Draw Against Commission In Sales: Everything You Need To Know

August 16, 2022
Diya Mathur
Diya Mathur
Diya Mathur
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Every sales professional knows that a good compensation system is crucial to motivating and retaining your staff. Among them, one kind of compensation that gives salespeople incentive payments in advance before the end of the sales cycle is a commission draw.

Finding out more about this form of compensation might help you choose whether a commission draw income is right for your team or not.

In this article you will be looking at commission draws, defining them, describing their operation and going through their possible advantages and drawbacks.

How do you Specify Sales Commission Draws?

One of the most popular methods for paying commission to salespeople is a commission draw, commonly referred to as a draw against commission. Employers who utilize this system give workers a "draw" amount with each paycheck. The sum that the employer anticipates the salesperson will earn in commissions over the course of the pay period is known as the draw amount.

The employer subtracts the commission from the initial draw sum after the salesperson's real commission is received. Any remaining commission money after the deduction is then given to the employee. Employees who earn commission draws are promised a certain amount every paycheck, and it is their responsibility to meet or surpass that amount throughout each sales cycle.

Purpose of a commission draw

The availability of commission draws at the onset of the pay month serves as an incentive for employees to strive towards achieving their sales objectives. These draws provide salespeople with compensation even during uncertain periods, such as market downturns or off-season product phases, effectively bolstering their motivation. This setup aligns with the principles of the MBO incentive, fostering a results-driven culture that encourages consistent sales performance regardless of external challenges.

The sales team's salary is strongly correlated with how well they do their jobs. Although it could increase the amount of strain at work, this is a technique to manage your income.

Commission Draw

What happens during a commission draw?

Each pay month, a commission payment is advanced to an employee through a commission draw. The employer subtracts the amount of the advance payment, or draw, from the total commission that the employee received at the conclusion of the sales cycle.

With this system, a salesperson only receives a raise in compensation if they consistently surpass their sales targets by earning commissions that are higher than the original draw.

For instance, a software sales business has long sales cycles requiring multiple interactions with customers before closing deals. A draw pays their reps during the sale and subtracts the commission once the transaction is over, as opposed to withholding commission payments.

Three different commission draws exist:

  • New hires: It's typical for firms to provide a draw to new hires with no requirements that they achieve certain sales targets in their first few months. During this time, the new employee may become used to the commission system and gradually start accomplishing their objectives.
  • Recoverable draw: Employees are paid a guaranteed draw each pay period using the recoverable draw approach. If the salesperson doesn't make the anticipated amount of commission in each cycle, the employer expects them to make up the gap.
  • Non-recoverable draw: If the salesman fails to meet the non-recoverable draw, the company will not seek reimbursement for the payment. Though less common, this arrangement provides the salesman with an opportunity to earn a commission without being obligated to repay the firm.

Advantages of a commission draw

For a variety of reasons, a business may decide to use commission draws as its main method of compensating staff. The following are some potential advantages of a commission draw:

  • Possibility of increasing the base sum: Employees have the option of increasing the base draw by earning a commission over the draw sum. Additionally, the base draw amount could rise if they perform well.
  • Increases motivation: Commission draws provide workers with a clear incentive to succeed since they may be more motivated to reach or surpass the draw amount to avoid owing their company money.
  • Head start Given: Employers give salespeople a head start in achieving objectives. A beginning point that encourages an employee to reach and surpass quotas is the new hire draw.

Disadvantages of a commission draw 

A commission draw offers advantages, but there are also some drawbacks. A commission draw could have the following drawbacks:

  • Salary Size: The size of the paycheck is based on the commission received, thus there may be significant levels of performance stress. 
  • Uncertainty regarding paychecks: The employer sets the commission draw amount, however, if the salesperson receives a lower commission than the draw amount, their gross income will decline. If you earn more than the draw amount, you have a new chance to increase your income with each pay period.
  • Low possibility for earnings: With a commission draw, there is little chance of earning more than the draw sum. The greatest method to enhance earning potential is to earn more in commissions each pay period than you draw.


It's crucial to get sales incentives right if you want to motivate performance and meet your revenue targets. If your sellers are ramping up to their peak output, using a draw against commission may be a terrific strategy to keep them motivated and to offer stability when problems arise, especially considering the specific BDR sales responsibilities, which entail proactive lead generation and qualification to fuel the sales pipeline

But it's only one of many factors you may take into account when designing your remuneration strategy to motivate employees.


Diya Mathur

Diya is a Product Marketing Associate and content writer specializing in Incentive Compensation Automation. Diya has honed her ability to bridge the gap between intricate software functionalities and accessible, reader-friendly content. Her articles are a testament to her dedication to breaking down intricate SaaS solutions into digestible insights that cater to both tech-savvy professionals and those new to the software landscape.


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