Your BDC Pay Plan

To properly compensate your business development center, you must set expectations for your manager and agents and design a pay plan that will motivate and reward them.

June 2014, Auto Dealer Today - Feature

by Greg Wells

A typical BDC agent’s pay plan combines a competitive hourly wage with bonuses for set appointments and an additional bonus for sold customers. 
A typical BDC agent’s pay plan combines a competitive hourly wage with bonuses for set appointments and an additional bonus for sold customers. 
The proper pay plan can mean the difference between failure and success for your BDC. If you overpay, the return on investment won’t make sense to you. If you underpay, it won’t make sense to your agents or their manager. ROI aside, your BDC pay plan must inspire your team to perform. It should foster team chemistry and growth, and compensation should be based on merit.

So how exactly should you pay your BDC? It’s a simple question with no simple answer. Let’s start with your expectations and work backward from there.

For service BDC agents, the name of the game is volume. Some dealers create incentives based on dollars per RO; most pay a higher hourly wage in lieu of a bonus structure. 
For service BDC agents, the name of the game is volume. Some dealers create incentives based on dollars per RO; most pay a higher hourly wage in lieu of a bonus structure. 
Job Descriptions
If, like many dealers, you believe that an employee’s pay plan is defined by their job description, you are on the right track. So let’s nail down your expectations for your BDC agents and their manager.

The simplest job description for a BDC agent is “Create quality showroom and service-lane traffic with effective follow-up and daily appointment-setting practices.” There are two sides to this coin. BDC agents work with active prospects to set sales and service appointments, but they must also maintain existing relationships.

BDC agents are both hunters and farmers. If you’re in it for the long run — and I assume you are — the work your agents do to nurture and maintain your database and offer individualized service to your customers is just as important as answering the phone and writing quality responses to Internet customers.

With that in mind, let’s start by setting a reasonable hourly wage. If you’re in the Midwest, it could be $8 an hour; in northern New Jersey, $14 might be more reasonable. It varies that much. Bear in mind that the number you choose won’t be a secret for long, so be sensitive to your other hourly workers. A significant wage gap between them and your BDC agents can lead to conflict.

Next, when incentivizing your agents, don’t just wing it. Back into the right numbers by looking at your lead count and the quality of your leads. Apply your expected close rate to the opportunities and see what that does to the payroll.

A common practice is to pay BDC agents a bonus for a kept appointment and an additional bonus for a sold appointment. Fifteen dollars for a show and $10 for a sale is fairly common. This concept works pretty well, but there are two potential pitfalls:

1. You must track the leads carefully. Customers have been known to show up at the dealership after reading or listening to a particularly compelling email or voicemail. That’s a real skill, and agents should be recognized for it. In the first quarter, we found that about 15% of Internet traffic was represented by an “unappointed” show. But if the customer doesn’t mention the email or voicemail, and the person who greets them doesn’t ask, the agent is out of luck.

2. Agents may spend too much time tracking down information. They shouldn’t have to comb through records to look for deals they may have missed due to duplication or a spouse’s name being used in a transaction. The BDC manager should monitor CRM input. Look for ways to simplify tracking and reporting.

Remember the first line in the job description: “Create quality showroom traffic.” The close rate on unappointed shows is 42% — quality traffic indeed. If you factor this metric into your pay plan up front, it won’t be a point of contention in the future.

But bonus-based pay plans are not the only option. In our own call center, we stick to an hourly wage that’s aggressive for our market. There is no bonus structure. Instead, we frequently do spiffs on specific skills or results for a dealer client, typically for a short period of time.

One spiff our agents have fun with is a poker game. We put a three-card “river” on the big board. Agents earn cards by scoring high on phone calls or setting a certain number of appointments. At the end of the day, the agent with the best poker hand wins the prize, which could be a $25 gift card, lottery tickets or paid time off.

On the service side, focus on volume. Service BDC agents are typically paid a slightly higher hourly wage but earn fewer bonuses. Trying to track bonuses and spiffs for service can be a complex endeavor. I have seen dealers incentivize service BDC agents based on hours or dollars per repair order.

Pay Plans for Managers
Your BDC manager’s pay plan is simple: Set a base salary with an override on what the agents produce. Again, let’s back into the numbers. If your agents are hitting their benchmarks, your BDC manager’s overall pay should be competitive with sales managers or closers. The actual structure will vary from dealer to dealer, but a highly skilled BDC manager should be earning similar income to the people who supervise the sales team.

