9 answers

Commission Only Jobs and What to Know??

I had an interview for a job with a recruiting company and it is a commission only job. Can you please tell me what I should ask for, look for, and watch out for?? He is starting his own company and is wanting to give me 40% of what we make. So, he would be closing the deals while I help him submit candidates, keep him organzed; pretty much alot of busy work until I learn the business and can start making my own deals. He won't have insurance. But I have all that through my husband. So please tell me what I should be aware of?? and ask for before he hires me. Thank you.

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Thanks for all your responces. This is exactly what I was needing to hear!. I have looked into it a little more. And another frind of mine said so that their is a commitment to me, I should work on a draw. If they start paying me monthly then he would want me make sales, and submit my clients and not just his. I am also going to make sure that the draw is forgivable so that if he fires me I won't have to pay it back. I should also probably ask him what his sales are so I would have an idea of what I might be making. In reality, I think I would only get 40% of the sales on the clients that I submit to him. But with the draw he would want me to do well.
...what other concerns do I need to have?????

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If that doesn't work out and you love to work at home doing "sales" I have a great opportunity for you. I love my job and would love to share.

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Have you ever had a sales job before? Are you taking a job because you need to or because you want to? Commission only jobs take a long time to pay off, if ever! It will take you time to understand exactly what you're supposed to do, then it will take time to find prospective clients, then it will take time to perfect your pitch, then it will take time to make a sale, then it will take time to get paid! Does this person have other people like yourself working for him? If so, ask to talk to them to get a realistic view on the job and the pay. Also, what is it 40% of? the first month's pay? 1st year's pay? If it's the first month's pay, that's not much. Also, contact his competitors and find out what they pay. Also, if you're doing busy work around the office, you should be paid for it....some kind of ramp. Usually it's a declining ramp that eases you onto your commission. For example, your employer says you should expect to make $5K/mo. so he pays you $5K the first month, $3k the second month and $1K the third month and then 100% commission by the 4th month. I hope this makes sense. Unless this is the PERFECT situaion for you, I'd keep looking for something with some pay. You have to realize that if an employer is going to pay you $0 and only commission then that really says what they think you're worth....$0.

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When you are straight commission you work for yourself even though you have a company you represent - think of "Susie Realtor with ABC Realty". I've been on straight commission for 9 years and can say that I absolutely LOVE what I do. It's not without it's highs and lows though and part of the reason it sounds your potential boss wants to hire another person is because when you are in your "sales" cycle, you neglect your pipeline, or "operational' side. So, you end up with those big peaks and valleys of income. I am in the mortgage business, and my husband and I own 2 other Debt-service related companies and a Marketing company. We work always and never. I handle mostly operations now.

When I started out in the mortgage industry, I worked for another woman who needed an assistant to manage the pipeline so things wouldn't fall out, and also needed someone to take overflow applications when she was too busy. Basically, while in a different industry, I did what you're being hired to do while I learned the business. Then, I had enough business myself and knew how to manage the operational side so, I went on my own. All of this was with a large corporate bank, by the way. It was several years later that I went truly on my own with my own company.

At the time I was an assistant/Jr. salesperson, there was a base salary (that was basically minimum wage) plus 5% override on the production of my Sr. salesperson, and 40% of my own production. If he's able to give you a draw against commission, that can help you get started. That first commission check can seem to be SO FAR out in the distance. His credentials are important too. Nothing against startups in this economy (we have 1 new business ourselves), but you want to make sure he's not going to just fold overnight and that his business concept seems to be in line with the times we are currently in.

I hope that some of the above helps you. I'm sorry for giving you my resume, but I find that learning from others' experiences has great value! Let me know if you have other questions!! Good Luck!

New business' on average do not make any money in the first year of business. So, if you do it, make sure the commission is on sales before expenses come off.

If that doesn't work out and you love to work at home doing "sales" I have a great opportunity for you. I love my job and would love to share.

Walk away......walk away fast!!! Do not take this type of job unless you like working for no pay....

This sounds a little off. I would definitely look at making sure you are making some base. Especially of he is the one closing the deals. You are dependent on him working and not just yourself. It sounds like you could be working for free for a bit, especially if he is starting a new company in today's market. Most people are NOT hiring right now, and the recruiting firms are hitting everyone hard. I would make sure that's really what you want. I know my sister did a commission only job. She basically worked for free for 9 months, got a check then worked for free for 6 more months. She then decided it was time to move on.


I will assume 40% is off the profit margin. If that's the case, find out from him how you can tell what % margin he sells each job. I have been in sales for almost 6 years now, and let me tell you, I have sold job from 10% - 50% margine, therefore, commision split will not always be the same.

Also, if you are doing inside support to bring yourself up to speed, you should be paid full salery. As long as you are doing inside support, you should not be put on draw, until you are full time outside sales. When you are ready to be the outside sales, 40% commision split is not bad if you are on draw, but as soon as you are out of draw, your split should go up to around 50%.

Once you are full time outside sales, you will be working for yourself. If he doesn't pay insurance, workman's comp, etc, make sure on your W-9 you are statutory employee, meaning you will get tax credit running your own business.

Good luck!

I worked on a commission only job for 5 years and everything was wonderful, but I controlled my own financial success. There is nothing wrong with a commission job, you can make a lot of money but this job sounds a little weird. Usually a commission only job pays you based on YOUR sales not someone else's sales. If he pays you on what he sells with no base then you have no way to control your commission. What if he is not a motivated sales person? What if he slacks off? God forbid, what if he got in an accident and could not work for a month, there would be no deals coming in? It is completely different if you yourself had control over closing these deals.

I would ask for at least a small base pay, with a commission draw. This would motivate the new business owner to at least close enough deals to cover your base.

I hope this makes sense, if not please feel free to email me with any questions.

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