As you search for your next opportunity, for a job that will hopefully turn into your career home, compensation will be one of the largest factors driving your decisions.
And rightfully so; you know how much your time is worth and how much you bring to the table — it’s important that you’re properly compensated for the work you do.
Not only will being paid appropriately influence your desire to meet the goals set before you and the gusto with which you tackle each day, but many employees also tie their job satisfaction directly into the dollars and cents they take home.
For these reasons, you’ve committed yourself to doing a bit of research before making any “big” decisions. So here you are; wondering what a job in logistics sales typically pays.
Honestly, a logistics sales position could be exactly what you’re looking for; these jobs come with massive money-making opportunities for top-performing salespeople.
With a fair amount of training, hard work and plenty of perseverance, many sales representatives earn an excellent living in the transportation industry. Today, let’s figure out if a role here is right for you.
Here at Anderson Trucking Service (ATS), we employ hundreds of logistics sales professionals in more than 10 locations across the U.S. Each of these salespeople is given ample opportunities and support as they build their book of business.
Over time, by meeting various benchmarks and increasing their tenure, our logistics sales representatives gradually progress along the pay scale and are compensated based on their performance.
That said, although many people thrive in this fast-paced sales environment, others have struggled to meet their goals and raise their compensation as they’d hoped to.
In this article, we’ll break down how much you should realistically expect to make as a sales representative in the transportation industry, what impacts these numbers, how companies, like ATS, structure the compensation their salespeople receive and how this changes over time.
How Do Logistics Sales Representatives Get Paid?
A large portion of transportation-industry sales roles are compensated using a salary-plus-commission structure. This means that these salespeople are paid a consistent base salary every pay period and are given the opportunity to earn additional compensation through a commission-based program.
Base pay and commission programs will vary from one organization and location to another; however, most sales representatives in the logistics world are paid a commission based on their monthly gross margin.
In this model — which has been found to represent a highly sustainable way of running a transportation company, as employee satisfaction and the bottom line are prioritized — sales reps. are given the opportunity to earn money in two distinct ways.
Let’s continue by breaking down what you should expect to earn in terms of base salary and commission in a logistics sales role.
What is The Base Salary For Logistics Sales Representatives?
The base salary a logistics sales representative receives will change depending on that individual’s experience and location. That said, sales reps. in this industry typically earn a base salary starting in the low $40,000s to $60,000 per year. Where you start on this scale is based on prior experience.
For companies that offer commission incentives, this base salary reflects the minimum compensation a sales representative will receive over their first year of employment.
Like other jobs, following a year (or so) of work, sales professionals often see their base salary increase in the form of an annual review. This typically raises their base by 3-5 percent and varies based on factors (e.g., location, industry, employer, individual job performance). Base salary increases can also stem from promotions, such as a step in their career path.
How Much Commission Do Logistics Salespeople Make?
The actual commission a salesperson makes depends both on their performance and the compensation structure they operate under.
There are several ways to manage the compensation of a sales staff, including drawing pay against the commission an employee brings in, enacting commission caps or compensating reps. with commission alone.
That said, most transportation companies take a different approach to compensating sales employees.
Here at ATS Logistics, our sales rep. commission incentives are based on that representative’s performance (the margin they bring in as well as the total margin that comes from “new business”).
First-year logistics sales professionals (at ATS Logistics) are offered training incentives that reflect their dedication to completing the goals outlined for them in their training plan.
These training incentives, once again, differ between companies. At ATS Logistics, if a first-year sales representative hits all of their goals — indicating a dedication to honing their skills and helping the wider organization — a first-year training incentive in the range of $7,000-$8,000 should be expected.
Assuming that the full training incentive is earned, a first-year logistics sales representative should expect to garner around $50,000 in wages over 12 months.
How Does a Sales Representative’s Compensation Change Over Time?
Every logistics sales organization has a well-defined template for progressing within its ranks.
After their first year at ATS Logistics (as a national sales representative), salespeople are put on a career path toward increased salaries, greater commissions and more responsibilities by progressing through our four subsequent positions — from National Sales Representative II to Senior National Sales Representative.
Each time a sales representative moves up a “level” (from National Sales Representative I to National Sales Representative II and onward) their base salary and the percentage of margin they receive in commission adjusts.
To give you a better understanding of how salary and compensation work in the logistics world, here are the criteria for rising the ranks as a sales representative at ATS Logistics:
National Sales Representative – This is the entry-level national sales representative.
Following one year of employment, national sales representatives earn an average total compensation of $50,000 per year with high performers earning over $60,000.
National Sales Representative II – This employee must have a minimum of six months of employment (typically ranges between 9-18 months) and has to have brought in an average of $20,000 in gross monthly margin over the prior six months.
At the next stop on the career path, national sales representative IIs receive a career path increase in base salary and can expect to earn an average total compensation of in the $55,000-$60,000 range with high earners nearing $70,000.
National Sales Representative III - This employee must have a minimum of one year of employment (typically ranges between 1-3 years) and must have generated an average of $35,000 in gross monthly margin over the prior six months.
National sales representatives IIIs will receive a base salary increase for attaining this career path level and make an average of $82,000. The total compensation, once again, varies based on performance and falls between $60,000-$140,000.
National Sales Representative IV & Senior National Sales Representative – These employees must have a minimum of two years or three years of employment (typically ranges between 3-5 years) and must have generated an average of $50,000-75,000 in gross monthly margin over the prior six months.
As with other levels, the national sales representative receives a base salary increase related to attainment of the career path level. National sales representative IVs and Senior NSRs earn total compensation between $70,000-$235,000, with an average of ~$120,000.
As logistics representatives progress through their careers, building a book of business and developing their skills along the way, it’s not uncommon for the best of them to earn well over $100,000 per year — making a job in this field a great fit for many go-getters.
Note: Although these ranges are specific to ATS in this instance, they are competitive across the logistics industry. You should expect to see a very similar pay scale at many of transportation's top logistics employers.
Is a Commission Incentivized Position Right For You?
Now that you understand the immense opportunities presented by a salary-plus-commission role in logistics, you may be wondering whether you’d enjoy the realities of this job.
This article, The Pros and Cons of a Commission Incentivized Sales Career in Transportation outlines the main advantages and disadvantages of working in a job where your compensation hinges on performance incentives.
Before you decide to apply for a sales position within the logistics field, we recommend you give it a read.
If, upon completion, you feel like a sales job in the transportation industry would meet your expectations and needs, check out our open positions page to locate an ATS sales job in your area.
We’re always happy to connect great job candidates (like you) with the job of their dreams.