The automotive finance and insurance industry is booming and more individuals who are looking to expand their careers in this field are turning to this option. While you need to start with getting a solid education in the F&I field first, just like any other career advancement opportunity, if your goal is to become an F&I manager, it’s essential to understand more about the responsibilities of an F&I manager so you can be better prepared to take on this role. The following information will provide you with the guidance you need so you can decide if this is the right choice for you, as well as start working toward your goals by seeking out a qualified school like the Automotive Dealership Institute, from which you can earn your certificate and land yourself the job of your dreams.
The General Answer
If you ask anyone what an F&I manager in the automotive industry does, you’ll likely encounter answers like handling money or selling cars. In the most basic terms, this is true. When you work in the field of finance and insurance as it relates to the automotive industry, you will be helping the rest of the sales staff sell cars, as well as assist customers in obtaining the vehicle they want at a price they can afford. However, these aren’t the only responsibilities of an F&I manager. There’s much more you should know about the job before you decide if you want to pursue this career path.
Protection from Legal Issues
Whenever you’re working in a field where goods and money exchange hands, there are a lot of legal issues and risks that come into play. In your role as an F&I manager, a lot of the responsibilities associated with protecting the dealership from litigation fall on your shoulders. You are likely the one who will be dealing with exchanging funds with your customers and making sure they are fully satisfied with their experience. Many individuals are wary of working with car dealerships for fear of being scammed or getting a vehicle that doesn’t work the way it was promised. It’s your job to make sure customers feel confident in the purchase they are making and your dealership is fully covered from any legal issues that could arise as the result of a sale. This includes making sure the customer is who they say they are so you aren’t selling a car under fraudulent premises.
When customers sit down with you in your office, it’s up to you to explain everything to them in a way they understand. This extends beyond simply talking about the financing terms under which they’re buying a vehicle. There are many additional services a dealership may offer their customers, such as extended service contracts and GAP insurance. In most cases, it’s the responsibility of the F&I manager to not only offer these products to the customers at the time of the sale, but also explain the details, how they work, how much they cost and why they can be beneficial so customers can make the most informed decision possible. It’s not just about selling a car; it’s about making sure customers are ready to take on the responsibility of owning that car.
Working with Vendors
Not only will you be dealing with customers on a daily basis, but you’ll also be responsible for maintaining relationships with lenders and other vendors so your dealership can continue to provide a high level of service to the customers. You need to stay on top of the changing trends within the industry and pass this information along to your sales people, so they never provide inaccurate information to the customer. You may be the last line of defense before customers drive off the lot, but your sales team is the front line, and they need to be prepared as well.
Some other responsibilities of an F&I manager include:
- Processing accurate deals
- Creating new programs to draw in customers and increase sales
- Stay updated on leasing and financing option trends
- Offer stellar customer service
What Are the Job Requirements
Now that you’re aware of the responsibilities of an F&I manager, it’s essential to learn how you can land this kind of job. First and foremost, due to the delicate nature of dealing with financing on these larger purchases, it’s essential to seek an education from a qualified institution. The Automotive Dealership Institute offers an online course as well as a 4-week hands-on in-person program that stands apart from all others, allowing you to get certified in the area of finance and insurance for the automotive industry with confidence. However, before you move up the ranks to management, you will likely first need to gain at least two years of experience at a dealership with a preferred year of experience as a manager, develop solid communication skills and show that you hold to a high standard of ethics. All these factors will ensure you are fit for this job, along with all of its responsibilities.