A Full Guide To Obtaining a Contractor’s License in Iowa

Published: Apr 19, 2019


If you would like to launch a contracting business in Iowa, you will need to undergo a licensing process that ensures you are capable of conducting your intended activities. The licensing requirement applies to different types of contracting specialists.

In order to obtain an Iowa contractor license, you have to meet a set of criteria determined by the state authorities. Among them, oftentimes you need to post an Iowa contractor license bond. It serves as a guarantee that you will adhere to applicable state laws.

In this guide, you can find an overview of the licensing classifications and their respective requirements for the various contractor types in Iowa.

The Iowa contractor license types and requirements

All contracting specialists need to undergo a registration procedure with the Iowa Division of Labor. Below you can find the details, with some specialists needing a license from the Plumbing & Mechanical Systems Board as well.

Construction contractors

Construction contractors in Iowa need to register with the state Division of Labor. You have to use the official application form, where you need to specify the exact specialty for which you want to register.

The types of activities covered include:

  • Land subdividing and land development
  • Residential building
  • Nonresidential building
  • Highway, street, bridge, and tunnel construction
  • Other heavy construction
  • Plumbing, heating and air conditioning contractors
  • Electrical contractors
  • Masonry, stonework, tile setting, and plastering
  • Carpentering and floor contractors
  • Roofing, siding, and sheet metal contractors
  • Concrete contractors
  • Water well drilling contractors
  • Other special trade contractors

The main requirements that you have to have/meet are:

  • Certificate of Insurance from a workers' compensation insurance company
  • Federal identification or social security number (SSN)
  • Personal information about the business owner
  • $50 registration fee for all types of contractors except self-employed
  • Out-of-state contractors have to post a $50,000 contractor license bond

All documentation and application forms should be mailed to:

Iowa Division of Labor

Contractor Registration

1000 East Grand Avenue

Des Moines, IA 50319-0209

Plumbing, HVAC/R, Hydronics, and Mechanical Professionals

If you want to operate as a plumber, HVAC/R specialist, hydronics or mechanical professional, you also have to obtain a license from the Plumbers & Mechanicals Systems Board (PMSB) at the Iowa Department of Public Health. You need to undergo the registration with the Division and the licensing with the Board at the same time.

The requirements of the Board include:

  • Submit a completed application form for joint registration and licensing
  • The owner has to be at least 18 years old
  • Documentation of any criminal convictions related to the practice of the profession
  • Bond and information for issuing a Division of Labor Contractor Registration Number.
  • Valid unemployment insurance number
  • Permanent place of business
  • Public liability insurance with a minimum coverage of $500,000
  • $5,000 surety bond
  • $25,000 surety bond for out-of-state contractors (provided to the Division of Labor)
  • Master of Record - proof that you have a master license in your specialty  
  • Cover $250 license fee per year and $150 registration fee per year, plus a paper fee of $25

Once you have ensured that you meet all requirements, you have to submit all documentation to the Board, together with proof of paid fees. You should mail them to:

Iowa Plumbing and Mechanical Systems Board

321 E. 12th St

Des Moines, IA 50319

Getting bonded as a contractor iowa contractor license

Certain types of contractors in Iowa need to obtain a contractor license bond. This is a type of a surety bond that guarantees your legal compliance as a licensed contractor. It functions as a safety mechanism that ensures you will follow the law, or if you breach it, it provides a compensation method for harmed parties.

Out-of-state contractors need to obtain a $25,000 bond. Plumbing, HVAC/R, Hydronics, and mechanical professionals have to post a $5,000 bond.

The bond amount is not the actual sum that you have to pay to get bonded. Instead, your surety bond cost is only a fraction of it, called the bond premium. It is set on the basis of your personal and business finances. The stronger they are, the lower the costs. If your overall financial profile is solid, you can expect rates between 1% and 5%.


Do you need further details about your Iowa contractor license and bonding process? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with our experts at 877.514.5146.

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