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From cars to furniture to shoes, salespeople assist customers in the purchase of many different items. Sales can be a demanding career choice, often requiring weekend and evening work. Salespeople can earn their livings through salaries, commissions or both.
According to the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, salespersons earned an average of $24,630 per year in 2009. The average hourly wage was $11.84.
Salespeople work in many different industries, which determine their compensation expectations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, automobile dealers paid their sellers an average of $42,970 in 2009. In contrast, retail salespeople working in clothing stores earned an average of $21,210 in 2009.
While some salespeople earn a fixed salary, many are compensated through a commission based upon their sales volume. This performance pay system can cause significant variations in earnings based upon factors such as the performance of the economy and the individual salesperson's sales ability.