Help me choose a new career.


Staff member
Dec 14, 2002
New Jersey
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 :)
Right. You do the right thing, the right work, quality jobs. I appreciate the fact that you use bone dry N2 to chase leaks.

The question becomes how do you make that into a business, and a regular paycheck? Or at least a side gig that lets you be more choosy with the place that pays benefits and some level of retirement savings.

The fundamental question is do you have the means and the knowledge to start up a business doing ac and/or auto repair and restoration in CA?
Aug 5, 2002
Silicon Valley
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)?
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.

Starting a business is hard too but if you are doing residential or commercial HVAC trades you are way ahead of fixing cars these days. Cars can be moved and therefore they get sold to a cheaper place before they need work. You cannot do that with a house or an office.

Unless suddenly we have a DIY precharge mini split movement in the residential space, I don't think this is happening for at least another 15 years.


Site Donor 2021
Jun 1, 2009
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.


Thread starter
Jun 5, 2003
Apple Valley, California
I can't crimp hyd hoses with what I have. We have a large place in town that rebuilds cylinders and a few places that make hyd hoses.
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.
Jun 15, 2003
So from reading your posts you like where you live. Like, really, really like it. Don't wanna move.

Your extended neighborhood sounds like a desert, not just a literal one, but a poor one without a whole lot of high paying jobs. This lack of wealth probably adds to the local "charm"-- I can say this living in a state that perpetually lives 25 years in the past.

So if you want to stay put you'll need to

1) travel for work, eg drive an 18 wheeler
2) work from home, eg make custom hoses and sell them (online)
3) have people come to you, eg fix car AC
4) step outside your comfort zone, eg fix building AC
5) re-jigger your current work so it doesn't suck so bad.
Jan 9, 2010
Los Gatos, CA
I would ask, what do you want? What do you want to do?
I have no idea how old you are or what your resources are, but you can always invest in yourself by attending night school.
I got my 1st degree at 40.