7 Best Paying Commission Based Jobs


There are benefits to working commission-only. The obvious one is that you have the opportunity to have more freedom in your work schedule – the company isn’t paying you, so why do you have to be a model employee? That said, since you’re paid a commission, you have to do a little more than the average employee who gets a handsome hourly wage.

Is a commission-based income right for you? Think of the employment opportunities first and then answer that question.

Here are the seven best paying commission based jobs to consider in your career:

1. Real Estate Jobs

If you’re in one of Canada’s hot housing markets – Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, or Ottawa – then why wouldn’t you want to be a real estate agent?

Indeed, when you’re working on commission, then working as a real estate agent in a down market can be a frightening prospect. However, since these major Canadian markets are still averaging homes with million-dollar valuations, a realtor can receive handsome paycheques from just a couple of sales per year. Sure, housing sales may have slumped five or eight percent in a particular timeframe, but what is that when you see how homes have surged triple-digit percentages in the last decade.

Although you need to be licensed and face immense regulations, you have the opportunity to be self-employed and earning nice commissions.

2. Financial Advisor

Let’s be honest: many consumers are financially illiterate, which is why there are growing calls to make personal finance a course in secondary school.

That said, when adults are unsure what to do with their money, aside from stashing it away in a savings account, they will use the services of personal financial advisors. These experts will offer professional advice and guidance pertaining to their money, ranging from what retirement plans to use to what investment instrument can be utilized to send their kids to college.

Most personal financial advisors earn a commission, though there is a growing call to make them salary plus a small commission as to discourage promoting unscrupulous financial products.

3. Telemarketer Jobs

Telemarketing isn’t exactly a career goal. Nobody strives to work in a call centre and getting berated every minute of an eight-hour shift by angry households. But it is still an industry that employs tens of thousands of people. And, it is a position that can pay on commission.

Like any other sales job, the more sales you generate over the phone, the biggest your commission will be. While many call centres will decide to pay a strict salary, there are several businesses out there that will pay you a percentage of a sale instead.

So, if you’re great at sales, unabashed about cold calling, and dedicated to your craft, then telemarketing, even short-term, can net you a tremendous paycheque.

4. Stockbroker

A stockbroker will generally work with individual clients to sell them securities and commodities, even going as far as extending investment advice. Many stockbrokers will spend a bulk of their time cold calling a list of potential clients in order to build their client base.

A stockbroker can be independent, but most stockbrokers are employed by an investment firm, earning a base salary, plus investments (and a lot of bonuses if you excel at your position).

You don’t need to watch the film “Wall Street” to be successful in brokerage services. You just need to be knowledge and reliable in this field.

5. Literary Agent

Literary agents represent writers in the literary market, from novelists to playwrights. In addition to negotiating contracts and trying to get a publisher to buy a client’s book, they also provide editorial assistance, researching, and monitoring royalties. Literary agents serve as that bridge between writer and publisher.

Ultimately, literary agents can expect to receive around 15% on the sale of a book, using a contract with the writer they represent.

6. Insurance Sales Agent

Insurance may not be a sexy industry, but it provides a living. In fact, according to the latest data, the median annual wage for insurance agents is around $50,000 to $60,000 a year. This isn’t achieved through a base salary; it is earned mostly by commission. It can be stressful, but if you’re good at finding customers, determining the best policies, and great at upselling clients, then you can be successful.

No, you will not turn into Willy Loman from “Death of a Salesman.” No, you will not be like Walter Neff from “Double Indemnity.” Just sell insurance – and don’t think about pop culture surrounding this business.

7. Freelance Writer

While freelance writers don’t necessarily earn a technical commission, many freelance writers will earn advertising revenue as remuneration. This means that for every article they publish, they will receive a percentage of whatever revenue that article generates. It can be tough for freelancers, especially if they are just starting out or the website is new.

Eventually, with name recognition and website growth, this revenue can turn into something meaningful. Until then, freelance writers can anticipate earning a few bucks per piece.

It is true that working commission can be a tough decision to make. Your income will be based on a number of factors, not just showing up to work and doing a job. Yes, it’s immensely difficult, but the right people can make it a successful prospect. Do you have what it takes? Then try out these commission-based jobs and make a tremendous living.