Turned wrenches for local Allis and IH dealer for all through the 90's. Did good, reasonably fast, accurate work, but found there was always an excuse why nobody could afford to pay the mechanics enough to live on. At the IH dealer, the best, longest serving guy was making 11/hr, after 22 years.
After 5 years there, and getting all the way to $7.10/hr, I'd had enough. Answered an ad in the paper for a small engine tech at a Deere lawn dealer 30 miles away, and got hired on the spot.
We got 50% of our labor @ $55/hr, plus 10% of parts profit. Never had a job I enjoyed so much, and used to get paychecks that made me wonder what I'd ever do with it all! Full benefits too!
Lasted 5 years, until the owner, fearing the squeeze from the big box stores, decided to drop his Deere contract, and stick with the Honda Motorsport line he also had. All of us that wore green shirts there were out of a job. Found out fast that nobody else would dream of paying wages like that to a lowly mechanic.
Thought hard about opening my own shop, but my wife is self employed, so took a job as a manufacturers rep, mostly because we needed the insurance. I like it, but really miss the satisfaction I got from fixing things.