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General Contractor Registration in Iowa

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The Iowa Division of Labor regulates the construction industry by requiring all General and Construction Contractors to hold a registration if they make $2,000 or more per year.  General Contractors who make over $2,000 a year must complete the registration process and hold the proper forms of insurance before they may begin work on a construction project.  The State of Iowa does not have an education, work experience or examination requirement to obtain registration.

General Contractor registration protects the interest and safety of the public in the State of Iowa.  The Iowa Division of Labor requires registration to ensure that all the contractor’s information is available to the public.  Registration also ensures that contractors hold worker’s compensation and unemployment insurance when needed, and that the contractor remains up to date with fees and taxes.

*There are some instances where a contractor is not required to register.  If the contractor makes less than $2,000 per year, or if the contractor is an owner-builder, they do not have to complete the registration process.  

Process to Obtain General Contractor Registration in Iowa

  1. Applicants must obtain and fill out the Contractor Registration Application from the Iowa Division of Labor
  2. Applicants must obtain the appropriate business license, along with the proper tax identification numbers and registration from the Iowa Secretary of State
  3. Applicants must obtain worker’s compensation insurance if they plan to hold employees
  4. If the applicant’s main office is located outside the State of Iowa, they must file a $25,000 surety bond.  If the primary office is in-state, there are no bonding requirements
  5. Applicants must submit the registration application along with the appropriate documents and $50 registration fee to the Iowa Division of Labor
    *In some cases, contractors may be exempt from paying the $50 registration fee.  

Preparing to Submit an Application

Before a contractor may submit their registration application, they must first decide their business type and structure.  Depending on the type of business the contractor plans to operate, it may be necessary to register with the Iowa Secretary of State.  For more information, please visit the Iowa Secretary of State office or go to:

www.sos.state.ia.us/business/index.html

For information about business licensing and development, please visit the following links:

www.iowa.gov/business

www.iowaeconomicdevelopment.com

OR

Call: (800)-245-IOWA

It is important that businesses obtain the appropriate tax numbers prior to filling out the application.  Corporations and Partnerships are required to obtain a Federal Identification Number.  Sole Proprietors may use their social security number.

If the contractor already has an Iowa Unemployment Tax Account Number, they must provide it on the application.  Otherwise, the submitted application will be sent to the Unemployment Tax Division and a new number will be issued.

For more information on obtaining a Federal Identification Number, please contact the Iowa Department of Revenue at:

(866)-503-3453

OR

Visit: www.iowa.gov/tax

If the contractor plans to have employees, they are responsible for obtaining worker’s compensation insurance.  The certificate of worker’s compensation must be submitted along with the completed application, with the “Contractor Registration Section, Division of Labor,” listed as the certificate holder on the policy.  For more information on obtaining worker’s compensation insurance, contact Iowa Workforce Development at:

(800)-562-4692

OR

Visit: www.iowaworkforce.org

If the contractor’s main office or place of business is located within the State of Iowa, they do not have any bonding requirements.  However, if the contractor’s main office is located outside the State of Iowa, the contractor must file a surety bond for $25,000.

For more information about Out-of-State Contractor Bonds, please visit:

http://www.iowaworkforce.org/labor/contractor_outofstate_bond.htm

Submitting an Application

There are 4 ways to get a copy of the Contractor Registration Application:

  1. Download and print a copy of the application online by visiting the following link:http://www.iowaworkforce.org/labor/60_0126Lab.pdf
  2. Call the Iowa Division of Labor and ask them mail out a copy of the application(515)-242-5871
  3. Email the Iowa Division of Labor and request an application be sent via emailcontractor.registration@iwd.iowa.gov
  4. Visit the  Workforce Development Division of Labor Office, located at:

1000 East Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50319

Be sure to read all the directions and fill out the application entirely before submitting it to the Iowa Division of Labor.  Complete all the required fields on the application to avoid delays in the registration process.  Make copies of all documents for record-keeping purposes.

There is a $50 registration fee which must be submitted along with the registration application.  The Division of Labor accepts payments in the form of check or money order, made payable to “Iowa Division of Labor.”

In some cases, contractors may be exempt from paying the $50 registration fee.  These instances include:

  • If the contractor is self-employed and does not pay out more than $2,000 in annual wages to hired workers
  • If the contractor does not plan to work for or with another contractor during the same phase of construction

If the contractor meets one of these criteria, and is exempt from paying the registration fee, they must fill out a Contractor Registration Fee Exemption Application Form. This form should be completed and submitted along with the registration application. To obtain a copy of this form, please visit:

http://www.iowaworkforce.org/labor/contractorfeeexemptionnotification.pdf

Once the contractor has gathered all the appropriate information, they may submit their completed registration application along with any documents and fees to the Iowa Division of Labor.  Applications may be mailed or delivered in-person to:

Iowa Division of Labor Services
1000 East Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50319-0209

The Division of Labor does not specify an exact time-frame for the application review process.  However, they do acknowledge that it may take “several weeks,” to process the application and issue a registration number.  Once the Division approves the application, they will mail out a registration number.  General Contractors are not allowed to begin work on construction projects or bid on jobs until their registration number has been issued.

During the registration period, it is the contractor’s responsibility to notify the Division of Labor of any changes to the business or business information, including:

  • Change to Business Name
  • Change to Business Address
  • Change of Phone Number
  • Change of Email Address
  • Change in Owner
*Failure to notify the Division of changes may result in fees and penalties.  

For additional questions about the General Contractor registration process in the State of Iowa, please call:

(515)-242-5871

OR

Visit the following websites:

http://www.iowaworkforce.org/labor/contractor_faqs.htm

http://www.iowaworkforce.org/labor/contractor.htm

How Long is an Iowa General Contractor Registration Valid?

General Contractor registration is valid for a period of one year in the State of Iowa and must be renewed annually.  The Iowa Division of Labor will mail contractors a renewal reminder approximately one month before the registration expires.  It is the responsibility of the contractor to make sure that they renew their registration before the expiration date, and also to allow time for processing.

Contractors may use the same application they filled out when they initially applied for their registration in order to renew.  For a copy of the application, click the link below.  Be sure to check the “renewal” box under “Application Type.”

http://www.iowaworkforce.org/labor/60_0126Lab.pdf

The cost to renew the registration is $50.  If the contractor continues to meet the fee exemption criteria at renewal time, they must fill out and re-submit the Contractor Registration Fee Exemption Application Form along with their renewal application.

As long as contractors renew on time, they keep the same registration number from year to year.  The only change in the number is the portion that indicates the year.

Table of Fees

Fee What is it For? When is it Due?
$50 Contractor Registration Fee Upon submitting the Contractor Registration Application
$50 Registration Renewal Fee Upon submitting the Contractor Registration Renewal Application