New Business Resource Guide

Black car pulling out of parking space at Naperville Crossings mall, with brick storefronts in background.

Are you planning to start a business in Naperville? Before you sign a lease agreement and move into a tenant space, there are several important considerations and requirements to take into account. These tips can help make your transition into a new space as smooth as possible.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the neighborhood where you intend to locate your business. Consider factors such as foot traffic, parking availability, and the presence of competitors.

  2. Attend one of the City's weekly, in-person pre-application meetings, where you'll be able to meet with staff who'll answer your questions and can help review your project plans. These include representatives from the Planning Division, Electric Utility Department, the Fire Department, and the Building Division. **We recommend that you meet with the Planning Division first, as they can advise on permitted uses of your planned location.

  3. Familiarize yourself with zoning regulations by meeting with the City's Planning Division at a pre-application meeting, held from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. each Tuesday, or by contacting the department via email at or via phone at 630-420-6694. This will help determine whether the space is zoned for its intended use, as zoning regulations determine what types of businesses may operate in a specific location.

    Staff can also advise on the minimum number of required parking spaces, building signage requirements, special requirements that apply to the downtown Naperville area, and required outdoor screening for HVAC equipment, for example.

  4. Obtain all necessary permits and licenses required to operate your business. This might include a liquor license, tobacco license, sign permit, and Fire Department permits. A business occupancy permit is required for new businesses moving into a tenant space that does not need any modifications to the space other than new finishes, as well as for changing a business name or ownership. A tenant build-out permit is required for businesses that intend to modify the interior or exterior of the building they will occupy, including changes to building systems such as mechanical, electrical or plumbing systems. You may also need permits from the DuPage County Health Department or Will County Health Department.

  5. Ensure that the space meets all building codes and passes required inspections. This includes compliance with fire safety regulations, accessibility requirements, and structural integrity standards.

    Fire inspections may be required for existing fire protection systems such as sprinklers and alarms, which must be serviced with current inspection paperwork and tags. In multi-tenant buildings, this is often done by the owner. Please note that changes to the interior layout may require adjustments to the sprinkler and fire alarm systems and that pre-existing deficiencies to any systems must be corrected before occupancy is granted.

  6. Arrange for utilities such as electricity and water, as well as internet service. You may also need waste disposal and security services.