A Close Look at the Benefits
By Emmariah Holcomb
Have you ever stopped to think of ways you could grow your business? The obvious answer is yes, but how often has that lead you to consider ceramic coatings?
Ceramic coatings are unique, in that they’re not like paint protection film (PPF), yet offer a finish that can’t help but attract eyes from potential customers.
“Ceramic coatings compliment PPF. It’s like painting a room—the first glob of paint you get is thick, then you spread it to either side to even it out. Ceramics are the same way,” says Eric Meyer, Clear Bra Indy president.
Although the allure of ceramic coatings can add to your bottom line, by bringing in more business, a few experts say there are important facts and procedures that installers need to know before adding the service.
“When our customers come in, the first thing we end up doing is educating them. For most, ceramic coating is a no-brainer, just because of the maintenance,” says Carl Melendez, 631 Coatings owner.
“It’s always important to ask the discovery questions because you want every customer to be satisfied with their car when it’s finished,” says Kyle Owen, Clear Bra Indy owner.
As with anything, your customers want to see how this service will benefit them. According to Melendez, ceramic coatings are easier to maintain, require less time to dry, and are usually more economical for customers. For this reason, as a selling point, the Clear Bra Indy team often describes how you get a mirror-like image from coating a car with ceramics.
“The clear-coat on top of the paint has peaks and valleys, and dirt can get under there. Ceramic fills the valleys, so you get a true reflection when you look at it,” says Owen.
Though there aren’t many downsides to these types of coatings, there are a few things you should disclose to your customers prior to the installation. By far the biggest concern is how the customer will wash their vehicle.
“Absolutely no conventional carwashes. Why? It’s simple: Some of the soaps used are aggressive and damage the finish, and not to mention the brushes …,” says Melendez.
“Most of the manufacturers would say no carwashes that use brushes, because it’s not uncommon for there to be dirt particles on them that can scratch the car,” Meyer says.
But it doesn’t stop at the carwash, as a common household accessory can also alter the sleek finish.
“…and another thing—sprinklers. They have calcium deposits that are good for your lawn but terrible for your car. Over time, the hard water can eat away at the top layer,” says Melendez.
This day and age is full step-by-step tutorials that make anyone feel like they can tackle any project. The issue with ceramic coatings is: they’re technical. For this reason, our experts said most DIY efforts end in more time and money spent correcting the messes that roll into their install bays.
“I feel like sometimes there’s a disconnect with customers. There are two categories, the new school and the old school. The old school wants it done the right way the first time and are usually prepared to pay for a job well done, while the new school wants it done cheaper and quicker. It’s like oil and water,” Melendez says.
It’s not always about how quickly a job takes; sometimes it comes down to how much someone is willing to pay for a job well done.
“I remember we had a guy come in and what we quoted him was over his budget, so he left and found someone on Facebook that could do
a cheaper installation. Can you imagine how thick real maple syrup is? Now imagine taking a paper towel and smearing it on your car. Yeah, that’s exactly how it looked when he brought it back to us. It took twenty minutes for us to sand down one spot,” Meyer recalls.
If you look in any successful shop, you’ll find installers who were chosen based on their abilities. The same should be said when selecting installers for ceramics.
“We have two guys who are specifically tailored to it [ceramic installations]. They don’t even touch PPF,” says Meyer.
“As a business, you have to do these things to evolve and separate yourself from someone else. You gotta wow the clientele, but you also need people who know what they’re doing, as far as ceramics are concerned,” says Melendez.
It’s natural to envision ceramic coatings increasing in popularity as time goes on.
“We did a 2016 black Escalade and when it was done it looked so sleek. The customer’s friend saw it and he had four cars that we’ll be coating in the next few weeks,” says Owen.
“Owners and installers already see the rise in popularity and its demand in just a few years. The bottom line is, a car is a person’s pride and joy. They’ll do what they need to do to make it look its best,” Melendez says.
Obviously, the first thought for ceramic coatings is for use on vehicles, but not everyone sees this as the only avenue for providing the service.
“I envision it continuing to climb in interest, but I don’t think it’ll stop in automotive. There’s room for ceramics across several platforms, like aviation, architectural and even shower doors,” says Owen.
Now that you’ve gotten an inside perspective on ceramic coatings, will you start offering them in your shop?
Emmariah Holcomb is the assistant editor of PPF magazine. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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