Behind all the bright lights, shiny vehicles, free coffee, and seasonal promotions lies the true center of every dealership: cash flow.
We all know the importance of sales bells and strong grosses—but as the amount of liquidity available to the business at any moment, cash often has the final word. Automotive’s slim margins mean cash flow is king; it’s why controllers created heat sheets in the first place.
We’re all accustomed to contracts in transit and their impacts on cash flow. Anyone who’s been accountable for a CIT schedule has visceral memories of heat sheets and insults spouted from a controller waiting for deals to be funded. In this era of trades commanding high ACVs and short-staffed dealerships returning to old habits of spot-delivering cars or paper contracts — it’s a perfect storm for negative cash flow.
Let’s take an example from the real world:
Saturday and Sunday. A dealer’s F&I office is swamped during a busy weekend. Customers are put out on paper contracts with temporary tags—and, by late Sunday, there’s a big stack of unbought deals to first put into DealerTrack or RouteOne.
Monday. The team comes in and catches up after the busy weekend. Not all of Saturday’s and Sunday’s deals get put into lender portals until Tuesday.
Tuesday. The deals are first FedEx’d to lender processing facilities.
Thursday. Paper documents are first processed by the lenders.
Friday. Dealer finally gets funded.
In other words, for a week while customers are enjoying their new vehicles the dealership is out the contract amount plus any payoff on a trade. And while spending 5 days down $30,000 might not be the end of the world for most dealerships—being down $600,000 for that amount of time across 20 vehicles could be.
How does AutoFi help dealers solve this cash flow problem? The AutoFi Lender Network connects your dealership with 40+ captives and non-captive lenders. An AutoFi application completed by the customer is sent to the lender portal instantly, so your F&I manager can finally use DealerTrack’s or RouteOne’s e-sign, and your dealership gets paid in real time (subject to your lender). No more Federal Express. No more waiting. No more double-entry. No more negative cash flow float.
Want to learn more about how AutoFi creates joy and trust to the auto retail experience by empowering sellers to succeed (and get funded quickly) in a complex environment? Get started today.