ADU Builders and Contractors in San Diego: How to Choose the Right One

Best ADU Contractors


Choosing the right ADU contractor can be a game-changer for San Diego homeowners looking to maximize property investment or provide additional living space for family or rental income. Given the growing demand for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), picking the right contractor ensures your project is on time, on budget, and meets local regulations. Here’s a quick look at the essentials:

  • ADU Importance: ADUs offer versatile solutions, from housing extended family members to creating rental income.
  • Growing Demand: Shifts like remote work and multigenerational living have heightened the need for these flexible living spaces.
  • Why the Right Contractor Matters: A qualified contractor streamlines the process, ensuring compliance with local regulations and high-quality construction.

Understanding the rise in popularity and the numerous benefits of ADUs is crucial before diving into the selection process.

Key benefits of hiring a qualified ADU contractor - adu contractor infographic pillar-5-steps

Understanding ADUs

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) have become a popular addition to many homes due to their versatility and the changing needs of families. Let’s break down the types, benefits, and uses of ADUs.

Types of ADUs

There are several types of ADUs, each catering to different needs and property layouts:

  1. Attached ADUs: These are built as an extension of the existing home. They share a wall with the main house but have a separate entrance for privacy.
  2. Detached ADUs: These stand alone and are separate from the main house, often resembling a small cottage or guest house.
  3. Garage Conversions: Existing garages are converted into livable spaces, making use of structures already on the property.
  4. Internal ADUs: These are created by repurposing space within the main house, such as basements or attics.

Benefits of ADUs

ADUs come with a host of benefits that make them a valuable addition to any property:

  • Increased Property Value: Adding an ADU can significantly boost your property’s market value.
  • Flexible Living Arrangements: ADUs are perfect for housing aging parents, adult children, or guests while maintaining privacy.
  • Rental Income: ADUs can be rented out for passive income, either on a long-term basis or as a vacation rental.
  • Remote Work Solutions: With remote work becoming more common, ADUs can serve as home offices, providing a quiet and dedicated workspace.

Uses of ADUs

The uses of ADUs are as varied as the families that build them:

  • Housing Family Members: Many families use ADUs to accommodate aging parents or adult children, providing them with a private and comfortable living space close to home.
  • Rental Opportunities: ADUs offer an excellent opportunity for homeowners to generate rental income. They can be rented out on platforms like Airbnb, especially if the property is located in a desirable area.
  • Home Office: With the rise of remote work, many homeowners are converting ADUs into dedicated home offices, offering a quiet space separate from the main living area.
  • Guest House: ADUs can serve as guest houses, providing visitors with a private space during their stay.

Understanding the various types, benefits, and uses of ADUs can help you decide which option is best for your needs and property. Now, let’s move on to finding the right ADU contractor to bring your vision to life.

Finding the Right ADU Contractor

Choosing the right ADU contractor is crucial for a smooth and successful project. Here are key factors to consider:


Experience in ADU construction is vital. An experienced contractor will be familiar with the specific challenges and requirements of building ADUs.

  • Case Study: Benchmark Building Group has years of experience in crafting high-quality accessory dwelling units. They handle every aspect of the building process with precision and care, ensuring a seamless experience from start to finish.


Always opt for a licensed contractor. Licensing ensures that the contractor meets certain standards and regulations, providing you with peace of mind.

  • Quote from a Reddit user: “Once or twice a year I hear from an acquaintance or co-worker about how all the contractors they contacted were too busy, so they went with someone unlicensed who was available in a month. Later on, I hear about what went wrong.”


Reviewing a contractor’s portfolio can give you a sense of their style, quality, and versatility. Look for projects similar to what you envision for your ADU.

  • Example: Anchored Tiny Homes, with over 30 years of experience, showcases a variety of completed ADU projects, demonstrating their commitment to quality craftsmanship and customization.

Customer Reviews

Customer reviews can provide insight into a contractor’s reliability and quality of work. Look for consistent positive feedback and any red flags.

  • Customer Review: “Antonio and his team were absolutely amazing. The pavers I wanted happened to be in stock when they normally take 8+ weeks to be ordered, and Antonio quickly arranged to reserve them for me so that they could be installed within a week of our first conversation.”


Effective communication is key to a successful project. Ensure the contractor is responsive, transparent, and willing to discuss your ideas and concerns.

  • Fact: OneStop ADU emphasizes exceptional customer service, offering personalized attention and open communication every step of the way.

Local Knowledge

A contractor familiar with local regulations and building codes can navigate the permitting process more efficiently, saving you time and potential headaches.

