Is Being a Car Salesman a Good Job? Not for everyone!


There was a time, not too long ago, when a good salesman could make some moolah. But with sites like Carvana becoming more popular, people no longer need to rely on a middleman. This leaves many people wondering if being a car salesman is a good job, or are salespeople a dying breed?

Although some top-selling salespeople can still make a decent income, the average salary is somewhere around $40,000 a year. However, there are still some decent pros to being a salesperson.

To find out more about this career opportunity, including what salespeople typically do during an average day and the responsibilities and qualifications you will need to break into the field, continue reading below.

Car salesman in action

Job Description: What Do Car Salespeople Do?

A quick side note before we dive into the sales description—we know that women are just as capable as filling this position as men and while we may use the term salesmen in this article, we are using it inclusively to describe both men and women salespeople.

Car dealerships seem like such glamorous places. Full of sparkling cars and people dressed to the nine, it is easy to understand why someone might be interested in a job in this field, but what does a car salesperson do all day?

Salespeople work either for themselves selling used cars or for a dealership selling a certain make or model of new or used cars. They spend their days showing cars to potential clients, helping clients with financing, and trying to upsell added features and products to the buyer. A good salesperson will be able to predict and answer a customer’s questions and they must have a strong foundational knowledge of the cars they are selling.

However, being a salesperson is not all about customer interaction, and salespeople will often find themselves attending meetings or doing paperwork. Additionally, they may have to coordinate repairs, research financing options, make a variety of phone calls, and be a liaison between the customer and other services.

Car Salesmen Job Responsibilities

Although each agency or dealership will have its own job description and requirements listed, you can find a list of the most typical job requirements below.

  • Greeting customers
  • Communicating effectively with customers to figure out their needs
  • Helping customers understand their options, compare models, and answer all questions they have about a vehicle
  • Upselling added features and warranties
  • Building a strong relationship with customers to keep them coming back
  • Keeping detailed records and reports
  • Working with CRM software
  • Keeping the showroom neat and organized
  • Collaborating and working closely with a team when needed
  • Motivated to work independently when needed
  • Promoting various deals and packages
  • Going on test-drives
  • Working with financial institutions to build a financing plan
  • Attending meetings
  • Reaching out to potential and existing customers
  • Participating in training and sales meetings
  • Coordinate with various departments during a sale
  • Helping customers navigate the buying and trade-in process
  • Helping buyers qualify
  • Negotiating prices, products, and financing options to help customers find a car they are happy with
  • Participating in marketing events

This is by no means an exhaustive list of responsibilities, and different companies may ask you to take responsibility for different things. However, the list above does give you a general idea of the day-to-day workings of a salesperson.

How Much Do Car Salespeople Make?

Mercede dealership showrooms

Although there are some salespersons who are making three figures, most salesmen make around $40,000 to $50,000 a year. How much you make as a salesperson will have a lot to do with where you work. Some dealerships will pay a salary plus commission on each car, while others might only pay one of the other.

Average Car Salesperson Salary By State

StateHourlyYearly
Alabama$16.63$34,592
Alaska$18.22$37,906
Arizona$17.65$36,718
Arkansas$18.86$39,235
California$19.47$40,491
Colorado$19.99$41,586
Connecticut$18.54$38,571
Delaware$19.73$41,037
Florida$16.05$33,384
Georgia$17.03$35,421
Hawaii$19.11$39,752
Idaho$18.27$38,007
Illinois$18.76$39,024
Indiana$17.54$36,482
Iowa$16.77$34,873
Kansas$16.99$35,333
Kentucky$19.34$40,235
Louisiana$17.00$35,370
Maine$18.09$37,625
Maryland$21.09$43,857
Massachusetts$23.65$49,188
Michigan$18.74$38,979
Minnesota$17.53$36,470
Mississippi$15.91$33,099
Missouri$18.24$37,934
Montana$17.84$37,099
Nebraska$20.67$43,002
Nevada$18.08$37,609
New Hampshire$20.27$42,136
New Jersey$17.93$27,296
New Mexico$16.53$34,392
New York$20.97$43,623
North Carolina$17.01$35,387
North Dakota$18.06$37,561
Ohio$17.38$36,149
Oklahoma$19.21$39,966
Oregon$17.25$35,889
Pennsylvania$17.92$37,273
Rhode Island$18.31$38,084
South Carolina$19.96$41,527
South Dakota$17.53$36,464
Tennessee$17.51$36,413
Texas$17.68$36,776
Utah$17.17$35,719
Vermont$19.10$39,718
Virginia$20.40$42,438
Washington$21.65$45,033
West Virginia$18.23$37,915
Wisconsin$17.41$36,203
Wyoming$18.78$39,062

