Do You Tip Your Tech?

Discussion in 'Amp Central Station' started by ElJay370, Nov 19, 2019.

  1. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2019
  2. mfguitar

    mfguitar Tele-Holic

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    Always, I do most of mine own work on guitars and simple amp things but when I need the service of a professional I tip.
     
  3. LPTyler

    LPTyler Tele-Meister

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    My tech charges near the top of the market, but I really like his work and think it’s worth the price. I will do some nice things for him once in a while, but tipping has never crossed my mind.
     
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  4. Warren Pederson

    Warren Pederson Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I tip everybody. Keeps the guesswork at bay.
     
  5. tlsmack

    tlsmack Tele-Afflicted

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    I never actually tip, but do let him charge me for things i could get cheaper. Hopefully that helps him a little bit.

    I think of tipping as geared toward a wage earner, not a business owner. My tech is self employed so tipping would be a little awkward I think. He sets the price, I just throw him a little extra work sometimes.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2019
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  6. colnago

    colnago Tele-Meister

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    I never know who to tip. It's confusing. I never get tips so why should I tip others?
     
  7. dlew919

    dlew919 Poster Extraordinaire

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    We don’t tip in Australia.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  8. dlew919

    dlew919 Poster Extraordinaire

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    We don’t tip in Australia.


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  9. CK Dexter Haven

    CK Dexter Haven Friend of Leo's

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    In this day and age “ the hang” is one of the few traditions that can’t be replicated on line ( OK we are here but..) There is a brass shop in NYC that does great work, but one of the driving forces is replicating the vibe of the old 42nd street “ upstairs” shops, where anyone might walk in.
    Not really valued by many current B&M shops, who seem to see the storefront as a warehouse, and walk-in customers as a interruption of online work. There are still a few cool music places in the area, but I am fortunate.. most of the old hobby, camera and other such “ Saturday destination” places are gone.
     
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  10. Bendyha

    Bendyha Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    A customer just dropped his instrument off for a few minor repairs, and gave me a bottle of wine.
    It happens quite often that I get a bottle of wine when people come to pick the instrument up...but I think this might be a first to recieve it before hand.

    The quality and type of wine makes me laugh sometimes; from bubbley pink sweet stuff, to vintage bordeaux and Barolo.
    One can tell that some folk are just passing on some bottle that they got given - not really knowing what it is, where others seem to just grab a bottle of mid-priced what-ever off the shelf at the petrol station.
    Then there are those who select a fine wine that they themselves truely enjoy, and believe I would to - I've recieved many fine wines this way.:)

    As for tipping, most folk seem to round the price up a bit, some more than others.
     
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  11. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I used to frequent the brass & woodwind shops in NYC too, just looked online and it seems Dr Rick is still in the Village but I can't remember names of any others. Rick must be gettin' old, eyes and hands start failing and one man shops like that need to keep repairing to make money. He did have an apprentice in the late '90s.

    Too bad about what you say has happened to the vibe or the attention to community.
    Interesting that I suppose B&M shops have to double on online services to keep afloat, which could sink them if it means staff is tapped out on attention span.
     
  12. Beachbum

    Beachbum Friend of Leo's

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    Yes I do. The last tip I gave him was to not take three months to finish the work on my guitar. :mad:
     
  13. Teddyjack

    Teddyjack Tele-Afflicted

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    I've never tipped my tech. I have referred a lot of people to him.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2019
  14. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I was taught, definitely tip the service person, but not the owner.
    Although...I have been a sole proprietor/service person and appreciated a little gravy on top, but never expected it.
    This is why we bring the tip bucket.
    Never deprive your audience of the opportunity to show their appreciation.
     
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  15. Slap Axe

    Slap Axe TDPRI Member

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    Are you kidding?! I always tip my tech very generously! I get one beer whilst taking the old strings off, two beers whilst putting the new strings on, and then several more beers whilst breakin' em in!:twisted:
     
  16. Brian J.

    Brian J. Tele-Afflicted

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    I do not tip my tech, but he is a good guy I've worked with him for years and I will occasionally buy him lunch
     
  17. Ted Keane

    Ted Keane TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

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    I always tip my Harley mechanic(small shop),bike mechanic,people who work on my skis,and guitar techs.Most I tip something before the work.It seems to get the work done a touch better,makes them happy,and I always use the same shops.So I know the work.Beer for ski tuneups still works.And everyone likes cash.
     
  18. corliss1

    corliss1 Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    I frequently have customers round up the bill to the next even number, or add a few bucks if it was a fast turnaround. I know I'm one of the cheaper options around, but I like to think I'm fun to deal with and usually pretty quick. I haven't turned down a tip yet.
     
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  19. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    As far as tradesmen go, whenever I have one or more folks working on a job at my house-- landscapers, painters, plumbers, whatever-- if they are going to be working at my house over lunch I always offer to buy them lunch-- typically
    maybe $10 to $15 a person for Mexican food or pizza or whatever. This always go over well, especially when these guys are poorly paid employees of the boss that runs the company....but even the boss appreciates it if he's on the job, too.
     
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  20. Rustbucket

    Rustbucket Poster Extraordinaire

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    Generally only if I feel the job was above and beyond normal service.

    I once traveled 25 miles to Hunt Amplification in Phoenix to get my BFPR serviced. I had only been there once before for a recap 2 years earlier when I first bought the amp. I had no appointment and expected to drop the amp off for however long the job took. Lowell remembered me and the amp from his previous service. He stopped what he was working on, fixed the loose wire quickly on the spot and didn’t want to even want to charge me anything. I gave him $20 for his prompt service, and will recommend him to anyone who asks.

    Yes, i probably could have figured the problem out myself. I respect the fact that many of you do your own tech work. I personally work 55-60 hours a week at my day job and would much rather spend my free time with my kids or playing music rather than doing my own repairs.
     
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