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Contractor License Requirements

Iowa law requires contractors to be licensed with the board and also registered with Iowa Workforce Development - Division of Labor.  "Contractor" means a person or entity that provides plumbing, mechanical, HVAC, refrigeration, sheet metal or hydronic systems services on a contractual basis and who is paid a predetermined amount under that contract for rendering those services.

To view approved Contractor Licenses in the state of Iowa, please see the list below or on our main homepage.

Contractor Requirements

To apply for a contractor license, please see the application at the bottom of this page or contact the Board office at 1-866-280-1521 to have an application mailed to you.  The application can be submitted online.  An additional $25 paper application fee will be charged for any paper applications.

The general requirements for a contractor license are as follows:

  • Must be at least 18 years old.
  • Must provide documentation of criminal convictions related to the practice of the profession, which shall include a full explanation from the applicant.
  • Must file an application and submit appropriate fees.
  • Must provide required bond and information to be issued a Division of Labor Contractor Registration Number.
  • Must proivde a valid unemployment insurance number, even if you have no employees.
  • Must provide the board with evidence that the applicant maintains a permanent place of business.

In addition, an applicant must meet public liability insurance, surety bond and Master of Record requirements as listed below.

Public Liability Insurance Requirement

An applicant must provide the board with evidence of a public liability insurance policy issued by an entity licensed to do business in Iowa with a minimum coverage amount of $500,000. The certificate provided to the board must identify that the public liability insurance policy shall not be canceled without the entity first giving 10 days written notice to the board.

  • Sole Proprietor - If the applicant operates the contractor business as a sole proprietorship, the applicant must provide the board with evidence that the applicant personally obtained the policy (e.g. Mary Smith DBA Mary Smith Plumbing).
  • Firm/Legal Entity - If the applicant operates the contractor business as an employee or owner of a legal entity, the applicant must provide the board with evidence that the insurance policy is obtained by the entity and that the insurance covers all plumbing or mechanical work performed by the entity.
  • The certificate holder needs to be listed as the Iowa Plumbing and Mechanical Systems Board, 321 E. 12th St, Des Moines, Iowa 50319.

Surety Bond Requirement

An applicant must provide the board with evidence of a surety bond issued by an entity licensed to do business in this state in a minimum amount of $5,000. The surety bond provided to the board must identify that the surety bond shall not be canceled without the entity first giving 10 days written notice to the board.

"Surety bond" means a performance bond written by an entity licensed to do business in this state which guarantees that a contractor will fully perform the contract and which guarantees against breach of that contract.

  • The obligee for the bond must be listed as the customers of the principal. It cannot be the state of Iowa or the board. There have been bonds approved that used language such as, “licensee’s Iowa customers” or “Person(s) injured by Principal’s breach of construction contract.” If your bonding agent has questions, please contact our office.
  • Sole Proprietor - If the applicant operates the contractor business as a sole proprietorship, the applicant must provide the board with evidence that the applicant personally obtained the surety bond.
  • Firm/ Legal Entity - If the applicant operates the contractor business as an employee or owner of a legal entity, the applicant must provide the board with evidence that the surety bond was obtained by the entity and that the surety bond covers all plumbing or mechanical work performed by the entity.

Master of Record Requirement

 “Master of record” means an individual possessing an active master license under Iowa Code chapter 105 who shall be responsible for the proper designing, installing, and repairing of plumbing, mechanical, HVAC-refrigeration, sheet metal, or hydronic systems and who is actively in charge of the plumbing, mechanical, HVAC-refrigeration, sheet metal, or hydronic work of a contractor.

An applicant must provide the board with evidence that the applicant holds an active master license or employs at least one person who holds an active master license issued under Iowa Code chapter 105 for each discipline in which the applicant performs chapter 105-covered work.  Without prior board approval, a contractor shall not knowingly utilize a master licensee to meet this requirement if the master licensee is simultaneously associated with another contractor in that discipline.

A master may only be a master of record for one contractor in any particular discipline at any one time, except that a contractor or a master may seek prior board approval to serve as the master of record for more than one contractor in a particular discipline. An individual who possesses master licenses in multiple disciplines may be a master of record for multiple contractors so long as the individual is only a master of record for one contractor in any particular discipline at one time.

Changes to Master of Record

In the event a licensed master of record’s employment with the contractor is terminated, or the master of record otherwise discontinues the master of record’s relationship with the contractor, or the master of record’s master license is lapsed, suspended, revoked, expired, or otherwise invalidated, the contractor may continue to provide plumbing, mechanical, HVAC-refrigeration, or hydronic systems services for a period of up to six months without identifying a new master of record.

To utilize the six-month grace period set forth above, a contractor must notify the board of the contractor’s loss of the master of record within 30 days from the date the master of record is no longer associated with the contractor.

