I’ve been lucky enough to never have to work in sales (knock on wood) but I’ve been wondering what the typical commission rates are for the various industries: residential real estate, commercial real estate, new cars, used cars, industrial machinery, medical equipment, insurance, retail, MLM, etc., etc. Does anybody know the answers, or point me towards a good source for such information?
Here is a recent piece on residential real estate commissions: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/05/11/60minutes/main2790865.shtml
In high school (and occasionally in college), my best friend was a salesman at a shoe store (a chain found mostly in the midwest). As I recall, his commission starting out was 1% on shoes, and 10% on accessories (socks, waterproofer, cleaner, etc). I think that eventually his shoe commission increased to 2%. Not a lot of info, but there’s one example of a retail commission. I do believe he also received minimum wage, hourly.
In commercial real estate commission on land might be 10%, but on an income producing property it could be 2%. All commissions are negotiable in commerical (they’re supposed to be negotiable in residential also, but from what I’ve seen, rarely are).
I’ve worked retail at four different places (bookstore, costume shop, gelato shop, coffee shop) and never received one red cent in commissions. Once at a college bookstore a customer actually asked me, “How can you sleep at night?” (referring to the high prices of textbooks), as if I were responsible for them and I were profiting off of them. Believe me, if college bookstore clerks made 2% commission, that would be the most sought-after job in America.
One of my friends long ago worked in Jewelry at Sears, and received a commission. She indicated that most clerks in other departments did not earn commissions.
Construction insurance claims ( mainly storm damage-roofs, exterior)-I get 40-45% of net profit, which works out to be about 12-15% of gross.
It’s just a hobby, keeps me out of trouble.
When I sold my Condo in Florida, the commision was 6%.
Up until two months ago I was selling cell phones and wireless service for three different providers. I had a base pay of 6.75 an hour, and then was paid the following in commission:
New two Year contract: $20
Two year upgrade: $5
New one year contract: $15
Prepaid phone: $5
And then I was paid between $0.25 and $2.00 for enhanced services. A customer could walk in with a family plan packed with four lines from one provider, and decide to switch to another provider. One and a half hours of quasi work later and I’d have myself $80 in commission.
I made an average of about $11/hr, but some of my coworkers did quite a bit better than that.
Right now I’m a concierge in training at a select few resorts selling tickets to attractions. The amount of the comission depends on our contract with the theme park/dinner show in question and they type of ticket, but it ranges from $0.25-$5. This might not sound like much, but it adds up pretty fast and there’s not much actual sales involved.
We also get commission from restaraunts for every time we refer someone to eat out at their business. Sometimes they pay us in gift certificates, sometimes check, sometimes cash. I’m told I can expect to recieve between $2-$10 a head when people walk into a restaraunt holding a business card with my name on it. We’re talking about some of the best restaraunts in the state here, and my coworkers talk about them like they eat out at them on a weekly basis, so this is pretty sweet in itself. This job also has a base pay of around $6.50 an hour.
Oh, forgot to add, jobs average $15,000 a pop. Yeah, there’s good money in it, and it’s fairly easy, real low-key selling. I’m happy.
Well, as happy as a woman ever can be, that is.
In my limited experience, insurance agents selling to individual clients may receive up to the entire first year’s premium for selling products such as whole life insurance or long term care insurance. Plus they receive (much smaller) yearly renewal commissions. Generally, the more complicated or hard-to-sell a product, the higher the commission. Term life insurance commissions, by comparison, are relatively small.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot: I had a two week stint selling newspaper subscriptions. This was out of a grocery store where we had tables set up, not door to door mind you. There was no base pay, but the commission was decent and the sales pitch quick. A salesperson could go from making his sale to hearing a customer’s response in under three minutes and then move onto the next.
For an upfront paid one year subscription we got $35
For an “Ezpaid” subscription we got $24
For a Sunday only subscription: $15
And then for a 16 week Bill order subscription: $5
this might sound lousy, but there were some people I worked with that had great success doing this. One woman made $1,400 her first week. Not bad for an entry level sales position that doesn’t require too many hours or that much work.
