If we ask you to name a universal thing in your wardrobe, then most likely it will be a white shirt that fits any look, and if we ask the same question about traveling, then most likely you will answer that it is a Swiss knife that can perform more than 20 functions. In the world of construction, there are no more versatile buildings than accessory dwelling units (ADUs).
This is an affordable housing option that will instantly increase the value of real property and allow you to earn additional income because ADU attracts the attention of all potential tenants. In addition to this, secondary units are a great place to organize your own business.
In this review, we will tell you how to identify the needs of your business and harmoniously fit them into the ADU space, why to get a building permit, and how to become the owner of an ADU that will fit all your business ideas.
Today, you can find countless articles, reviews, webinars, and lectures on the topic of successful business. Almost always, aspects such as market analysis, the formation of a profile of the target audience, or testing an idea occupy the first three places in such tops; however, the space in which you will implement the business and, in particular, its size plays a much greater role.
We recommend all property owners pay attention to the following points when picking the layout and dimensions of your ADU:
To get closer to the goal of choosing the ideal size of your ADU, ask yourself a few simple questions. Will I work alone, or will I hire workers? What is the approximate traffic of customers? Is the existing space mobile enough for comfortable movement? Furthermore, analyze the potential workload during the working day, as this will help you decide on the need for a special place to rest. You can also go a simple mathematical way and calculate how many square feet will be enough for all needs.
Technical equipment is necessary for any business, whether it is ovens for baking bread or an easel with brushes for creating paintings. Discuss with the designer of your additional living area the question of how to harmoniously fit technical equipment into the general atmosphere for free maneuvers. Moreover, the equipment should not spoil the overall design because a huge gray copy machine in the center of the room will not look the best.
For most people, during the ADU construction process, the question of lighting is not even in the top ten in importance, but in vain because properly selected lighting can facilitate the performance of some household and work tasks. In particular, this aspect is relevant for a business for which natural lighting plays a big role, e.g., if you open an atelier. Accordingly, at the ADU development stage, ask your general contractor to facilitate the penetration of natural light into the room at a good angle.
This item is relevant for any new construction, be it a guest house, attached garage conversion, or granny flat. However, we want to focus on one important point, namely, analyze how the reception of clients will take place, when a separate waiting room or, for example, a fitting room is missing. This will help you properly divide the space into working, reception, and recreation areas.
If your business has the potential not only for financial growth but also for physical growth, then take into account the fact that, over time, you may need additional square feet. Often homeowners use junior accessory dwelling units or any other tiny homes. However, they have too limited space for business purposes. To avoid large renovations in the future, make sure that you have a few extra square feet in case of business expansion.
Overall, we can state with confidence that your business will be doomed to rapid success if you will take the ADU size planning process with full responsibility. Moreover, a well-thought-out ADU size will be a great start and an excellent foundation for the future development of your home-based business.
Every business is characterized by a set of tools that a person should have to demonstrate good results. For example, if you are going to earn money by cooking unusual themed cakes, then you need an efficient kitchen organization with a powerful oven and modern accessories, or if you are going to be a real property consultant, then you cannot do without a powerful Internet. However, on the technical side, the best option is a Smart Home system in both ADU and primary home because it will help you effectively perform half of your work duties and easily search for useful insights, materials, and further information on your business.
Every year, designers come up with new ways to store household things in a primary residence. Surprisingly, all the techniques that specialists offer to implement in the context of existing homes are suitable for any ADU project.
Here we recommend property owners to follow points:
In sum, as soon as you analyze these aspects, you can proceed to the choice of storage methods, and here, the range is huge because, in such single-family homes as ADUs, you can embed everything from vertical storage locations to hidden rooms for secret documentation.
If you understand that your business is growing at an unforeseen pace and you can no longer cope with it alone, then it may make sense to expand the staff. This solution will lead to the need to rebuild your accessory dwelling unit, e.g., you can extend the property line, re-equip the sleeping area, especially if there are several of them, for an additional office, or change the location of partitions between rooms. Of course, all these changes in the structure of existing homes speak about additional resources and costs; however, if your business is growing, then they will pay off one hundred percent.
If you have watched the TV shows "Suits" or "Better Call Saul," then you know that the legal issue is one of the most difficult and tricky. Homeowners who are going to organize a business in an accessory dwelling unit are guaranteed to encounter it at the zoning and permitting process stage.
