I don't think CarDoc meant that at all, but I'm sure he'll speak for himself.See Doc I tend to go the other way, in terms of advice. I have met some exceptional Techs both in and out of the dealer and I suggest at least to start try the dealer, or two. Yes some dealers hire less skilled lower cost workers for some things but by and large have at least 1 highly skilled guy in the shop. The problem with the Blame the Other guy attitude is that You call him Crap, he calls you crap, and in the long run nobody trusts either if you.
I prefer to show them my skills and out skill the other guy, Even if "their Guy" is crap I take the more diplomatic approach of explaining to the customer that maybe this particular problem is not in their guys skill set. If they have their own guy that they trust by all means use him, but if he gets lost I'm a phone call away. I have gotten far more business with that approach.
Most of the Manufacturers Dealers I have worked for actually stayed away from the newly minted 240 day wonder techs Primarily because even at the Dealer level the Manufacturers Name is on the building, and thus to some degree their Company reputation. This is especially true with Imports, Japanese and German, in particular.
I'd suggest and interview process with any professional you wish to Employ, whether it be a Lawyer, Doctor, Plumber, Mechanic or what have you. Ask about specific skills, training etc. that he/she brings to the table, especially if you are experiencing a specific problem.
You'll find good people in and out of the Dealer networks, as well as Independents. The Mechanic that inspired me worked at a Texaco Station, back when there were Service Stations not Grocery Stations that sell Gas.
As you surely know a lot of people think they can only go to the dealer simply because they assume the dealer is "the only ones that get training an know stuff about the car."
These people make assumptions without researching any facts, it's laziness really. That want an easy safe route without having to talk to anyone. It seems many of these people will believe anything the dealer tells them and pay outrageous prices and then complain that the whole brand sucks because they spent $1000 on a 30k "tune-up."
I completely agree about interviewing professionals. You need to make sure the person you are hiring is what you need and will do things in your best interest.