No im not crazy and yes all you legally can charge is 11.00. Actually you can charge as much as you want you just have to be licensed. It says this right on the cslb site in plain English and SpanishAn hourly rate is not a contract agreement and you can work as many hours as you want for as much money as you want without a contractor's license and you can buy and resell the materials as long as you have a resale license and do the proper reporting.
The thing you need to watch for when working by the hour for one person is you need to pay your federal and state taxes, or you will get nailed. Your employer, even if an apartment owner, is supposed to carry worker's comp insurance for you and report all your earnings. Although, just because nobody reports your earnings this does not mean you are an independent contractor and you do not need a license. For example, a person owns 100 apartment units and you work for him for $40 an hour. He is your only customer and this does not require a contractor's license.
As for qualifying for a license, I got my first California contractor license base on my working as a janitor for several apartments buildings. The landlord was deceased and I had nobody to verify my work experience with the exception of friends and I had no problem qualifying the work experience, but that was 40 years ago
I think people worry too much like the contractor's board is a monster that doesn't want you to have a license. I think the opposite because the contractor's board want people to have licenses because they profit from the fees and the licenses raise the bar for everyone.