Transitioning From Commission to Salary-Based Pay

The transition from commission to a salary can come as a shock. Salespeople in particular are often slightly lost in the sudden change and the absence of the commission payments they’re accustomed to receiving.

The Changes

The method of earning an income is often the primary focus of people's work and way of life. You'll need to analyze the changes and define the available options to take advantage of the new situation.

The Salary

  • The salary, being a regular payment, can be less than you’re used to, but overall much more reliable. If you’re in sales, you’ll appreciate the difference when paying bills is the issue.
  • Unlike retainers, salaries are market rate pay, and more trustworthy in terms of handling financial commitments.

The Incentive Issue

Getting out of “commission mode” can be a problem, particularly if you’ve been in that kind of work for a while. One of the major difficulties for people who’ve moved from commission to salaries is that the incentives and financial routines are quite different.

Chasing the big commission is a way of life for some people, and it’s hard to adapt to the idea that the job doesn’t revolve around it. To adapt to the new environment effectively, it’s advisable to start considering what you can do with your new salary, and how to improve the situation for yourself.

You’ll need to do this anyway, because the financial environment has changed in so many ways. The shift in focus helps you to familiarize yourself, and reduces the novelty of a quite different situation. Like anything to do with money, when the subject is a practical issue, that takes precedence over any nagging doubts about a new arrangement.

What’s really happening  when you change from commission to salary is that your approach to income is now working on other goals. The objectives are different in nature, but not in basic principles. In a salary job, you’re still working on specific tasks which add to your income based on incentives, which are quite similar to commissions in many ways.

  • Bonuses: These are about as close to commissions as salaries get. They can be considered a healthy replacement in some ways, particularly if the employer is operating a full incentive scheme. Learn more about the bonuses, and how to get them. You’ll find your commission-based instincts will soon learn to find their way around, and that your extra productivity will be appreciated.
  • Higher duties: You get paid more for doing higher paid jobs, usually on a scale based on experience. These jobs can add a lot of regular extra money to your pay packet, and are also valuable experience for promotions.
  • Projects: In many organizations, a project job may be based on a separate budget which pays more for some positions. These are term based jobs, but some can go on for years. The projects are also extremely useful career and resume materials for other work.