I agree that dealers service shops are more expensive than independent mechanics. The problem is with the organization and business model, and their high overhead. The service manager at a dealership is under pressure to generate more business and the service writers (euphemistically called “service advisors”) will push many services that are not really needed, such as a fuel system flush, etc, while also trying to rebuild your car for you to bring it up to “new” specifications. None of this is dishonest; the part that IS dishonest is they scare unknowing owners, mostly housewives, into doing all this expensive stuff.
The oil pan on my Corolla shows some sign of “sweating”, it has a light film of oil on it. No oil is found on my driveway and garage floor, and the car uses no oil between changes. Yet the “service advisor” (a guy who could not actually do any of this work himself) said it was urgent I get this done and he quoted $450 for changing the oil pan gasket and resealing it. All he got out of me was a smile.
The same car was serviced by an independent garage when the time came to check the brakes and other inspection items for which the dealer wanted $168! The indy shop did it basically for free since they did the oil change and a few other service items. They did say that the oil pan was sweating but did not recommend any repairs at this time. They also mentioned my 8 year old serpentine belt has some minor cracks, but said it was not urgent at this time to replace it.
So, I don’t believe dealership shops are crooked, just overzealous in taking your money. There are also a lot of incompetent indy shops who will do unnecessary work the way a quack doctor misdiagnoses your symptoms and prescribes unnecessary or the wrong drugs or treatment. I have seldom run into an actually crooked indy shops; that designation belongs more to muffler, tire and exhaust shops that will try to sell you stuff you don’t need. One local Midas shop here fits that category, as well as Sears Automotive who tried to sell me ball joints I definitely did not need…