Fill-In F&I Managers? Worth It or A Headache?

Fill-In F&I Managers? Worth It or A Headache?

Even the busiest dealership has staffing problems from time to time. You could have inevitable turnover due to disgruntled employees, staff that’s recruited to the store down the street, and or some that may get sick or have family obligations that keep them at home more than you would like. Sometimes, employees quit without giving notice. 

No matter what, it always seems to be at the worst possible time when you are left shorthanded in F&I and we all know what happens next…deals stack up and customers are not happy.

Your provider may offer what is so affectionately called ‘ringers’ to come in and help as a short-term body to deliver deals. The more professional term is ‘fill-in’ F&I. 

Providers usually leverage their trainers as fill-in help since they are generally seasoned pros with many years in the field. 

Let’s take a look at how it can help when you’re in a pinch with a busy Saturday coming up…

 

Benefits of a Temporary F&I Fill-In – 

  • They help keep the flow of deals going on busy days and don’t need to be trained in how to sell or execute paperwork.
  • They understand everything from a compliance perspective and should be as ethical as any of your regular staff. 
  • Guaranteeing reliable professionals at all times. When employees quit or go on vacations, these professionals help scale up your F&I sales and the continuation of dealership deals as well as retaining customers.
  • Assist with the onboarding training process for the F&I department.

 

Potential issues with ‘fill-ins’?

  • They may not understand the sales/F&I dynamic very well…the synergy between departments since they are not familiar with the staff or managers.
  • If mistakes are made, it’s not so easy to backtrack since they move from store to store.
  • Temporary F&I could be confusing to your customers…if they see staff members on the dealership website and then are in the box with someone they don’t recognize, it could make that situation a little weird. And if there are questions on the product in the days post-sale, that fill-in is gone and now they have to ask someone else.

 

What to Keep In Mind – 

If your provider offers fill-in F&I helps when you know you’re losing someone either permanently or for a short amount of time, consider these points before you commit to this…

  • Ask how much experience they have…do they have familiarity with your F&I systems, your OE financing arms, etc. You won’t have time to train if they don’t.
  • Iron out how they get comped for their deals. You don’t want any nasty surprises after the deals fund. 
  • Be sure to introduce them quickly to the sales team so they understand fully how the team dynamic is and what the procedures are. Don’t assume they will just ‘figure it out’.

 

No dealership wants to be down an F&I manager during busy days. It disrupts everything but if you have access to fill-in help from your provider, try it out and see if it works smoothly. If it does, it’s a great stopgap when staff leaves you scrambling.