How Much Does it Cost to Paint a Car?

When the paintwork on a vehicle requires improvement, some car owners assume that they need to find out the cost to paint a car. However, paint correction can often be the more efficient and cost-effective option. 

What is Paint Correction?

For car enthusiasts, paint correction is quickly becoming one of the most popular detailing services out there. Paint correction treatment is way more intricate than a simple polish that only fills or hides imperfections. Paint correction actually removes any swirls, blemishes, or scratches on the paintwork to create a mirror-like shine. It involves delicately buffing away the fine topmost layer of clear coat on a vehicle’s paintwork, leaving it flawless.

Paint correction requires the precision and knowledge of a highly-skilled detailer, and the results can be stunning. Some detailers refer to the craft as “paint refinement”, because the vehicle’s paintwork can end up looking even better than when it came off the factory line.

How Much Does Paint Correction Cost?

Detailers who offer paint correction—and do it well— can reap big rewards. The average paint correction cost starts at $500, and it can cost upwards of $2,500, depending on the vehicle’s condition.

If you’re a detailer looking to offer paint correction services, it can be challenging to know how much to charge. Read on to learn how to set your paint correction price, so you make the biggest impact to your bottom line.

The Challenge of Coming Up with Paint Correction Prices

As any detailing business owner knows, coming up with pricing is one of the biggest challenges. Since paint correction is even more niche and specialized, it can be significantly more difficult to price.

You might incorporate your paint correction cost into your detailing price packages now. But that could very likely cost you in the long term. That’s because menu pricing often doesn’t take into account all the variables that go into a job. And that means you’re charging the same amount regardless of the work involved. In other words, you’re undervaluing your time.

For this reason, variable-based pricing is the best way to make sure that you’re charging what your time is actually worth. That way, you can set your paint correction price on a case-by-case basis depending on the amount of work and time involved.

Create a Pricing Strategy to Come Up with Your Paint Correction Cost

A variable-based pricing strategy is the best way to keep your paint correction prices high. It allows you to charge the right amount for the work and the time involved. Trying to assess variables under pressure, or worse, off the top of your head, is challenging. And these tactics are a great way to open yourself up to customer objections on your paint correction price. 

That’s why you want to come up with a clear set of parameters for determining your paint correction cost. That means thinking about everything you do and every product you use and pricing them accordingly. 

Here are a few variables to consider when setting your paint correction price:

  • The condition of the vehicle. Paint correction on a brand new vehicle is going to take less work than an old vehicle with years-worth of paint damage.
  • The size of the vehicle. Typically, the larger the vehicle, the higher the paint correction cost.
  • The customer’s expectations. There’s a big difference between removing 95% or 65% of the vehicle’s imperfections. So it’s crucial you know your customer’s expectations before coming up with your paint refinement price.
  • The paint correction stage. This is one of the most important things to consider when it comes to setting your paint correction cost. The stage you select determines the work and the time that will go into it. (More on this below.)

Paint Correction Stages

  • Stage 1 Paint Correction is used for paint in already pretty good condition with very minor defects. For Stage 1, you use a finishing polish and a finishing pad, then follow it with a wax or paint sealant to protect the paint work. This takes about 4 hours on average.
  • Stage 2 Paint Correction is used on vehicles with some swirl marks and/or light scratches.  This takes 2 polish and pad combinations. First, an abrasive polish removes the paint defects then a finishing polish and pad are used to refine the paint work afterwards. Again, it’s followed by a wax or paint sealant for protection. This can take about 8 hours on average.
  • Stage 3 Paint Correction is used on cars with heavy swirl marks and scratches. The first step of Stage 3 is to use a heavy cutting compound and pad to remove the deep swirl marks and scratches. Sometimes this includes spot wet sanding if there are heavy scratches. Then it’s followed by a finishing polish and pad for refinement then a wax or sealant. This can take up to 12 hours to complete.

Set an Hourly Rate for Yourself

One great way of setting your paint correction cost is by thinking about it in terms of your time. That’s why you should come up with an hourly rate for yourself. Be sure to consider your location, competition, and level of experience.

You can then use your hourly rate to set your paint correction price based on one of the biggest variables of the job—your time.

Stick to your hourly rate and use it as a tool for pricing any services you offer, including paint correction.

Take Advantage of Technology

Even using the tips above, it can be difficult to maintain consistency, especially when under pressure. One way to ensure accurate and consistent estimates every time is by taking advantage of technology. Mobile Tech RX is an app designed specifically for auto recon professionals to help them estimate their work and keep high-value pricing.

Using the app, you build estimates on the spot working through the variables as you go. This not only looks professional to the customer, but it also ensures you’re charging what you’re worth.

The Mobile Tech RX detailing app lets you select the paint correction or paint refinement stage as an add-on to your car detailing package. We use the paint correction stage and your hourly labor rate to calculate a fair price. This is a custom calculation that you can add to any estimate. 

Using technology like Mobile Tech RX will help you validate your paint correction prices. By providing legitimacy to your quotes and estimates using Mobile Tech RX, you can cut out negotiations with your customer. And that means you save your valuable time and get the highest price for every job.

Earn More Money

Mobile Tech RX is the country’s number one management software for auto recon professionals. To learn how it can help you make more money and grow your detailing business, try it now for free.

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