  • Tip: OneStop ADU offers pre-designed plans with sourced interior and exterior finish selections, streamlining the permitting process.

Choosing the right ADU contractor involves considering their customer reviews, communication skills, and local knowledge.

Next, let’s delve into the key considerations you should keep in mind when selecting an ADU contractor.

Key Considerations When Choosing an ADU Contractor

When selecting an ADU contractor, several factors can make or break your project. Let’s break down the key considerations:


Budget is often the first concern for homeowners. An ADU is a significant investment, so understanding the costs upfront is crucial.

  • Get Detailed Estimates: Ask for a comprehensive breakdown of costs, including materials, labor, and any potential extras. This helps you avoid unexpected expenses.
  • Compare Quotes: Don’t settle for the first contractor you talk to. Get multiple quotes to ensure you’re getting a fair price.
  • Financing Options: Explore financing options if needed. Some companies, like OneStop ADU, can connect you with local lenders experienced in ADU projects.

Example: John from Titusville, FL, found that getting detailed estimates and comparing quotes saved him over $10,000 on his ADU project.


Timeline is another critical factor. Delays can be costly and frustrating.

  • Set Clear Deadlines: Make sure the contractor provides a clear timeline for each phase of the project.
  • Check Past Performance: Look at the contractor’s history. Have they completed similar projects on time?
  • Regular Updates: Ensure the contractor commits to regular updates, so you’re always in the loop.


Effective communication can make your ADU project run smoothly.

  • Open Lines: Choose a contractor who is easy to reach and responsive.
  • Regular Meetings: Regular check-ins can help address issues before they become problems.
  • Clear Contracts: Ensure everything is documented clearly in the contract, including scope, costs, and timelines.

Local Regulations

Navigating local regulations is often one of the most challenging parts of building an ADU.

  • Knowledge of Codes: Ensure your contractor is well-versed in local building codes and zoning laws.
  • Permitting Process: A good contractor will handle the permitting process for you, saving you time and hassle.
  • Experience with Local Authorities: Contractors with local experience can expedite approvals and inspections.

Fact: In Orlando, contractors familiar with local regulations can significantly speed up the permitting process, which can otherwise take several weeks.

Choosing the right ADU contractor involves balancing budget, timeline, communication, and local regulations. Keep these considerations in mind to ensure your project is a success.

Next, we’ll discuss how to plan your ADU project effectively.

Planning Your ADU Project

Design Considerations

When planning your ADU, start with its purpose. Will it be a rental unit, a home office, or a space for family members? Your intended use will influence the layout, size, and features.

Example: A rental unit might benefit from a more open floor plan and modern finishes, while a space for aging parents might need features like wider doorways and grab bars.

Flexibility is key. Think long-term. Your needs might change, so choose a design that can adapt. For instance, a 2-bedroom ADU can serve as a rental today and a guest house tomorrow.

Privacy and separation are crucial. Use natural elements like hedges or man-made features like fences to create a sense of separation from the main house. Ensure there’s a dedicated walkway to maintain privacy.

Permitting Process

Permitting can be a complex and time-consuming part of building an ADU. Each city has its own regulations, and Orlando is no exception.

Fact: In Orlando, permitting can take several weeks if not handled properly. Contractors familiar with local regulations can expedite this process.

Steps to take:
1. Initial Consultation: Meet with a contractor to discuss feasibility and get an initial assessment.
2. Detailed Feasibility Study: This study will outline the maximum buildable size, required setbacks, and site constraints.
3. Permit Application: Your contractor should handle this, including architectural, structural, and Title 24 reports.
4. Approval and Inspections: Once permits are approved, regular inspections will ensure compliance.

Customization Options

Customizing your ADU can make it uniquely yours. Here are some options to consider:

  • Interior Finishes: Choose from various flooring, cabinetry, and countertop options to match your style.
  • Exterior Design: Ensure the ADU’s exterior complements your main home. Consistency can add value.
  • Sustainable Features: Consider energy-efficient appliances, solar panels, and sustainable materials to reduce your environmental footprint and save on utility bills.
  • Smart Home Technology: Integrate smart home features like thermostats, security systems, and lighting for added convenience.

Case Study: Anchored Tiny Homes, with over 30 years of experience, offers a smooth and customized ADU building experience. Their focus on quality craftsmanship ensures that your ADU not only meets your needs but also adds significant value to your property.

Planning your ADU project involves thoughtful design, navigating the permitting process, and exploring customization options. Next, we’ll look at common challenges and solutions in ADU construction.

Common Challenges and Solutions in ADU Construction

Zoning Issues

Zoning laws can be a major hurdle in ADU construction. Different areas have different rules about where and how you can build an ADU. Some places have strict requirements about setbacks, height limits, and parking.

