Benefits of Being a Pharmaceutical Sales Representative
The Financial Rewards Including a Company Car
A career in pharmaceutical sales offers some of the best benefits and perks anyone can ask for in a job. Typical starting salaries are in the low $30,000s and established representatives can have base salaries in the $90,000s. Bonuses on top of that for high sales performers can easily push incomes into the six figure range. But in addition to the money, there are numerous other attractive perks in pharmaceutical sales.
One of the nicest perks that pharmaceutical sales representatives enjoy is the use of recent model company cars. These are usually midsize sedans that are leased under a company fleet program. Some pharmaceutical companies even offer minivans to their sales forces and I’ve seen reps drive sport utility vehicles as company cars too.
Company car leases are usually short term with durations of a few years only so the sales representatives end up driving relatively new vehicles all the time. Once a company car’s lease expires, the rep gets a new vehicle! All the maintenance costs such as tune ups, oil changes, gas and insurance are paid for by the company so basically the sales reps get to drive their cars for free (although for taxation purposes, the company’s payroll department may report a taxable benefit for sales force staff).
Some companies have been known to offer the vehicles that are near the end of lease terms for sale at significant market discounts. Representatives have been able to purchase relatively good condition used cars for other family members and friends at very attractive prices through such programs. Some have even resold these vehicles on the used car market for a tiny profit.
In addition to a company car, a pharmaceutical representative also has access to an expense account which enables him or her to entertain customers such as physicians on a business level whether it is for meals at nice restaurants or other for business social activities such as golf outings or attending sporting events. Of course, the rep is expected to participate with their customers at these business social activities.
The Freedom and Independence
For those individuals who do not like the idea being stuck inside with an office job, a pharmaceutical sales position offers the opportunity to spend most working hours out in the field visiting customers like physicians, nurses and pharmacists. Pharmaceutical reps have the freedom to set and organize their own working schedules. No single day is identical as different customers at different locations are visited each working day. Pharmaceutical sales involve a lot of independence, as the pharmaceutical reps’ bosses or district sales managers are usually not around 95% of the time. Therefore, there is nobody to constantly look over your shoulder most of the time for this line of work.
The Travel Opportunities
Pharmaceutical companies usually conduct sales meetings for their sales forces at nice locations, sometimes even at exotic foreign spots which give representatives opportunities to travel at the companies’ expense. Accommodations, meals and entertainment during these meetings are usually top notch. I’ve stayed at five star resorts, been on a Mediterranean cruise, took a sightseeing plane ride through the Grand Canyon, skied in the Rockies, attended live theatre in New York City, toured the ancient city of Pompeii and experienced many other interesting activities that were all paid for while working for pharmaceutical companies.
There are also opportunities for pharmaceutical representatives to attend large medical conferences which are often held at nice locations as well. Some representatives have been able to bring along spouses, partners and relatives to combine business trips with personal vacations. Again, all or a large part of the travel costs were already paid for by the company. I utilized company paid flights and extended some stays before or after company meetings for personal vacations. I was able to go scuba diving in the Egyptian Red Sea this way. I know reps who extended trips in Europe and the Caribbean in combination with company meetings.
The Satisfaction of an Important Role in Health Care
Of course along with these perks, there are other factors involved in pharmaceutical sales which can be very satisfying. Pharmaceutical reps are in a position to help educate doctors, nurses, pharmacists and medical students about their drug products along with the associated medical conditions they treat. There is some great satisfaction when a medical professional tells you that your product has made a positive difference in a patient’s health, especially when the professional never used your product before your introduction of it to him or her.
It would have been your selling efforts that caused the doctor to change prescribing habits which ultimately helped treat the patients better. This makes a pharmaceutical representative feel like an important part of the overall medical health care team. It’s a good feeling indeed when one knows that he or she is part of a company responsible for bringing a much needed medical product to society.