You Can Thank Us Later – Average Compensation for Small Business Sales People in 5 Industries

These are the Average Sales Commission Rates by Industry for Small Businesses in 2018

Getting paid commission for selling products or services can be attractive to many sales representatives, particularly those who are experienced and successful in the art of selling. Offering generous commission-based salaries and incentives can help small businesses attract and retain selling talent.

2018 Average Sales Commission Rates by Industry

Here are the top five small business industries where companies have sales teams in place that receive traditional commissions.

Financial Advice Businesses

Sales people in financial advice businesses advise clients on how to invest their money wisely. Such sales advisors need to be well-informed and up-to-date about financial trends and investment vehicles to help clients make lucrative returns.

Statistics show that the lowest compensation for a financial advisor with up to two years’ experience is $50k and the highest compensation is $75k. Junior advisors with three to five years’ experience can expect to earn between $100k and $150.

Apparel Manufacturing

It might be clothes, sunglasses or high-end handbags. Another industry that offers traditional sales commissions is apparel manufacturing. Sales reps sell clothing to stores and shops on behalf of the manufacturer that makes the clothing and accessories. Such sales reps are paid, at least in part, on a commission basis.

Data shows that sales representatives in apparel manufacturing earn 15 percent as the average commission rate and that, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives earned a median annual salary of $61,270 in 2016.

Technology and Software

Tech and software has long been a staple of the U.S. economy and the industry remains more thriving than ever today. Tech startups and software businesses are constantly on the lookout for talented sales professionals.

Small Business Deals

The pay and commission naturally differ depending on the type of technology and software firm a sales rep is working for, with startups and smaller businesses offering lower pay and commission rates than larger companies with multiple sales people.

Research shows that the average salary of a sales rep at a SaaS (software as a service) company is a $60k base salary and $118K on-target earnings.


The healthcare industry offers plenty of opportunities for entrepreneurs to start their own small business. To grow their business, many healthcare startups and SMEs are willing to pay people a salary and sales-based commission. According to the 2018 Medical Sales Salary Report, the average bonus commission plus base salary of medical sales representatives increased by over $2,000 from 2017, to an average of $149,544.

Mobile and Digital Payment Solutions

A subsidiary of the fintech market, the mobile and digital payment solutions industry has been experiencing pheromonal growth in recent years. Startups and small businesses in this sector employ sales reps and pay them commission for reaching and exceeding sales targets.

Sales within this environment depend on the products or services being sold and the size of the business recruiting the sales reps. Generally speaking, mobile phone insurance sales are at the lower end of the pay spectrum, where sales reps can expect to make around $50k annually.

Whereas financial securities, services and commodities sales reps can expect to make closer to $70k per annum.

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Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead is a professional freelance writer and journalist based in the United Kingdom. Since 2006, Gabrielle has been writing articles, blogs and news pieces for a diverse range of publications and sites. You can read "Gabrielle’s blog here.".

3 Reactions
  1. Good research that can help job seekers know how much they’re worth. Thanks.

  2. This is very important especially if you don’t know how to compensate your current employees.

  3. It’s true that commissions vary depending on industry. However, sales tactics will always be the same so the skills needed will always translated from one industry to the other.