I have talked to many former car salesmen and women during my time spent in the auto industry and one of the questions I always ask is why they left the car business. There are several top answers, but the one that I have heard more than any other is they had trouble living on a car sales salary.

They were unhappy not knowing what their car sales salary might be every week. They said that some weeks they would get a nice check and the next week they wouldn't bring home much at all. They assured me that they were very good at selling cars, but they wanted a job where they knew exactly how much they were getting paid each week so they could budget their money.

A Car Sales Salary and Car Sales Success

Car Sales Salary or CommissionThe funny thing about those former car sales people is that the income that they showed on their credit application to buy a car was not more than or even close to that of a good car salesman. In fact it was closer to that of a mediocre car salesman. I never mentioned that to them because I didn't want to blow a sale which I surely would have done if I gotten into that conversation. However I did wonder what kind of auto sales salary they were making when they sold cars if they took a job doing something that paid them half that of a successful car salesman.

Anyway to get back to the point, first off if you are not earning a fixed car sales consultant salary you better quit because you being taken advantage of by the car dealership where you are working. If they are paying you a salary for selling cars you are missing out on the real money. Secondly, the true car sales professional is paid a car salesman commission which is based on their sales and profitability. (Details of a Car Salesman Commission are Here)

Now to move on to living on a car sales salary commission or salesman income because it can be a challenge if you are not selling enough cars and making enough money. It's hard to keep your head in the game when you have money problems (like not having enough). My first few months of selling cars on 100% commission versus a fixed income job took some real getting used to, but I could see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Getting Used to a Car Sales Salary and Compensation

Once I started catching on and selling more cars, my weekly checks started growing and not to mention the month end bonuses. I was blowing the auto sales average pay out of the water. I tried to maintain my thrifty ways and keep from spending those bigger and bigger commission checks. In fact I would hold some of my checks to even out those weeks that were less than I hoped. I would only cash my checks when I needed to and at one point the person that did payroll asked me to ash my checks. That was when I decided I was getting used to living on a car salesman compensation and commission and not a car sales salary or any other kind of salary.

I will admit that is really a challenge trying to get used to living on a car salesman salary, but it is only because it is such a big change to most people. Most people were raised knowing how much they were bringing home every month or week and so it is really hard to get comfortable working on commission.

Whatever it takes make the effort to adjust to the change because otherwise you could be missing out making a six figure car salesman income. I can tell you first hand that is much easier to get used to the uneven paychecks when you are earning 100K a year. So don't be like one of those former auto sales people above that accept a job that earns them half of what a successful car salesman makes. Get your head in the game and sell some cars and before you know it you will be thinking like a veteran and would never ever consider selling cars for a used or new car sales salary. Get paid what your are worth rather than leave to accept a job that pays the same whether you work hard or hardly work. You can be a better car salesman.

I assume you are selling cars for a living because you want the opportunity to make some real money. Don't let the method of car salesman compensation and getting used to how car salesman are paid get in the way of your success. Many others have done it and you can too, earn a six figure income selling cars. How Much Money Car Salesman Make?

Get Your FREE Car Selling Tips!

Later, Fresh Up on the Lot


Save Big on the Car Sales eBook Bundle


KB · August 29 at 6:25 am

Hi Seb,

Welcome to the car business.
You story and questions are common when you are a Newbie and that is why the first 90 days are the hardest.
Nobody wants to be shadowed so you have to back off a and do it far a distance.
Earning respect in this business is a classic when you are new to the business that I cover in my book.

Stick it out and earn your right to get lead and customers.
It's part of becoming a top sales person.


seb · August 24 at 10:12 pm

Ive been just with dealership for a month. Every time I am over at the lot looking for ups for hours under the sun, I loose em to the old ones who would just swoop down and get them. Its frustrating. They don't care. I heard they are fed leads too that's why their making the numbers. I am starting to get frustrated. Ive only sold one car so far. I don't know if this is a common practice or not. I know one guy who sells 60/mo and he doesn't like being shadowed by anyone. What am i doing wrong? It cant be this hard.

KB · July 23 at 12:00 pm

Hi Steppie,

That is for you to decide, but there is no better way to make a living than getting paid for you efforts.
The thought of earning the same amount every week or month based on your salary or hourly wage will seem silly once you get used to the car business.


Steppie · July 16 at 10:38 am

So I'm 35 and thinking of leaving my 9-5 for a car sales position. Any input is greatly appreciated!

Comments are closed.