You would assume that the highest paying F&I manager positions would be in regions with high-cost cities such as New York, Boston and San Francisco.
Not necessarily, according to data from the National Automobile Dealers Association’s 2016 Dealership Workforce Study. The study includes a number of insights into compensation and perks for F&I managers and how their pay compares with that of other dealership employees.
The region with the highest F&I manager compensation in 2015 comprises Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas. The overall average annual compensation for an F&I manager in those states stood at $154,071 in 2015, up 2 percent from a year earlier, the study found. That was the highest average pay in nine regions of the U.S.
In contrast, the overall average compensation for an F&I manager in the region made up of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania stood at $123,705, even after a 25 percent jump from 2014.
What the study called the East North Central region had the lowest average pay: $119,394, down 1 percent from a year earlier. That region comprises Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.
One perk didn’t follow that regional pattern: the company-provided car.
In the low-paying East North Central region, 36 percent of dealerships reported providing a company car for F&I managers.
In the Mid-Atlantic region -- New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania -- 33 percent of dealerships said they provided a company car to F&I managers.
That was a perk handed out by only 14 percent of the dealerships in the Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas region and only 4 percent of the dealerships in the Pacific region, made up of Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington.
Of course, pay variances also showed up depending on whether the F&I manager worked at a luxury- or nonluxury-brand dealership, though the variances were surprisingly minor. And the top performers made much more than the average F&I practitioners.
An F&I manager at a luxury-brand dealership earned on average nationwide $2,653 a week, just 4.9 percent more than the $2,528 earned by someone in the same role at a nonluxury-brand dealership.
That pay gap was much smaller than for other dealership positions. For example, service advisers at luxury dealerships on average earned 32 percent more than their peers at nonluxury stores. Parts consultants averaged 16 percent more if they worked at luxury stores vs. nonluxury stores.
Or consider top performers.
In 2015, 13 percent of all F&I managers earned more than $200,000, compared with 12 percent in 2014.
The study found that the national average annual compensation for the top 10 percent of F&I directors/producers was $211,701 in 2015, or 72 percent more than the national median compensation of $122,976.
But the disparity between the average individual’s pay and that of the top 10 percent was even greater for three other positions.
The top 10 percent of fixed-operations directors earned $267,076, or 89 percent more than the national median of $141,479.
The national median pay for a general manager/operator was $255,796, but the top 10 percent of people in that position got more than double that: $574,970.
Interestingly, the top 10 percent of F&I assistants/document specialists also earned more than double that of their average peers. The top 10 percent got $86,643, vs. the national median compensation of $40,084.