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Every dealership has an employee handbook, but a buy here pay here manual needs a little extra information to be complete.
When was the last time you updated your dealership handbook? If you don’t know the answer to that question, then it’s clearly been too long (or even worse, it’s never happened at all). An employee manual can be a useful tool for everyone in the dealership, but if it’s outdated, it can lead to some expensive problems. Ideally, you want to evaluate your manual yearly to ensure it’s current, but most buy here pay here manuals contain information that needs to be updated more often.
1. To create the perfect buy here pay here manual, start with the essentials.
A bulletproof handbook should always include the following chapters:
- Table of contents
- Company mission statement with a letter from the Owner/Dealer Principal
- Dealership hours of operation
- Vacation/PTO policy
- Sick time policy
- Holidays the dealership is closed
- Bereavement policy
- Health/Dental/Disability/Life Insurance information, including company renewal date(s) and enrollment costs
- 401K program information including employee eligibility rules and company match policies
- Payroll procedures including timecard policies for hourly employees
- Dress code requirements for each department
- Employee phone, internet, and social media policy
- Maternity and Family Medical Leave Act information
- Sexual harassment policy with space for the employee to sign. Be sure to keep the signed original in each employee’s personnel file.
- Signature page with an affidavit confirming the employee read and understood the handbook which should also be held in each employee’s personnel file.
- Current State and Federal dealership compliance resources
- Ongoing training resources and requirements for each department
- Software requirements (i.e. CRM, DMS, or Microsoft Office)
- Termination policy
2. Once your dealership handbook includes the essentials, it’s time to work on adding the information that makes it a complete buy here pay here manual.
BHPH dealers do more than sell cars; they take it a few steps farther by arranging loans and receiving monthly payments. Because their responsibilities go beyond the car lot, it’s necessary to include all the information employees need to manage the finance and payment process.
It’s best to update the following chapters every time there’s a change. Neglect can leave your dealership exposed to mistakes that often come with costly fines, so be sure to list any relevant regulations and penalties, both state and federal.
- Credit approval
- Finance plan data including current terms and interest rates
- Payment requirements
- Credit Bureau reporting
3. Paper or Digital?
The traditional employee handbook would be printed and distributed, but to save paper, and time, you may find it easier to create your manual in Google Docs. Employees can bookmark the link for easy access, and any documents that require a signature can be printed separately, without having to print the entire handbook. Update changes in real time, and make your team aware of any changes by sending a quick email blast. It’s also possible to restrict edit access, that way only approved managers can make changes to the content. Digital copies are also convenient because they include online backups, and they’re viewable from mobile devices.
4. Quality control is critical.
Never hand out an employee handbook before asking your lawyer to review the contents to guarantee your dealership is in compliance with all applicable state and federal employment laws. It’s a lot more cost effective to pay for a lawyer’s time than it is to deal with a lawsuit caused by negligence.
5. Presentation matters.
The last thing you want to do is overwhelm your team when you present your new buy here pay here manual. There is a lot of information to cover, but that doesn’t mean you have to go through it all in one meeting. Confirm that everyone received the new manual and set a deadline for employees to review it and turn in their affidavits. Take a few minutes to discuss the most relevant topics, but focus on how they can refer to the manual to help keep the dealership complaint.
A little mindfulness can save you big headaches (and even bigger bucks) when it comes to your buy here pay here manual.
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