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I recently found a replacement part for our product that is cheaper and better. I've negotiated a good deal to get this price from the distributor and I've also received a formal quote. It will save the company a lot of money.

Procurement is not my job. I just seized a good opportunity. I am in the research and development department of the company, though I've spent a lot of time preparing this deal to make sure nothing is overlooked and that we are in fact coming out ahead. My company provides a commission to sales associates for selling products. For reference, the amount of money it will save in one year is equal to about 10 years of my salary.

Would it be inappropriate to ask for a commission for the deal that I am making? How should I go about asking for it?

  • 7
    does your company have a regular appraisal / bonus scheme? – nkjt Aug 22 '18 at 10:53
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    @Kilisi No others were involved and it is indeed not my role. I was looking for a sensor with certain specifications to solve a problem. While I was communicating with manufacturers I found something unrelated to what I was looking for that would save us money if we adopted it. – Klik Aug 22 '18 at 14:20
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    How did you pay for it if no one else was involved? To me it just sounds like you sourced something, then I assume the financial people bought it. It's not the same as a sales person selling a product to my mind, so I'm wondering what I missed? Perhaps worth a bonus if you push hard enough. Might push too hard and ruffle some feathers though, you preempted someone elses role who now looks a bit foolish. – Kilisi Aug 22 '18 at 14:27
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    You might first reconsider whether asking for a raise might serve you better in the long run. I think it would be easier to justify as well. Raises build upon each other and the increase isn't a one time shot. – rrauenza Aug 22 '18 at 17:06
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    If you lose the company money, should they dock your pay? – Petah Aug 23 '18 at 4:17
108

My company provides a commission to sales associates for selling products.

Would it be inappropriate to ask for a commission for the deal that I am making?

If I understand correctly, you didn't sell anything. Instead you did some work that ended up saving the company some money. So "commission" is probably the wrong word to use here. "Bonus" is more appropriate.

You can ask for anything, but I'd be surprised if the company would give you a bonus specifically for this deal, unless it already had some sort of bounty program in place. Imagine if everyone decided it was more lucrative to spend their time trying to make deals rather than doing their own work.

It's reasonable to mention this deal as part of your annual performance review. And it would be reasonable for the company to take that into consideration in your review.

My teams and I were involved in many, many projects that ended up either producing significant revenue for the company or saving them money on costs, or both. But we weren't rewarded for piecemeal project work - we got a salary and annual bonuses.

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    Many of us have saved lots of money for our employers in the course of our jobs. This is somewhat different, in that Klik went beyond his job requirements and fixed something else on his own initiative. That deserves notice in the annual review and Klik's resume. – David Thornley Aug 22 '18 at 14:42
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    "Better" is a pretty squirrely area too, if you're torpedoing an existing supplier relationship. – fectin Aug 22 '18 at 20:16
  • Maybe OP can ask for some "goodies", like an upgraded laptop or cell phone? – vikingsteve Aug 23 '18 at 9:34
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    Annual review is the right place to bring this up. You were doing company work on company time. We are all paid to make the company profitable. You could mention a bonus to your direct boss in passing, but unless it is easy for him/her to provide a bonus, nothing will happen. I wouldn't make a formal effort to press for a bonus. – Paul Aug 23 '18 at 13:54
  • @DavidThornley Better in the OP's point of view. I am highly skeptical of going around an established procurement department. Does the OP even have the authority to do this? Does this follow required export control regulations? Does this add a new vendor to the vendor list with associated overhead and cost? – Eric Aug 26 '18 at 0:57
23

Of course you can ask. Might not be the wisest action for your career.

I've done things like this before. For example, rewrote some extremely inefficient code that allowed my company (previous employer) to save several hundred thousand dollars a year in some licenses that were no longer needed. I didn't ask for part of the savings as commission or a bonus (though would have been very nice). This was for a brokerage firm where the highest paid brokers made in the mid seven figure range. I was just a lowly code monkey make a lot less.

Here's what I did - when it came time for my yearly self-evaluation this was a bullet point - something along the lines of "implemented changes to XYZ by changing the vendor for the flibbit causing saving of $XXX per year". This will then go into your review which should positively impact your bonus. If it doesn't then you've got a great bullet point for your resume.

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    I specifically prepare for my reviews by keeping track how I have made money for the company, and saved money for the company. Solid numbers are far better than vague statements. – Gustav Bertram Aug 23 '18 at 13:33
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    Can you expand on the "Might not be the wisest action for your career" statement? It's not obvious why asking would be seen as negative. Sure you might not get anything but assuming it's done in a tactful way, I fail to see the negative. – aw04 Aug 23 '18 at 14:49
  • Depending out the boss/company something that has not been done before might not be kindly received. Just a thought. – JazzmanJim Aug 23 '18 at 18:45
  • Perhaps, but I think it could also work in your favor. They may have to deny your request for a bonus, but they'll be forced to acknowledge what you've done and may see you in a better light as well as feel like they "owe" you something. – aw04 Aug 23 '18 at 21:20
17

You can ask. Pretty much the worst they can do is say "no" as this doesn't seem unreasonable - I suspect you'd be more likely to get a one-off bonus than any sort of percentage commission, but I imagine that's not a disastrous outcome from your point of view.

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    I can think of far worse. The worst that I can see is they asked why the OP was spending a lot of time on something that wasn't part of their job and starting some kind of disciplinary proceedings for effectively neglecting their job. I mean, I don't think that's a likely outcome but my first thought when I heard "Spent a lot of time" and "not part of my job" in the same sentence was about what the OP's manager thought of this. – Chris Aug 23 '18 at 15:26
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    @Chris I work a lot of unpaid overtime. – Klik Aug 24 '18 at 18:33
  • @Klik: Well, my point still stands that there is far worse that could happen than them saying "No" so I'm not much of a fan of this answer. You're obviously in a better position to be a judge of that than we are though, my example was just the first thing that came to mind (though others have elsewhere expressed other ways this could be seen in a negative light). – Chris Aug 24 '18 at 18:36
  • @Chris your comment is valid; we've got things to complete and deadlines to meet. – Klik Aug 24 '18 at 18:39
9

Since you are salaried and this was above and beyond what is considered 'normal' for your position it would be more appropriate to ask for a raise/promotion based on the fact that you care about the company and went above and beyond.

If you already have a bonus plan, you might be able to leverage something there.

Often companies will use a system to score employees performance and a high score is typically only achieved when going above and beyond what your current job title/grade calls for. So if this is the case look up how that system works, what your job responsibilities are and then use that as leverage.

If you can only ask for this at review time, write up your success now and hang onto it. You are fresh on the high of this success and now is the time to write that down.

7

I suggest you ask for a formal meeting and ask for a commission the same way you would ask for a salary raise/promotion.

Prepare the interview beforehand, remind them what you did for the compagny, tell them why you think you deserve this commission/bonus/salary raise, give them the exact number of how much you expect (or a "price range", but give them numbers they can work on), be prepare to negotiate ("Since you cannot give me a commission, what about a bonus of X?").

As @Philip Kendall says: worst case scenario, they say "no". But I think a substantial bonus would not be unreasonable.

5

IMHO, It is a solid argument for annual review material and raise request. Not sure of your employer`s salary policy, but it may be the only time-frame to get a raise or any other long lasting perks.

Wouldn`t call it a commission thou

0

I wouldn't recommend asking for a bonus. However, I would add this as a accomplishment on your resume, which should be helpful for your current job and other potential jobs, too.

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