How Much Do Car Salesmen Make? – Commission & Salary

Wondering how much car salesmen make? We break down the commission and salary structure, as well as other car salesmen perks

Car Salesman

Whether you are looking to start a new career or you are negotiating the price of a used or new car, it helps to know what car salesmen are making. How much do car salesmen really make, whether it be through a salary or commission? 

In this guide, we evaluate the different pay structures for car salesmen. We also examine some of the benefits that these salespeople can receive.

How Much Do Car Salesmen Make?

Entry-level car salesmen earn around $28,000 annually, while senior-level car salesmen can earn over $45,000 annually. However, most car salesmen work on commission, earning a portion of the profit that’s made from the sale. On average, this is 25% of the dealership’s profit, plus a small amount on any extras that are sold.

It’s not straightforward to calculate a commission-based salary for salespeople, but we can offer some averages. There are so many factors that play into the total payment, so several areas must be looked at.

The salesman makes a commission that is based on the profit made by the dealership. The employer figures the commission based on the gross profit, which is figured by taking the sales price of the car minus its costs.

However, the pack fee also comes into play. The pack fee is what is set aside for the dealership, ensuring they get paid no matter how low the salesman goes with the car. For example, if a salesman sells a car that provides a profit of $1,750 and the set pack fee is $750, with a 25% commission, here’s what the equation looks like:

$1750-$750 = $1,000 x 25% = $250

In this deal, the salesman earned $250. However, commission rates vary based on how many cars are sold. For the most part, dealerships offer a structure that looks similar to this.

  • 1-7 cars sold monthly: 25% commission
  • 8-15 cars sold monthly: 30% commission
  • 15-20 cars sold monthly: 35% commission
  • 21+ cars sold monthly: 40% commission

The more cars that are sold, the higher the commission goes, allowing the worker to make even more on each sale. This is also a structure offered for people making a fixed salary plus commission. 

Ways Car Salesmen Get Paid

Car Salesman

1. Fixed Salary

In some cases, salesmen are given a fixed salary. Sometimes, this is only provided while the salesmen are training, while other dealerships prefer to pay this way. The fixed salary could be paid hourly or weekly. On average, this salesman will make around $3,000 per month.

When working on a fixed salary, there’s no incentive to sell more cars. The employee gets paid whether they sell vehicles or not. However, if the worker doesn’t perform for the dealership, they won’t have any trouble letting them go.  

2. Commission

The majority of car dealerships pay on a commission basis. The worker earns a percentage of the profit from the sale. The average commission will be somewhere between 20 and 40 percent, depending on how many cars are sold. 

If the car salesman is turning around twenty cars a month with a $750 profit on each, they could take home $3,750. Of course, there’s no limit to how much can be made, especially if the salesperson is energetic and a hard worker. On the other hand, if nothing is sold, nothing is made.

To incentivize some salespeople, dealerships may offer some type of draw against future commissions when no sales are made. However, this amount gets subtracted from future commissions. 

3. Fixed Salary + Commission

At some dealerships, you can find a mixture of the two pay structures. The dealership might pay a minimum wage, ensuring that the salesmen make something. On top of that, the commission is paid on top of this salary.

In this pay structure, you might make about $1,000 a month, even when no cars are sold. Once you add the commission on top of this, you could end up making $4,000 or more a month, on average. 

RELATED: Mechanic Labor Rates Per Hour

Other Car Salesmen Perks

1. Bonuses

On top of the commission and salary, dealerships often give out some form of achievement bonus. As an example, the dealership might offer another $500 if a certain amount of vehicles are sold in the month. This bonus is offered no matter how much commission is made on each vehicle. 

This bonus could remain the same each month or could vary based on the season. Some dealerships will also provide a bonus to their top seller as an incentive to be the best.

2. Spiffs

Have you ever been to a car dealership and felt that the salespeople were pushing a car unnecessarily. It could be that this car comes with a spiff or special incentive for its sale. The dealer will pick out certain vehicles to offer spiffs. These cars might have been sitting on the lot for too long or there might be an overstock.

This spiff encourages the sales team to push it hard. On average, a spiff will pay out between $50 and $500, depending on what type of model it is. Plus, dealerships will offer spiffs for a certain day of the week or to sell a car that has a manufacturer incentive on it. The current spiffs depend on what the manager wants to focus on.

With just spiffs alone, a salesperson can add a lot of money to their salary. It just takes a little motivation and creativity to gain as much as possible. 