A popular way to pay BDC managers is a monthly base salary, somewhere in the $2,500 range, plus the same bonus as the agents —$15 for showroom visits and $10 for sold customers.

Personally, I like to put more emphasis on kept appointments, since that is their job description. The close rate on kept appointments is mostly out of the agent’s control, but they certainly influence the purchase. They can also hinder the purchase by giving bad information or setting unrealistic expectations.

If you can identify your lead volume and expected close rate, you will be able to work backwards into a fair pay plan. You also will have earned a healthy ROI and inspired your BDC team to set more appointments and act as good caretakers for your database.

Greg Wells is president of AllCall Automotive Contact Center. He is a 25-year industry veteran with nationally recognized expertise in BDCs and Internet sales.


  1. 1. Bill Colarusso [ November 18, 2014 @ 04:24PM ]

    Hi and thank you for this great article.
    Kindly email me with the typical or average results (Potential Contacts, Actual Contact Made, Number of Appointments, Number of the Appointments that actually Showed up for their Appointments, Number of Sales made to those Appointments (closing ratio?).
    Or, if you prefer to tell me the percentages for each of the above results that's fine.
    I'm under the impression we'll sell approximately 10% of those we initially contact or make contact with.
    Thank you.

  2. 2. Lexus [ December 18, 2014 @ 06:14PM ]

    How much do BDC's at acura carland in duluth georgia make an hour?

  3. 3. Amanda [ January 28, 2015 @ 08:40PM ]

    My work, at our dealerships BDC Department does 50-60% of our total traffic, we are also responsible for Serivce leads, and Parts leads. My have multiple lead generating services, and our pay structure is generous. I am paid $11/hr w/ 15 hours of over time most weeks at time and a half. $5 per appointment set & SHOWN in the showroom. $25 per sold vehicle. With bonus pay at 15 cars =$150 20 cars = $200 25=$375 30 cars = $600. I have received this kind of pay plan after 8 months of working at my dealership and often getting 25 cars or more. BDC Depts. are one of the strongest assets to a dealership, if ran correctly. Have a proposal? Send me an email. I am willing to relocate.

  4. 4. Felicia Harris [ February 14, 2015 @ 05:16AM ]

    I run a different kind of BDC it's hands on for sales and service... The reps are actually trained to be an asset to our sales and service team by going through training to learn how to sale and be an advisor. I have reps that have moved on to be great service writers and sales associates and are 20 to 30 more effective because of their extensive training. They have a visual on the day to day operation. Please contact me if you are a BDC rep. looking to advance...

  5. 5. Jessica G. [ July 08, 2015 @ 03:21PM ]

    Started my dealerships BDC single handedly and interested in what other dealerships have to offer. Contact me.

  6. 6. Jenn [ October 01, 2015 @ 01:57PM ]

    I recently took over the BDC at my dealership. We have seen lots of different figures on what percentage of internet leads should turn into kept appointments. Is there a general percentage that we should be striving for? Also, what percentage of kept appointments should result in sold cars?

  7. 7. Cindy [ December 12, 2015 @ 01:08AM ]

    I have 10+ years of BDC sales manger. I have recently been offered a Bdc manager position just for service in nj. I'm wondering what my pay plan should be as well as my reps. Thanks

  8. 8. jeromey [ December 14, 2015 @ 03:32PM ]

    please contact me regarding vendors would love to hear more

  9. 9. Brian Sorto [ January 18, 2016 @ 03:19PM ]

    I am the only bdc at my location and i make around 4500 a month with an inventory of 120 cars. i think every bdc needs to be paid that because theyre bringing in business for the dealership. so eseentially they are the main assets of the dealership.

  10. 10. Brian Sorto [ January 18, 2016 @ 03:19PM ]

    I am the only bdc at my location and i make around 4500 a month with an inventory of 120 cars. i think every bdc needs to be paid that because theyre bringing in business for the dealership. so eseentially they are the main assets of the dealership.