Source: ZipRecruiter

Pros and Cons of Being a Salesperson

If you are still on the fence about whether this would be the right job for you, check out the pros and cons list below. Understanding the different pros and cons could help you decide whether you want to pursue a career as a salesperson or look somewhere else.

Pros

  • Interpersonal
  • Enjoyment
  • Salary
  • Qualifications
  • Job Environment
  • Perks
  • Hours
  • Work-Life Balance
  • Company Car

Interpersonal

This is an excellent job for someone who has an extroverted personality and enjoys interacting with various types of people. It is a good way to meet people from all walks of life in your community and build a strong network.

Enjoyment

Some people get a lot of enjoyment out of being able to sell something to someone, and they enjoy the challenge of negotiating and making a sale. For those types of people, a career in sales is perfect.

Salary

Although not as high as it once was, the average salary for a salesperson often falls between $40,000 and $50,000. However, there are salespeople who make upwards of $100,000 a year. Still, $50,000 is not bad for an entry-level job.

Qualifications

Most of the time, people can land a job in sales with just a high school diploma. They may need to undergo extensive training, but they can skip spending a fortune on college.

Environment

This job is not without stress. However, when compared to other jobs, salespeople have a decent working environment. They are not out in the elements for hours at a time and they spend quite a lot of time sitting at a desk.

Perks

Some jobs come with some decent perks, such as benefits and discounts on their own cars. Additionally, some bigger companies will offer benefits like time share and family events.

Hours

The hours typically fall within a standard working day, and salespeople rarely have to work late or come in super early. Although, they may decide to stay later with a customer if necessary to make a sale.

Balance

Because the hours are standard, it allows for a decent work-life balance. Salespeople often work around 32 to 40 hours a week within the hours of 9 AM to 7 PM.

Company Car

Some dealerships will allow employees to use a company car. Additionally, if you own your own dealership, you will have access to car auctions and a lot full of inventory that you can use whenever you want.

Cons

  • Sales
  • Lying
  • Job Security
  • Commission
  • Social
  • Boring
  • Purpose
  • Climate

Sales

Sales are not the right career for everyone, and a lot of people find themselves leaving the field after discovering they are not that great at selling things to people. Not everyone has the personality to be a salesperson.

Lying

You might find yourself in a position where you are asked to lie or downplay issues to customers, and this might not sit well with you. Salespeople are often asked to push unnecessary added features onto customers as well.

Job Security

Because sites like Carnava are quickly cutting out the middleman, this job may become obsolete in the future. However, there will always be people who prefer the experience of going to a dealership and dealing with a real person.

Commission

The pay scale can sometimes be complicated, and you may be required to meet a sales quota to keep your job. Additionally, the commission is often low, with most salespeople only making $100 or less on a new car and $250 or less on a used car.

Social

Salespeople have a reputation for being slimy and that stigma might make you feel awkward about telling people what you do for work.

Boring

There will not always be a customer in the wings, and you might find yourself doing a lot of paperwork and making sales calls during the slow seasons.

Purpose

Compared to some jobs, salespeople are not contributing a whole lot to society. It can be hard to gain a sense of purpose from the job.

Climate

You might find yourself competing with other salespeople and to be a top salesperson, you might have to be quite ruthless. Prepare to be bashed and undercut by competing dealerships and, sometimes, your own coworkers.

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John Cunningham

John is a writer, classic car and whiskey lover, men's shopping enthusiast and self appointed DIY expert. His greatest passion is repairing in the workshop, making old classics look and run like new again!

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