Contractor Registration

Pursuant to Iowa Code chapter 91C a contractor must also maintain registration as a contractor with the Iowa Division of Labor.  These requirements are separate from the requirements for contractor licensure with the Plumbing & Mechanical Systems Board (PMSB).  The online application form and paper application form allow contractors to submit a single application for both a license (issued by PMSB) and a contractor registration (issued by the Iowa Division of Labor).  For specific questions about contractor registration, contact Iowa Workforce Development - Division of Labor

Applicants will be required to include the fee for contractor registration in addition to the license fee, proof of workers compensation insurance coverage, proof of unemployment insurance compliance, and, for out-of-state contractors, a bond as described in Iowa Code chapter 91C. 

Unemployment Insurance Number

Contractors must obtain an unemployment insurance number before applying for contractor registration even if you have no employees. To obtain a UI# visit www.myiowaui.org or contact customer service at 888-848-7442 or IWDuitax@iwd.iowa.gov.

Workers' Compensation Insurance Information

A contractor with one or more employees must submit proof of workers' compensation insurance. In most cases employers must submit a certificate of insurance showing an effective date and listing the Divsion of Labor as a certificate holder.  A self-insured contractor shall submit a Certificate of Relief from the Iowa Insurance Division.

Division of Labor Out-of-State Contractor Bond

Out-of-state contractors must file a $25,000.00 surety bond at the time of registration and renewal. The bond must be issued by a surety company licensed to do business in Iowa on the out-of-state bond form provided at the end of this application.  However, an out-of-state contractor that is pre-qualified to bid on projects for the Iowa Department of Transportation may submit a letter.  For questions about the out of state contractor bond, contact the Division of Labor at contractor.registration@iwd.iowa.gov or 515-242-5871.

Fee Exemption

Self-employed contractors who meet the specific criteria may send a completed fee exemption form instead of payment for the contractor registration portion of the fee. To qualify for registering without payment, a self-employed contractor must not work with or for other contractors in the same phases of construction and must not pay more than $2,000.00 per year to employ others.  NOTE: This exemption applies only to the registration portion of the fee and does NOT apply to the licensing fee.  A Notarized Fee Exemption Form must be completed and attached to the application.  Contact the Divison of Labor for questions about the fee exemption.

Supervision

A contractor shall not knowingly allow an apprentice employed by the contractor to perform work covered under Iowa Code chapter 105 without supervision of the apprentice by a master or journeyperson who is also employed by the contractor and who is licensed in the discipline in which the apprentice is performing such work.

Closing Contractor Business/Relinquish License

If your business is closing or has closed and you no longer need a contractor license to provide business services described in Iowa Code chapter 105, you may voluntarily relinquish your license.  If you relinquish your contractor license, you may not provide any services for which a contractor license is required.  If you determine at a later date that you need a contractor license, you will be required to submit a new application and all required information.  The form “Intent to Relinquish Contractor License” must be filled out, signed, and submitted to our office.  NOTE: This will not affect any other individual licenses you hold with our office.  For example, if you are a licensed master plumber, relinquishing your contractor license does not impact your individual master plumbing license. 

Fees

Contractor applications must include both the fee for a contractor license and the fee for contractor registration.  The portion of the registration fee received with the license application is transmitted electronically to the Divison of Labor.  All fees are pro-rated based on the length of time the license is valid for (licenses expire on June 30, 2020, and every three years thereafter).  In addition, a paper application fee of $25 applies when submitting a paper application.

Date Submitted

7/1/2017 to 12/31/2017

1/1/2018- 6/30/2018

7/0/2018 to 12/31/2018

1/1/2019- 6/30/2019

7/1/2019 to 12/31/2019

1/1/2020 - 6/30/2020

License fee*

$250

$208.50

$166.75

$125

$83.25

$41.75

Registration fee

$150

$125

$100

$75

$50

$25

Plus paper app fee

$25

$25

$25

$25

$25

$25

Total

$425

$358.50

$291.75

$225

$158.25

$91.75

 

 *If you are renewing more than one active master, contractor, or journeyperson license in one or more disciplines for the same person, a fee discount of 30% may be deducted from the license application fees. To receive the 30% discount all licenses must be for the same individual and purchased on the same day.  The 30% discount does not apply to the paper application fee or registration portion of the fee.  If applying online, the discount will calculate automatically (remember both applications must be submitted on the same day and be for the same person).

If your contractor license expired prior to June 30, 2017, you will be required to submit the pro-rated renewal fee that was due at the time the license expired, plus any applicable late fees, plus the fees for the June 30, 2017, license & registration renewal.

See the Fees Link for more details and a list of the late fees.

Links

Forms