How much should you price rustproofing services?

How much should you price rustproofing services?

Learn effective pricing strategies to maximize your bottom line, understand market conditions, and explore various rustproofing methods.

Offering rustproofing services grows profits and adds value to your business. How should you price them to maximize your bottom line?

Knowing how to price your rustproofing services goes beyond basic market research. Here’s what you should know about adding rustproofing to your menu of service offerings.

Why offer rustproofing services?

Offering rustproofing services provides your customers with genuine value while increasing your profits. Rust decreases the value of their vehicle by as much as 20%, and oxidized metal components threaten the car’s structural integrity, shortening its useful life span.1

Carwashes have a unique business opportunity for offering rustproofing services. Part of the rustproofing process requires a thorough vehicle cleaning, and you already have the equipment to do so.2

Location also matters. Carwashes located in snowy areas where road salt rules several months of the year have a built-in customer base. However, you shouldn’t automatically dismiss adding this service if you own a carwash in Phoenix, Arizona. People travel, and adding specialty services elevates your wash’s prestige.

Factors that encourage rust to form

While rust formation occurs from a simple chemical reaction, certain conditions can cause the process to accelerate.

1. Water and oxygen

Rust occurs whenever you expose iron or an alloy to moisture in the presence of oxygen. Iron oxides form when oxygen ions combine with iron ions, gradually weakening the bonds in iron’s structure over time.

However, people in the Deep South experience as much humidity and water as those further north but often have fewer rust issues. That’s because they frequently lack a vital catalyst that folks in snowier climates have in droves.

2. Road salt

Road salt acts as a catalyst, speeding up the formation of iron oxide (rust) on metal surfaces.3 It’s particularly notorious across the upper Midwest and snowy Northeast. Worst, it affects areas of your vehicle that aren’t always visible. Some savvy vehicle owners sit their cars on top of lawn sprinklers on full blast to wash away this road debris from their undercarriage.4

Although this approach removes the catalyst, it’s hardly effective over the winter months, when protecting your home’s plumbing requires shutting off outdoor spigots and detaching hoses. Plus, you only need water and oxygen to form rust — washing the salt off slows but doesn’t stop the process. Keep this in mind when marketing rustproofing services.

3. Damage to paint

One solid reason people need rustproofing services regardless of where they live is that damage to your car’s paint can accelerate rust. It can occur from minor scratches you might not notice, but once it grows, it can damage your car’s structural integrity.5

4. Acidic environments

Acid rain forms when coal burning leads to sulfur emissions. Although the international community took joint action to reduce acid rain in the 1990s, reducing such emissions by 90% in the U.S., certain areas may have greater environmental exposure.6 Those who live in coal-producing regions or near factories that rely on it for power generation may face increased rust risks.

Types of rust-protection services

New car manufacturers often use galvanized steel these days to prevent rust formation. Some models even come with electronic rust prevention modules, though results vary. After-market rustproofing services take one of three forms.

1. Drip oil spray wax

This method is the original and takes the longest. It requires up to 48 hours to dry and entails drilling tiny holes, which you later plug with rubber or plastic caps, to ensure full coverage of all affected components.

2. Dripless spray wax

This more recent innovation dries more quickly, with no 48-hour cure time required. However, it may not cover as thoroughly as the first method, and you must still drill holes.

3. Spray-on tar-based undercoating

This method offers a bonus of reducing vehicle noise while driving. Many customers use this type of rust prevention around wheel wells. It requires an annual inspection to look for cracks where moisture may enter.

Different methods of treating rust

What if a vehicle already has extensive rust damage? If you aren’t ready to expand to full body-shop services, allying with such a facility can help you both grow your respective businesses.

1. The traditional method

The traditional method of removing rust entails using a sander to remove all affected metal. If this leaves holes, you must fix these with body filler and let it harden. Then, hand sand and coat the area with primer, followed by paint and clear coat.

2. Replace components

A second method of addressing rust is to remove corroded components and replace them. You can often buy aftermarket panels for bodywork. Performing intricate undercarriage work often requires the help of a professional mechanic.