It is important to be aware of several points here:
On the whole, these were just the highlights because new construction also implies extra taxes and fees, in addition to community checks, and here lawyers will also help you not to make a mistake. Professionals will do everything for you, from searching for a HUD certification label through to obtaining a license. However, the most important thing is that they will do it in accordance with the residential code and without violations.
This part of our review will be especially interesting to those owners of multi and single-family properties whose business involves interaction with customers. Imagine a situation a client comes to you to discuss the details of the contract, but he cannot park his car either next to the ADU or next to the primary dwelling unit; the client will look for a place on the next street, which will most likely spoil his mood and put the success of the negotiations in doubt.
In this regard, if you have an understanding that your business will imply personal communication, then when planning new construction, consider additional parking space. The most important thing in this matter is to follow the letter of the law because, e.g., you can not equip a parking space next to the junior accessory dwelling unit, and there are additional requirements if we are not talking about the single-family homes, but multi-family property.
The need for security is relevant for any livable space, whether it is primary dwelling units or detached ADU in the backyard cottages or granny flats format. If we are talking about ADU for business, then the stakes are doubly raised because you should take responsibility for your staff and customers. Moreover, following safety measures is important in the law context, especially if these are places with an increased risk of natural disasters, e,g, in the coastal zone. We recommend taking care of the implementation of at least basic safety techniques such as installing gas and fire sprinklers, anti-slip coating, and ensuring a comfortable temperature regime and ventilation. Moreover, an additional category of final cost will be devoted to ensuring data security, and this item is the main priority in working with clients.
The famous football insider Fabrizio Romano uses the phone for 18 hours a day to be aware of all transfers. His example shows the importance of perfect communication, and even if your work has little to do with constant negotiations, it is impossible to underestimate this component during ADU construction. That is why it is crucial to know a few points here. First, depending on the size of the ADU, choose the Internet connection method so that the network reaches all corners, and wireless coverage is the preferred option here.
Secondly, equip your new ADU with modern communication systems; it can be a Smart Home system that can organize conferences on a single voice request, a large screen for demonstrations of project presentations, or a system of connected phones with international lines. Finally, securely protect all your communication tools so that no attacker would be tempted to steal your and your client's data.
The financial issue is the most important in any question, and of course, you do not need to be a genius to understand that this statement applies to real business. The budget of your business will have many items, e.g., the budget for direct material costs, the budget for management costs, the budget for production overheads, and so on. However, let's focus on the financial costs from the perspective of an ADU organization.
In this context, property owners are very lucky because ADU is a very flexible structure; it is enough to remember that you can finance its construction in more than ten ways. At the construction stage, we recommend considering which customization elements you can implement here and now with the help of a designer, which aspects you are going to develop in the near future, and what changes may be required when your business reaches a new level. If you think through these points in advance, then you will not have a need to borrow money.
Property owners who use ADU as a rental housing unit know how important advertising is because it is the most powerful tool for attracting tenants. If you use ADU for business and understand that you have found a target audience and are ready to expand your customer base, or you understand that your potential allows you to work with a large number of clients, but there are none, then advertising banners and signage will become your lifesaver. However, as in the case of obtaining a construction permit for a single-family dwelling unit, you will need a special permit from the Community Development Center or any other authorized body to place ads; on par with this, do not forget that you should follow the rule about the maximum permitted sizes of signage and banners.
Only one ADU on the same parcel with primary residence can bring many benefits to the property owner, in particular, the possibility to earn rental income on a regular basis, expand the living space for any needs, boost the cost of the subject property several times, bring the aesthetic component of an ADU to a new level and, of course, use this a territory for his own business.
The most important thing during the construction phase is to comply with zoning district regulations so that your ADU will be legally classified as an object suitable for doing business. In this case, any property owner will fail without the help of a lawyer who will help you competently draw up a building permit application and send it to the California Department, which is responsible for this matter, find the HUD certification label of your ADU, and correctly issue all owner occupancy documents.
It's no secret that accessory dwelling units are fully customized buildings, so unlike manufactured homes, their cost depends on an individual set of factors. However, the average numbers suggest that the most expensive option is detached two-story single-family dwellings, more budget options are ADUs which are attached to the primary dwelling unit, and the most affordable option is a garage conversion.