Solution: Start by conducting a feasibility study. This will help you understand the zoning regulations specific to your area. A qualified ADU contractor can guide you through this process, ensuring you meet all local requirements. For instance, OneStop ADU offers a thorough feasibility analysis to pinpoint the best location for your ADU and navigate zoning laws effectively.

Space Limitations

Another common challenge is limited space. Not every property has ample room for an ADU, especially if the primary residence already occupies a significant portion of the lot.

Solution: Opt for an attached ADU. These units are built directly onto the existing home but remain separate and private. This is ideal for properties with limited yard space. In Orlando, attached ADUs are popular because they maximize available space while offering privacy and functionality.

Budget Constraints

Building an ADU is a significant investment. Costs can quickly add up, especially if unexpected issues arise during construction.

Solution: Plan meticulously and work with experienced contractors who can provide a detailed estimate upfront. Companies like Anchored Tiny Homes emphasize quality craftsmanship while keeping costs transparent. They also offer customizable options to fit various budgets. Don’t forget to consider long-term gains; ADUs can generate passive income through rentals, making them a financially sound investment.

By addressing these common challenges—zoning issues, space limitations, and budget constraints—you can ensure a smoother ADU construction process. Up next, we’ll tackle frequently asked questions about ADU contractors.

Frequently Asked Questions about ADU Contractors

What is an ADU?

An ADU, or Accessory Dwelling Unit, is a secondary housing unit on a single-family residential lot. These units can be detached, attached, or converted from an existing space like a garage or basement. ADUs are versatile and can serve multiple purposes, such as housing for aging family members, a home office, or a rental property to generate extra income.

How much does it cost to build an ADU?

The cost of building an ADU varies widely based on factors like size, design, materials, and location. According to OneStop ADU, pricing can be influenced by:

  • Construction costs: These can fluctuate due to labor shortages, supply chain issues, and inflation.
  • Permits and fees: City permit fees, school fees, and impact fees can add up, especially for units over 750 sq. ft.
  • Site work: This includes utility upgrades, water/sewer connections, and possibly soil reports.
  • Customization: Upgraded finishes, fire sprinklers, and other customizations will also affect the final price.

To get a more accurate estimate, it’s best to consult with a qualified ADU contractor who can provide a detailed breakdown based on your specific needs.

Can I build an ADU on my property?

Whether you can build an ADU on your property depends on several factors, including local zoning laws, property size, and existing structures. Most cities have specific regulations governing ADU construction. For instance, you’ll need to consider:

  • Zoning restrictions: Check your local zoning laws to see if your property qualifies for an ADU.
  • Permitting process: You’ll need to obtain the necessary permits, which can vary by location. Companies like OneStop ADU offer pre-designed plans that can expedite this process.
  • Space availability: Ensure you have enough space for the type of ADU you want to build, whether it’s detached, attached, or a conversion.

For a detailed feasibility study and to understand all the requirements, it’s advisable to work with an experienced ADU contractor who is familiar with local regulations and can guide you through the entire process.


Choosing the right ADU contractor can make or break your project. At OneStop ADU, we specialize in making your ADU dreams a reality from start to finish.

With over 50 years of combined experience in the San Diego real estate market, we offer a turnkey solution for homeowners. Our services include:

  • Pre-designed floor plans: We offer six pre-designed options, making it simple to choose a layout that suits your needs and budget.
  • Permitting process: Navigating permits can be daunting. We handle this for you, expediting the process to get your project started quickly.
  • Quality construction: Our in-house licensed building team has over 25 years of experience, ensuring top-notch craftsmanship.
  • Financing options: We have relationships with experienced lenders to help you find the best loan options.
  • Property management: Planning to rent out your ADU? We offer property management services to make this hassle-free.

Why Choose OneStop ADU?

Experience and Expertise: With decades of experience, we understand the complexities of ADU construction and can guide you through every step.

Comprehensive Services: From design to financing to construction, we offer a one-stop solution, making the process as easy as 1-2-3.

Quality and Reliability: We don’t offer cookie-cutter prefab units. Your ADU will be traditionally built, ensuring it meets the highest standards.

Customer Satisfaction: Our focus on quality and customer satisfaction means your project will be completed on time and within budget.

Whether you’re looking to add rental income, create a home office, or provide a private space for family members, OneStop ADU is your go-to partner.

For more information, get your free ADU property analysis + estimate today!

Feel free to reach out to us with any questions or to start planning your ADU project. We’re here to help make your vision a reality.


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