20 Mai 2013

Starting Salary and Income Ranges for Pharmaceutical Drug Sales Representatives

When I was a pharmaceutical drug sales representative, I remember that one of the doctors I called on had asked me how much money drug representatives make. When I told him the different salary ranges, he was very surprised, especially with what the high performers can make in this field.

The fact is that overall incomes of pharmaceutical drug sales representatives can come from a few different sources including base salary, sales bonuses and other benefits.

Base Salary

The main component of income for a drug representative of course is the base salary. The starting salary for recent university or college graduates with no prior experience in sales could be in the mid $30,000s to $40,000s range. Those with a few years of related work experience could negotiate to the higher end of this range.

Base salaries typically increase quite well with years of service to a pharmaceutical company. After several years, the base salary of a drug sales representative could be in the $50,000s to $70,000s range. Promotions to specialist hospital pharmaceutical sales positions will often result in an even higher range.

Sales Bonuses for Good Performance

Most pharmaceutical sales forces reward their drug reps with financial sales bonuses if certain quotas are achieved or exceeded. Depending on how much sales quotas or budgets are exceeded, the bonus component of a drug rep’s overall earnings can be very significant. This is how the big money in pharmaceutical sales is made.

High performers can earn bonuses that push their overall earnings to six figures. On top of that, the top pharmaceutical sales representatives can win special vacation trips as part of performance incentives.

Company Car and Other Perks

The use of the company car and other perks such as excellent health benefits will amount to the equivalent of several thousand dollars so these should also be taken into account. The cost of a recent model car and all the expenses associated with it such as fuel plus repairs do add up. All of these auto expenses are covered by the company. This is a very nice perk when considering that in most other jobs, car expenses come out from one's own pocket.

So when evaluating job offers from pharmaceutical companies, new sales reps who have never been in the industry should not worry too much about starting salaries. Income will go up significantly if performance is there. It is much more important to get the sales experience first and then in the future, there is always the option to move to other pharmaceutical companies if the overall earning potentials are greater elsewhere.

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