The Doa10 quality control ubiquitin (Ub) ligase labels proteins with uniform lysine 48-linked poly-Ub (K48-pUB) chains for proteasomal degradation. Processing of Doa10 substrates requires the activity of two Ub conjugating enzymes. Here we show that the non-canonical conjugating enzyme Ubc6 attaches single Ub molecules not only to lysines but also to hydroxylated amino acids. These Ub moieties serve as primers for subsequent poly-ubiquitylation by Ubc7. We propose that the evolutionary conserved propensity of Ubc6 to mount Ub on diverse amino acids augments the number of ubiquitylation sites within a substrate and thereby increases the target range of Doa10. Our work provides new insights on how the consecutive activity of two specialized conjugating enzymes facilitates the attachment of poly-Ub to very heterogeneous client molecules. Such stepwise ubiquitylation reactions most likely represent a more general cellular phenomenon that extends the versatility yet sustains the specificity of the Ub conjugation system.