contractor with saw

Is your contractor qualified? In N.J., they don’t have to prove they can hammer a nail.

To get a license to give a $15 haircut in New Jersey, stylists must complete 1,200 hours of instruction at a state-approved school and take a state exam. To get a manicurist license, you need 300 hours of instruction followed by an exam. Licensed skin care specialists go through 600 hours of training and also must pass an exam.

But renovate a bathroom? Install a deck? Build an addition? Contractors need little more than a toolbox.

No tests. Not a single class. In fact, contractors don’t need any formal education or experience at all. They don’t have to prove they know how to hammer a nail.

The consequences can be devastating for homeowners.

From shoddy work to safety issues to downright fraud — contractors who take money and never do the job — New Jersey’s system does little to protect consumers. While other states offer licenses with robust requirements, including training, skills testing, fingerprinting and proof of financial well-being, New Jersey’s system requires little more than payment of a $110 fee and proof of liability insurance.

In the absence of greater protections, homeowners often have to fend for themselves.

See why New Jersey should consider instituting a real license for contractors.