Agree on the deposit, but I don’t think the labor rates are exclusive to CA at all. I’m in a few professional tech groups and the labor rates being reported countrywide are in the range I described. I think there is a significant difference between the stereotypical old-school 2-bay independent shop and the 10-15 bay independent shops that are trying to match dealerships in expertise and amenities.
Most of our dealer rates here (STL) are $125-160 but the independent shops are 80-120. I agree those bigger independent shops are close to dealer prices. Expensive to keep a legit repair business up and running, that’s for sure.