Burt Schlosberg is 88, has arthritis and admits he’s not very handy around the house.

“I need an instruction booklet to change a light bulb,” Schlosberg says. “I can use a screwdriver on simple stuff and a hammer, usually not breaking anything, but anything more complex is beyond my limited scope.”

Recently, and shortly before getting a hip replacement, Schlosberg went through all the steps to become registered as a home improvement contractor in New Jersey. It took several months, delayed in part by the pandemic and in part because of a small mistake on his certificate of insurance.

He was approved without question. He is now allowed to hire himself out to fix floors or renovate kitchens, even though he is quick to say he’s no Bob the Builder.

Burt Schlosberg was approved for a Home Improvement Contractor (HIC) registration, but he says he needs instructions to change a light bulb.

Schlosberg would have had a tougher time if he wanted to cut hair.

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…

Read more…