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[2023] What Ceramic Coating Should Actually Cost - And Why | Ceramic Coatings by Kings Valet

This isn't a post where I'll make you read to the end to get a cost. I don't believe in wild goose chases or obscurity - is there anything more frustrating than wanting an answer to one thing and NOT getting it?

I promise, you will never have seen a level of transparency like this in ANY business. I will give you the industry standard price range, our exact retail costs and then explain the numbers behind the scenes that justify said cost. I truly believe that with more transparency; that our clients and the industry will be better off. Please read past the prices to see why the costs are what they are, especially if you are early in the process of researching Ceramic Coating. If not - you are missing out on a free educational moment. The goal is to learn something new every day, right?


How Much Should Ceramic Coating Cost?

A point I will make first is that; within reason, you will get exactly what you pay for in the Ceramic Coating industry... A cost of under $1,000 for a long-term paint protection coating is a risky venture. Depending on the life span of the coating and size of the vehicle a basic package should cost about $1,000 to $1,300. These figures apply to a Ceramic Coating with a rating of about 5 years and are for a Sedan to a Truck Sized vehicle.

2022 Kia Stinger with Lifetime Ceramic Coating from Kings Valet.
2022 Kia Stinger with Lifetime Ceramic Coating from Kings Valet.

How Much Does Kings Valet Charge for Ceramic Coating (and What is Included)?

My brother and I do our absolute best to be transparent about every part of the process including our pricing. Our Lifetime Ceramic Coating Package includes a 26-point exterior detail, a buffer applied polish, a prep stage (isopropyl bath) and application of Ceramic Coating to Paint. Kings Valet includes FREE Maintenance for Life on their Ceramic Coatings Yes, Free Annual Inspections as well - most installers charge $150-$300 for each inspection. For The Kings Valet Lifetime Ceramic Coating Program; the costs are as follows... Sedan / Coupe - $1,275 • Crossovers - $1,375 • Sm Trucks / SUVs / Vans - $1,475 • Large Trucks (F-250 / 2500 or larger) - $1,575


Why is Ceramic Coating So Expensive?

If you are reading this line - thank you for making it through a potential sticker shock. I know the price of Ceramic Coating seems crazy to many folks, especially early in the research process. As mentioned - Stephen and I believe in transparency and see no reason to hide our prices or why the process is expensive. Now we can dive into the meat and potatoes of why Ceramic Coating may feel like it has a high cost associated. As promised, we will show our REAL cost per coating, including what our margins are. Then I will cover the more traditional reasons discussed like; high skill required, premium service and the longevity of a Ceramic Coating.

2016 Chevy SS with Lifetime Ceramic Coating Installed in 2022. This was after a recent FREE Maintenance Appointment.
2016 Chevy SS with Lifetime Ceramic Coating Installed in 2022. This was after a recent FREE Maintenance Appointment.

‣ Cost of Actual Ceramic Coating Product - $200+

Most Professional Ceramic Coatings cost about $200 per 30 ml bottle. 30 milliliters is enough to coat the paint on a small or midsize vehicle. For larger vehicles Kings Valet will use 45-60 milliliters of Ceramic Coating (meaning chemical cost rises to $350+).


‣ Cost of other Chemicals / Application Products - $120+

The costs here are not overwhelming, but require inclusion. We have broken down our "other chemical costs" to an average of about $120 a vehicle. This will include things like; pH neutral soap, high quality microfibers, applicator pads / sheets, IPA, and other miscellaneous items. This figure also factors in wear and tear on our equipment from buffers to power washers. Kings Valet uses top of the line products and equipment in EVERY aspect of the process. Ultimately, you are covering a small portion of replacement when they wear out.


‣ Labor - $240+

Even with Stephen and I handling every vehicle coming through our shop - we need a paycheck too; afterall I have a little baby that LOVES to eat haha. We pay ourselves about $30 an hour in labor- the same as we would pay any hired help with our experience. Typical labor per vehicle is about 8 hours; so this equates to about $240.

