Cracking the Code: How Much Commission Does a Car Salesman Make?


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Cracking the Code How Much Commission Does a Car Salesman Make

The automotive sales industry has long been shrouded in mystery, with buyers and salespeople often at odds over the commission structure that drives the business. As a consumer, understanding how car salesmen get paid can empower you with valuable knowledge during the negotiation process.

Conversely, for those considering a career in automotive sales, grasping the intricacies of commission-based pay is crucial. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll pull back the curtain and explore the intricate world of car salesman commissions.

Uncover The History Of A Vehicle You’re Interested In By Entering Your Vin Below!

Before we dive into commissions, it’s worth mentioning that you can gain insights into a vehicle’s history by utilizing a VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) lookup tool. This can provide valuable information about a car’s ownership, accident records, and more, aiding in your purchasing decision.

How Do Car Salesmen Get Paid?

How Do Car Salesmen Get Paid

Car salespeople can be compensated in three primary ways:

Fixed Salary

Some dealerships opt for a fixed salary model, where salespeople receive a consistent paycheck regardless of their sales performance. This approach offers stability but may lack the motivation of commission-based earnings.


  • Steady income
  • Reduced stress and pressure


  • Limited earning potential
  • May lack incentive for top performance

Commission Only

In this high-risk, high-reward model, salespeople earn a percentage of each vehicle’s sale price, with no base salary. Successful salespeople can potentially earn significantly more than their salaried counterparts, but income fluctuations are common.


  • Unlimited earning potential
  • Direct correlation between effort and income


  • Inconsistent income
  • High-pressure environment

Incentive-Based Plans

Many dealerships combine a modest base salary with commission-based incentives, creating a hybrid compensation structure. This approach aims to provide a safety net while still motivating salespeople to maximize their earnings through commissions.

How Much Commission Do Car Salesmen Get?

Commission rates for car salespeople can vary significantly depending on several factors:

  • Vehicle Price: Higher-priced vehicles typically yield higher commissions.
  • New vs. Used Cars: Commissions on new cars are generally higher than those on used vehicles.
  • Dealership Policies: Each dealership sets its own commission structures and rates.

Typically, commissions for new car sales range from 20% to 30% of the dealer’s gross profit on the vehicle. For used cars, the commission rate is often lower, ranging from 15% to 25%.

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How Much Do Car Salesmen Make?

A car salesperson’s overall earnings comprise several components:

Sales Commissions

Sales Commissions

This is the bread and butter of a salesperson’s income. Commission calculations can be complex, but here’s a simplified example:

Vehicle Sale Price: $30,000
Dealer's Gross Profit: $3,000 (10% of the sale price)
Commission Rate: 25% of the gross profit

Commission Earned: $3,000 x 25% = $750

In this scenario, the salesperson would earn a $750 commission on the $30,000 vehicle sale.


Many dealerships offer bonus structures to incentivize top-performing salespeople further. These bonuses can be based on meeting specific sales quotas, selling high-profit vehicles, or achieving other performance metrics.


“Spiffs” are special incentives or rewards offered by manufacturers or dealerships for selling specific models or features. These can range from cash bonuses to vacations or merchandise.

Demonstrator Vehicle

Some dealerships provide salespeople with a demonstrator or “demo” vehicle for personal use, which can represent significant savings on transportation costs.

Car Salesman Confidential: How We Get Paid

To gain a firsthand perspective, we spoke with a veteran car salesman who shared insights into the compensation structure:

“Commission-based pay can be a rollercoaster ride. Some months, you’re bringing home a substantial paycheck, and other times, it’s a struggle. But when you’re passionate about the job and can consistently close deals, the earning potential is incredible.” – John, Car Salesman (15 years experience)

Car Sales Commission Explained – How It All Works

Commission calculations can be complex, but here’s a visual representation to help illustrate the process:

Base SalaryA fixed amount paid to salespersons regardless of sales volume.$500 per week
Commission RateThe percentage of the sale price that the salesperson earns per car sold.25% of the profit per car
Profit per CarThe amount of profit made on each car, calculated as the selling price minus the dealership’s cost.$1,000 profit per car
Bonus for VolumeAdditional compensation for selling a certain number of cars within a specified period.$1,000 bonus for every 10 cars sold
Customer SatisfactionBonuses linked to customer feedback scores.$500 for maintaining a 90% positive feedback
Manufacturer IncentivesSpecial bonuses offered by car manufacturers for selling specific models or reaching certain targets.$200 bonus for every model X sold

In this example, the salesperson’s commission is calculated as a percentage of the dealer’s gross profit on the vehicle sale.

How New-Car Commissions Are Calculated

For new car sales, commissions often involve additional factors:

The Pack

“The pack” refers to additional products or services that dealerships aim to sell alongside the vehicle, such as extended warranties, protection packages, or accessories. Salespeople typically earn a commission on the profit generated from these add-ons.

Minor Upsides

These are small commissions earned on specific features or options included in the vehicle sale, such as upgraded sound systems or advanced safety features.

Examples: How Much Does a Car Salesman Make?

To illustrate potential earnings, let’s consider a few scenarios:

Example 1: $50,000 Vehicle Sale

  • Vehicle Price: $50,000
  • Dealer’s Gross Profit: $4,000 (8% of the sale price)
  • Commission Rate: 25%
  • Commission Earned: $4,000 x 25% = $1,000

In this case, the salesperson would earn a $1,000 commission on the $50,000 vehicle sale.

Example 2: $30,000 Vehicle Sale

  • Vehicle Price: $30,000
  • Dealer’s Gross Profit: $3,000 (10% of the sale price)
  • Commission Rate: 20%
  • Commission Earned: $3,000 x 20% = $600

Here, the salesperson would earn a $600 commission on the $30,000 vehicle sale.

Annual Earnings Potential

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for car salespeople in the United States is around $49,000. However, top performers can earn significantly more, with some experienced salespeople reporting annual incomes exceeding $100,000 in high-volume dealerships.

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Frequently Ask Question

How much commission do most car salesmen make?

Most car salesmen typically earn a commission based on a percentage of the vehicle’s sale price, which can vary but often ranges from 20% to 30%.

Do car salesmen get commission UK?

Yes, car salesmen in the UK usually receive commission as part of their compensation package, based on the cars they sell.

How much profit do car dealers make on used cars UK?

Car dealers in the UK generally make a profit margin of around 10% to 15% on used cars, but this can vary based on factors like market demand and negotiation skills.

How much does a Car Salesman make in Dubai?

Car salesmen in Dubai can earn a monthly salary ranging from AED 3,000 to AED 8,000, with additional commission based on sales performance.

Do you make money as a Car Salesman?

Yes, car salesmen can make a good income through their base salary and commission, especially if they are successful in selling cars.

How much do Sales girls make in Dubai?

Salesgirls in Dubai can earn a monthly salary ranging from AED 2,000 to AED 5,000, depending on the industry and their experience level.


Understanding how car salesmen get paid is invaluable for both consumers and those considering a career in automotive sales. While commission structures can be intricate, grasping the core concepts can empower buyers during negotiations and provide salespeople with insights into maximizing their earning potential.

Remember, knowledge is power in the world of car sales commissions. By arming yourself with the information in this guide, you’ll be better equipped to navigate the process, whether you’re on the buying or selling side of the transaction.

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