Sample rustproofing pricing solutions

You have several options for pricing your rustproofing services. Keep in mind that adding such packages at the dealer may cost anywhere from $550 to $1,000.7 You can often be more competitive by using one of the following methods to price your rustproofing solutions.

1. By vehicle make, model or body style

The larger the vehicle is, the more coating it requires. You might set separate prices for trucks, sedans and SUVs. Additionally, certain luxury cars may need extra TLC — an upcharge for certain models may be somewhat controversial but possible.

2. By service requested

You might offer only one type of rustproofing service or several. For example, you may offer a choice of dripless spray wax and tar undercoatings. You might provide wheel well guards and full undercoating services. You can also offer an anti-corrosion warranty for your rust work, although you must draft such contracts carefully, ensuring you know what types of damage you will and will not cover.

3. Various package deals

A third pricing idea is to offer various package deals. For example, you might offer X free washes after a rustproofing service or design a total body care package that involves annual rustproofing, biweekly washes and monthly waxes to protect your customer’s ride.

Performing market research

You have multiple methods for performing marketing research to determine the right price:

  • Work the web: The internet provides insight into what other shops charge, although not all list their prices online.
  • Walk the walk: Visit other shops offering such services to inquire about prices. You can also call, but an in-person visit often reveals other unspoken tips that can drive improvements in your business model.

How to market rustproofing solutions to customer

Marketing your rustproofing services is often as simple as mentioning them as customers check out. However, you can learn a lot about people by their ride. Keep these tips in mind for how to spin your pitch.

1. Logical appeals

Customers with pin-neat and tidy rides or obvious work vehicles often relate most to logical appeals that speak to protecting the value of their investment. You might mention the effects of harsh winter weather and road salt or how rust diminishes the resale value. 

2. Emotional appeals

Conversely, a customer with a car laden with stuffed animals, various bumper stickers or other signs of personality are more likely to think of their ride as their “baby.” You might mention how long bodywork takes, separating you from your car or mention that their vehicle deserves as much TLC as the precious cargo it carries.

How much should you price rustproofing services?

Rustproofing services add value to customers and help you raise revenue. Finding the sweet spot for pricing them increases their appeal.

Use the information above to price your rustproofing services. Elevating your carwash above the rest by offering these services as an add-on or part of a service keeps your facility’s name prominent in customers’ minds.



Oscar Collins is the founder and editor-in-chief of Modded, where he writes about cars, car trends and auto news. Follow him on Twitter @TModded for frequent updates on his work.

You May Also Like

Get your car summer ready during National Spring Car Care Month 

Make summer driving safe and enjoyable with these eight basic maintenance tips for your roadtripping vehicle.

The season that features one of America’s favorite pastimes, the family road trip, is just around the corner, and Lucas Oil has eight important tips for National Spring Car Care Month to make sure vehicles are ready to hit the road and deliver miles of memories and great times.

How to manage overtime at your carwash

Discover essential tips to ensure transparency, fair pay and employee satisfaction while managing overtime effectively.

scales, money, wages
7 points to consider when installing bollards at your carwash

Bollards provide safe spaces for vacuuming, detailing, and finishing work in areas where people and cars are moving.

How durable are ceramic coatings?

Understanding the longevity of ceramics in automotive protection.

yellow car exterior in auto dealership
5 critical considerations for carwash parking lot upkeep

Neglected customer loading, exiting, vacuum and waiting areas can throw away business potential.

Other Posts

Can You Count on Your Insurance to Cover Car Wash Damage?

When it comes to car wash damage, insurance coverage can vary. It’s important to understand your policy and consult with your insurance provider.

signing car insurance
The Benefits of Professional Car Detailing: Taking Your Vehicle to the Next Level

A regular professional washing and detailing is an investment in the overall health and appearance of your vehicle or fleet.

Jordan McDowell blog The Benefits of Professional Car Detailing
The carwash pay station of the future is here

Dencar promises 10-second sales, fraud protection and true unattended automation.

Enhancing the carwashing experience for senior customers

Strategies for carwash owners and operators when serving this customer base.