All You Need To Know About A Car Merchant Career
You are interested in working as a car salesman but are still not entirely sure whether this is the right career path for you or not?
Great! Stick with me since I will show you all you need to know about being a car salesperson in the following chapters.
Not only will you get information on how much you can make as a car salesman, but we will also talk about job prospects, job satisfaction, working hours, educational requirements, job alternatives and much more.
At the end of this article, you will also find a FAQ section where I answer all possible questions about a car salesman career you might have.
Without further ado, let’s get right into it!
What does a Car Salesman do?
Car dealers buy and sell new and used cars and other vehicles and try to make a profit on every purchase.
They also make sure that their clients find the car they really need so that customers stay happy in the long run and come back several times in their lives.
Responsibilities & Duties of a Car Salesman
- Buying cars and other vehicles
- Selling cars and other vehicles
- Presenting cars in the best possible manner
- Consultation of clients regarding what car they need
- Convincing people that they should buy a car soon
- Negotiating prices with customers
- Offering of warranties
- Preparation of purchase contracts
- Making sure that clients come back through special offers
- Collection of payments
- Delivery of vehicles to customers
- Doing correct paperwork so that cars can be licensed
- Meeting safety requirements inside the car dealership
What a Typical Day of a Car Salesman looks like?
Car dealers usually start their workday between 8 and 10 a.m. Before this time, people are pretty unlikely to buy a car and this is the reason why most car dealerships don’t open earlier.
After getting to work, you will get brief instructions from your boss regarding what to expect that day apart from the standard work you have to do.
During the day, you will consult many customers who are interested in buying a new or used car.
Your duty will be to sell as many cars as possible and also to upsell clients on more expensive models so that the car dealership makes more money.
Hence, you should have good selling skills and also motivation to sell stuff. Otherwise, you will not get happy with a job in a car dealership in the long run.
After consulting, negotiating and selling cars for many hours, you will usually quit your workday between 5 and 7 p.m.
Car Salesman Salary 2021
Car Salesman salary brackets 2021
|Salary Brackets||Salary (per year)||Salary (per hour)|
|Top 10 %||> $155,000||> $77.28|
|Top 25 %||$87,000 – $108,000||$43.31 – $53.82|
|Bottom 25 %||$42,000 – $48,000||$20.76 – $23.79|
|Bottom 10 %||$31,000 – $36,000||$15.37 – $17.88|
|Range||$31,000 – $173,000||$15.37 – $86.34|
Car Salesman salary 2021 by expert level
|Level of Experience||Salary (per year)||Salary (per hour)|
|Entry level||$31,000 – $39,000||$15.37 – $19.28|
|Junior||$35,000 – $49,000||$17.35 – $24.41|
|Professional||$47,000 – $62,000||$23.38 – $30.82|
|Senior Professional||$61,000 – $78,000||$30.33 – $38.78|
|Expert||$69,000 – $84,000||$34.29 – $41.92|
|Top Expert||$82,000 – $173,000||$40.84 – $86.34|
Car Salesman salary by state 2021 (average)
|State||Salary (per year)||Salary (per hour)|
|District of Columbia||$68,500||$34.18|
Job Security for Car Salesmen
Car dealers don’t have high levels of job security. Instead, many of them only have short-term contracts and since almost everyone can work as a car salesman or car saleswoman, you will be replaceable pretty easily.
Consequently, you may get fired from your job without prior notice from one day to the other.
Future Job Prospects of Car Salesmen
Since an increasing number of people buy cars directly from car companies and no longer rely on car dealerships, the number of car dealers that will be needed in the future will drop and this means that future job prospects for car salesmen will be even worse than they already are right now.
Working Hours of Car Salesmen
Most car merchants start their workday between 8 and 10 a.m. and end their workday between 5 and 7 p.m.
Hence, you will work in a classical 9 to 5 job as a car dealer and will come home from work relatively early.
Consequently, you will also have lots of time to spend with your family or to meet up with people after work.
Job Satisfaction of Car Salesmen
Many car salespeople are pretty happy with their jobs. However, whether you get happy with a car dealer career greatly depends on your personality.
