June 13, 2024


1 Min

How Much Money Could I Save by Managing the ADU Build Myself

The amount of money you can save by building an ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit) yourself varies widely based on several factors, including the size and complexity of the ADU, the cost of materials in your area, the quality of finishes you choose, and whether you need to hire professionals for certain aspects of the project. Here’s a breakdown to help you understand the potential savings and costs involved:

Potential Savings

  1. Labor Costs: The most significant savings from DIY ADU construction come from eliminating or reducing labor costs. Professional construction labor can account for a substantial portion of total building costs, often ranging from 30% to 50% of the total project cost, depending on the complexity and location. By taking on the work yourself, you can potentially save tens of thousands of dollars.
  2. Contractor Overhead and Profit: Hiring a general contractor adds overhead and profit margins to the project cost, typically ranging from 10% to 20%. By managing the project yourself, you can save on these additional costs.

Considerations and Additional Costs

  1. Tools and Equipment: If you don't already own the necessary tools for construction, you'll need to purchase or rent them, which can add to your costs. For specialized equipment, rental costs can quickly accumulate, especially for prolonged projects.
  2. Materials: While the cost of materials will be the same whether you DIY or hire a contractor, professional builders often get discounts from suppliers that may not be available to individual homeowners. However, careful shopping and budgeting can help mitigate this.
  3. Permits and Fees: Permit costs will be the same whether you build the ADU yourself or hire a professional. However, ensuring that your DIY project complies with all local building codes and passes inspections is crucial to avoid costly revisions or fines.
  4. Professional Services: Even if you plan to build the ADU yourself, you may still need to hire professionals for certain tasks, such as electrical and plumbing work, to ensure safety and code compliance. The cost for these services can vary widely depending on the scope of work and local rates.
  5. Time Investment: The time you invest in building the ADU yourself is substantial. While not a direct financial cost, it's essential to consider the value of your time and any potential income lost if you take time off work or other activities to focus on the construction.
  6. Mistakes and Learning Curve: DIY projects often have a learning curve, and mistakes can be costly in terms of materials and time. Budgeting for errors and redo's is important when estimating your total costs.