I have worked with mostly independent shops with maybe a maximum of 4 techs down to just me and the owner. I've never really worried about how much money I've made just as long as I had plenty of work and I enjoy my surroundings. With every shop I have worked at I have become really close to the owner and learned the way of the repair business. I still have a close relationship with all of them. Hell I go to my old boss's sons birthday party every year and he is well over 4 hours away. He has been holding a 4 speed Saginaw for me for almost 3 months because we just have that relationship. Now not to toot my own horn but I feel that I have a very strong worth ethic, I'm usually the first one there and I'm always the last one to leave. I try my best to get the jobs done on the same day. I really don't like leaving anything over night. The places I've worked at have always taken care of me. When I didn't have a place to go/live my old boss set me up in the shop until I got money saved up to get a place. First lesson was it's more profitable to keep an existing customer happy than let a new customer nickel and dime you to death. Second lesson never let a customer bring his own parts unless you called and ordered it for him to go and get. Third lesson (automotive repair) get in good with a body shop and machine shop because not only for your personal stuff but it's a circle. We have a body shop that subs all it's mechanical repairs to us after they finish with the body work. And the machine shop turn around for us is usually a day tops. Fourth Lesson: Do whatever it takes to do the job right the first time. I don't like comebacks at all. Unless it's nothing in your control. Fifth lesson: no matter what you do try and make everyday fun at work. A positive attitude makes the day go so much better. I try my damndest to leave my personal shit on the doorstep because it will make for a short fuse kind of day and that is not productive. Sixth Lesson: if you take care of your employees they will take care of you. Seventh lesson: no matter how hard you try you can not make every customer happy. Sorry that was a little long, but if I think of more I'll post more.