If you are an outgoing person who loves to talk a lot and to meet many new customers per day, a car merchant career can be great for you.
However, if you are a rather introverted person, you may want to go for a different job instead.
Promotion Opportunities of Car Salesmen
Car dealers don’t have great promotion options. In fact, many car salesmen will work in the same position for years or even decades without getting a chance for promotions.
This can be really frustrating and also leads many car dealers to quit their jobs in the long run since they don’t see any prospects to climb the ladder.
Career Levels of Car Salesmen
- Car dealer intern
- Car dealer apprentice
- Junior car dealer
- Senior car dealer
- Senior car dealer with personnel responsibilities
- Manager of a car dealership
- Owner of a car dealership
- Owner of a big car dealer corporation
Fields and Types of Car Salesmen
- Car dealer specialized in cars
- Car salesmen specialized in motorbikes
- Car merchant specialized in trucks
- Car merchant for used cars
- Car merchant for new cars
- Bad credit car dealers
- Community car dealers
- Brand-specific car dealerships
- Online car dealerships
Educational Requirements for Car Salesmen
You don’t need a degree for becoming a car dealer. Instead, it will be enough to get your high school diploma and you will be ready to start in this field.
Consequently, becoming a car dealer is relatively easy and you can start making money pretty early in your life while many other people who go to college struggle with student loan debt.
How to become a Car Salesman
- Make sure that a car dealer career is right for you
- Get good grades in school
- Apply for an internship at a local car dealership
- Make a good impression during your internship
- Stay in touch with your colleagues from the internship
- Finish high school in a reasonable manner
- Apply for as many car dealer jobs in your area as possible
- Prepare for job interviews
- Make a good impression at job interviews
- Sign your labor agreement
- Learn on the job and become an excellent car salesperson
- Save money and start your own car dealership (optional)
Character Traits you need for Working as a Car Salesperson
- You should have a convincing appearance
- You should know how to present yourself
- You should have a talent for selling stuff
- Willingness to sell cars to people they actually don’t need
- Willingness to dress up for work
- Extroverted personality helps to convince customers
- You should know how to give clients a good feeling
- Passion for cars can help you stay motivated in the long run
- You have to trust in yourself
Hard Skills for Car Salesmen
- Excellent knowledge of the vehicles you want to buy and sell
- Knowledge of current market prices
- Knowledge of the costs that come along with buying a car
- You need to know how to negotiate well
- Technical skills can help as well
- Digital skills help you promote a car dealer business
- You should offer expertise other car dealerships don’t
- You need to know how to make your clients happy in the long run
- Good selling skills are crucial to stay in business
Soft Skills for Car Salesmen
- Patience when it comes to negotiating with clients
- Good people skills help you when it comes to dealing with difficult clients
- Trusting in yourself helps you overcome times where you don’t sell many cars
- Willingness to work on your selling skills
- You need to become good at knowing what people think
- Convincing people that they need to buy a car at your dealership is crucial
- Good customer relationship management so that clients come back in the long run
- Passion for sales
- You should not be shy
Exit Options for Car Salesmen
If you are no longer happy with your car dealer career after a few years, there are many options to switch fields.
In fact, if you have become really good at selling cars, you will likely also be really good at selling other stuff and good salesmen can make a living in many different industries.
Car Salesman – Similar Careers
- Sales manager in a fashion store
- Salesperson in consumer electronics
- Car detailer
- Car mechanic
- Car designer
- Service technician
- Rideshare driver
- Restoration agent
- Assembly worker
- Car rental agent
- Auto wash attendant
- Valet driver
Car Dealer Career FAQs
Is working as a car salesman physically demanding?
Working as a car dealer is not physically demanding. Most of the time, you will just stand next to cars and explain to customers why they should buy them.
Hence, you will not have to do any physical work but will rather work with your brain instead.
Is working as a car merchant mentally demanding?
Working as a car salesman can be mentally and emotionally demanding since you will always have to find reasons why someone urgently needs a new car, even though this might not be true and you may have to make up some arguments for it.
