What is Draw Versus Commission? Types, Pros & Cons, 14 Facts

If you employ salespeople, you may pay them commissions. Commission-based compensation can motivate staff to generate greater sales.

While commissions might motivate staff to sell more, continuous salary is not assured. Use a draw against commission structure to provide greater financial security for your sales force.

What is Draw Versus Commission?

Draw vs commission is a compensation system in which an employee receives a base wage (the draw) that is augmented or replaced by commission when a certain sales objective is achieved.

This provides the salesperson with more security during slower months, when his or her sales do not achieve the predetermined objective, while allowing the individual to earn significantly more when sales goals are met or exceeded.

There are several variations of this form of compensation, such as paying a percentage of the commission in addition to the base wage instead of only the commission, and whether or not the base is a salary or taken from predicted future earnings.

How Commission Works

Commission, which is often a percentage of the sale’s value, is a component of the compensation structure for many sales positions.

There are a variety of methods in which salespeople are compensated, but the two extremes are direct commission, in which the salesperson receives no base pay and is paid only when he or she makes a sale, and salaried, in which the salesperson receives a salary and nothing else.

Draw versus commission includes features of both; when a salesman exceeds his or her sales quota, he or she gets just commission. When she does not, she only receives the base income. When a salesperson joins a new firm, this kind of compensation is commonly employed to give her time to establish a customer base before transitioning to straight commission.


Draw versus commission is comparable to, but distinct from, the payment system referred to as base plus commission. Although these salespeople may still have sales targets, failure to reach them has no impact on their base compensation. Instead, they are paid a set wage plus a commission on everything they sell.

Draw against commission refers to a kind of draw versus commission. In this compensation structure, the corporation deducts the draw from the salesperson’s anticipated future commissions if the employee’s sales do not generate enough money to cover the usual salary.

For example, if an employee fails to meet her monthly targets, she receives a $1,200 draw (USD). In the next month, she meets the requirements, and her commission payment is $3,000 USD. However, because she was paid the draw in the previous month, she will only receive a check for $1,800 USD, which is the commission minus the prior draw.

In this situation, the employee is paid only on commission, yet a minimum income is guaranteed from paycheck to paycheck. To earn more money under this arrangement, the salesman must constantly sell over the draw threshold so that commission is not taken from future paychecks.


There are advantages to draw vs commission methods of payment, albeit the precise advantages depend on the payment structure. With the more conventional arrangement, employees are assured to earn a specific amount of money each month, so providing them with a degree of income security.

The outstanding salesman gets recognized for working hard and achieving her sales objectives. The corporation also profits since, if the employee consistently meets her goals, it pays just commission and no basic wage.

In sales positions where salespeople produce their own leads, draw vs commission may push individuals to perform more in order to earn a larger income. Even when factors beyond the salesperson’s control, such as a poor economy, may result in sluggish sales, at least there is that draw amount to fall back on.

This might be preferable than commission-only compensation if sales unexpectedly decline, as no sales implies no money.


Depending on the product being sold, it may be challenging for a salesperson to achieve her objectives. A retail employee, for example, may not have much influence over who enters the store, nor do they have control over advertising, the store’s image, or the economy.

In certain circumstances, particularly in high-end businesses, staff may plan personal product demos with consumers in their clientele book. However, achieving sales objectives can still be difficult, especially if they are not established at a reasonable level.

Under draw against commission, an employee who misses her targets for a number of consecutive months may find herself in debt to the corporation with no simple way out. Even if she consistently surpasses her goals, she may discover that all of her commission goes toward repaying the loan from the slow months, leaving her unable to earn more money.

Since the draw was withdrawn from the salesperson’s future earnings, the employer may force her to refund it if she resigns after failing to meet her targets consistently. In certain areas, it is illegal to force someone to labor for free, thus she may still be required to reimburse any portion of the overpayment.

Types of draw on commission

There are two types of draws against commission contracts: recoverable and nonrecoverable.

Recoverable draws

A recoverable payment is one that you anticipate recovering. You are essentially lending employees money that they are expected to repay through sales commissions.

For instance, if you offer an employee a monthly draw of $2,000, you expect the person to make at least $2,000 each month in commissions. Thus, your company will not incur any losses while paying the drawings.

If an employee does not earn enough commissions to satisfy their draw, their debts are carried over to the subsequent payment period. The employee will hopefully make enough commissions in the upcoming time to pay their obligations.

You may need to develop a strategy to assure the recoverability of the drawings. If the employee’s commissions are insufficient to cover the withdrawals after a specific period of time, you may require a debt repayment plan.

Nonrecoverable draws

A nonrecoverable draw is a payment that you do not anticipate recovering. You provide the draw to an employee, but you do not expect the employee’s commissions to cover the cost of the draw.

Even if the employee does not make enough in commissions to cover the draw, the unpaid sum is not considered the employee’s debt.

If the employee earns enough to cover the draw plus extra, you will give the employee the leftover commission.

What is Draw Versus Commission?

When a salesperson initially begins their employment, nonrecoverable draws are more prevalent. It takes time for an individual to receive training and acquire expertise.

The employee will likely not make a substantial amount of commissions initially. After a period of training, it is possible to make the sketches recoverable.

Suppose you employ a new salesman. During the first six months of their employment, you pay them in nonrecoverable draws. The salesperson may earn sufficient commissions to cover the draws, but you expect to lose money if this is not the case.

After the first six months, recoverable draws are paid. The unearned sum becomes a debt if the salesperson does not earn sufficient commissions to satisfy the current withdrawals.

Why have a commission draw

A draw against commission arrangement might be quite beneficial for your sales team. The goal of a draw on commission is to provide employees with a regular, secure income that can be used to better their own finances.

