Any professional, across every field and experience level, needs to have a solid understanding of how they’re compensated — after all, that’s literally the reason you’re working in the first place. Your base salary is one of the key elements you need to account for when getting that picture of your compensation package.

Here, we’ll discuss the concept a bit further, go over how it works, and see the average base salaries for some common sales roles. 

Free Resource: Sales Compensation Calculator

Base salary — also known as base pay — is the baseline sum an employee can expect to receive in exchange for carrying out the bare minimum functions of their position. For the most part, workers that qualify for a fixed base salary work 40 or more hours per week. 

How Base Salary Works

Your base salary is set by your employer. The figure is typically shaped by factors like your industry, how your competitors compensate employees in similar positions, the region you operate out of, the number of people qualified to fulfill your responsibilities, and your experience level. 

Your base salary is generally presented as an annual sum and paid out in biweekly intervals — though that frequency might vary based on your employer’s preferences. In many cases, employers that pay a base salary offer performance-based financial incentives (like commission) to supplement that baseline figure. 

Employers also tend to add additional perks — including benefits packages and paid vacation time — on top of the base salaries they pay to attract and retain talent.

Salaried vs. Hourly Employees

Generally speaking, employees that receive a base salary don’t track the hours they work or qualify for overtime. Hourly employees, on the other hand, are compensated based on the number of hours they work per week — if they work beyond what’s expected of them, they receive extra compensation. 

Is base salary before or after taxes?

Your base salary figure is typically the sum you can expect to receive before taxes and any other deductions. 

Sales Base Salary

The standard sales base salary obviously varies by position and experience level. Here’s a look at the average base salary for some common sales roles from ZipRecruiter.

Base Salary Example

Let’s say you’re starting a role as a field sales rep at a new company. Your base salary might be $55,000, but that doesn’t represent your total compensation by default.

You could be offered performance incentives like a commission structure that allows for up to an additional $10,000 per quarter — along with health insurance, dental care, and paid vacation time. 

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, you need to have a firm grasp on how you’re compensated — regardless of your position, practice, or industry. Your base salary represents the starting point of that process. 

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