Even temporarily outsourcing your F&I department instead of building out your own could result in dramatic increases to your dealership’s revenue while providing superior service to customers.
The Problems With Internal F&I Services
Financing and insurance services can be the most important revenue sources for any dealership. Counter to what many may think, the revenue brought in purely from vehicle sales is subject to such narrow margins that it would be impossible for a dealership to survive without additional sources of income.
To remedy this, many recreational vehicle dealerships build an internal F&I department to serve a customer’s needs in-house. This could include offering direct financing on vehicle purchases from the dealership itself, placing a surcharge on loans coming from outside lenders like banks (and facilitating the process), or managing the insurance options for customers.
No one would suggest that a dealership being involved in this part of the process is inherently a bad idea, but there are risks to building out an entire F&I department independently. Outsourcing on a temporary basis or augmenting your F&I capabilities through an experienced firm is the key to ensuring a high-quality customer experience and a solid revenue stream.
What happens when a small internal F&I department loses a key employee? The answer is that F&I services (remember, the key to sustainable revenue) grind to a halt. The time and expense it takes to recruit new, qualified staff, all while missing out on potential deals with clients, can wipe out the benefit of ever having created the department in the first place.
However, all is not lost. Working with an outsourced F&I provider, even on a short to medium-term basis for temporary finance jobs, can carry you through the rough patches.If a finance manager quits or needs to be terminated, a back-up plan must be in place. Many dealerships choose to hire F&I outsourcing firms like Finance Solution on a temporary basis during seasonal peaks.
So, a lack of a robust internal F&I department has severe impacts on revenue, but the problem goes a bit deeper. When trying to grow an internal department, expert training is crucial. A temporary F&I outsourcing plan can provide the training necessary to develop a solid internal team.
Particularly if a finance manager quits, they will be nearly impossible to replace without a solid training plan in place.
One of the most important responsibilities of an F&I department is to ensure that, before a customer drives off the lot, they are properly insured and liability is fully transferred to the new owner. It is easy to imagine a disaster scenario where a customer drives off the lot, immediately gets into an accident at the first stoplight, and the dealer is still liable for damages.
If your staff has not been trained properly and does not have the experience to protect your dealership, this can be a complete disaster.
Outsourcing your F&I, even on a temporary basis, could prove to be essential to maintaining customer satisfaction and overall business success.
Outsourcing Finance Departments
Building an internal F&I department or scaling up an existing one can be incredibly expensive. However, there are alternatives out there. Even if a dealership only contracts with an expert F&I services firm like Finance Solution on a temporary basis, revenue and profits could grow faster and reach higher than they ever could by working alone.
One common way to do this is to hire an outsourced provider temporarily while the large time and resource investments are made to develop a robust internal department. An F&I firm will offer all of the advantages for a dealership and its customers while the hiring and infrastructure development takes place. Temporarily outsourcing F&I also offers the benefit of training from a team of experts who have rich experience in the industry.
Essentially, the benefit here is peace of mind. Peace of mind that customers aren’t walking into the door and leaving because there is no financing solution available to them and peace of mind that customers are being taken through each step of the process correctly (as in the insurance situation explained above).
Whether you work with Finance Solution on a short or long-term basis, the value of the partnership is hard to miss. Contact us today to learn about how our services can drive profits for your dealership.