 2008. The Smoke Free Illinois Act prohibits smoking in all public places and places of employment. This includes bars, restaurants, private clubs, gaming facilities, healthcare facilities (including hospitals, psychiatric/behavioral health facilities), and government facilities. In addition, smoking is prohibited within 15 feet of entrances/exits, windows that open and ventilation intakes. Per the Act, ashtrays must be removed from non-smoking areas and “No Smoking” signage must be posted in areas where smoking is prohibited.

Fines related to violating provisions of the act range from $100 to $250 for individuals and $250 to $2,500 for business owners/operators. The regulations will be enforced by the Illinois Department of Public Health, local state-certified public health departments, and the Gurnee Police Department. Any of these agencies may assess fines.

If you have questions or concerns regarding the Smoke Free Illinois Act, please contact the Illinois Department of Health at 217-782-4977 or visit