Interesting here we see some of us who enjoy fixing our own gear and moved to fixing friends gear for money, but don't do the full commercial space/ LLC/ taxes and insurance thing. I started that way when friends wanted me to work on their guitars and I was cheap and friendly. When I worked in a guitar shop and had to finish guitars on schedule it was not the same hanging out with friends thing. The shop rate wasn't expensive, but I wasn't doing favors for friends either, and also wasn't able to hang out and make jokes with customers because I was at work. I think the subject gets confused when we might have a friend fix our gear and then have to go to a professional at some other time and place. We may view the professional as unfriendly and over priced, because we are used to our buddy who is cheap and cool. My BIL repaired and restored pinball games for a living, and at one point one of his bigger customers hired a hobby guy who did it more for enjoyment than to make a living. The client seeing that he could get the work for a lower rate decided to only pay my BIL that lower rate. I think this sort of false economy where there are businesses and there are also hobbyists doing the same stuff, confuses the customer, and we see tipping maybe compensates for techs who charge less than the work is worth. The same thing happens in other trades where we might bid on a renovation and hear "my sisters BF could do it for half as much" etc, but where most of us know a little about amps and guitars, we might tip for a low priced yet mediocre hobbyist setup, or we might compain that a pro charges triple the price of our buddy, then note that this particular guitar is a really good guitar, when what actually happened was we paid a professional instead of a hobbyist. Of course there are hobbyists who do great work and "professionals" who do crap work, but how do we know if a tech is really any good? And what do the fees a pro shop charges pay for? When I was a hobby guitar tech at home only working on friends guitars and sometimes for free, I was often told my work was better than the professional tech they formerly used. I think a lot of the upcharge for a pro is the commercial space, insurance, accounting and taxes. Hobby techs that charge lower prices have lower overhead. Also hobby techs can decline harder jobs or jobs that require tools they didn't invest in. Tipping the hobby guy and not tipping the expensive "pro" might mean the pro gets paid less than the friend with zero overhead who does the work for fun. And brick & mortar shops close down one after the other. Just food for thought, not really a comment on tipping as much as a comment on supporting the skilled pro techs in our communities. IDK, maybe I'm wasting my breath proselytizing about supporting brick & mortar music gear shops.