Commission-based careers can be very lucrative and exciting opportunities for top performers. If you have excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to meet quotas, starting a job with commission pay might be the right choice for you. When looking for a commission-based career, there are plenty of job options to consider in a variety of fields. In this article, we outline nine commission-based jobs with primary duties and salary information.
What is a commission-based job?
Commission-based jobs are roles that are paid in part by earning commission, or pay that is calculated based on how many successful sales goals or quotas you meet during a given time period. For example, a commission-based job might offer you the ability to take home a certain percentage of the revenue generated by sales you make each month. There are a few types of commission-based jobs that have different pay structures and calculation methods, including:
Straight commission: Jobs where employees receive pay entirely based on the sales that they generate.
Salary plus commission: Careers where employers set a base salary for employees and add commission pay calculated from the sales they generate.
Salary plus bonus: Jobs where employers set a base salary for employees with the potential for additional bonus pay if they meet high-level goals.
Variable commission: Compensation structure where employees are paid income deducted directly from sales generated after it is earned.
Because the pay from commission-based roles correlates directly with how well you perform in your role, it can be quite challenging to take home a consistent salary each month. Your salary depends on your level of experience, specialty, employment location and success with clients. For example, working in service-related industries or fields that handle the buying and selling of high-priced items, like property or land, can be more lucrative than other commission-based jobs.
Despite this, if you are a top performer in your field or at your company, such jobs can lead to high pay, security and overall career satisfaction. With the right amount of self-discipline in a commission-based job, you can set up daily or weekly goals for yourself to keep track of your commissions and ensure you’re meeting your personal salary targets.
There is a lot of flexibility afforded to commission-earners—there’s usually no limit to how much you can earn in a commission-based role, meaning you can make as much as you want, even if your company has a commissions earnings threshold. While commission-based jobs are popular in the business sales field, you can find jobs that earn commission in a variety of industries, including:
9 jobs that earn commission
Here are nine jobs that earn commission-based pay:
1. Travel agent
National average salary: $49,013 per year + $150 commission per day
Primary duties: Travel agents are responsible for planning, booking and selling travel packages. They take care of most travel planning procedures and source appropriate transportation, accommodations and activities for individuals and groups. Travel agents can specialize in local, domestic or international travel, and they often provide clients with a variety of options to choose from when making their plans. They may offer day trips, weekend trips or longer vacation packages. Even further, travel agents may work in niche fields to appeal to specific customer bases, such as thrill seekers, environmentalist travelers or corporate travelers.
2. Advertising sales representative
National average salary: $52,774 + $15,000 commission per year
Primary duties: Advertising sales representatives are responsible for selling advertising space to companies and individuals. They sell online, print, radio and television slots to buyers who want to market products and services on such platforms. Representatives will often work for specific media companies that manage specific platforms, such as a news media organization or a radio network. Advertising sales representatives interface with clients and internal stakeholders, make pitches, maintain customer accounts, encourage client loyalty, analyze data and make sales presentations. In addition, representatives must often work under deadlines to meet specific quotas.
3. Insurance agent
National average salary: $57,294 per year
Primary duties: Insurance agents sell different types of insurance coverage to potential clients. They may specialize in a particular type of coverage, including health, dental, medical, rental, homeowner or life insurance. Insurance agents will contact potential clients, explain policy details (such as benefits and cost) and help clients decide which plans are best for their needs. Insurance agents are also responsible for managing client satisfaction, policy renewal and maintaining records of sales or policy adjustments.
4. Financial advisor
National average salary: $69,852 + $30,366 commission per year
Primary duties: Financial advisors assess the financial needs of individuals to help them make important decisions regarding taxes, insurance and long or short-term investment options. Advisors interface with clients to understand their financial goals, such as saving for retirement or educational expenses. From there, advisors perform financial analyses and calculations using figures from a client’s personal finances to make recommendations for meeting those goals. Even further, financial advisors sometimes directly invest their clients’ money and monitor such investments closely to ensure they are lucrative.
5. Sales consultant
National average salary: $70,260 + $24,000 commission per year
Primary duties: Sales consultants assess a company’s needs to help them sell products or services to target customers. They meet with clients, conduct research, analyze market statistics, identify existing issues and assess opportunities for strategic intervention. From there, consultants will create marketing strategies to promote such products and advise companies on how to best execute their promotional campaigns. In addition, sales consultants are sometimes responsible for making recommendations on how to train sales representatives and increase sales within retail locations.
National average salary: $73,011 + $42,000 commission per year
Primary duties: Brokers work within a variety of industries facilitating large-scale business transactions. They serve as intermediaries between customers and sellers, acting as a third party during a deal’s execution. Typically, brokers represent either a buyer or a seller of a certain product or service. Brokers are responsible for advising clients on how to make successful business investments regarding real estate, stocks, mutual funds land, insurance and more. Even more, brokers work dutifully to build and maintain their client bases to encourage customer loyalty. They are also responsible for executing administrative duties, such as preparing financial documents and performing customer follow-ups.
7. Sales manager
National average salary: $79,991 + $15,000 commission per year
Primary duties: Sales managers are leading members of sales teams. They provide guidance, mentorship and training for sales representatives and agents. Sales managers are responsible for setting goals, quotas and crafting successful sales plans to meet company targets while staying within budget. They do this by monitoring the market, analyzing data, performing calculations and honing the skills of their team to make as many successful sales as possible. A large part of being a sales manager is building a sense of camaraderie and confidence among sales team members to help them execute their jobs reliantly.
8. Real estate agent
National average salary: $85,398 per year
Primary duties: Real estate agents facilitate the sales of property. They can specialize in either commercial or residential properties, though some agents choose to switch between the two specializations. Real estate agents monitor the market, advise clients on market conditions, conduct showings, provide guidance and advice and assist in the buying, selling and leasing of properties. They work to market their available properties to potential buyers by purchasing advertisements and running marketing campaigns. Further, real estate agents are often responsible for crafting documentation necessary to execute property sales.
9. Sales Engineer
National average salary: $107,818 + $20,000 commission per year
Primary duties: Sales engineers sell scientific and technical products to businesses and organizations. They are experts in both sales and engineering and often have training in each field. Sales engineers often consult on product design and how to best market products for salability. They work directly with clients to increase output and profit regarding technological and scientific products or services, such as programs. Sales engineers use their analysis capabilities and industry-specific knowledge to guide clients on such matters. Sales engineers can work in a variety of fields, including production, manufacturing and technology.