Funny story. One day I was stationed in a grocery store waiting for the flow of customers to pick up when a nearby pay phone started to rung off the hook. I ignored it for a few rings, but after a while it got to me. I wandered over and picked it up.
“Hello, I’m calling from General Florida Newspaper with a special offer for readers. Tell me Sir, do you subscribe to our paper?”
“Well let me tell you about what we’re doing, right now for…”
“Actually, I gotta stop you right there…You’re calling a pay phone inside of a grocery store. I’m here because I’m selling the same newspaper.”
“Well how much are you selling it for?”
“We’re giving it away for free six days a week, and then charging customers $1.99 for it on Sunday. Plus, we’re giving away gift certificates for people that sign up.”
“Oh. Ok, well with our deal we can…”
“Um, honestly I’d rather sell it to myself and receive some commission for the sale”
She whispers to someone “He says he would rather sell it to himself and get commission on it hahahaha”
“Yeah…you have a good one.”
Can I just add that some of us would also like to know how much commission software salespeople make (on sales of licenses, services, training, etc. – the whole enchilada). Most of the experienced salespeople at my company drive hulking late-model SUVs, or Acuras or Saabs. They tend to live in McMansions, some of them in gated communities. They must be making $150K+. What kind of commission are they getting? I’ve often considered switching into sales, but the thought of getting business calls at home at midnight makes me puke.
This has got to be more B2B – and not just software. There’s an entire world of commissioned salespeople that handle the business to business market. I can’t suggest that there’s a standard commission, though, since these people also typically have a salary that’s more than just token, and also the commissions can be sliding based on the size of the order.
When I worked commission on my marketing (less sales than marketing) newsletters I would get 3% and sometimes 10% on all sales and renewals. Not bad when some of the things were $4000 or more.
Currently I employ two sales pros doing advertising sales. I offer 20% off the top on payments, not commitments. Everyone around here thinks I’m crazy but it does keep them moving.
This is what I do (software sales). The answer to your question is: it varies. Direct commissions generally run between 10-15%, but the big money is earned when you go over your quarterly or yearly quota. This might run around 5%, but it applies to all sales made in the year, so it can run to near six figures all by itself.
A sucessful B to B software sales rep makes $150K plus. It is not an easy job.
I’ve worked in advertising sales (radio and newspaper) and sold insurance in my varied career.
Insurance commissions (Prudential in the late 1980s) were 50 percent of first year’s commissions for life insurance of any sort, and a smaller renewal fee on the anniversary if the premium payments were still coming in. Saw a lot of older agents with a big book of business doing very well on the renewals. Home and auto policies were something like 15 percent.
In advertising, I’ve been paid on sales, paid on collections, paid straight commission, paid base plus commission, or stairstep commissions that bumped up as you reached various plateaus: i.e. 10 percent up to x thousands of sales, then 15 percent for sales above that benchmark and before the next, then 20 percent for anything above that.
Maximum commission I ever made was 35 percent, selling radio ads at $5 for a :30 and $7.50 for a :60 back in the 1970s in a very small market.
Of course, sales managers would offer spiffs, extra cash for selling the most in a certain week, or to be the first in the office to reach a specific goal.
Once, in an office contest, I sold 52 sponsorships of kids’ Christmas drawings in a special Christmas section of the newspaper - in two days. The next closest salesman, my boss, had 17. All for a $50 spiff on top of the commission.
Thankfully, I’m out of the sales biz and happily working as a reporter, columnist, editor and pagebuilder at a small daily newspaper.
Thanks for the responses. Yeah, I’m talking B2B. The thing is, I bust my ass to help out the salespeople. You wouldn’t believe how much I do for them, despite the fact I’m not in sales. I’ve participated in more than my share of frenzied, post-midnight RFP cluster fucks. The company recognizes my efforts with decent salary increases, but I’ve always wondered just how much the salespeople are making. Thanks for cluing me in. Now I’m loaded for bear, and I’m goin’ huntin’.
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