F&I Manager training has always been encouraged, but how much time and money do dealers need to invest to make their efforts worthwhile?
It’s not that much of a stretch to suggest that the business office is the pulse of any car sales operation. It’s also the first place to fall victim to overpriced and ineffective educational endeavors. Hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars get invested into F&I manager training each year with the hope of increasing profits and avoiding fines. Dealerships will do just about anything to simplify their daily routines, but find they can’t when they’re faced with new obstacles.
The average business manager has to observe guidelines from:
- Department of Transportation (rules vary by state)
- The Internal Revenue Service (state and federal)
- Financial Institutions / Lenders / Floorplan Companies
- Extended Service Providers
- Federal Trade Commission
Remember, not every organization sends policy change notifications, either.
Car dealers can’t claim ignorance as an excuse, so it’s important to find time during the week to study current car sales requirements. The upside is that there’s no need to pay a third party company to organize F&I manager training when most of the information necessary is right at your fingertips.
4 Ways to fuel inject your F&I Manager training
1. Make it a priority to stay informed.
- Read all notices obtained by lenders and financial institutions.
- Visit the state DOT website to check for policy changes and current registration and lienholder guidelines.
- Review applicable DOR and IRS guidelines and perform self-audits to ensure compliance with state and federal laws.
- Check dealer association websites for bulletins. NADA (National Auto Dealer Association) and NIADA (National Independent Auto Dealer Association) offer useful dealership training resources.
2. Create and maintain a reference binder.
Even with sufficient training, the list of car dealer compliance rules is so extensive that it’s almost impossible to remember them all correctly. Reference binders are useful for managers of all experience levels, and they’re a great place to store rate sheets, contact information, and funding stipulations.
Essential regulations to keep on file:
- The Disposal Rule
- Form 8300 (reporting cash payments more than $10,000)
- Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act including the Financial Privacy Rule and the Safeguards Rule
- Red Flags Rule
- The Used Car Rule
- Any other regulations that are difficult to remember
3. Save money by reducing travel expenses.
Training seminars and conferences used to be one of the best options for dealers looking to expand their knowledge, but that was in the past. Today’s dealers can’t afford to send their managers out for days at a time, nor do they want to pay excessive travel expenses. It’s become a lot easier for finance managers to maintain their education thanks to the digital tools and online classes that are now available.
Remember that yearly dealer association fee?
Make the most out of membership costs and see which F&I manager training materials are included with your dealer association subscriptions.
Always ask the following questions before taking a new course:
- How much time will it take to complete training?
- Is any travel required?
- Can the information help prevent costly fines?
- Have I already taken a class like this before?
- Could this information be found for free somewhere else?
- Will this training help remedy a current dealership issue/reoccurring problem?
4. Analyze the effectiveness of current training practices before even thinking about new ones.
Even when you eliminate expensive seminars and travel costs, training can still be quite the investment for most car dealers. Free courses still require business managers to sacrifice valuable work hours, putting a significant strain on the rest of the sales team to pick up the slack while they’re away. There’s also the risk of taking a class and walking away without any useful resources to help maintain compliance. Each dealership has different goals or issues to address, so consider all the factors when you evaluate F&I manager training. Do your research to decide which methods will work best for you, but as long as you make strides towards increased efficiency and profitability, you can be confident you’re moving in the right direction.
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