How To Start A California Road Crew

So, You’ve decided you’d like to have some serious job security, and can’t think of a better route to take than highway construction. I can’t blame you, the plethora of orange cones that spring up in the early spring and continue to dot the earth for the next 10 or so months sure seem to suggest the need for road repair isn’t going anywhere fast. So let’s get out there and fill some potholes! But just how exactly does one start a road crew you ask? No worries, we’ll cover that one step at a time. Next thing you know you’ll be an expert at riding around on those pavers.


The very first thing we’ve got to check is your eligibility. In order to start a road crew in California you’ve got to have the proper permits and licenses which we will get into in just a moment. But to cover our bases, all licenses needed to start a road crew have a couple base requirements. You must match all of the following or you will be unable to even begin the process of receiving our licence from the state of California.

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a valid Social Security Number
  • Show proof of experience

Without these three things you will be unable to apply for any licenses and will need to focus on acquiring these qualifications before applying.


Road Crew Equipment

Believe it or not, I’d recommend even before getting your licence, sourcing your equipment. That’s not to say you should go purchase outright everything you think you’re going to need. Just that you should get an idea of the costs, and where to find the equipment you will need as a contractor running a road crew.

To start out it will likely be beneficial for you to rent the equipment, though it costs more in the long run, it’s less cash needed up front, allowing you to build up a presence and some cash flows before committing fully, this communicating with some of the state’s experts on equipment rentals and sales is a wonderful idea. They will work with you to help you understand what you will need to plan for, and many of the best have contractors of their own that will be able to help you along your journey.

Finding A Crew

Road Crew Members

Hopefully you’ve been working in the industry for a while already, if not, it may be a while yet before you can start your own crew. Regardless, when you’ve communicated with the rental agencies and found the best places to source your equipment, then it’s time to put together a crew. This step is imperative! Just as a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, so to is the quality of your crew determined by the people you trust to get down and dirty doing the work. Bad hires can be a mess to get out of, and can be very expensive. Use your contacts and network to find the best possible candidates. You cannot do it alone, you need the best team you can get.

Getting Your Licence

Road Crew Exam

Looks like you’re finally ready to get working on getting your license. There are several licences that you need to make you a full service road crew . First off, and certainly most popularly comes the General Contractors licence, or class A Licence. If you plan on running the crew, and potentially reaching out into other kinds of construction this is certainly the licence for you. However there are other specialty licences that will be needed to clear you for all forms of road and parking lot repair including Licence C-12: Earthwork and Paving, C-32: Parking and Highway Improvement, and C-31: Construction Zone Traffic Control. You don’t need to snag all the licences yourself. It’s actually quite a good idea to have some other members of your crew pick up some of the specialty license to spread out that authority among the crew. 

The application process remains mostly standard, requiring you to supply the aforementioned forms and requirements, but it also requires you to both take an examination, and pay all associated fees. Luckily, California holds regular meetings to help guide you through the process of applying and makes the complexities of local and state law a lot simpler. Leaving you a lot less muddled. Here’s a list of workshops held in various places around California.

Wrapping Up

All in all, this isn’t an exhaustive guide to walk you through each step of the process of becoming a road crew head, but it is intended to give you a general idea of the processes you should expect to encounter, and an order that makes it easier on you and your budget. There are a lot of resources out there to help you on your journey. With a little hard work, you can be an entrepreneur in no time!

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