At the age of 20, I started on this adventure with some borrowed equipment and about $2,000. So, in 1997, with the dream of providing unique, quality, one-of-a-kind aluminum bodies to the off-road industry, I rented a small industrial space in San Marcos, California, which is in the North County area of San Diego County. And so it began - Precision Metal Craft was born.
At that time, though, there was not much of a market for that type of product and very few chassis builders were willing to take a chance on a kid with little experience and some beat up equipment. Because I was not very busy in those early days, I was able to focus every bit of my energy into every single job. Within a few years, the word spread that this guy in San Marcos was doing some pretty cool stuff. And, by this point, I had a couple of loyal chassis builders feeding me work consistently.
In 2001, I was able to buy a house in Valley Center, CA. I had only one request when looking at an available home: it had to have a shop on the property. By the middle of 2001, our shop moved from San Marcos to our Valley Center home shop and everything was going great. By 2004, my business had grown enough that I now had a full-time employee and it became clear that the small shop behind our home was not able to accommodate my business.
So, by late 2004, I was able to rent my dream shop in Escondido, CA. This shop had enough room for three work bays and plenty of equipment. I added my second full-time employee and things were going gang busters. Now I started thinking ... we needed to diversify - so I started developing new products.
In 2007, I purchased a seat of SolidWorks and, boy, did my world change!! We were no longer making cardboard templates for every part and we could easily sub out machine work and waterjet work. It stayed super busy through 2008. Despite the economic challenges which everyone faced from 2008 to 2010, my business weathered the storm and emerged a survivor!
January 2011, I started devoting as much time as possible to developing products while still building the occasional body that would come in. Soon the products were doing better than the body work. I had lost my love for aluminum body work. Unfortunately, what I used to enjoy now felt more like a chore - it was time for a change.
In 2012, we purchased our first CNC machining center and THAT became my new passion. Developing, manufacturing and selling our own product line all in-house has been very satisfying. In a way, it felt like it did back in 1997 when every job got my every attention. There was just one problem - that darned body work! I had not been taking on any new chassis builders since 2011, but we still did work for the ones who had been with me for a while. Well, by 2013, it was time to call it quits on the body work. So, with a heavy heart, I told my last body work client, Alumi Craft, that this was going to be last one. Not an easy thing to do when someone had been loyal to you since 1999.
By mid-2013, I was devoting my full attention to product development and manufacturing and I could not be happier. We have been and are blessed with great customers and fun times again in the shop.
Since January 2015, we now ship our products throughout the 50 contiguous US states and to five continents. We continue to grow and have relocated to a new shop in Vista, CA. As always, we are proud to provide our customers with products that made exclusively in our Vista, CA, shop using aluminum that is sourced exclusively in the USA.
We owe our continued success to all my loyal customers who have been there since Precision Metal Craft's birth in 1997.
Thanks for reading - Jeff Davis