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Surviving on “Commission-Only” in Sales: What You Need to Know

Commission-only jobs can be intimidating. The instability, insecurity, and uncertainty about pay can deter many from pursuing such roles, often influenced by pressure from significant others seeking stability. However, commission-only positions, especially in roofing sales, can transform your financial life if approached with the right mindset and strategies.


My Journey to Success in Roofing Sales

I entered the roofing sales business in 2011, and if we haven’t met, I’m Adam Bensman. My career began with the belief that passion equates to happiness and financial success. My passion for natural medicine led me to become an instructor and start my practice. Despite my skills, starting anew in a different city proved challenging, leaving me financially strained. My annual W2 was a mere $19,000, and I had a daily food budget of just $4.20.

When I hit rock bottom, unable to afford gas to visit family, my stepdad suggested roofing sales. Although the initial instability and delayed earnings were daunting, I took the leap. This decision was life-changing, and I hope to guide you through this uncharted territory to achieve a prosperous career in roofing sales.



Embracing the Commission-Only Mindset

Stability vs. High Income

You must choose between stability and high income; you can’t have both. Those with high-earning, flexible jobs have often made significant upfront sacrifices. If you prioritize stability, roofing sales may not be for you. High income requires relinquishing stability and security, accepting the trade-off for greater financial rewards.


Overcoming External Doubts

Family and friends may urge you to seek stability, but their desires might not align with your goals. When I left my massage therapy job, my family valued stability over my potential in roofing sales, even though I was living below the poverty line. Recognize that guaranteed misery isn’t stable or secure and take the leap towards high income.

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Practical Advice for Success

Know Your Financial Needs

Understanding your financial needs is crucial. Avoiding financial planning due to fear only perpetuates insecurity. Determine your baseline income, your income goal, and your stretch goal. For example:

  • Baseline Income: $75,000
  • Income Goal: $125,000
  • Stretch Goal: $175,000

Break down your annual income needs into monthly requirements, considering savings, credit, and other financial resources. Planning ahead provides a buffer during slow periods and helps you manage the instability of commission checks.


Daily Sales Plan

Develop a daily sales plan based on your income goals. Calculate the number of sales needed per year, average commission, and close rate. Focus on generating appointments rather than sales, as this keeps your pipeline full. Use this data to determine daily activities, such as door knocking, cold calls, direct mail, and referrals.


Money Management Tips

Build a Financial Cushion

Effective money management is essential. Aim to save six months’ worth of expenses to navigate slow periods and delayed commissions. Avoid extravagant spending initially and prioritize building your financial cushion. This financial security reduces stress and allows you to pursue larger, longer-term deals with confidence.


Approach Sales with Indifference

When you have a financial safety net, you can approach sales with a mindset of indifference, increasing your close rate. This confidence comes from not needing the sale, allowing you to take calculated risks and pursue high-value opportunities.




Commission-only roofing sales can be a lucrative and fulfilling career if approached strategically. Embrace the mindset shift, plan meticulously, and manage your money wisely. By doing so, you can achieve financial freedom and a rewarding career.

If you found this guide helpful, check out my video on cultivating the mindset of “not wanting the sale” to further boost your close rate and income. Dive in and transform your approach to roofing sales today!



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