Pro vs DIY:
With that being said its time to dispel a common rumor - "Consumer-grade ceramic coats do not require prep work." They absolutely do, especially if you are applying a ceramic coat versus a shorter life hybrid product. You have likely been waxing the paint up to the point of buying your first ceramic coating. The minimum prep in this case is running a buff wheel over the entire vehicle to remove the wax. You cannot apply nano technology over clogged paint pores and expect it to set. This will take some technical skill and reapplication more often, but for some enthusiasts this will make sense. My only warning is to take your time with the paint preparation. Depending on the car company there are variances in depth of clear coat. You can "burn" your paint which just turned a quick easy solution into a very expensive situation.
So you've likely seen some "ceramic" coatings at a large box store and want to know why that bottle is $30 and detail shops are charging anywhere from $300 to $3,000 for "the same thing." Do we buy higher grade products than consumers can buy? Absolutely. There are way to many different brands popping up daily to compare Ceramic Pro to all of them. Most professional ceramic companies require certifications in their products. The reason these products are not sold direct to consumer is how labor intensive the prep process is for installation. Even on a newly painted vehicle I cannot just apply a coating. This coating will still need at least a single stage buffing, clay bar and alcohol bath to removing any contaminants and ensure a proper bond.
There is way to much information to cover here and I cannot phrase the full list any better than the professionals at Ceramic Pro. You can Click Here if you would like to learn more about DIY and their product stacking up directly from their website. They also have produced a wonderful series on DIY for all aspects of detailing (carpet extraction, to glass cleaning). It is worth a watch if you enjoy maintaining your own vehicle.