Is it dangerous to work as a car dealer?
Being a car dealer is not dangerous at all. You will just work in a safe work environment for most of your workday and will just consult your clients.
Compared to many other people who have to work with their hands, you will not be at risk of serious injuries from your job and can enjoy a rather comfortable work environment.
How long do car salesmen stay in their jobs?
Car dealers stay in their jobs for quite a long time. In fact, they can make really good money from what they are doing, at least if they have good selling skills.
In turn, their motivation to switch to different jobs will be rather limited since they would just earn much less in most cases.
Is it easy for car salesmen to find a new job?
Since car dealers don’t need any special qualifications and almost everyone can work in this field, competition is fierce and once you lose or quit your job, it may be hard for you to find another job as a car dealer in a reasonable amount of time.
Is it hard to switch from being a car salesman to another field of work?
Since car dealers are usually pretty good at selling things to customers, car dealers can also work in many different fields in the sales sector.
Hence, you will have a pretty easy time switching to retail sales once you have worked as a car dealer for a few years.
Do car salesmen have a high social status?
Car dealers don’t have a high social status. Instead, they are considered rather dodgy since many people make bad experiences with car dealers sooner or later.
Consequently, you should be willing to deal with snarky comments in this regard in an emotionally healthy manner before you decide for a car salesman career.
Can you help out your family and friends as a car salesman?
While you can consult your family and friends in case they need a new car, you will not have much else to offer to them.
Hence, other people in your circle of friends may just provide much more value and may therefore have a higher standing than you.
Can car salesmen work remotely?
It is not possible for car salesmen to work remotely. Instead, you will have to be present at work in person and this will take away lots of flexibility from you.
Moreover, you will also have to spend lots of money and time commuting to work and back while other people who work from home don’t have to deal with those issues.
Is it easy to find a partner as a car salesman?
Since car dealers learn how to sell things and also how to sell themselves, they often have a pretty easy time in the dating market since they are good at convincing people that they might be a good fit for a long-term relationship.
Do car dealers have to work on weekends?
While you don’t have to work on weekends most of the time, you may have to work some weekends as a car dealer.
This also greatly depends on your labor agreement and if you don’t want to work on weekends, you should clarify this upfront to avoid any issues regarding your working hours in the long run.
Do car merchants have to work on holidays?
Car merchants don’t have to work on holidays. Instead, while waiters, train drivers and many other people have to work during those times, you can spend nice days with your family or meet up with your favorite people.
Do car salesmen have to work at nighttime?
Car salesmen don’t have to work at nighttime. Quite often, you just work in a standard 9 to 5 job and will come home pretty early.
In turn, you will have more than enough time for your family or also to enjoy your hobbies.
Do you have to travel as an auto broker?
There is no need to travel for car dealers. You will just work at the same place for many years or even decades and you will not have to do any business trips, at least as long as you work as a normal employee.
Consequently, while many other people are away from home quite often, you will be able to stay at home with your loved ones.
Are car trader pensions good?
Car dealers also get a reasonable pension. Apart from that, car salespeople often make good money and can save and invest enough money over time so that they get wealthy and can use this money later in their lives once they retire.
Are car salesman salaries going up?
Car dealer salaries have gone up a bit over the past years. However, due to the increasing number of people who want to work in this field and the lower demand for car dealers, chances are that wages will stay constant or even decrease in future years.
Can you have a positive effect on society as a car salesman?
Car salesmen can’t have a big positive effect on society. Instead of doing good for others, car dealers are mainly focused on selling cars to customers without really caring about whether those customers really need a new car or not.
Hence, if you search for meaning in your job, you should rather become a teacher or do something else instead.
How long does it take to become a car salesman?
Since you don’t need any formal education to become a car dealer, you can start working as a car dealer apprentice right after finishing high school.
Thus, while many other people have to spend many years on college education, you can avoid that and rather make money from an early age.
Is it difficult to become a car salesman?
Since you don’t need a fancy degree for becoming a car salesman, it is not difficult to get a job in this field.
