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Bonus v Basic – what HVAC sales engineers are looking for

Bonus v Basic – what HVAC sales engineers are looking for

over 9 years ago Empty Jenni Moulson


When HVAC sales engineers are scanning the job market a good bonus scheme can transform an average salary package into an attractive career move.

... Updated September 2022...

A seasoned sales person who knows the industry and has a strong track record will tend to look for a lucrative bonus scheme to ensure their sales and negotiating skills are properly rewarded.

From an employer’s point of views, a good bonus scheme can create a buzz amongst the team, drive sales and generate loyalty. A bad system, on the other hand, can leave employees feeling short-changed and lacking morale. 

How much should you be getting paid? 

A basic salary will typically range between £45K and £55K for a sales engineer or area sales manager working in the HVAC industry. Some smaller faster growing companies will pay up to £70K for an Area Sales Manager, although £60 - £65K is more usual and not at all uncommon.

Bonuses can add anything from a few thousand to £20K or £30K to the overall income received during the course of the year. The size of company, region, scale of area being covered and type of products being sold will all have an influence on the overall salary package. 

What should you look for in an employer?

At Thornhvac we regularly carry out research to find out what sales people are looking for in an employer. Time and again people tell us that they want to work for well-known brand names that have high quality, innovative products. These sorts of companies may pay a slightly lower basic than smaller manufacturers but the bonus potential is usually far greater. Their bonus structures will have been developed over time and will be well defined. Smaller firms understand that their sales people might have a harder time getting their products out to market which is why they tend to offer a higher basic salary to compensate for the fact that bonuses are not quite as easy to come by.

Should you choose bonus over basic?

When we speak to candidates they usually express the view that if you’re comparing two jobs where full bonus plus salary gives approximately the same total figure as a similar job with a higher salary, the higher salary option is usually best.

If there’s a chance to earn 5-10% more on top of the higher salary option with a good bonus scheme, that option suddenly looks more attractive and could make a big difference to your earning potential.

It’s worth pointing out here that bonus structures vary hugely. Some offer “up to” a maximum amount. Remember that companies can – and do – cut budgets and this can lead to changes to bonuses. Read the small print before compromising on guaranteed salary.

What else matters?

As well as having great products, the company you work for should be able to support its clients with strong after sales service. As a sales person you want to build lasting relationships and having this kind of support behind the scenes will go a long way towards helping you develop trust and win business.

It also helps to work for a manufacturer that understands the importance of being in front of your customers. If you’re spending long hours in the car covering a huge area this might be at the expense of customer facing time.

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Thornhvac is a leading HVAC recruitment company serving the UK’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning markets. Contact us on 0115 8714 777 or email