‣ Overhead / Marketing - $250+

I won't break down every cost here, but our per vehicle average is about $250. This covers things like our utilities, insurance, rent and marketing. For marketing specifically; it is VERY expensive to compete in this industry. We spend about $10 PER click for promotion on a platform like Google. $10 is cheap right? Most folks that are early in the process, see the price on the website and run. They were expecting a couple hundred and were shocked when they saw a 4 figure price tag. As Ceramic Coating is a niche industry - average close rate is around 10%. So we spend about $100 per customer that walks through our doors.


‣ A Greater Cause - $150+

Kings Valet donates 10% of EVERY dollar that comes through our doors to local charities. Stephen and I were raised in a family that believed in helping others in any way possible. We both recognize that Kings Valet is a God given opportunity for us to help others. (More on our mission here.) This equates to about $150 per service. These donations have been made to nonprofits like Center for the Homeless, Cultivate Food Rescue and A Healing Hope. If you have a charity you are affiliated PLEASE reach out. We have silent auction packages we can donate as well as annual cash donations. (george.hunt@kingsvaletind.com with a subject line of "charity")


‣ The KV Cup-holder - $75+

We send off our clients with many goodies after the completion of their service. This includes things like a gift card to a local fine-dining restaurant to enjoy a steak in their new ride, a high quality microfiber to ensure a high quality clean, a bag of premium coffee and much more! Our Cupholder package costs us about $75 to put together.


If you have been keeping track - this is a bit over $1,000 in direct costs just for the initial install of a Lifetime Ceramic Coating by Kings Valet; on a sedan size vehicle. Of course, ultimately we are a business. Without profit there would be much less of a point to being in business for ourselves. So yes, we make about 15-20% on our retail pricing. Part of these margins are reinvested in ongoing training, better equipment and better software to improve your experience from quote requests to your 10th year of working with Kings Valet.


Other Reasons Ceramic Coating is Expensive

So... I just mentioned on-going training. Stephen does the majority of the actual shop labor for Kings Valet. While I am skilled enough to do all parts of the Ceramic Coating process, this is Stephen's PASSION. He participates in ongoing training every year (and has for the past decade plus). Mastering and remastering his craft at paint correction classes, ceramic coating trainings, body shop demos and more ensures you the latest methods are at work at Kings Valet. A single mistake during a Ceramic Coating can cost $1,000s to repair. On-going training is essential.

Stephen Learning More on Paint Correction Methods from Dan Biggs (Owner of Ricks Auto Body). Dan has 40 years experience with Painting and Repair.
Stephen Learning More on Paint Correction Methods from Dan Biggs (Owner of Ricks Auto Body). Dan has 40 years experience with Painting and Repair.

Steaks and burgers come from the same animal. When I go to a restaurant and look at the menu - I do not get outraged about the difference in cost, why? Both options will fulfil my need to eat, but Steak is a premium offering. It is a better cut, it tastes better and takes more skill to prepare. Circling back to the skill required to install, unless you are a chef by trade - your steaks never taste quite as good at home. Our Lifetime Ceramic Coating is the cream of the crop. Even within steaks there are varying quality levels. Other shops offer a more affordable cut like a sirloin with say a 3 year coating. Kings Valet is in the business of Kobe and only offers The Kings Valet Lifetime Ceramic Program. It's not just a package, it's a program.


In Conclusion:

I mentioned my brother's passion was instilling confidence in you through your vehicle, my purpose in life is to educate and build relationships. On a daily basis; I face many of the same questions and frustrations from potential clients. That is why this blog has been taken to a new level in 2023. Even being in the Ceramic Coating industry - my head can still spin while sifting through the information (and misinformation) out there. I hope this post has explained why Ceramic Coatings carry a higher cost than waxes and sealants.


If you have any questions, my personal email is george.hunt@kingsvaletind.com - I HOPE you will send them. I promise you other people are wondering the same thing. I have about 30 topics to cover listed so far. I would love to put you on this list. I hope you have a wonderful week - keep your eyes peeled for my next blog post. I average one about every 3 days! It might just be a question you submitted!


PS: It is no secret, my job is also to sell Ceramic Coating- if this post has shed new light on a desire for you to have a coating installed please see our The Kings Valet Lifetime Ceramic Coating page and request a quote. We service the entire Michiana area including Granger, Elkhart, New Buffalo, Notre Dame and more. Pick up and delivery of your vehicle (or you) is available.


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