Thursday, March 01, 2007

An F&I S.O.S.


Spring is almost here. Is your F&I department staffed for a new season of sales? If your dealership’s F&I production is drowning in a sea of paper, maybe it’s time for some assistance. An F&I assistant can work the paper mill to free up the manager’s time to focus on income opportunities.

Coverage

The F&I assistant’s job is to handle the paperwork involved in the F&I process. These tasks include entering deals into an automated application system, verifying insurance, and following up on lender stipulations for loan approval. These stipulations typically include verifying employment, residency and/or references, including those listed on the credit application.

In smaller dealerships, the F&I office may double as the title office. In these circumstances, the F&I assistant will also complete the title work, which allows the F&I manager to focus on working with lenders to get deals approved, follow up on lost sales opportunities, and participate in “save a deal” meetings with the sales manager.

The F&I assistant can also serve as an entry-level F&I manager to complete deals with customers on days when the regular manager is not on duty. And of course, the assistant usually prepares all the F&I reports that are submitted to senior management.

An F&I assistant may work part-time (particularly if your business is seasonal), or perform the dual role of sales secretary or assistant to the sales manager. The assistant may also “job share” with someone else at the dealership who prefers part-time employment.

Compensation

The F&I assistant is an hourly position. An assistant who sells should receive a small commission or other reward for making the successful second effort. To do otherwise will likely cause the dealership to forfeit opportunities for increased production.

Continuity

When the vehicle sales grow to a point of needing more than one F&I manager, the assistant should be well prepared to move into the additional full-time manager slot. The assistant will already know the F&I process, paperwork and computer system, affording the dealership an early start on high performance with no start-up time lag. A dealership that promotes from within sends a clear message that hard work and dedication are noticed and rewarded.

If your F&I numbers are signaling S.O.S., spring into action with an F&I assistant to alleviate the distress.

World of Special Finance, March 2007