A sales commission draw is particularly beneficial for sales reps who are just beginning their careers. They are guaranteed a certain amount of money even if they do not generate substantial commissions.

Example of a commission draw

New Heights National is a software vendor for construction management. Sam McCauley is a sales representative for this firm with a quarterly sales quota of $20,000.

New Heights utilizes a recoverable draw against commission and expects each sales professional to reach or beyond their sales target. Sales agents get 10 percent profit every sale. At this rate, Sam earns a commission payment of $2,000 every pay period.

Sam surpasses his quarterly sales goal and earns a commission of $6,000 on software sales. Because he received more than the predicted commission, he does not owe New Heights National any of the original draw money.

He has already received the draw amount of $4,000, thus New Heights National increases his next payment by $2,000. This takes the total to $6,000, which is the entire commission he has received.

Draw against commission laws

Typically, commission-based employees must earn at least the minimum wage. Ensure that the employee drawings comply with minimum wage rules.

Some commission-based employees may be eligible for overtime compensation. However, certain employees are exempt from overtime pay. Different exemptions apply to inner and outside sales staff.

Consult your state’s legislation, since they may impose greater restrictions on drawings against commissions.

When creating the draw against commission policy for your firm, make sure to properly review federal and state legislation. You may also talk with an employment attorney.

Use Patriot’s payroll software to pay your commission-based staff. Multiple money kinds can be created to pay employee draws and leftover commissions. Try the program at no cost.

This is not meant as legal advice; click here for further information.

How does a commission draw work?

Each pay month, commission draw advances a commission payment to an employee. At the conclusion of the sales cycle, the employer deducts the amount of the advance payment or draw from the employee’s total commission earnings.

With this technique, a salesperson gets a larger compensation only if they surpass their sales quota each pay period by earning a commission greater than their original draw.

When sales cycles are protracted, a company may elect to utilize this compensation structure. For instance, a pharmaceutical sales organization focuses on establishing client connections prior to generating sales, which lengthens the sales cycle.

In lieu of withholding commission payments, a draw gives compensation during the duration of a transaction and deducts the commission after the sale is finalized.

Potential benefits of a commission draw

For a variety of reasons, a corporation may decide to introduce commissions as the principal method of employee compensation. Here are few potential advantages of a commission draw:

Provided starting point

Employers give a launching place for salespeople to achieve their objectives. The new hire incentive is an example of a beginning point that drives the employee to reach and surpass quotas.

Ability to build upon the base amount

In addition to the base draw, employees might earn a commission. Additionally, the base draw amount may grow if they perform well.

Adds a direct incentive

Commission draws drive workers to perform because they may be more motivated to reach or surpass the draw amount or avoid being indebted to their company.

Assists with long sales cycles

Implementing a commission draw system minimizes a significant fall in an employee’s salary when sales cycles are lengthy.

Potential disadvantages of a commission draw

Even while a commission draw offers some advantages, it also has some downsides. Among the possible downsides of a commission draw are:

Potential to accrue debt

Multiple low-performing sales cycles may cause a salesperson to incur debt, but they may quickly make up for a poor sales cycle in the next pay period.

Stress to perform

Due to the fact that income depends on commission, there may be significant levels of performance pressure. However, developing skills to handle stress and maintain a healthy work-life balance may be beneficial.

Paycheck uncertainty

The employer chooses the amount of the commission draw, however the salesperson’s gross pay reduces if they earn less commission than the draw amount. Each pay period, however, you have the potential to increase your income if you earn more than the draw amount.

What is Draw Versus Commission?

Low earning potential

With commission draw, the opportunity to earn more than the draw sum is minimal. The greatest strategy to boost prospective earnings is to earn a commission that is greater than the draw amount each pay period.

A Word of Advice Prior to Launching a Draws Plan

Before putting your strategy into action, keep the following considerations in mind:

  • Consider the possibility that you may wind up paying your sales representatives more than they earn in incentive compensation. Despite the fact that you may attempt to collect them against future commissions, if the sum is too great, representatives will just resign. Consequently, simulate potential risk situations and develop a plan that is nine times out of ten mutually beneficial.
  •  Draws must be fair, but they must not be overly generous. Even after six months, if your representatives are still on draws, your plan will be disastrous. Utilize it with extreme caution and a well-defined stopping point. Reps require pressure to perform effectively, and draws eliminate the need for them to complete transactions quickly.

Creating and implementing a proper draws plan requires access to a lot of performance data about your sales teams. How do you get that valuable information? Everstage is an SPM tool that gets you all the intel you need and SO much more. Book a demo to know more about our product.

Elevating Your Sales Compensation Strategy

Appropriate sales remuneration is crucial for driving performance and achieving revenue targets. Using a draw against commission may be a terrific method to incentivize your sellers as they ramp up to full activity, as well as providing stability during interruptions. But it is merely one of the numerous variables you may employ to motivate performance through compensation planning.


Draw against commission is a compensation scheme that is based only on the commissions received by an employee. At the beginning of a pay month, an employee receives a specific sum of money as a paycheck.

Depending on the agreement, the draw is subtracted from the employee’s commission at the conclusion of the pay period or sales period.

When the pay period’s draw is repaid, the employee normally retains any residual commission. The draw against commission is a method of delivering a constant income to the salesperson before they get their commission cheques.


Offering a draw against commission pay system can help employees enjoy more stable finances while still earning commission rather than salary. In this article, we explore what draw against commission is, what types of draw systems you can implement and why you might use this pay structure in business.
In sales, a draw is an advanced payout sales reps can receive as part of their compensation plan. A draw is typically paid from expected future commission earnings.
A draw is an amount of money the employee receives for a given month before his monthly sales figures are calculated. After the employee’s sales figures for the month are calculated, the employee may keep any amount of commission he earns that exceeds the draw amount.
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