Kathleen McLaughlin
The Bulletin

What: Hayden Homes

Employees: About 300 across all divisions

Address: 2464 SW Glacier Place, Suite 110, Redmond

Today the Redmond company is the largest privately held homebuilder in the region. “Our strategy is to operate in underserved secondary markets,” Klingman said.

Hayden Homes can track a home’s progress — and costs — down to the nail, Klingman said, so now the focus is on perfecting the buying process from a consumer’s perspective. The company would like to make it possible to buy a home online, he said. “I think we’re going to be a leader in that space.”

Klingman, 42, was named president in 2015 after the late founder’s son, Hayden Watson, left the CEO post to become chairman of the company. Klingman talked with The Bulletin about building and selling new homes. His responses have been edited for length and clarity.

Q: How do you manage so many construction projects across a wide area?

A: We call it managing geographic diversity, or MGD. We’ve got very robust IT systems and processes. To be able to know to the day and the dollar where any one of our nearly 1,000 homes now under construction (is) today, the 1,800 that we’re going to build.

We’re constantly refining our tools and systems in order to be able to have this information at a fingertip.

We operate a pretty lean organization where there’s not a lot of people. We empower team members in these remote markets to make decisions.

Q: Is 1,800 home starts in one year a typical pace of construction?

A: Last year we were at 1,700. So it’s just a little bit of growth this year compared to last year.

Prior to the recession, we were doing about 650 homes a year. When the recession hit, we went from between 550 and 600. So we didn’t really shrink too much, but our geography grew quite a bit.

Q: Have you found ways to save money through the use of different materials or design?

A: If you look at a home we were building in 1989, 1999, 2009, 2019, the feature level of our homes has grown pretty tremendously. Energy efficiency of our homes has grown pretty tremendously. The efficiency’s in value engineering of our floor plans.

We’re doing it on about 40 floor plans. About 10 of them will get built between 200 to 300 times each, and so our trade partners know the plans like the back of their hands. We’ve optimized wall locations, window locations, interior walls to try to take as much of the wasted material (as possible) out of the house. We know down to the washer and nail what we’re putting into the house. So we’re able to optimize those things in order to drive the cost down, but we’re not doing it by using cheaper products.

Q: How do you envision people buying their houses online?

A: What we want to be able to do is — in an online environment in the comfort of your own home — provide an experience for you to be able ask all of these questions, have access to information and have it all explained to you.

It’s something you can do and then bring all these questions in to our sales team member. Turn it into less of a sale and more of an experience, and our sales team members being a concierge and helping you with questions you have. We think that that’s going to transform the experience and the transparency of the information when that’s all online.

— Reporter: 541-617-7860, kmclaughlin@bendbulletin.com

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