  11. 11. Christa [ May 06, 2016 @ 11:30PM ]

    Hey Brian I am the only BDC in the department covering internet fufu showroom etc averaging over 150 calls a day and I don't get paid that my

  12. 12. Macia [ May 18, 2016 @ 03:29PM ]

    I started a BDC at my current location. I was asked to come on with the agreement that I would take a low hourly wage and in 3 months, once I proved successful, I would be paid what I am worth and the department would grow. I have been there for 6 months and I am lucky to make $400 a week! It is a lower volume store with fewer sales people and management is very slow when it comes to change. I need to be paid what I am worth. I am doing a whole departments work. How should I approach this, and any ideas on what I should be realistic for?

  13. 13. D'shawn [ June 03, 2016 @ 11:18AM ]

    I'm a BDC Agent at my dealership and they only pay us once the appointment that we set buys and we only get half of the commission which is usually a minimal $100 for a New vehicle and $50 for a used vehicle. No bonuses or incentives. How should I approach a solid pay plan for my GM to actually look at?

  14. 14. Doug [ July 21, 2016 @ 02:26PM ]

    I dont get paid if they come in asking for me even though I have been talking to them over a week or so . Not ever can make appointments these days.

  15. 15. Isabel [ August 12, 2016 @ 04:20AM ]

    I work in BDC service I have been there a year I get a salary new worker get hourly
    I get $2 per RO she gets $1 per RO
    So far so good
    Yesterday I found out she gets additional bonus our boss told me was a raise
    ( when I asked for base salary to be raised)
    He suggested this additional performance bass bonus would be considered my raise
    How is this a raise when new employee also qualifies for bonus??
    Not happy :(

  16. 16. Isabel [ August 12, 2016 @ 04:21AM ]

    So not fair you need to talk to your manager or look for a job that will properly pay you . Good luck.

  17. 17. Seve [ October 01, 2016 @ 05:38AM ]

    How can you turn an old school gm into understanding what is a BDC Department is for? How its a department not a one person show. Where sales calls, service, internet leads, are filtered into one department not a free for all.

  18. 18. Krista [ January 24, 2017 @ 08:04AM ]

    Hi everyone. Ideas on how does the bonus plan work if the BDC is ALSO taking all service and sales inbound calls. Does anyone have any incentive ideas for incoming calls? We are a team of 4 and work for an autogroup of 4 dealerships.

  19. 19. Sandra [ January 24, 2017 @ 01:12PM ]

    I just started as a bdc manager 2 months ago and I'm thinking about stepping back down to a rep. 2500 is my salary and 10 a sold car up to 75 cars then 15.00 for 76 to 90 and anything from 90 up 20.00...I'm not sure if my pay plan is fair.

  20. 20. LoriAnn [ January 25, 2017 @ 09:05PM ]

    My dealership is a 3 car AutoGroup, we do internet sales for all 3. We have 5 reps and our manager. We work as a team, so no matter who books the appt. Doesn't matter.
    As long as it comes through the internet and one of us book it AND it sells then we make $10 per car. I like that idea of 10-15-20 BC since I've been there we have always been over 100. Lowest was 113 last month, but this month will probably be the lowest (67 cars as of Tuesday)... Anywyay I'm wondering if this is fair or does anyone else get better pay plans? We get no bonuses either. I feel satisfied with my pay and commission but does any other bdc rep think this is low balling us?

  21. 21. Heather [ February 13, 2017 @ 10:38AM ]

    BDC managers are largely underpaid in my opinion. Starting salary in NY is $81,000 a year. The BDM is a store manager, sometimes doing more than assistant sales managers or used car manager yet are paid much less. They run the BDC, oversee sales, oversee managers, are meeting with dealer Reps, running the CRM systems, Auto Alert, TrueCar, making sure everyone is using the software properly to get the fullest potential and the responsibilities just keep growing. I could go on and on. Our BD agents start at $550.00 a week salary, $10 for appointments and another $25 if it sells. Half the time the deal is already done when the customer comes into the showroom. When we give sales a bonus we also give the BDC department one as well. They are the first touch, they are doing most of the leg work. I started out selling cars in 1999 and boy have things changed! Give your BDC's all the resources they need to be successful, keep them happy and you will get results. Its amazing how much work they will do for a measly $10.00 appointment.

  22. 22. R. King Fareed [ April 04, 2017 @ 05:49PM ]

    Here here Heather. You are on point.

  23. 23. Shelley [ September 01, 2017 @ 06:53AM ]

    I would like to know how people are handling the Customer that The BDC has worked with, left voice mails, answered their questions, do not commit to an appointment, then walk in. One FL dealership suggested that if I had put information into the CRM showing that I spoke with them or contacted them, if they came in, it would be marked as an appointment, not a showroom up.
    What do you think?