However, it can be difficult to succeed in a car dealership in the long run if you don’t have good selling skills and are a rather introverted person who doesn’t like to talk to strangers.
Do you need to be smart to work as a car salesman?
You don’t need a high IQ for becoming a successful car dealer. What’s much more important is that you have empathy for your clients and that you know what drives them.
If you have these soft skills, chances are that you will make a decent living from your car dealer job even if you are not really smart on paper.
Do car salesmen have a good work-life balance?
Car dealers enjoy a pretty decent work-life balance. Most car dealers just work 40 hours or less and also don’t have to work at nighttime.
Consequently, they have lots of time to enjoy with their loved ones or to spend on the hobbies they like most.
Do car merchants have to work many extra hours?
Car salespersons also don’t have to work many extra hours. You will often just have fixed shifts and once your shift is over, you can just leave everything behind and continue your work the next day.
Consequently, it will be pretty easy for you to plan your week as a car dealer since you will not often be confronted with changes in schedules.
How to maximize your chances of becoming a car salesman?
If you want to maximize your chances of becoming a car dealer, you should get experience in this field early in your life.
For instance, a good idea would be to start an internship while you are still in high school to get a head start over your competition.
Can car salesmen work part-time?
You can also work part-time in most car dealerships. However, the problem with this is that you will also only make half of the money you could make as a full-time employee and this means that you will often not be able to pay your bills from a part-time job as a car salesman.
Do car salesmen work indoors or outdoors?
Car salesmen mainly work indoors. Hence, you don’t have to care about climatic conditions outdoors at all since you can just use air conditioning and heating to make your time indoors as cozy as possible while many people who have to work outdoors will sweat or freeze many days of the year.
What does the workplace of a car salesman look like?
You will often work indoors in a nice car dealership. Thus, you can spend your time with nice cars and other vehicles and there are for sure worse places to spend your workday, especially if you like cars and are also interested in how the industry changes over time.
Do you have to look good for working as a car salesman?
While your looks are not most important, looking good still plays a role if you want to sell something to customers. In fact, the better you look, the more likely it is that people will buy from you.
It’s just human nature and you should therefore make sure that you dress up for work before you go to your job as a car dealer if you want to make really good money.
Is a car salesman career beneficial for your private life?
Selling cars is not a skill that will be greatly beneficial for your private life. However, if you learn how to sell cars, you also learn how to sell many other things to people and this can be greatly valuable for you in the long run since it enables you to make a bargain in various parts of life.
Do you need a college degree for becoming a car salesman?
Car dealers don’t need a college degree. In fact, what’s much more important than looking good on paper is that you know how to convince people and that you develop great selling skills so that you can really provide value for the car dealership you work for.
Do you need to be certified to work as a car salesman?
You also don’t need to get any certificates for working as a car dealer.
Instead, you just need to get good at what you are doing and as long as you sell enough cars to clients, your boss will not care about your formal education at all.
How much does it cost to become a car salesman?
Since you don’t need to get a college degree or any other certificates, you can become a car salesman at almost no cost.
Instead, you can make money at a pretty early age while most other people go to college and have to spend lots of money on tuition and other expenses that come along with it.
Is being a car salesman a good career?
Working as a car dealer can be a great career if you are an outgoing person who loves to talk to new people. In such a case, you can sell many cars and can make pretty good money.
However, if you are a rather introverted person, you may not get happy with a car dealer career and may rather want to go for a different job instead.
Is it easy to start your own business as a car salesman?
It is not that easy to start your own car dealership since you will need lots of money to do so.
However, you can still work as an employed car dealer for some years, save enough money and then open your own car dealership once you have enough financial stability to do so.
Can car salesmen teach themselves?
Car dealers can teach themselves all the skills they need to succeed in this industry.
While you will learn many skills on the job, you can also watch many YouTube videos from experienced car salesmen who can provide you with secret tips and tricks on how to persuade people to buy things.
Do car merchants make good money?
Car dealers can make pretty good money. However, this greatly depends on your selling skills.
