27 Aug Simple Ways to Make Work-Life Balance an F&I Priority
F&I managers often have the distinction of being the first to show up and the last to leave. If there is a potential buyer with a pulse, there could be a deal to make and F&I are often the only ones that can issue tags and execute the paperwork, even for spot deals. They are there anywhere from 50-75 hours per week in a moderately busy store.
The dealership becomes your life. Period.
So, can you establish a healthy work-life balance for your F&I staff? Is it possible? And how does this look during the pandemic when so many F&I managers were furloughed early on and having been trying to recoup lost income over the last few months with restrictions eased? Can that make burnout worse than ever?
Realistic Hours for Everyone
Some dealers in recent years have moved to a more creative way to handle the F&I scheduling. A few dealer groups have moved to hiring PT F&I staff to help with the cyclical nature of the business, offering them 25-30 hours per week with a compensation plan that makes it easy to still maintain a high 5 figure income. This takes a load off the core staff by giving them a little extra time off during the week for rest and rejuvenation.
Consider making it a standard practice to offer a capped 50-hour week…no more. Show your F&I staff that you respect their personal time and will not ALLOW staff to overwork. It sends a positive message that work-life balance is important in your store.
If your store is open Sundays, consider a one-day weekend, one-off weekday schedule. Again, this gives the F&I managers a precious day during the week to handle errands, appointments, and family obligations. No working all weekend and if your store is closed on Sunday, consider a mandatory Saturday off during the month. A full weekend (not at the end of course) off is like gold to an F&I manager.
Burnout in F&I
F&I managers that are working too long will make mistakes in executing paperwork. Mistakes will be made, signatures missing, chargebacks increasing. Deals will take longer than they should. Tempers will run high between F&I and sales for sometimes the smallest things. It can be a real mess.
Some industry experts speculate that after about 70 deals in a month, mistakes will increase. Staff trying to recoup lost income during the height of the COVID lockdowns may be pushing too hard to work as much as possible and that stress can lead to sloppy deals and bad CSI.
Absenteeism may not be obvious as most F&I managers will come in with a fever to do a day’s worth of deals. Head that off by simply asking for input from your staff about what kind of schedule would make it easy to get the R&R they need to be the most effective closers they can be. Don’t punish them for taking a sick day and let them know their wellbeing is important.