To get your general contractor’s license in Iowa, you should know that a general contractors license doesn’t necessarily exist as such in the state of Iowa. However, you will need a license if you will be performing construction contractor work. Additionally, if you will be performing trade work such as mechanical, HVAC, electrical, or plumbing, the state of Iowa requires you to acquire a separate license.
It is vital to know what steps you need to take to become a general contractor in Iowa. Below is your guide in how to become a general contractor in Iowa including: information on the exams you will need to take, what fees will need to be paid, and additional resources to get you started. Read on to understand the application process, where you need to apply, and if you need to register to be a general contractor in Iowa.
Iowa General Contractor License Requirements
For the state of Iowa, the term “general contractor” is not a blanket statement. To get a contractors license in the state of Iowa, you will need to obtain a Construction Contractors license. The term construction, however, includes a wide array of trades, including: roofing, painting, landscaping, electrical, plumbing, and more. For an extensive look at how Iowa defines construction work, visit the state of Iowa Legislature website.
Additionally, you will need to obtain a contractors license for plumbing and mechanical work. The state of Iowa requires you to be registered and licensed with the board if you are doing mechanical, HVAC, refrigeration, plumbing, or sheet metal or hydronic system services. For more information about performing the services on a contractual basis, visit the Iowa Department of Public Health website. You must provide proof that you or an employee holds a master license in the appropriate discipline to perform contractor work in Iowa.
Who Needs a Contractors License?
Anyone looking to perform the work above will need to register at the state level with the Iowa Division of Labor. You will also have to apply and obtain a license if you earn more than $2,000 per year performing contractor work. You do not need to register if you receive less than $2,000 annually, or if you are only working on your own real estate/property.
What Do You Need To Become a General Contractor in Iowa?
After meeting the requirements and successfully registering, you will need to start the application process. Applications for both construction contractor license and a contractor license can be mailed in, or can be found at the Iowa Division of Labor website. Here, you can find information about fees, documents, insurance, surety bonds, and other requirements You must go through the following steps to register and obtain your contractor’s license in the state of Iowa:
- Be 18 years of age.
- Have a social security number and/or federal ID.
- Currently have an Unemployment Insurance number.
- Obtain workers’ compensation insurance. As of 2020, the minimum workers’ comp.coverage in Iowa was $318 per week.
- Provide criminal conviction records associated with the professional practice, as well as an explanation.
- Obtain public liability insurance — furnishing a certificate of insurance proving a minimum coverage of $500,000.
- Register for construction contractors, contractors, or both licenses.
- Complete and submit the application(s) along with necessary fees.
- Schedule and pass your exam.
- Acquire a surety bond through an authorized surety company, and present information to be issued a Division of Labor Contractor Registration Number. The cost of surety bonds can vary, but the minimum requirement for prospective general contractors in Iowa is $5,000.
Licensing and Registration Fee Summary
Fees will be attached to your registration, license application, and each exam taken for individual trades. Contractor registration and licensing fees will be prorated according to the length of the validity of the license. If you are renewing for more than one license, a discount of 30% may be applicable to your application fees.
- Registration Fee: $50 unless you are exempt. Find your fee exemption form at the Iowa Division of Labor website.
- Construction Contractor License Fee: $50
- Contractor Registration and License: Contingent on pro-rate. Find more information about prorated fees at the Iowa Department of Public Health website.
- Examination Fee: $35 per individual trade exam
- Paper Application Fee: $25 (If you mail in your application)
Fees can be paid online at the Iowa Division of Labor website, or you can mail a check or money order to:
Iowa Division of Labor
1000 East Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50319-0209
Iowa Contractors Exam
The Iowa Plumbing and Mechanical Systems Board will accept your application to take the exams for the following:
- Master & Journeyperson Plumbing
- Master & Journeyperson Hydronics
- Master & Journeyperson HVAC/Refrigeration
- Master & Journeyperson Mechanical
- Journeyperson Sheet Metal
After a submission to the board, the faculty will determine if you are eligible and send you an exam approval letter. This letter will instruct you on how to schedule your exam. Exams can be scheduled on the Kirkwood Community College website. Here, you can find information about fees, registration and scheduling information, testing centers, and a list of allowed materials.
Exams will be taken at Kirkwood community college, and fees will be paid directly to them. Upon passing your exam, you will need to apply for your Post-Examination Licensure with the board — you are not automatically issued a license after you have passed the examination. More details about this process can be found at the Iowa Department of Public Health website.
Contractors Exam Fees
Examinations cost $35 per individual trade. Payment can be made directly to Kirkwood Community College via their website by Visa, MasterCard, or Discover.
Iowa Contractors License Application
If you meet the requirements described above, you can register and apply for your constructors contract license and your contractors license. First, you will need to determine which kind of contractor license you will need. After filling out the application, you may also need additional documents to send in along with your application submission.
Iowa General Contractors License Application
There are separate applications for a construction contractors license and a contractors license. Your submission can be physically filled out and mailed, or filled out and submitted online.
For your construction contractors license: registration and license application can be submitted through the Iowa Workforce Development website. Or, you can send a physical form to:
Iowa Division of Labor
1000 East Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50319-0209
For your contractors license: Visit the Iowa Department of Public Health for registration and license application information about plumbing, mechanical systems, HVAC, hydronic, and other trades that fall under this license. Or, you can submit a physical application to:
Plumbing and Mechanical Systems Board office
321 E 12th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0075
Additional paperwork that you may need to include:
- Unemployment Insurance Number
- NAICS Code
- Proof of Workers Compensation
- An Out-of-State Bond Form
- A Fee Exemption Form
Iowa Contractor Registration and Permitting Requirements
Electricians and plumbers must be registered as a contractor with the state, but are licensed by their local jurisdictions (e.g., city and/or county). For more details about registering as an electrician or plumber, visit the Iowa Division of Labor website.
Iowa State Business Licenses and Registration
Not every business in Iowa requires a license. Furthermore, Iowa doesn’t even issue a general business license. Depending on the nature of your business, you may or may not be required to register and obtain a permit or license to operate. To determine if your business needs licenses or permits, check the Iowa Source Link website.
Iowa Business Registration
For information about how to obtain business and occupational licenses and permits., visit the Iowa Source Link website. This site will provide links and contact information directing you to agencies that administer and issue business permits, licenses, and registration requirements.
Iowa Tax Identification Numbers and Registration
Businesses that operate within Iowa are required to register for one or more tax-specific identification numbers, licenses or permits, including income tax withholding, sales and use tax (seller’s permit), and unemployment insurance tax. Contact the Iowa Department of Revenue for more information about business registration and your tax obligations.
Iowa Workers’ Compensation Insurance Requirements and Forms
Businesses with employees are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage through a commercial carrier, on a self-insured basis, or through the state workers’ compensation insurance program at the Iowa Workforce Development website.
Iowa Contractor License Lookup and Verification
To look up and hire a registered contractor, visit the Iowa Workforce Development website.
See General Contractor Licensing Information in Nearby States
- Minnesota contractors license
- Wisconsin contractors license
- Illinois contractors license
- Missouri contractors license
- Nebraska contractors license
For More License and Career Guides
To find out how to become a General Contractor in another state, start here.
For information on other trades in Iowa, click on a link below to learn more about the licensing requirements: