The Disadvantages of Being a Car Salesman

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A career at a car dealership appeals to the sales oriented or to car enthusiasts. While the earnings potential is attractive, the disadvantages are worth considering before committing to a car sales career. Give careful thought to the drawbacks to see if you can indeed have what it takes to pursue this vocation.

Pay Structure

A car salesman usually works on commission, though a small base salary is a possibility with some dealerships. The amount of commission varies, depending on the specific vehicle sold. A salesman could spend hours with a customer and not make a sale at all, or find that the customer wants to purchase a vehicle that results in only a small commission. Unlike a corporate salaried position, your paycheck is not guaranteed. The varying paychecks are stressful and make budgeting difficult, particularly if it is your family’s only source of income.


The stream of customers at a car dealership varies significantly. Some days you will not have time to sit down because you are so busy. Other days are spent waiting and hoping for even one customer to arrive. Even on days with many customers, sales are not guaranteed. Customers often visit several car dealerships or search for several weeks before actually committing to a purchase. The fluctuations in workload and income can frustrate the sales staff.


The hours of operation for a car dealership dictate the sales staff's schedule. Dealerships stay open in the evenings and weekends to accommodate customers shopping after work. This means the sales staff spends evenings and weekends at work to make a sale, meaning your days off are during the week. The hours are also long, making it difficult to spend time with your family and friends, particularly if they work regular weekday hours.


A car dealership is a more challenging sales environment than the mall or a discount store. When selling vehicles, you have to use psychology to understand what the customer wants and needs. This takes extra time and work to get the sale. The psychological aspect does not come easily to everyone. Lacking in this area can make it more difficult to post large sales numbers.