Division of Labor Services

Construction Workers

Iowa Workforce


Iowa’s Contractor Law – Registration and Bonding

The State of Iowa requires that “construction contractors” register with the Iowa Division of Labor, and renew that registration annually. The law is found in Chapter 91C of the Iowa Code.

Who must be registered?
The law requires that all individual contractors and businesses performing “construction” work within Iowa be registered with the Iowa Division of Labor if they earn at least $2,000 a year from that work. Individuals or businesses making less than $2,000 a year on “construction” work, or who work only on their own real estate or property, are not required to register.

How is construction defined?
All contractors performing “construction” work must be registered. Even if construction work is only incidental to your business, you still must be registered so long as you make at least $2,000 a year from the “construction” activities. For example, employee leasing agencies that send employees to work construction and retail operations that install or hire subcontractors to install the goods they sell need to register.  The definition of “construction” is very broad and includes carpentry, electrical, plumbing, roofing, house painting, landscape and lawn sprinkler installation, cable television installation, elevator and boiler installation, window and door installation, and many other types of work. You may view the list of different types of work that fall under the definition of “construction” in the “Definition of Construction," Iowa Administrative Code 871-23.82(2).

What do I need to do to get registered?
Print and complete the new application form.  Mail or deliver the completed form with all necessary attachments to 1000 East Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50319.

Could I be exempt from the $50 registration fee?
Yes.  While all contractors must register, it is possible to be exempt from paying the $50 registration fee. A self-employed contractor who does not pay more than $2,000 annually in wages to employ others (do not include yourself), and who does not work with or for other contractors in the same phase of construction, may be exempt under Iowa law. If you meet the criteria and do not have to pay the $50 fee, please complete the fee exemption form, have it notarized, and include it with your registration.

Is a bond needed to perform construction work in Iowa?
Yes.  If your principal place of business is located outside the State of Iowa, you must file a $25,000 surety bond to register and fill out a out-of-state contractor bond form. Having a branch office in Iowa does not make you an in-state contractor if your business is principally based outside of Iowa.

What if I have other questions?
See “Contractor Registration Questions and Answers."

To download & print the Contractor Registration Brochure:
PDF icon Contractor Registration Brochure (PDF 63 KB)

To download & print instructions and application for a Contractor Registration Number:

PDF icon  Contractor Registration Application (PDF 975 KB)

To download & print instructions and out-of-state contractor required bond forms:

PDF icon Out-of-State Contractor Bond Form (PDF 121 KB)

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