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Average dealer staff salary up 9% to £35,000 in 2016 - BDO

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Dealer staff pay has increased modestly with employees across all job roles benefiting – not just senior management.

BDO’s annual motor salary survey shows that the average base salary in 2016 was £35,000 compared to £32,000 the previous year. A further £14,000 is available in commissions and benefits, up from £11,000.

Managing director and chief executive pay was an average £208,000 (up 15% on 2015 at £181,000).

Finance directors receive an average £140,000 (+1.5% on £138,000 in 2015).

And a dealer principal was earning an average £116,000, up 23% from £94,000.

Excluding key executives from the data, the average salary of staff at businesses with less than £100 milllion turnover, is £37,000 (2015: £34,000).

On average, almost 30% of total earnings continues to be commission driven – up from 25% in 2015.

Steve Le Bas, BDO partner, said: “With many dealers reporting increased levels of profitability and continuing rises in the level of registrations, salaries have continued to increase to a higher rate with an overall increase of 8%when we compare data from consistent participants.

“Excluding management positions the average remuneration package increased from £35,000 to £38,000 year-on-year in 2016.

“Much of this increase appears to be a slightly delayed response to the recent impressive growth in the sector. This is also supported by the large increase in incentives paid compared to the increase in base pay.”

Incentives have seen a sharp increase whilst base salaries have increased more modestly.

“All positions are now seeing growth in wages, whilst in the prior year this was principally just management roles.”

From 2014 to 2016 managing director and CEO pay increased an average 39% from £130,000. Finance director pay in the same period increased 19% from £116,000. Dealer principal pay went up 3%.

Dealership departments’ pay 2016 v 2015

  2016 2015 % change
Vehicles £56,000 £51,000 9.8%
Parts £27,500 £27,000 1.9%
Service £30,000 £29,000 3.4%
Administration £31,500 £30,000 5.0%


“As might be expected given the weighting towards commission the vehicle department employees have seen the biggest increases.”

2017 pay

“Our expectations for the coming year will be further increases though perhaps by a lower rate as registrations start to soften.

“It will also be interesting to see further development of the anticipated shift towards higher basic pay lower commission structures as groups try to innovate with packages and recruit new individuals into the industry,” Le Bas said.

> The data is based on salary information as at March 31, 2016, based on responses from 149 businesses, with 351 dealerships. Participants in BDO’s annual salary review receive a detailed summary of nearly 30 dealer job roles. To participate contact Steve Le Bas at

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