What is the difference between working for a medical company as a direct employee verses becoming a Manufacturer’s Representative (also called Independent Sales Representative)? 

Their are typically two types of employment status’ in the world of medical sales.  The first is an employer-employee relationship.  Generally, this is where an employer offers an employee a base salary, commission and benefit package.  The second type of status in medical sales is an independent contractor relationship.  Usually these positions are advertised as, “Manufacturer’s Representative”, “Independent Sales Representative”, or “Commission-Only” sales roles.  An manufacturer’s representative or independent sales representative is someone who sells the products or services of one or more companies in exchange for an agreed upon commission, receiving only commission for their sales performance.

Independent sales representatives are for most purposes considered self-employed and are not controlled by an employer on how work will be done.   This is not be be confused with the companies right to control or direct the results of your work.  Sales results are still important and measurable by the company.  As an independent sales representative,  you will receive a 1099 form instead of a W2 form at the end of the year from company you worked for and for any commissions earned.    In addition, expenses (for example, lodging and fuel) are paid for by the salesperson and are not generally reimbursed by the company.

Training and Education

Companies provide training on their product line and incentive programs for selling.  They want the sales representatives to be successful.


Independent sales representatives are paid 100% commission.  They are not given a base salary.  However, generally commissions are generous.

Job Outlook

The job outlook continues to grow for manufacturer’s representatives and independent sales representatives.   Companies are able to save money by not having direct employees and yet still have the benefits of sales representatives to sell their product lines.

Employers:  If your company is looking for experienced medical sales professionals interested in independent sales or manufacturer’s representative positions, we can help.  Click here to learn more.

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