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Advances in F&I technology should lead to decreased compensation

By Phil Villegas

Over the course of the last several weeks I visited 3 different dealerships that are using docuPAD by Reynolds.  For those of you unfamiliar with docuPAD, it is a large screen that sits on an F&I managers desk across from the customer. Per the Reynold’s site “It provides personalized menu presentation, presents forms in an electronic menu format, discloses necessary contract and lease information, and captures files in an electronic deal jacket.”  I wouldn’t consider myself a techie, but I certainly appreciate the innovation to improve uniformity and compliance during the presentation of F&I products.

During these visits I’ve inquired of the dealers using the docuPAD about their general thoughts.  The dealers generally liked the systems after getting through the initial implementation, but they felt that they have not yet experienced a measurable increase in the F&I PVR.  Though, all three commented on the timing and efficiency with which clients are now being moved through F&I.  They are also enjoying the peace of mind in terms of product disclosure and presentation compliance.

Before closing the conversation with the three dealers I asked one final question that surprised all of them.  I asked them if they had changed or updated the F&I payplans to reflect this new environment…all three admitted they hadn’t and you could immediately see the wheels start turning.   After all, a large component of the F&I Manager’s role has now been automated.  This is not to say their product knowledge and experience have lost economic value, even though the mastery of working the form feeder printer is becoming as obsolete of a trade as a TV repairman.

Do not get me wrong, I’m am not opposed to F&I Managers earning a fair wage, but when we see the compensation of many F&I managers exceeding that of most private bank presidents, dealers need to embrace new technologies in areas that make sense.

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