Updated: Apr 14
Social media grows customer connections and business in Las Vegas
ACE IN THE HOLE
Even in Las Vegas, gambling capital of the world, building a tube laser cutting business from scratch – without a history in metal manufacturing – was a risky play, especially in 2018. But over the last four years, the bet has paid off for Jordan Yost, owner of Precision Tube Laser. Today, the successful Nevada job shop offers automated tube and flat sheet laser cutting and bending. Yost keeps rolling the dice and pushing the limits to find innovative new ways to produce more parts, demonstrate capabilities, and connect with customers via social media.
Building a base Precision Tube Laser has gained a lot of social media attention, fans -- and jobs -- since it officially opened in 2018. The Las Vegas company’s mesmerizing laser cutting videos often attract more than a million viewers. In fact, one recent spiral tube cutting video logged more than 2.9 million views on Instagram. Precision’s more than 50,000 followers might be surprised, however, to learn the job shop is not a spinoff of another manufacturing company. Despite owning businesses for 40 and 20 years respectively, father and son co-owners Barry and Jordan Yost hadn’t created a metal fabrication business before Precision.
A better way Trade show booths are big business in Las Vegas. After Jordan Yost sold his last business, he worked for a friend’s fabrication company that made parts for trade show booths, and it sparked an idea. “As a businessperson,” explains Yost, “I looked at the scale of their operation and the processes they were doing manually, and I thought, there has to be a better way.” Yost and his father were looking for an opportunity to create a business together. “We're very good at finding solutions to people's problems,” he says. “We discovered many shops struggled with manufacturing tubing – all the drilling, milling, sawing and deburring. It's one of the harder processes. For two years, I did extensive analysis of the potential risks and rewards of getting into laser tube cutting and I knew we could be successful with the right equipment and innovative exposure to promote our approach.” “After our first interaction with TRUMPF, it was hard to go anywhere else.”
Draw, cut, film, repeat Yost put together a business plan and went online to request information from TRUMPF. He was soon connected with Regional Sales Manager Larry Johnson, who Yost says has become “a great friend and incredible source of knowledge.” He admits, “after our first interaction with TRUMPF, it was hard to go anywhere else. I understand there’s other equipment that will do similar things, but when you compare apples to apples, looking at the usability, reliability and consistency, there’s really no comparison.” Precision purchased its first TRUMPF machine, a TruLaser Tube 5000 fiber, in 2017, but before it even arrived, Yost began a social media campaign to introduce the technology. Precision’s first tube laser cutting video was posted to Instagram six months before the machine was installed. “Once we were up and running, I spent 8 to 10 hours a day with the machine drawing, cutting, filming, and then drawing, cutting, filming again,” says Yost. “We didn't have another way to make income. We had to get people to respond to laser tube cutting.”
A positive response It wasn’t long before Precision’s videos went viral, and business took off. Although the company initially focused on laser tube cutting, Precision’s business evolved into a balance of tube and sheet metal work. “Early on we realized that many tubing projects relied on sheet material parts to go with them,” Yost explains. “And when you bring in flat sheet cutting, then people will want bent parts too.” So, in 2020, Precision added a TruLaser 1040 flat sheet laser cutting machine with automation and a TruBend 7036 press brake to handle the wide variety of work from large production runs to just a handful of parts. Yost estimates he runs 25 to 30 jobs daily. “It ranges,” he says, “but we're usually pushing out about 10,000 individual parts a day.”
Job shop of the future “We aren’t your average job shop. I tell people we make money by putting holes in metal, but truly we use the best equipment in the business to manufacture parts and components,” Yost says proudly. “When you understand all the technology is truly capable of, the sky's the limit! Whether it's cutting or bending, we find a way to push beyond the limits on a regular basis.” When Precision moved into a new 22,000 square foot facility in September 2021, Yost built a job shop of the future. “We’re a just-in-time manufacturing facility. Most materials are ordered on the fly, brought in, processed and sent back out as parts,” he explains. “Our environment is everchanging, but we're able to keep quality consistent. I think a facility this clean demonstrates the care with which we treat customer parts.” The new building created room for another tube laser cutting machine, a TruLaser Tube 3000 fiber, to act as a backup for the 5000 and maintain extremely low lead times. Precision also added a press brake with automatic tool changer. “It’s almost unheard of for a shop our size to have a TruBend 5170 with ToolMaster,” says Yost, “but we bend enough parts in a day to justify it. The other day we bent around 2,000 individual parts with 19 different tool changes. It has opened us to a whole new range of capabilities. No labor-intensive tool changes are needed - that’s done in the programming. Our operators can just focus on making the most accurate parts on the planet.”
