Homes rolling off the line
By Lynn Hobbs
About a dozen county and city officials visited Legacy Housing in Eatonton last week, met the owners and employees and toured the facility, watching manufactured homes literally rolling off the line.
“These houses will be the best product in this region,” owner Curt Hodgson said. “We’re going to build a good product and we’re going to put 200-300 Putnam County people to work.”
Hodgson and co-owner, Kenny Shipley, gave an overview of their company and their goals for the plant starting up in Eatonton.
The manufacturing plant in Eatonton’s South Industrial Park is located in one of the former Horton Homes facilities on Industrial Boulevard past Haband. It currently has one assembly line running, with 75 employees rolling out one to two houses per day.
Noting the building is as large as four football fields, Chief Operating Officer Mick Barker said everything is built on the inside.
“I’ve never been in a facility where you could pull materials off the truck and start working right there and never get wet,” he commented. “It’s unbelievable.
Barker forecasts the company will produce $30 million out of the Eatonton facility this year, noting two homes a day will be produced initially, and that number will grow to eight a day within 12-18 months, based on market conditions. The owners expect to invest $5-$10 million in the facility this year, and another $20 million down the road, he said during the tour, noting “That’s a big investment, but we expect to get a payback on it.”
When a county employee commented that all the employees were smiling, Barker said “These people have been out of a job for a while, and they’re happy to be back at work.” When questioned about salaries, the COO said the hourly employees are paid $10 to $13 per hour, based on experience and job qualification. After 90 days and a performance evaluation, they will start receiving a hitch bonus of $1 to $3 for each unit, or section, run (a double-wide is two sections).
“Bonuses will be paid weekly, and they will make some good money when the bonuses are figured into their salaries,” he added.
Those interested in a job should apply in person at the plant at 101 Industrial Blvd. in Eatonton, Barker said.
The manufactured homes being built are in the “mid-low to mid-medium price range,” Barker said, “because we feel like there are a lot more Chevys and Fords sold than Cadillacs.” Plans are to also build Tiny Houses (less than 400 sq. ft.) at the Eatonton plant, according to Barker, to meet the demands of a growing trend across the nation to live more simply.