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Fireside chat with Freddie Zamani, CEO of EcoSmart Builders

Who is Freddie Zamani?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had an interest in identifying home renovation and improvement solutions that can help generate savings or income for homeowners. That said, I was instantly drawn to the real estate industry at an early age and began my journey in 2005. Shortly after, I began my career in construction in 2010, solely focused on building teams that could transform homes into energy-efficient residences. In 2018, I decided to take my construction experiences and shift my company, EcoSmart Builders, primary focus to accessory dwelling units (ADUs) – more often than not, referred to as ‘tiny homes.” Today, we complete every step of the ADU project, from designing the build, estimating costs, securing permits, completing and overseeing the day-to-day construction – to ensure we’re building fully functional homes.

What’s the story behind EcoSmart Builders?

We started EcoSmart Builders in 2018, after having over 10 years of experience in the construction industry. My partner and I saw the opportunity on the horizon due to some favorable laws that had passed in the City of Los Angeles. With ADU legislation pending for 2019 and 2020, along with the increase in home values combined with the housing shortage, we knew ADU’s would soon become the future and key component of California real estate.

Utilizing our network and resources, we assembled a team that gave us the ability to take on every aspect of the ADU build. From design to final inspection, we deliver turnkey custom ADU’s with a 100% success rate of completion. 

What was the most difficult part of your experience in the early beginnings?

When we started, ADU’s were relatively unknown, and most building departments were not well versed in the requirements. Most local jurisdictions gave us major pushback and were barriers to ADU development at a larger scale. We worked through all the hurdles and in some cases became the first company to attain an ADU permit in many cities across Los Angeles County.

What are you most proud of regarding your business?

There is an accumulation of experiences that make me proud. One that comes to mind would be our ability to create a transparent and systematic process that has helped us become the premier ADU company in Los Angeles County. Our business has been built with referrals from our clients. Sure, there’s always speculation about the demise of word-of-mouth as an effective marketing channel – but it’s worked for us.

Our efforts and commitment to every single project have been the key to our growth. When presented with a challenge we’ve always gone through great lengths and fought hard for our client’s right to maximize their property and exercise their right to build. From letters to the attorney general (we got one back that led to a certain city to issue their first-ever ADU PERMIT) to attending city council meetings on behalf of our clients. We’ve never thrown in the towel once faced with a challenge.

What is your vision for the future of EcoSmart Builders?

ADU’s have changed the landscape of California housing and has created opportunities for all California homeowners to create an income stream or house family members. The growing population and demand for efficient, low cost modern ADU’s in suburban neighborhoods is only increasing. I’m sure it will keep us busy for years to come, this housing revolution has just begun. 

What’s your advice for the businesses that are trying to adapt to this economic climate?

Build relationships with every single client, any business built on trust and accountability will have a higher chance of success. I believe that the strength of any company can be directly correlated with the individuals you have on your team, I have been very lucky in this department.

Please name a few technologies which have the greatest impact on your business.

Our business has a lot of moving parts. Keeping everything organized and streamlining our operations with CRM tools and utilizing social media for marketing has definitely helped us maintain happy customers and provided a steady stream of new business.

More importantly, the new pre-permitted ADU program led by Mayor Garcetti, and the 2020 ADU laws approved by our state government really helped propel our business and spread ADU awareness all across California.

What books do you have on your nightstand?

I have two. They are as follows:

Because of the current economic climate our publication has started a series of discussions with professional individuals meant to engage our readers with relevant companies and their representatives in order to discuss their involvement, what challenges they have had in the past and what they are looking forward to in the future. This sequence aims to present a series of experiences, recent developments, changes and downsides in terms of their business areas, as well as their goals, values, career history, the high-impact success outcomes and achievements.

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