In the early years of my career, silicone was a bad word in the detailing industry as it related to body shops and the use of dressings. However, over time, silicone has become one of the most widely used raw materials in the detailing industry. Silicone is best known for its use in tire dressings, both solvent based and water based. It’s not uncommon for a quality tire dressing to contain 20% or more silicone.
The challenge as of late with silicone has been both availability and cost. In recent months, costs of silicone fluids have essentially tripled or quadrupled in price per pound and are now on allocation. All manufacturers are scrambling to obtain product and they’re concerned as to how they are going to pass along the increased costs. In years past, pricing for silicone was volatile but nowhere near what the industry is experiencing today. Due to the severity of the increases, manufacturers are forced to pass along the cost through increased pricing unlike any we have experienced in the past.
The future of silicone pricing is yet to be told, but history indicates it should level out and decline as market conditions allow. Dressing is a very important asset when detailing a car and although prices are currently high, it is still a very cost effective way to improve the appearance of the car’s tires and interior surfaces.
Pricing for five gallons of tire dressing prior to the increases ranged from $85 to $120, but have now hit $150 to $200 per five gallons. Keep in mind, it takes about 4 ounces of product or less to dress a tire, so what once cost about .74 cents per detail to dress 4 tires now costs about .94 cents. I don’t think .20 to .40 cents per car should really impact our business, do you? And as with all challenges come innovations and you may see some new products introduced to again change the way we detail.