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Building & Construction

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Construction contractors must register with the state:

  • To ensure compliance with unemployment insurance laws 
  • To ensure compliance with workers’ compensation laws 
  • To ensure payments owed to state agencies by out-of-state contractors are collected 
  • To make information about contractors available to the general public 

Iowa law requires all individual “Construction Contractors” and businesses performing “construction” work to be registered with the Department of Inspections, Appeals, and Licenses (DIAL) if they earn at least $2,000 a year from construction. 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.  

There is a $50 application fee. Credit card or ACH payments will not be accepted over the phone.

  • In-state contractors. All in-state contractors are required to obtain an Iowa unemployment insurance number in order to register, even with no employees.
  • Out-of-state contractors. All out-of-state contractors are required to obtain an Iowa unemployment insurance number in order to register, even with no employees. A contractor with a branch office in Iowa does not qualify as an in-state contractor if the contractor’s business is primarily based outside of Iowa.

If you have employees, you are also required to carry a Certificate of Workers' Compensation. You are also required to carry a $25,000 bond.


The definition of “construction” is very broad.  Carpenters, electricians, plumbers, roofers, painters and many others must register.  View a list of the types of work that are included under the definition of “construction”. 

If your business provides any type of plumbing, mechanical, HVAC, refrigeration, sheet metal or hydronic systems services, you are required to obtain a license with the Plumbing & Mechanical Systems Board. Complete a joint application for a 3-year registration and contractor license. You are not required to also complete an online or paper application application with Contractor Registration.

Construction Registration FAQ

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Laws & Rules

Contractor Registration was adopted into law in 1988 through Chapter 91C to ensure that employers are complying with workers' compensation and unemployment insurance tax laws.

Laws. Laws are contained in the Iowa Code. They are enacted by the Iowa legislature and provide statutory authority to the licensure boards.

Administrative rules. Boards adopt rules to interpret and implement the Iowa Code. Administrative rules have the force and effect of law.

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