Payment Plans Mean More Options for Selling Service Contracts

By: Toni McQuilken

Payment Plans Mean More Options for Selling Service Contracts

In today’s dealership, F&I products are a big part of the revenue stream. And in the F&I department, vehicle service contracts (VSCs) contribute a large amount to that bottom line. But while there will always be customers who decline to invest in a VSC, what about those who are interested, but, for one reason or another, can’t purchase — they don’t qualify for the additional amount as part of their loan; they were pre-approved and cannot deviate from that total; or they are a cash customer, with no loan at all? In those types of scenarios, does the dealership forego selling a service contract?

In many cases, the dealership looses the potential sale, but there is another option — VSC payment plans. Paylink, Service Payment Plan and Omnisure Group all sat down with AE Magazine to talk about what the product is, and why agents should care — and they all agree on the same reason.

“One of the most important things is that with just a little bit of effort, the agent and dealer can really add some significant revenue to the bottom line,” noted Rebecca Howard, CEO, PayLink. “From the agent’s perspective, there is very little effort to introduce it to the dealership.”

Robert Hymen, president of Service Payment Plan, agreed, noting, “Every dealership has a number of opportunities to use a payment every month. It is easier to increase a dealer’s business than to conquest a new dealer. If every dealer an agent works with sold just five more contracts a month, they would add considerable volume to their business. Every time a payment plan is used it is an incremental contract that otherwise would not have been made.”

“This product will increase their sales and income by allowing a customer, that wasn’t able to pay in full, an option to make payments over time for a product they benefit from in the future,” agreed Ed Walder, president, Omnisure Group

All three work in similar ways — they work with the providers and administrators to set up agreements, allowing the customer to pay for the service contract in no-interest monthly amounts; the average time to pay off the contract was 18 months. In all three companies, electronic debiting of the customer’s account each month is the preferred form of payment, although PayLink and Omnisure both noted that they want to work with the dealership to set up the best plan for them, which can include alternatives like a mailed check every month.

Beyond F&I
One of the key benefits for agents is that VSCs can be sold more easily outside of the F&I office, leading to more contracts and more sales overall. While all three companies noted that there are multiple ways a dealership can take advantage of that flexibility, the most common place outside of F&I they see the VSCs being sold is the service drive.

“The service drive is an excellent place to sell service contracts,” said Hymen. “This will be a growing area. It is when the customer is in service that they realize things can and do go wrong with their car. What better time to tell a customer, ‘today’s repairs are covered by your manufacturers warranty. It is a good thing this was still under your warranty because otherwise it would cost X dollars but in x number of months or miles you will be responsible. You are still eligible to purchase a service contract for as long as you plan to own your car and can pay for it monthly, interest free over 18 payments.’”

Walder agreed, noting, “The key is selling a good VSC matched with consumer-friendly payment plans that properly compensate the dealership at all levels. A service department should be able to share in the sale, as well as receive the long term benefit of performing service under the contract.”

PayLink’s Howard agreed, but noted that the service drive isn’t the only place a dealership can take advantage of added sales. One example she pointed out is in dealership newsletters to customers who purchased a car — with a payment plan, the dealership can offer the VSC as an after-sale product at any point, providing a potential revenue stream that, for most dealerships, is completely untapped right now.

Hymen added that he believes the F&I manager should always be the first one offering a service contract, and should always try, at least, to sell it the traditional way. For him, offering payment plan options should be the second line of defense in F&I, and from there should be a tool used to increase sales at other customer touch points.

Overall, one thing is clear — payment plan options are easy for agents to add to their portfolio, and are an easy way to increase revenue for everyone involved. They allow dealerships to makes sales that they otherwise would have lost, or, alternatively, capture sales that today they aren’t even going after. And even a few more contracts sold per month can make an impact on the bottom line.

VSC Payment Plan Roundup

Omnisure Group

Omnisure Group
Ed Walder, President

In your opinion, what do most agents need to know about this type of payment plan in general that they don’t already?

It is a ZERO/NO interest payment plan to the consumer and increases dealer revenue.

Read More »

Paylink

Paylink
Rebecca Howard, CEO

In your opinion, what do most agents need to know about this type of payment plan in general that they don’t already?

One of the most important things is that with just a little bit of effort, the agent and dealer can really add some significant revenue to the bottom line. It allows them to sell service contracts they might not have been able to sell, such as times when they weren’t able to qualify the customer, or incorporate it into the loan, or it was a cash buyer, etc.

Read More »

Service Payment Plan

Service Payment Plan
Robert Hymen, President

In your opinion, what do most agents need to know about this type of payment plan in general that they don’t already?

Every dealership has a number of opportunities to use a payment every month. It is easier to increase a dealers business than to conquest a new dealer. If every dealer an agent works with sold just five more contracts a month, they would add considerable volume to their business.

Read More »

This article was written by:

- has written 845 posts on Agent Entrepreneur.

Toni McQuilken is the managing editor for AE Magazine and P&A Magazine. She has a decade of editorial experience in the trade publishing world, across several industries, including print and graphics, as well as hospitality and technology. To contact her, e-mail tmcquilken@mgigmedia.com.

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The views expressed by the authors and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Agent Entrepreneur or any employee thereof.

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