Finding a Part-Time Sales Job

Woman working part-time as an interior designer talking to customer in a furniture store.
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Whether you are looking for a part-time sales position because you need a second (or third) income source, want to give sales a try and don't want to commit to a full-time position, or have decided that working more than one job is more your style, finding good paying part-time sales positions can be challenging.

Many employers who hire sales professionals prefer that their reps work full-time at driving revenue for their companies and are reluctant to consider part-time sales reps. Fortunately, there are some places you can look for part-time work.

Part-Time Retail Industry Positions

The retail industry is the most obvious industry to look into when looking for part-time sales work. In fact, the majority of those working in sales positions in a retail shop are not full-time employees.

While the retail industry certainly has plenty of part-time opportunities, you will likely encounter some challenges.

  1. Most retail sales positions are low paying ones.
  2. Entry-level positions usually require weekend and evening hours
  3. Very few offer benefits
  4. May not earn a commission but only a base salary

Despite these (and other) drawbacks, looking for a part-time sales position in the retail industry usually produces positive results for those willing to deal with the challenges and still produce positive results.

1099 Sales Positions

Unlike a typical "employee" positions, 1099 positions generally offer incredible flexibility. In other words, if you have a 1099 position, you work when you want to work. The downside is that very few 1099 positions offer a salary and those who work under a 1099 agreement work completely on a commission basis.

1099 positions are often filled by Independent sales professionals, looking to either augment their incomes, find another source of income to replace their full-time position's income or by those simply following a passion for a specific product or service. Expect to find several companies, many of which will be start-up companies, with 1099 sales position openings.

Working Part-Time in Inside Sales

The Inside Sales industry is an exciting industry that has experienced rapid growth and change during the 2000s. This growth is partly due to the lower cost involved in employing inside reps when compared to outside sales reps and advances in technology.

The inside salesperson has a tough position, often filled with more than a fair share of rejection. Some employers hire part-time inside sales reps to "weed out" those who can't cut a full-time position as well as to guard against the burn out that "dialing for dollars" often creates.

Benefits for Employers

While the majority of those in the auto sales industry are full-time employees, many smaller dealerships or used car dealers employ part-time sales reps. This industry gives an excellent opportunity to highlight the benefits that hiring part-time staff has for the employer.

  1. Save money by not paying benefits
  2. Arrange the scheduling to have sales reps working during busy hours
  3. No need to pay full-time employees during typically slow times
  4. Useful as a "proving ground" for full-time employee consideration

Problems Using Part-Time Salespeople

Employers may also have some downsides when it comes to employing part-time staff. One consideration is that the part-time employee has little allegiance to the employer and is likely to change companies easily.

Another problem comes with the employee gaining experience. It takes longer for the part-time hire to gain the experience it takes to close a sale. It takes time and repeated sale interactions to build the experience necessary and this time is extended when the employee is only working a few hours each day.

Returning to the earlier car sales example, one of the biggest challenges for the employer hiring people to work part-time selling cars is in co-worker resentment. In auto dealerships, reps usually take turns working with customers who walk through their doors. Imagine being a full-time employee putting in a 10 hour day and having a part-time sales rep close a profit-rich sale simply because the part-time rep was "next in line."

Moving From Full-Time to Part-Time Sales

If you currently hold a full-time sales position and want to cut your hours back, you may want to consider asking your manager about going part-time. While this may bring some negative exposure to yourself if your employer doesn't offer part-time work, you may be able to build a strong enough case why your employer should consider allowing you to work part-time. 

Some benefits that your employer would realize by allowing a full-timer to become a part-timer include:

  1. Full-time employees are already well trained
  2. Full-time employees, in general, have already proven themselves to be good employees.
  3. Employers can save money by allowing you to work part-time as part-time positions seldom include benefits
  4. Employers want to keep good employees. And if your employer knows that you want to go part-time, they may see enough value in keeping you, even if for fewer hours per week, than losing you to another part-time position.