Average salary, compensation, and wages for Sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing in the United States

Compensation methods vary significantly by the type of firm and product sold. Most employers use a combination of salary and commission or salary plus bonus. Commissions usually are based on the amount of sales, whereas bonuses may depend on individual performance, on the performance of all sales workers in the group or district, or on the company’s performance.
Median annual earnings of sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing, technical and scientific products, were $55,740, including commission, in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $39,480 and $79,380 a year. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $28,770, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $108,010 a year. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of sales representatives, technical and scientific products, in 2002 were as follows:


Wholesale electronic markets and agents and brokers $64,070
Professional and commercial equipment and supplies merchant wholesalers 60,890
Drugs and druggists' sundries merchant wholesalers 57,890
Machinery, equipment, and supplies merchant wholesalers 53,140
Electrical and electronic goods merchant wholesalers 50,550



Median annual earnings of sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing, except technical and scientific products, were $42,730, including commission, in 2002. The middle 50 percent earned between $30,660 and $60,970 a year. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $22,610, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $88,990 a year. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of sales representatives, except technical and scientific products, in 2002 were as follows:


Wholesale electronic markets and agents and brokers $48,320
Machinery, equipment, and supplies merchant wholesalers 44,030
Professional and commercial equipment and supplies merchant wholesalers 43,880
Grocery and related product wholesalers 41,840
Miscellaneous nondurable goods merchant whoelsalers 37,940



In addition to their earnings, sales representatives usually are reimbursed for expenses such as transportation costs, meals, hotels, and entertaining customers. They often receive benefits such as health and life insurance, pension plan, vacation and sick leave, personal use of a company car, and frequent flyer mileage. Some companies offer incentives such as free vacation trips or gifts for outstanding sales workers.
Unlike those working directly for a manufacturer or wholesaler, manufacturers’ agents are paid strictly on commission and usually are not reimbursed for expenses. Depending on the type of product or products they are selling, their experience in the field, and the number of clients, their earnings can be significantly higher or lower than those working in direct sales.



More information on Sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing from The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook
Overview of Sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing occupation
Number of Sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing in the U.S.
Salary and earnings for Sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing
Working conditions for Sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing
Significant points for Sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing
Training requirements for Sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing




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