The reason that a brokerage firm might charge a commission to a buyer of its stock is to help that person make a purchase. That can mean the difference between a quick sale and a long term loss on your investment. It can also mean a difference between hefty commissions and a small one. The point here is that the cost of that service can vary wildly. A good idea is to shop around for the best price, but there are a few other things to keep in mind.
The best way to determine the cost of a commission to a brokerage firm is to ask it directly. Often, the commission rate can be found on the front page of its website. This means that you’ll know in a glance exactly how much a commission rate will wind up costing you. But there’s another reason that this information might not show up on the front page – if the broker has never done this kind of thing, you should question how well informed he or she is on the subject.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you might not get a straight commission rate from every brokerage firm out there. A company that does very little business may simply be paying a low overhead to stay in business. There are many kinds of businesses that don’t do any sales at all, so they can afford to pay lower overhead and still earn a hefty commission. Companies like these are the ones you want to look for when shopping around.
If you already have a good idea of how much you should be paying for a certain service, you can use that knowledge to see if you’re paying too much. Ask yourself if you’d rather have a commission that is higher or lower. You may be surprised by the difference in rates that you can find. Once you find a brokerage that offers a rate that seems reasonable, you can contact the broker and begin negotiations with them. Explain your budget and how you arrived at the price and ask him or her if they have any specials that would apply to your business.
A good broker will always be willing to discuss deals and counteroffers with you. They also won’t try to get you to sign up for a package or automatically renew your account with them. Asking questions when you’re negotiating will make the entire process easier and less stressful for you. You’ll get a clearer picture of what you’re getting out of your commission before you agree to anything.
Overall, the fact that you aren’t dealing directly with the brokerage firm is one of the biggest reasons why you might be confused as to why a brokerage firm would charge a commission. Instead, you deal with an agent. If you don’t like the rate that the agent is charging, you can always change brokers or stop doing business with them. However, you should understand why the commission is charged in the first place. In most cases, you are better off paying a lower annual rate than you would paying a higher rate on a transaction.