3. Demo Vehicle

Salespeople will often get to drive a demonstrator car. They may have to pay a small amount to drive it or it could be given to them at no charge. However, it’s going to be included as taxable income in their check.

The car will be outfitted with a dealer plate that insures it. In return, the worker might just need to pay for the fuel and they should keep it clean. If you factor in how much is saved with this model, it could easily add $3,500 to $6,500 to the yearly taxable benefits. 

4. Medical/Dental Insurance

The majority of dealerships don’t offer free medical or dental insurance. However, there could be options that are lower cost than what could be found on your own.

The top salespeople have access to the best benefits. In this case, the package might include low-cost health insurance, as well as a 401k or other employee perks. 

Qualities of a Successful Car Salesman

Car Dealership

If you are thinking of starting a career in car sales, there are some qualities that will help you succeed more than others. You don’t necessarily need a particular education, but some characteristics will help you sell more and make more. Here are a few attributes to consider.

  • Ability to engage customers: You must be personable when meeting or greeting the clients.
  • Understanding of vehicles: You will need to know the features, engines and specs of various automobiles sold by the dealership. This knowledge allows you to give personal recommendations based on client needs.
  • Good communication: You want to follow up with customers and maintain a relationship.
  • Organizational skills: It’s important to keep your customer information somewhere that’s organized, allowing for easier follow-up.
  • Negotiation skills: Your customers are going to negotiate with you, so you better be prepared to have a tactful response.
  • Positive attitude: To sell cars, you must have a great outlook on life. No one wants to buy from a salesman that is down in the dumps.
  • Good interpersonal relationships: It’s important that you get along with your co-workers because you will be spending every day with them. 

The better you can hone these skills, the more successful you will be at selling cars. This career requires a lot of dedication and hard work, but the sky’s the limit on what can be made if you put your all into it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it hard to be a car salesman?

Being a car salesman can be a difficult job because it involves a lot of competition and sales pressure, but it’s usually not physically difficult. However, there is no right answer to this question, as it depends on the individual skills of the person and the dealership. Successful car salespeople are usually those who can stay motivated and focused.

What is the highest paying car sales job?

Being a sales manager for a luxury car dealership is usually the highest paying car sales job, but it depends on the dealership. Being a car salesman, car buyer for a luxury dealership or fleet manager for a company that sells cars to businesses are usually also high-paying jobs.

What do top-earner car salesmen make?

Many top car salesmen can make around $100,000 to $200,000 per year, or even higher depending on the person and the dealership. Many factors affect how much a salesman can make, including the size and type of dealership, the commission rate, and how good they are at closing deals. Car salesmen who sell luxury cars tend to make more money than those selling cheaper cars.

How many cars do you have to sell to make $100k a year?

Usually, you need to sell between 150 and 200 cars annually to make $100,000 a year as a car salesman. However, many factors affect these numbers such as the commission, the dealership you work for, and your position. Some dealerships may require their salespeople to sell upwards of 20 cars monthly to achieve that income.

Can you make a living off selling cars?

Yes, you can definitely make a living off selling cars and there are many ways to do it. You can either open your own car sales company or you can work as a car salesman for a car dealership. Which path you choose depends on your skills and on you as a person.

How much do car salesmen make per hour?

Most car salesmen don’t get paid by the hour, but rather receive a commission on the cars they sell and the income is directly related to how much work you put in. However, most car salespeople will earn around $20 to $25 per hour and $22 per hour on average in the US.

How much do car salesmen make in commission?

Most car salespeople make around 20% to 25% commission per sale but can get as much as up to 40% per sale depending on skills and dealership. Car salesmen usually get most of their salary from the commission, so they have an incentive to sell as many cars as possible.

How much do car salesmen make per sale?

On average, car salesmen make 20% to 25% commission per sale and the average is around $500 per car. However, It depends on the dealership, the type of car, and the commission percentage the car salesperson is given.

Conclusion

Being a car salesman is not an easy job and not a job for everyone, but if you are good at it and focused, you can make a lot of money. You need to be able to negotiate well, be a good salesperson and understand people to make a lot of money in this job.

So if you are considering becoming a car salesman, keep these things in mind. I hope you got answers to all your questions about the car salesman profession and that this information made your choice easier about your future.

Magnus Sellén
Written by:

Magnus is the owner and main author of Mechanicbase. He has been working as a car mechanic for over 10 years, and the majority of them specialized in advanced car diagnostics and troubleshooting. Certified Automotive Diagnostic Technician.

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