There Are Many ADU Companies. Which One Should I Choose?

The Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) industry in California is booming! After the 2017 California ADU laws went into effect, many new ADU businesses started operations, including two ADU companies that have venture capital funding. I created a spreadsheet to keep track of companies in the San Francisco Bay Area that do ADU work, and my list has grown to about 25 companies! This benefits the homeowner because the price of an ADU is decreasing as companies compete and find ways to reduce construction costs.

These ADU companies typically try to find a niche within the ADU market. Over the past 6 weeks, I did an ADU assessment for 15 homeowners, and I encountered many different situations. I found that about half could have a detached unit and the other half needed an attached unit (garage conversion, extension or JADU). Two homeowners expressed a desire to have both a detached unit and a JADU. Also, there were differences in the purposes for the ADU. Some people wanted an ADU for their elderly parents, while others wanted an ADU for rental purposes. ADU companies have developed different products and services to meet these varying needs.

For the detached ADU market, many companies now make pre-designed, factory built ADUs with a particular style (e.g. modern, farmhouse). However, a company’s offerings may not work for a homeowner because of the size, shape and style of their ADUs. The ADU may not fit in the homeowner’s property, or the homeowner may prefer a different style. Also, these companies usually cannot help homeowners who lack space on their property to build a detached unit.

When I do an assessment, I help homeowners to clearly define their ADU project by addressing the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of building the ADU (family, rental)?
  • What is the budget for the ADU project?
  • What type of ADU is feasible on the property based on the ADU laws?
  • What obstacles may hinder an ADU project (power lines, unpermitted construction)?

After these questions are answered and the ADU project is defined, then the homeowner can understand what type of ADU company to look for. Finding the appropriate company is essential to the success of the project. A homeowner can end up spending thousands of dollars more or getting a less desirable product if they don’t hire the right company. It can be time consuming for the homeowner to find the right company for their project. As an ADU coach, I can put homeowners in contact with ADU companies that are a good fit for their project.

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