There are many career paths one can take in the car business. Service, Parts, Sales and Accounting all require different skills and offer unique opportunities to employees. Within the sales department there are a number of opportunities. One of the most sought after jobs in the dealership is in the Finance and Insurance (F&I) department.
While jobs in F&I are extremely competitive, they are not always as glamorous as they sound. High stress and long hours are common, and turnover is usually higher than jobs on the sales floor. All of that aside, F&I offers many great benefits. It is an important part of the dealership and an important part of any automotive career path.
Here are a few of the benefits to working in F&I:
Fewer Cold Calls and “Ups”
As an F&I manager, you have the luxury of customers walking into your office without much effort on your part to get them there. In a well-functioning dealership, the sales staff will qualify customers and nail down terms of the deal before they end up in the F&I office. This can be a welcome change from the days of cold calling and standing out on the front line waiting to take an “up”.
Excellent Earning Potential
Many consumers are very concerned with the price they will pay for their vehicle, but most are horribly unprepared to negotiate the terms of the products sold in the F&I office. This does not give an F&I manager free reign to take advantage of people, but it does create many opportunities to add value to the customer and to generate additional revenue for the dealership.
F&I managers are often paid a percentage of the profit they generate. This payment structure combined with a high volume of customers passing through the F&I office can result in a significantly higher paycheck than that of the average salesperson.
Opportunities for Learning and Growth
You can only progress so far on the sales floor when it comes to new skills and knowledge, but F&I offers incredible opportunities to grow and learn in the car business. Learning to sell financing and insurance products can open many doors for you in your career, whether you stay in the car business or pursue another career such as financial services, or the insurance industry.
Stepping Stone to Upper Management
Moving up the career ladder in the car business almost certainly will require some time in the F&I office. Intimate knowledge of F&I is an essential part of sales management. It is impossible to structure a deal on the sales floor without understanding how interest rates, lease factors, and aftermarket products will affect the terms of the sale
If you aspire to someday manage a sales department, or manage an entire dealership, you will need to stand in line for an opportunity to work in the F&I office. The competition is high, but the reward is well worth it.