Can You Make Money Doing Door to Door Sales?

At the time of writing this article, when you type in “salesmen are” into your Google search engine, you’ll see a couple degrading terms pop up in the autocomplete section. Terms such as “liars,” “narcissists,” and “sociopaths” don’t come together to paint a good picture.

But actually, those stereotypes aren’t true, at least not for the majority of salespeople out there. Salespeople are, for the most part, hard-working, genuinely friendly, and extremely well-paid. Which may be why you’ve considered becoming one!

But can you actually make money doing door to door sales? The answer is a resounding yes – if you’re good. If you’re not a salesperson at heart, you honestly probably won’t last very long. But if you’re good – or even average – you could potentially earn a living doing door-to-door sales.

But before you get too enticed by that number, let’s take a look at the ins and outs of the business so you can decide whether this is right for you.

Answering the Questions About Door to Door Sales

Door-to-door sales are exactly what you think of – someone going around, knocking on doors, and trying to get people to buy a certain product or service.

But the big question isn’t what they are, it’s more like “why do people do that?” or “do people still do that?”

If you’ve ever not opened the door for a salesperson – or politely told them you weren’t interested before hearing any of their sales pitch – then you’re probably wondering why companies even hire sales people.

And you’re probably still going to be wondering that same question when you hear that less than 2% of knocks actually turn into sales.

But when you think about it, if you knocked on 1,000 doors, you’d sign up about 20 new customers. So, it can actually be an effective marketing strategy for the right type of company.

But even if it can convert to sales, don’t most people not open their doors to strangers nowadays? I mean, it’s not like crime rates are getting any lower.

But actually, companies are turning back to the old-fashioned door-to-door strategy. Why? They need ways to get their products and services to people, and do-not-call lists and spam folders are making that increasingly difficult.

How To Start Selling Door to Door

If you’re considering giving this job a try, the easiest way to start selling door-to-door would be to go look for a job listing either in the classifieds, on Craigslist, or on a job listing site.

Going in as an employee of a company is the most convenient way to get started, and applying is just like any other job. 

For example, to become a sales rep for TDS Telecom, you just go to the “search jobs” tab of their website and, if they’re hiring, you’ll be able to fill out an application. 

All you’ll need to include is some basic personal information and a copy of your resume. If you seem like a good fit, you’ll likely get an interview. Ace that, and you’ll get hired! 

Most companies will have certain requirements that you need to meet. While these will vary from company to company, you can expect to see something along these lines:

  • 6 months to 1 year of sales experience (sometimes customer service experience is applicable)
  • Ability to obtain any licenses that are required to sell in your area (if applicable)
  • A flexible schedule
  • Good communication skills
  • Reliable transportation

Depending on the company you work for, you might also be required to do installs on top of your regular sales pitches. 

If that’s the case, you might have other requirements on top of the standard. But ultimately, if you can prove you have good customer service skills and are determined, you can most likely convince them to give you a chance.

How Much Can You Make?

How much money you can make depends on the pay structure with the company you work for. But to give you an idea, the average door-to-door salesperson in the U.S. earns over $5,600 per month.

Here are the four main ways you can make money as a door-to-door salesperson:

  • Commission Only
  • Base Pay Only
  • Base Pay plus Commission
  • Base Pay or Commission

Let’s take a deeper look at each one individually, so you know how these work and how much you could potentially make with each method.

Commission Only

Commission pay essentially means that, when you make a sale, you get paid a certain percentage of the total amount sold. That percentage is usually decided upon by the employer and would be included in any contract you might have to sign.

While that’s a great model if you can sell a lot, you can probably guess the downside. If you don’t make a sale, you dont make money.  

If you’ve never done sales before and are just getting into it, it might take longer for you to get the hang of things. And that would mean potentially more working without any compensation for it, at least until you start to get your sales pitch down.

An upside to commission-only pay, though, is that you have the potential to make the most out of the four. That’s because it’s all based on your performance. If you perform really well and sell a lot, you’ll make more.

And the rate of commission is generally higher on commission-only versus base pay plus commission.

To give you an example of this type of pay structure, if you were selling solar panels that the company sells for $2,000 apiece, and you receive 5% commission, you would get $100 for every panel you sold.

Now, let’s say you made two sales a day and worked five days a week. That would be $1,000 a week that you would earn – which isn’t a bad deal at all!  

Base Pay Only

Base pay only means that you get an hourly wage or salary, just like any regular job. It doesn’t matter how many sales you make, you are going to get paid regardless. 

This can be a great place to start if you’re new to sales, because in that entry period of learning the ins and outs of the business, it can take you a bit longer to make sales.

This way, it doesn’t matter if you make a bunch of sales right out of the gate or not, because you are going to get paid regardless.

However, the downside to this is that if you’re really good at selling, you aren’t going to make any more than the base pay.

Base Pay Plus Commission

Base pay plus commission is just like it sounds. You get a guaranteed base pay, and you get commissions on top of it for each sale.

This route can get you rewarded if you are having high performance with your sales, which can be a great motivator for some people. 

But on the flip side, the commission rate is generally a lower percentage than if it was commission only, because you’re still getting a bse pay on top of it.  

Base Pay or Commission

Base pay or commission means that you are guaranteed a base pay, but if your commission amounts to more than that base pay, you get the commission instead.

For example, if you had a base pay of $1,200 a week, and you only sold the equivalent of $400 in commission, you would only receive the $1,200.

But, if you had that same base pay, but you made $2,000 in commission, then you would receive $2,000, instead of $1,200.

Whichever type of pay structure you want is ultimately up to you and how comfortable you feel with your sales-making abilities. However, sometimes you can’t afford to be picky, and should consider taking whatever you get offered.

What Are The Startup Costs?

There’s not really any startup costs, since you’re working for an employer.

Employers generally give you all the tools and materials you would need to get started, so, you would not need to get things yourself.

The only potential cost you might have is if you had to have a license to sell in your area, or if you had to have a special license for the specific item that you’re selling.

What I Like

  • Have a high earning potential
  • Multiple different pay structures
  • Can easily turn into a full time business if you’re really good

What I Don’t Like

  • Will have a lot of rejection
  • Takes a lot of work to get one sale
  • How much you make could potentially fluctuate and not be steady


Overall, becoming a door-to-door salesperson would be an excellent move if you are extroverted, persuasive, or otherwise good at selling people on things. Sales people can make a ton of money if you’re good at it, but if you aren’t, you can see little to no success.

If you don’t think this side hustle would make a good fit for you, you could always try something a little different, like affiliate marketing. Which allows you make sales online, and tap into a much larger audience.

Overall, regardless of whether or not you become the next sales superstar, hopefully this will help you make a more informed decision.

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