  24. 24. Tom [ September 13, 2017 @ 11:16AM ]

    I have been a BDC Director/Rep/Sales Manager for about 15 years. Some of what I see on this thread is absolutely crazy. Shelley absolutely if you have been working a client and they come in you should be paid on that. If not you are being taken advantage of. A good quality message can bring a customer in even if you never spoke with them. I think a good rep should make around 1000-1200 a week. Avg 120 calls per 8hr shift and 2-4 appts per shift. If this is not happening something is wrong with the process. I hope this helps some of you.

  25. 25. Alana [ September 21, 2017 @ 10:50PM ]

    I have been a bdc for 3 yrs and have seen a few pay plans. One that was best was tiered. $10 per show, and that jumps to $20 per show once you hit 50. And it retros. Solds were $25 and goes to $30 once you hit 50 sold appts (although that was very rare.) We'd also added tesm bonuses. X amount of outbound emails n calls a month total and each person would get say $200. That was a win together lose together kind of deal. Unfortunately, not everyone carried their weight, and those hard pushers, like myself, would double the call quota each day to assure the team hit goal. We also gave credit for a show/sold if someone walked in that originally was an online inquiry, given the work was put in. We always say, if its not in the CRM it didnt happen. So always be sure to notate every single detail on each customer! Btw, the average calls should be about 120-150. The more calls the contacts, thus more appts. My team averaged 5-6 per person a day. Of course some individuals did more like 8 a day average, and others less than expected. Hope this helps.

  26. 26. David [ October 13, 2017 @ 12:18PM ]

    At the dealership that I work at the BDC gets paid $10 for appointment show, not sold, and an additional $50 for a sold unit. This seems like a lot for what they do when most leads are only name, phone number, and a general idea of what car they want. I know that they only do about 70-90 calls per shift. Does this seem right to anyone else?

  27. 27. Lee [ October 20, 2017 @ 11:15AM ]

    Hello, so I currently work at a dealership that gives me 11$ an hour with a 15$ per show and 10$ sold bonus. I also get daily bonus’s of 4 shows = 50$ and a 6 show bonus that gives 75$. Also an additional 50 show bonus a month and 75 show bonus a month. I am actually not content with this and was offered another job else where, now they are willing to give me a different pay plan as well as a higher pay. What should I do? I’m really good at this I bring in atleast 100 people a month with atleast 30 sold. They don’t want me to leave, what can they do to keep me if I’m offered a 50k base plus 3% commission end of the month on inside sales ?

  28. 28. Jojo [ January 29, 2018 @ 03:53PM ]

    What are best BDC schools in Texas? CA?

  29. 29. Heather [ February 06, 2018 @ 08:25AM ]

    JoJo the best bdc school is you! there is a lot of free training on you tube. Sean V, Grant Cardone and others. Soak it all up, refine it and keep what works and don't be attached to what's not. Just started in this but I can see the opportunity and appreciate it. I have a long way to go because I need to overcome other things as well, but I'm not afraid to take on the tips from others to shorten my learning curve to be a top producer in this craft. When I go home I'm practicing, learning. Following the money trail..

  30. 30. Denise F Randolph [ March 24, 2018 @ 12:10PM ]

    OK i'm a BDC for service anyone just do service appointments ?

  31. 31. TRACIE [ September 19, 2018 @ 01:44PM ]

    hey Denise, I do the Service BDC and a little of the sales

  32. 32. reinel carrera [ September 20, 2018 @ 06:47AM ]

    I'm the BDC Director for an auto group in FL.
    I pay my team a 2k draw plus
    $3.0 for every car the store sells ( weather its a bdc customer or not)
    $100.00 if we pass CSI
    A percentage on internet leads that sold - Tier 1 $500 / #2 $650 / #3 $750
    A percentage on the phone leads that sold -Tier 1 $500 / #2 $650 / #3 $750
    An individual sold spiff - 18-24 cars sold $250.00 - 25-30 $500 - 31-36 $750 - 40 plus $1000.00
    First place for shown phone appts - $250 2nd place $150.00
    First place for shown internet appts - $250.00 2nd place $150.00
    Most sold BDC units from the BDC department gets $250.00

    Plus I always put out a spiff based on your performance. ( Always setting goals to beet your last months performance)


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