Sustainable choices Currently Precision Tube Laser serves more than 1,000 customers nationwide. “We have a 95 percent customer return ratio and the 5 percent that don’t return are typically enthusiasts with one-off parts,” Yost reports. “A lot of companies only chase the big fish, but we go after sustainable customers, that is the average shop that will need help over and over again.” The flexibility of TRUMPF machines assists Precision in creating “little pockets of time” to fit in smaller jobs profitably. “Right now, we have about 20 full-time employees,” he adds. “I have enough work for about 40 people, but that’s not the way we operate.” The shopfloor culture is similar to the company’s social media approach: very professional and serious, yet fun. To fill the void Yost feels is created by “lifers in this business working their way out and not leaving their knowledge behind,” he brings on younger workers and gives them the opportunity to develop long-term careers. “If you've got a good attitude, willingness to learn, and show up every day, I’ll teach you anything and everything about these machines.”
Social connections The majority of Precision Tube Laser’s work ships out of state and Yost says he’s met fewer than 5 percent of his customers in person. Most communications take place over the phone or through email or social media. Yost estimates 80 percent of the company’s interactions start with social media. “Especially when they're reaching out for the first time, people are looking for easy, comfortable ways to communicate,” he explains. “Instagram seems to resonate best with our industry, so that's what we use. The more transparent you can be, the easier it is for customers to see what their experience will be like when they try your service.” An authentic approach to social media yields positive results but requires time and effort. “I treat social media like another machine,” Yost explains. “I spend time working on my skills and trying to understand its potential - what it can and can't do. We're a small company, but our social media voice is strong. At the end of the day though, you don't get to choose what's cool. There have been plenty of times we produced a video and thought, ‘wow, this is going to break the Internet!’ and it does nothing. Then we post a basic part and people go wild over it.”
Defying the odds Like many fabricators, it’s all about time for Yost. “We're all battling the same problem,” he says, “everyone wants to get more out of the 24 hours in each day without adding more people to the mix.” Yost’s solution is a TruLaser Center 7030 that arrives in May. “It will increase our ability to get parts out quicker and maintain lead times while tackling larger jobs. The financial decision isn't easy, but for what we're getting, the value far exceeds the cost.” Precision Tube Laser has seen steady growth over its four years in business. Last year, the company grossed about $2 million in sales. This year, it is on pace to earn just over $6 million. Yost hopes to continue building his vision of a job shop of the future: utilizing equipment where it's strong to create high-quality parts in clean environments. “I think what we do is special,” he says. “We work hard to perfect our craft, connect with customers and help them find solutions."
Precision Tube Laser Machine Portfolio
TruLaser Center 7030 The TruLaser Center 7030 is a full-service automated flatbed laser cutting machine that takes care of everything from the drawing to sorted cut part. It is one of the only machines on the market that can flexibly cut a part of any size and shape, sort and stack it completely autonomously. TruLaser Tube 5000 fiber The TruLaser Tube 5000 fiber achieves high speeds in laser cutting of tubes and profiles with a diameter of up to 5.98 inches and can process heavy tubes with thick walls. This flexible high-end machine expertly handles a wide range of parts and laser tube cutting applications.
TruLaser 1040 fiber Known for its low investment and low operating costs, the compact TruLaser 1030 fiber is a highly productive machine that is also simple to operate. Excellent cut quality is ensured by the versatile TruDisk solid-state laser which is capable of processing even highly reflective materials with ease.
TruBend 5170 with ToolMaster The TruBend Series 5000 press brakes are capable of highly productive and precise bending. The fast, user-friendly and ergonomic press brakes offer innovative programming, tool setup design, and other features for flexible part production. The ToolMaster automatic tool changer stores, manages and sets up tooling for each new program on the bending machine.
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Precision Tube Laser
Jordan Yost Co-Owner
6180 S Pearl St. Ste F
Las Vegas, NV 89120