So you want to pedicab the windy city? Here’s a quick guide to get you started. It should take 2-7 days to get everything in order and get riding.
Easy Rider Pedicabs wants you to enjoy all the benefits that pedicabbing has to offer. We currently have openings for new pedicabbers, with cabs available to lease by the month or by the night.
Get your documents in order
To pedicab in Chicago, you’ll need 5 documents.
Driver’s License (Varies by State)
A driver’s license is required to get your chauffeur’s permit. Your license must be: current, valid, and active for at least one full year. The City of Chicago will allow you to get your permit with an out of state license, but you’ll be limited to a three-month temporary permit as opposed to the standard 2-year permit. Check with your local DMV or DPS to make sure you have a current license that is in good standing. If you need to take defensive driving to get your license into an eligible status, we recommend Improv defensive driving. They have classes and certificates for every US state.
Proof of Residency (Free)
Whether you’re getting a Chicago license as a resident or a traveller, you’ll need some proof of residency in Chicago. You can use bank statements, bills, voter registration, etc. You will need two forms of this in order to get your 2-year permit. If you’re coming from out of state and intend to go home when you’re done, make arrangements beforehand with wherever you are staying in advance to have a piece of official mail sent to you there. You may also be asked to write and sign and have notarized an affidavit stating how long you will be in Chicago to get a temporary permit.
PROTIP – A signed lease agreement is the most effective proof of residency you can ask for. If you’re staying with someone who’s willing to put it on paper, that’s probably your best option.
Criminal History (~$60)
You will need to obtain a national-level, fingerprint-based FBI background check from A Fingerprinting US Photo at 210 S Clark St between 8:00AM and 5:00PM. This office is in the lobby of the Clark Allen building as is the only business inside which does not require you to register as a visitor to the building. They do not make appointments, just show up during business hours. When you request your records, make sure they know that you are trying to get a pedicab license so that they send the records directly to the Office of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP). This can take anywhere from 24 hours to 5 days, depending on demand, so be ready to wait. Also, don’t forget to keep your receipt!
PROTIP – Save a couple bucks: pay this one in cash.
If you are concerned your criminal background might disqualify you working in Chicago, here is what they are looking for specifically: no major crimes in the last 5 years.
A major crime would be a
- Crime of Moral Turpitude (rape, forgery, robbery, prostitution, etc.)
- Sale or possession of a controlled substance
- Sex Crimes
- DWI or DUI
Letter of Debt Clearance (Free)
The City of Chicago wants to make sure you don’t owe them any significant amount of money before they sign off on your chauffeur’s permit. You can get a copy of this letter from the Department of Finance at City Hall, 121 N. La Salle Street, 7th floor between 8:30AM and 5:00pm. If you’re coming from out of town, this likely won’t even be an issue, but if you’re a Chicago resident, make sure you’ve squared away your accounts with the city, be they tickets, taxes, etc.
PROTIP – If you have a truly outstanding debt, you can also get on a payment plan with the city.
Once you’ve got your ducks in a row, it’s time to take the next step.
Secure your testing date
Email the BACP
Send an email to the BACP at BACPPV@cityofchicago.org with your full name and a request to take the Pedicab License Exam on a specific date (it has to be a Tuesday or a Thursday or they won’t take you). You should receive a confirmation email within 24 hrs.
PROTIP – Use complete sentences. They will appreciate it.
Show Up on Time
Check in at the BACP is 9:30 AM for the pedicab permit exam. The office for public vehicles is at 2350 W. Ogden Avenue, 1st Floor. You will check it at a computer kiosk up the stairs and to the right as a “New Pedicab Chauffeur License Applicant,” or at the window right next to that if someone is available. If you are not there by 9:30 to check in, you will be rescheduled for a different testing date, so don’t be late.
Take the test
Pass the Exam
The test will start at 10:00 AM and you will have 20 minutes to answer 20 questions. You need to pass with a score of at least 80% (16/20 correct answers). You can check ourt the BACP’s pedicab info page for everything you need to know about what you need to know to pass this test with flying colors.
Turn in Everything (~$6)
Once your test is complete, you’ll hand over your test answers, your 5 important documents, an application, and your application fee to the public notary and cashier’s desk. The BACP will review all of the above, create your file, take your picture and print a license for you to use as a pedicabber. This last step actually might take an entire day if the BACP has a backlog, so be ready to hurry up and wait.
Make All the Money
You did it! You are a licensed chauffeur for the City of Chicago and are free to rent a pedicab at your leisure. Email David Tashnick or give him a call at 512-964-8695 to get rates and other information about Easy Rider’s equipment rentals in Chicago.
Sign Up for Square
When was the last time you actually had a bunch of cash in your pocket when you went to hang around downtown? Don’t miss out on potential revenues by keeping it old school. Get a smartphone and sign up to use the Square app to take and process credit cards! If you follow our link, your first $1,000 worth of transactions are fee free.