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Setting Customer Expectations for Detailing Services: Ceramic Coatings (Pt 3/4)


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In the Auto Detailing Industry, successful businesses are built upon superb craftsmanship, quality products and tools, and top-notch customer service. These businesses are set up to stand the test of time and always carry a positive reputation.

Effective customer service identifies a client’s exact wants or needs and matches that with services of appropriate value and quality which are fully explained to the customer.

For successful detailing businesses, this process heavily relies on client education. Therefore, in order to close a sale, and set the stage for a successful transaction and long-term customer relationship, setting clear customer expectations for specific services is a core component of success. This is vital because some clients will not have realistic knowledge about specific services.

This series of articles will help auto detailers understand how to set customer expectations, for some common services, and demonstrate some ethical and helpful practices that will best serve customers.

The first article will examine Overall Service Philosophy. The second will examine Paint Correction. The third article will explore Ceramic Coatings. And the final article will focus on Paint Protection Film. To view all articles in this series, click here!

Why Set Customer Expectations for Ceramic Coatings?

Ceramic Coatings (a.k.a. glass coatings) are the best form of paint protection currently available compared to traditional waxes and sealants of the past. While they are light years ahead of traditional methods of surface protection, but they are not bulletproof. Therefore, it is important for detailing businesses to clarify to customers exactly what specific coating formulations can and cannot do. Creating customer clarity always paves the way for a quality experience.

By doing so, customers will understand:

  • The preparation steps leading up to ceramic coating installation.
  • How much labor goes into installation, depending on the product and its process.
  • How the customer’s coating of choice affects the total cost.
  • How ceramic coatings practically function to protect surfaces.
  • How specific coating formulations match the overall client wants and needs.
  • The business’s pricing for an estimated project.
  • The falsehoods of common myths about ceramic coatings that may exist.

What are the Realistic Expectations for Ceramic Coatings?

Ceramic Coatings are a great way to add some enhanced protection to vehicle surfaces and help to greatly reduce the amount of time and effort during regular maintenance cleaning.

The main benefits of most major Ceramic Nano Coatings are as follows:

  • A glossier and more reflective surface.
  • A Harder Surface than OEM paint: Some increased scratch resistance to fine swirls and marring. (This greatly depends on coating formulation and base paint characteristics)
  • A Hydrophobic Surface: Coatings create a surface that sheds water easily. This helps the vehicle stay cleaner longer while making it easier and faster to clean.
  • Heightened Environmental Resistance to: tree sap, bugs, tar, and bird bombs.
  • Increased Chemical Resistance to: iron contamination, industrial fallout, and other chemicals.
  • Enhanced UVA & UVB Protection for Paint Longevity and Color Retention.

** IMPORTANT ** Note: Ceramic Coatings will not prevent chips or impact marks from road debris like Paint Protection Film (a.k.a. PPF or Clear Bra).

Evaluation Factors of Ceramic Coatings to Consider in Estimates

The following factors are important to evaluate and explain in Ceramic Coating service estimates in order to set the expectations for final results:

  • How many steps the coating process requires.
  • How ‘soft’ (more difficult) the paint is to work with for coating installation.
  • If the vehicle is a viable candidate for certain coating formulations.

How to Find a Customer’s Expectations for Ceramic Coating Services

To understand the wants and needs of a client, detailing business must communicate with clients to find the proper service to fit each client.

Speak to clients to understand their vehicle situation. Sometimes important circumstances surrounding customer vehicles aren’t mentioned unless proper questions are asked.

Therefore, it’s recommended to ask specific questions to customers inquiring about ceramic coatings services. The following questions will allow detailers to deliver the best overall results tailored to customer-specific needs:

  • How long do you intend on keeping this vehicle? (for durability)
  • Where is the vehicle typically parked?
  • How often is the vehicle washed?
  • How is the vehicle washed? (to reinforce what the coating can or cannot endure)
  • What’s the typical usage of this vehicle?
  • What is your overall objective for a ceramic coating service?
  • Do track or race your vehicle? (to know if particle impacts are common)
  • Do rock chips or paint impact marks bother you? (if yes, then PPF is the Only Real Solution since coatings do not protect vs. road impacts.)
  • Is there anything special that you want me to know about your vehicle?

Answers to these questions will guide a business to effectively offer the best coating formulation for a vehicle, which best satisfies the client’s needs.

Setting a Customer’s Expectations for Ceramic Coatings

After clients answer the questions from the previous section, it is critical that a business explains why all of these answers are important to finding the right solution for their vehicle and preferences. Customers want to understand that your business is taking the best care of their vehicle as possible and, as a result, your business is looking out for them as people.

After asking the questions, it is then up to the detailing business to weigh the realistic expectations of their ceramic coating services vs. the client’s wants, in order to find the best solution for the client and vehicle.

To effectively set customer expectations a business must:

  • Offer a customized coating solution for the client’s vehicle.
  • Explain why the service fits the customer’s wants and needs, emphasizing their most important concerns.
  • Remember to explain the realistic outcomes or longevity based on the evaluation factors of the vehicle and the solution type.
  • Uncover the client’s perceived expectations about services. This allows the business to educate customers on any info they are unaware of, or about any false expectations they may hold.
  • Include the business’s philosophy to explain the business’s unique approach to the service solution.
  • Make sure to ask the client if they have any questions or concerns about the solution after it is presented. Use their questions as an opportunity to build trust with fully explained answers.

All of these steps prove very effective to build the value of the business’s knowledge and skill during the process.


Since Ceramic Coatings are primary service for some auto detailing businesses, it’s critical to correctly understand what a client is looking for.

Additionally, there is a lot of conflicting or false information floating around on the internet about how coatings function as protection. So, it is critical to understand client expectations and communicate realistic outcomes of specific coating formulations.

Relaying customer expectations and setting realistic outcomes for ceramic coatings will help to:

  • Strengthen the client’s confidence and trust in your business’s knowledge and expertise.
  • Build value for services and validate your price estimate for the client.
  • Generate customer excitement about the vehicle’s overall transformation.
  • Give the client exact clarity of what they will get, from your services, for their money.
  • Improve the overall experience from a customer’s perspective.

Ultimately, the entire goal of these steps is to build a sense of helpful trust in confidence in the minds of customers that your business and solution is the best option for them.

Gregory Gellas
Signature Detailing NJ
Hillsborough, NJ 08844
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