Typical Roles at a Car Dealership

A car dealership is a multifaceted business that both sells and maintains a fleet of cars. Sales representatives engage and guide customers through the process of purchasing a car. Mechanics work in the dealership’s service side, repairing customer's cars and maintaining/preparing used cars for resale. Dealerships also require support staff such as receptionists, custodians, photographers, lot attendants, and managers to oversee the sales and service departments. Car dealerships traditionally suffer from high employee turnover rates in the sales departments, making it valuable to provide incentives for good employees to stay with the company.

Sales Manager

A sales manager will oversee many aspects of the dealership, including inventory management and leading the sales team. A sales manager also plans product pricing strategies and promotions.

Typical Salary: $74,000

What Does This Role Entail?

  • Leading a team of sales representatives
  • Achieving business-level sales targets
  • Managing inventory

What to look for:

  • Prior sales or management experience
  • Ability to lead and inspire a sales team

Sales Representative

A sales representative guides customers through the sales process. They are frequently trained by the dealer and a large part of their pay is from commission.

Typical Salary: $40,000 (including commissions)


What Does This Role Entail?

  • Assisting customers at every step of the sales process, from selection through financing
  • Negotiate sale prices with customers

What to look for:

  • Energetic, outgoing personalities
  • Experience selling cars or other high-value items
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Knowledge of automotive features and terms

Auto Mechanic

Some dealers will specialize in only a few brands, and others will buy and sell cars of any brand - This will impact what sort of brand experience your mechanics should have.

Typical Salary: $38,000


What Does This Role Entail?

  • Repairing/replacing defective components
  • Performing computer diagnostics
  • Cleaning/refurbishing interiors and exteriors
  • Diagnosing mechanical and electrical faults

What to look for:

  • Experience as an automotive technician or mechanic
  • Certifications to work on specific automotive brands
  • Ability to work overtime when needed


A receptionist handles office communications, directing calls to the dealership and guiding people to the correct department.

Typical Salary: $10/hr


What Does This Role Entail?

  • Answering phones, taking messages, and directing inquiries
  • Performing miscellaneous office tasks as needed


What to look for:

  • Outgoing, friendly personality
  • Ability to multitask
  • Detail oriented

Lot Attendent

Lot attendants manage the fleet of cars on show at a dealership.

Typical Salary: $9/hr


What Does This Role Entail?

  • Driving cars around the lot
  • Periodically washing cars
  • Maintaining the general appearance of the lot

What to look for:

  • Ability to drive standard/automatic cars
  • Enthusiasm about cars

Car Dealership Hiring Tips

Hiring employees can seem like a nerve-wracking process, but it doesn't have to be. We break the process down into four basic steps: (1) Planning; (2) Recruiting; (3) Interviewing; and (4) Completing the Hire. Here are some tips for each phase of the process

Plan to Staff Your Business

Car dealerships traditionally suffer from high turnover rates among their sales associates. Due to the cost of hiring and training salespeople, providing the right incentives to retain employees is key to ensuring your business is profitable. Many dealerships offer their sales personnel a range of benefits, including generous commissions to encourage sales, health insurance, 401(k), paid vacation/personal days, and flexible schedules. Your other staffing needs can vary depending on the types of services you offer, and will generally grow with the size of the business.

Develop a Recruiting Strategy

Recruiting for facilities positions (such as custodians, lot attendants, and receptionists) can be done on traditional job boards and conventional hiring methods, however sale representatives can be recruited through other channels. Consider recruiting sales representatives through multiple channels, perhaps by also posting ads on social media that highlight the earning potentials. When selecting candidates for interviews, analyze their emails to ascertain their writing abilities. Have promising candidates call you for a quick phone chat to give you an idea of their phone skills, then set up on-site interviews.

Interview with Confidence

If you take your time during the planning and recruiting phases of the process, you will likely end up with many qualified candidates.


Nonetheless, it is perfectly natural for a new business owner to be a bit anxious the first time hiring employees. Don’t forget that the interview is just a chance to get to know an applicant and to give them an opportunity to learn more about the role and the business. Also, it might help to remember that they are probably even more nervous than you are!

Throughout the interview process, it may help to keep in mind that most sales managers look for sales associates who are:


  • Outgoing
  • Strong negotiators
  • Competent writers
  • Professionals over the phone
  • Calm under pressure



Here are some sample interview questions that will help you learn more about the character of your interviewees:

  • Tell me about one of the toughest sales you’ve closed.


  • Describe a frustrating sales experience where you ultimately were not successful.
  • Have you played any sports? (competitiveness is a good quality in sales people)
  • Why do you want a job making sales (financial motivation is a good answer)


Consider challenging your candidates with confrontational questions or statements such as “I’m not sure you’ll be a good fit for this job. Can you change my mind?” Doing this reveals how the candidates handle objections and obstacles and can indicate how strong of a salesman they are.

Be Familiar with Hiring Laws

After selecting a job candidate, there are certain steps you will need to follow to complete the hiring process. Check out our Hiring Compliance Checklist for a step-by-step guide to the legal aspects of hiring employees.

One of the most important steps is to classify your new hire as an employee or an independent contractor. Become familiar with IRS guidelines on this matter, as there are serious consequences for misclassifying an employee as an independent contractor.

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For more details, please refer to our guide on the topic, Contractors vs. Employees: What You Need to Know. We also provide templates for the essential hiring forms you will need.

Set Up Payroll

Once you have a growing team of employees, it's time to set up your payroll. Using a payroll service provider saves you time for running your business, and also helps ensure that you comply with important federal requirements such as employee tax withholding.

To help our readers save money and grow their business, we negotiated a 20% discount for you with payroll provider ADP, the most popular small business provider in the country.

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Try ADP and get 20% off payroll services for your business.

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