This is the first time Iíve heard of either film or ceramic coating. Does anyone have ballpark prices for each? Recommendations on where to get it done?
Both are expensive and serve slightly differently purposes.
The film is intended to protect applied surfaces from impact damage to the paint due to small stones/grit. It is applied to selective (high impact risk) areas.
The ceramic coating is more like a "super wax". It provides superior protection to the paint against all the environmental things that degrade it. It maintains a superior gloss and protection much longer than the typical wax or polish. It is applied to the entire vehicle. It does not protect against stone chips and does require some specific care and maintenance.
Both can be applied as DIY but require specific techniques and are multi-step processes, the most critical is surface preparation prior to application. Best left to the professionals.
I had 3M film applied to my Pacifica on all high risk areas (full hood, full front fenders, headlights, front bumper/facia, "A" pillars, area just above the windshield, front of exterior mirrors, 4 door cups (protects paint from finger nail scratches when grabbing door handle) and flat surface of rear bumper. Initial quote was for $2400 but negotiated down to $1200. My timing was good as the shop was in the slow season.
I don't know the cost of the ceramic coating.
You will need to do some research to find places in your area to get it done. The closet authorized 3M installer was 60 miles from my location. The warranty on the 3M film (7 years) requires installation by an authorized installer. The film has been on my van a little over 2 years and still looks great. No damage. No paint chips or scratches. The film can be removed and replaced if needed.