Right. You do the right thing, the right work, quality jobs. I appreciate the fact that you use bone dry N2 to chase leaks.I am the only guy for miles,maybe a hour drive or more that can make these hoses and do custom stuff. I have all the equipment from my former employer too. See my pics a few posts up.
There is a hose place in town but they use compression fittings. Those bite into the soft aluminum pipe and leak. Mine are brazed/ welded. I will make a video soon showing how it's done
Speaking from the experience of trying to keep my mechanic's business alive, I must have been on my 4th regular mechanic that I have to switch because they went out of businesses. They were good people doing good honest jobs but the margin is low and regulation is tough to survive on. Things last longer, people trade their old cars for newer (cars are cheap repair bills are not), going EV (battery worn out before the rest of the car), going synthetic (lifetime ATF and 10k OCI), going hybrid (way less brake jobs), need special tools that company locked up, need special parts that aren't easier to get than dealer, longer warranty if you do oil change at the dealer, longer life tires, etc etc.CA has lots of people, lots of cars. There are no other auto repair shops, AC shops, etc. around within say a 15-30 minute drive? I know you live down a dirt road, maybe somewhat far out, but make concentric circles away from your home. Nothing? No opportunities?
Id suspect that CA is pretty miserable for starting a new business. Probably even worse for doing a business that includes hazmat/controlled CAA/EPA substances. But some folks must be doing it/making it. How? By accepting less money? How “well off”/successful was the owner of your prior company where you did AC work? Did you get insight into the business operations?
It seems like you have a niche that is the custom auto AC work. The barriers of entry for equipment and whatnot are probably high. What happened to all the equipment and tools when your prior company shut down? Can you overcome the barriers to entry (debt, costs of certain mandatory equipment, etc)?
Can you make hydraulic hoses? Mobile hydraulic hose/fitting/cylinder repair is pretty lucrative around here. Talking small "handle by hand" cylinders and reseal jobs like on mini-exs and skid steers, etc.