Revealed: The Shocking Truth About How Much Money Car Salesmen Make

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If you’re considering a career in car sales, you might be wondering just how much money you could potentially make. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t as straightforward as you might think. Car salesmen make their money in a variety of ways, and their salaries can vary wildly depending on a number of factors.

Some car salesmen are paid on commission only, which means that their income is directly tied to the number of cars they sell. Other salesmen receive a base salary plus commission, which can make their income more predictable. However, even salesmen who receive a base salary can earn more money by hitting sales goals or selling high-priced vehicles. Car salesman salary can also vary based on the dealership’s location, the type of vehicles being sold, and the salesman’s level of experience.

While working as a car salesman can be lucrative, there is a darker side to the job that’s often overlooked. Many salesmen work long hours and are under constant pressure to make sales. Some dealerships use questionable tactics to get customers to buy, which can make the job even more stressful. Additionally, turnover rates can be high, which means that job security can be a concern.

So, how much money do car salesmen really make? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the factors that affect car salesman salary, as well as tips for negotiating the best salary possible. Whether you’re considering a career in car sales or simply curious about the industry, keep reading to learn more.

The Surprising Factors That Affect Car Salesmen’s Salaries

Car salesmen are often stereotyped as greedy and pushy, but the truth is that their income can be affected by many factors beyond their control. Understanding these factors can help you negotiate a better deal on your next car purchase.

One of the most surprising factors that affect car salesmen’s salaries is the time of year. According to industry experts, car salesmen often earn higher commissions during certain times of the year, such as the end of the month or the end of the year. This is because dealerships may offer sales incentives to meet quotas or clear out inventory.


  • Location can also play a role in car salesmen’s salaries. Salesmen in larger cities or wealthier areas may have a larger pool of potential customers, which can lead to higher earnings.
  • However, competition can also be fierce in these areas, which can drive down commissions. In smaller towns or rural areas, salesmen may have fewer customers but also less competition.


Experience is another important factor in a car salesman’s salary. Those who have been in the industry for many years may earn more due to their knowledge and expertise. Additionally, some dealerships may offer bonuses or higher commissions to top-performing salesmen.

Vehicle Type

  • The type of vehicle a salesman is selling can also affect their salary. For example, luxury vehicles may have higher profit margins, which can lead to higher commissions for the salesman.
  • On the other hand, smaller or less expensive vehicles may have lower profit margins, which can result in lower commissions for the salesman.

Understanding these surprising factors can give you an edge in your next car purchase. Keep them in mind when negotiating with a car salesman, and you may be able to get a better deal.

Are Car Salesmen Paid on Commission Only?

One of the most common questions asked about car salesmen is whether they are paid on commission only. The answer is generally yes, but there are a few exceptions to the rule. In this article, we will explore the ins and outs of car salesmen’s compensation structures and how they affect the sales process.

Car salesmen are typically paid on a commission basis, which means that their earnings are directly tied to the number of cars they sell. The more cars they sell, the more money they make. This incentivizes salesmen to be aggressive and push for sales, which can sometimes create a high-pressure environment for buyers.

Exceptions to the Commission-Only Rule

While commission-only pay is the norm in the industry, there are some exceptions. Some dealerships offer a base salary plus commission structure, where the salesman receives a guaranteed minimum amount of money each month regardless of how many cars they sell. This can be a more stable option for salesmen, but it may also be less lucrative in the long run.

Another exception to the commission-only rule is when a dealership offers a salary-only pay structure. This is typically reserved for management-level positions or specialized roles within the dealership. Salesmen who are offered a salary-only position may have less earning potential than their commission-based counterparts, but they also have a more stable income stream.

The Impact of Commission-Based Pay on the Sales Process

  • High-pressure environment: Commission-based pay incentivizes salesmen to push for sales, which can create a high-pressure environment for buyers.
  • Misaligned incentives: Salesmen may prioritize their own commissions over the needs and wants of the buyer, leading to less-than-ideal outcomes for the buyer.
  • Aggressive sales tactics: To maximize their commissions, salesmen may use aggressive sales tactics, such as upselling or withholding information, that can erode trust between the buyer and salesman.