The better you are at selling and the more vehicles you sell to clients, the higher your salary will be in the long run.
Hence, the more talent you have and the harder you are willing to work, the more money you can make as a car dealer.
Do car merchants get a fixed or variable salary?
Car dealers get a fixed minimum salary. However, a significant fraction of your salary will still be variable and will depend on the number and the volume of cars you sell.
Hence, while good car salesmen will make lots of money, your salary may be rather low if you don’t have great selling skills.
Is it ever too late to become a car salesman?
It is never too late to work as a car salesman. In fact, the older you get, the better your people skills tend to be and the easier it will be for you to sell cars to clients.
Moreover, since working as a car dealer is not physically demanding, you can do this job at every age, even though your job prospects may still be better while you are still reasonably young.
Do car dealers have to quit their careers early?
Most car dealers don’t have to quit their careers early. Instead, many car dealers are able to work in this field until they retire since a car dealer job doesn’t involve heavy physical work that could prevent you from working once you get older.
What is the most challenging thing about working as a car salesman?
The most challenging part of working as a car salesman is that you have to convince clients to buy things they may not actually need.
For instance, when a client comes into your car dealership and just wants to get some basic information, your job will be to immediately sell a car to the client and this can be really tough if you don’t know what drives this person yet.
Can you provide for your family by working as a car salesman?
Good car dealers are easily able to provide for their families since they can make really good money. However, this is not true for every car salesperson.
If you are pretty bad at selling cars, you may not be able to make a living from it and may need a second job to provide for your family.
Will car salesmen suffer from old-age poverty?
If you are really good at selling cars, you don’t have to worry about old-age poverty that much, at least if you save and invest enough money in stocks, real estate or other reasonable asset classes that can provide you with additional income once you get older and retire.
Can car merchants retire early?
Great car dealers are also able to retire relatively early. Since they often make really good money, many car salesmen can retire in their 50s instead of having to work in their 60s as most other people have to do to pay their bills.
Yet, please note that this is not true for all car dealers and many car dealers still have to work in their 60s to get along.
Can you get rich as a car salesman?
While you can get wealthy and have a decent lifestyle as a car dealer, it will be pretty hard to get rich in this field as a normal employee.
Hence, if money is really important to you, you should rather open your own car dealership and expand it as much as possible.
Do car salesmen need a second job?
Most car salesmen don’t need a second job since they already make decent money and are easily able to pay their bills.
However, if you are really bad at selling cars, you may still need a second job to survive in the long run.
Do you get continuous training as a car salesman?
You will learn most skills you need as a car salesman on the job. Hence, once you have a little bit of experience, you will no longer get continuous training but will rather have to learn how to improve your skills on your own.
Are car salesmen organized in unions?
There is no big union for car dealers. While there are some small organizations that aim to improve working conditions for car salesmen, you will often be on your own when it comes to negotiating wages or improving working conditions.
Do you get paid when you are sick as a car salesman?
You will often not get sick pay as a car dealer. Even if you do, you will lose out on serious money since a high fraction of your salary will be dependent on how many cars you sell and when you are sick, you will not sell any cars at all.
Do car dealers have a high level of responsibility?
Car dealers don’t have a high level of responsibility. Since they will just sell cars to clients, they will not have the same level of responsibility as doctors or other people whose decisions can really save or take away lives.
Can car salesmen work abroad?
It is pretty easy for car dealers to work abroad, at least if you have excellent knowledge of the language of the foreign country you want to move to.
Thus, working as a car salesman also give you a high level of flexibility regarding where you want to live.
Is it stressful to work as a car salesman?
Working as a car salesman is not that stressful. In fact, you will have lots of time for your clients and don’t have to worry about getting things done in time.
What’s much more important is that you develop a good relationship with your clients so that they will buy from you sooner or later.
Is it boring to work as a car salesman?
The job of a car dealer will never get boring, at least if you are interested in cars.
Sure, if you are not interested in this field at all and are just in for the money, you may get bored of it sooner or later and chances are that you will also not stay successful in the car dealer industry in the long run.
Is being a car salesman hard?
