Manufacturers’ and wholesale sales representatives held about 1.9 million jobs in 2004. About half of all salaried representatives worked in wholesale trade. Others were employed in manufacturing, retail trade, information, and construction. Because of the diversity of products and services sold, employment opportunities are available in every part of the country in a wide range of industries.
In addition to those working directly for a firm, many sales representatives are self-employed manufacturers’ agents. They often form small sales firms and work for a straight commission based on the value of their own sales. Usually, however, manufacturers’ agents gain experience and recognition with a manufacturer or wholesaler before becoming self-employed.