While commission-based pay is the norm in the car sales industry, there are some exceptions. It is important for buyers to be aware of the impact of commission-based pay on the sales process and to be prepared to navigate potentially high-pressure situations. By understanding how car salesmen are paid and how that affects their behavior, buyers can make more informed decisions and negotiate better deals.

The Dark Side of Working as a Car Salesman

Being a car salesman can be a rewarding and lucrative career, but it also has a dark side that many people don’t know about. The high-pressure sales environment can lead to unethical behavior and a toxic work culture, which can take a toll on the mental health of salespeople.

Here are some of the challenges that car salesmen face:

Pressure to Sell

Commission-based pay is the norm in the car sales industry, which means that salespeople only get paid if they make a sale. This creates a high-pressure environment where salespeople are constantly pushed to meet sales quotas and earn commissions. Some dealerships have unrealistic sales goals, which can lead to dishonest practices such as inflating prices or hiding information from customers.

Long Hours and Weekends

Car salespeople often work long hours, including weekends and holidays, to accommodate customers’ schedules. This can lead to a poor work-life balance and strain on personal relationships. The long hours also mean that salespeople have less time to rest and recharge, which can lead to burnout and other health problems.

Negative Customer Interactions

Salespeople in any industry face the risk of negative interactions with customers, but in the car sales industry, these interactions can be particularly intense. Customers are often wary of car salespeople due to stereotypes and past negative experiences, which can lead to hostile interactions. Salespeople must also deal with customers who change their minds or can’t make a purchase, which can be frustrating and demotivating.

Can You Really Make a Six-Figure Income as a Car Salesman?

Many people dream of making a six-figure income, and the automotive industry is one area where it’s possible to achieve that goal. While it’s not a guarantee, car salespeople can make an impressive income if they have the right skills and work ethic.

The potential to earn a high income is one of the biggest attractions for people considering a career in car sales. However, it’s important to note that not everyone can achieve this level of success. It takes a combination of hard work, dedication, and the right environment to make a six-figure income as a car salesman.

The Importance of Sales Skills

The ability to sell is the most critical factor in determining a car salesman’s success. Salespeople must have excellent communication skills, be able to read and respond to customers’ needs, and negotiate effectively.

One of the best ways to develop sales skills is through experience. Car salesmen who are willing to work hard and commit to their craft can gradually improve their skills over time. Additionally, some dealerships offer training programs to help salespeople refine their sales techniques and become more successful.

The Role of Work Ethic

While sales skills are essential, it’s equally important for car salespeople to have a strong work ethic. Success in the industry requires persistence, dedication, and a willingness to work long hours.

Some car dealerships may require salespeople to work on weekends or holidays, and it’s not uncommon for salespeople to work well beyond the traditional 40-hour workweek. However, for those willing to put in the effort, the rewards can be significant.

The Influence of Environment

The work environment can also play a crucial role in a car salesman’s success. Dealerships with a positive and supportive culture tend to have higher-performing sales teams. On the other hand, dealerships with a toxic work environment can quickly demotivate salespeople and negatively impact their performance.

It’s essential for car salespeople to choose a dealership that aligns with their values and goals. Additionally, they should be aware of factors such as commission structures and other incentives that can impact their earning potential.

How to Negotiate the Best Salary as a Car Salesman

If you’re considering a career as a car salesman, one of the most important skills you’ll need to have is the ability to negotiate. This is especially true when it comes to negotiating your salary. Here are some tips to help you negotiate the best salary possible:

First, research the average salary for car salesmen in your area. This will give you an idea of what you can realistically expect to earn. Next, be prepared to sell yourself. Make a list of your skills and accomplishments, and be ready to discuss them in detail during negotiations. Finally, be willing to compromise. Remember that negotiations are a two-way street, and you may need to make some concessions in order to get the best deal.

Highlight Your Skills and Accomplishments

  • Discuss your track record for hitting sales goals.
  • Talk about any customer service awards or recognition you’ve received.
  • Highlight any experience you have in the automotive industry.

Be Prepared to Discuss Your Sales Plan

During negotiations, be prepared to discuss your sales plan. This should include your strategy for selling cars, as well as your plans for following up with customers and generating leads. The more detailed and thought-out your plan is, the more likely you are to convince your employer that you’re worth the salary you’re asking for.

Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate

  • Start by asking for a salary slightly above what you’re willing to settle for.
  • Be willing to negotiate other aspects of your compensation package, such as bonuses or commissions.
  • Consider negotiating for perks such as a company car or additional vacation time.

Remember, negotiating your salary as a car salesman can be challenging, but it’s a critical skill to have if you want to succeed in this field. By doing your research, highlighting your skills and accomplishments, and being willing to negotiate, you can increase your chances of landing the best possible salary.

The Future of Car Salesmen: Will Automation Replace Them?

As technology advances, there is growing concern that automation could replace certain jobs, including car salesmen. Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR), and Augmented Reality (AR) have already started to make their way into the automotive industry, and it’s only a matter of time before they become more widespread.

However, while these technologies can assist salesmen in providing better service, they cannot replace the human touch that many customers desire. Personalization, empathy, and trust are crucial components of successful car sales, and it’s unlikely that a machine will ever be able to replicate these qualities.

The Advantages of Automation in Car Sales

  • Efficiency: Automated systems can process customer data faster and more accurately than humans, saving time and reducing errors.
  • Consistency: Machines can provide consistent service to customers, regardless of the salesman’s mood or behavior.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Automated systems can reduce labor costs for dealerships, potentially leading to lower prices for customers.

The Limitations of Automation in Car Sales

  • Lack of Personalization: Automated systems may struggle to provide the personalized experience that many customers desire.
  • Emotional Intelligence: Salesmen can use emotional intelligence to read customers’ needs and preferences, something that machines may struggle with.
  • Trust: Customers may be more hesitant to trust a machine than a human salesman, particularly when making a large purchase like a car.

The Future of Car Salesmen

While automation will undoubtedly play a larger role in car sales in the future, it’s unlikely that it will completely replace salesmen. Instead, technology will likely augment and enhance the role of the salesman, making their job more efficient and effective. Salesmen will need to adapt and learn how to work with these technologies in order to remain competitive.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much money do car salesmen make?

The amount of money car salesmen make can vary greatly depending on a number of factors, such as experience, location, and dealership. On average, car salesmen make around $45,000 per year, with top earners making well over six figures. It’s important to note that a significant portion of a car salesman’s income often comes from commissions, which means their earnings can be heavily influenced by their sales performance.

What qualifications do I need to become a car salesman?

In most cases, there are no formal education requirements to become a car salesman. However, many dealerships prefer to hire candidates with a high school diploma or equivalent. Sales experience, particularly in a related field, can also be helpful. Additionally, certain states may require car salesmen to obtain a salesperson license or pass a training program.

What skills do I need to be a successful car salesman?

Successful car salesmen possess a range of skills and qualities, including excellent communication and interpersonal skills, a strong work ethic, the ability to work well under pressure, and a customer-focused mindset. Salesmanship skills such as persuasion, negotiation, and closing techniques are also essential. Additionally, staying up-to-date on the latest automotive trends and technologies can help a car salesman be more successful in their role.

What is the work schedule like for a car salesman?

The work schedule for car salesmen can vary depending on the dealership’s operating hours and the salesperson’s performance. Many dealerships require salesmen to work evenings, weekends, and holidays to accommodate customers’ schedules. Salesmen may also be required to work long hours during busy periods or events. However, some dealerships may offer flexible scheduling options to accommodate employees’ needs.

How do I negotiate my salary as a car salesman?

When negotiating salary as a car salesman, it’s important to do your research and understand the industry standards for compensation. You can use salary websites and industry reports to get an idea of what similar sales positions pay in your area. Additionally, you can leverage your sales performance history and previous experience to negotiate a higher salary or commission rate. Be prepared to demonstrate your value and justify your requests to your employer.

Is automation going to replace car salesmen in the future?

While automation and technology are changing the automotive industry in many ways, it’s unlikely that car salesmen will be completely replaced by machines anytime soon. The personal touch and human interaction provided by car salesmen can be a crucial factor in the car buying process for many customers. However, car salesmen may need to adapt to changing technologies and customer expectations in order to remain competitive in the industry.

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