Since you will not have to work with your hands and also don’t have to stress your brain that much as a car dealer, most of your workdays will be pretty relaxed and working as a car merchant will therefore not be hard in most cases.
Is burnout a problem for car merchants?
Since you will not have to deal with high levels of time pressure and stress, your risk of burnout will also be pretty low as a car dealer compared to many other office jobs where you have lots of stress to get things done in time.
Is there a dress code for car salesmen?
While there is no strict dress code for car dealers, you still need to look good and groomed so that clients will not lose trust in you.
In fact, the better you look, the more likely it will be that you are able to sell many cars and that you make great money from your car dealer career.
What kind of car dealers are paid the most?
The more experience you have in this industry and the more cars you sell, the more you will make as a car dealer.
Moreover, if you sell luxury cars, your margins will often be higher compared to normal ones and if you really want to make great money, you should learn how to sell a high number of luxury cars to your customers.
What percentage of car dealers are women?
While around 20% of car dealers are women, 80% are still men. Hence, this industry is dominated by men and will likely be dominated by men even in the future.
However, you can still make a nice career as a car dealer as a woman if you are willing to work hard and develop great selling skills.
Do I need a mentor to succeed as a car salesman?
You don’t need a mentor to succeed as a car dealer. Instead, it is much more important that you learn how to sell things to customers so that you can increase the number of cars you sell every year and can scale your income according to that.
Will you be personally liable for mistakes as a car salesman?
Most of the time, you will not be personally liable for mistakes as an employed car dealer.
However, this may change once you get management responsibilities or even own your own car dealership.
In such a case, you should inform yourself about proper insurance so that you are covered in case of emergency.
Do car merchants have a high life expectancy?
Car merchants have a pretty decent life expectancy since they work in a nice environment and are not exposed to toxic fumes or other things that could adversely affect life expectancy.
Moreover, car dealers also work in a pretty safe environment where accidents at work are pretty uncommon.
Do car dealers suffer from sleeping problems?
Since car dealers don’t have to work at nighttime, they will also not suffer from sleeping problems that much, at least not due to their jobs.
Hence, many car salesmen can sleep quite well and this will translate into more power for their professional as well as for their private life.
What states are best for working as a car salesman?
The best states for working as a car dealer are that states where people have enough money to buy fancy cars.
For instance, being a car dealer in New York or California will be much more lucrative compared to working as a car dealer in rural areas in Idaho or Texas.
Who do car salesmen work with?
Car salesmen work with many different clients every day. Consequently, it is crucial that you are an extroverted and empathetic person who is not afraid to talk to strangers if you want to make many car sales in the long run.
Is working as a car salesman cool?
Working as a car salesman is considered cool by many people, especially by the younger generation.
However, you should still not care about whether your job is cool or not but you should rather ask yourself whether you are really interested in such a career or not.
Can you start a side hustle as a car salesman?
It is rather easy to start a side hustle as a car dealer. In fact, you can make significant money on the side by buying and selling cars on weekends if you are willing to put in the work during times when other people enjoy their leisure.
Do you have to be creative as a car salesman?
It can be helpful to be creative as a car dealer since you have to convince people that buying a car at your dealership is good for them, even though this may not be true.
Thus, the more creative you are, the better you will be at storytelling and the more likely it will be that clients buy from you.
How employable are car dealers?
Since many people want to work in this field and the demand for car dealers decreases, car dealers are no longer that employable and once you lose your job, you may have a difficult time finding a new job again.
Are car merchants happy with their jobs?
Many car dealers are happy with what they are doing since they can make decent money while they still have enough time to spend with their loved ones and also don’t have to work in a heavy physical manner.
Is working as a car salesman exciting?
Working as a car salesman can be pretty exciting, at least if you love cars and are also interested in them on a private level.
In such a case, you will always be happy to go to work and will also be able to have exciting conversations with your clients.
What are the pros and cons of working as a car salesman?
If you want to learn even more about working as a car salesman, you should also check out the pros and cons of a car dealer career.
Interviews and own research.
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.
This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.
Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.
I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.
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