We have coated our own plates from 2x3 and 4x5 to 8x10 and gotten very good results. The workshops went well and we turned out about 16 students who can do it with no trouble. It was so much in demand that both sessions were nearly full and each student coated a number of plates.

It is not hard. Anyone wishing to use plates should at least learn how to coat them using commercial emulsions if they don't want to make their own. It is much less expensive at least.