Trepanier MacGillis Battina P.A. 8000 Flour Exchange Building 310 Fourth Avenue South Minneapolis, MN 55415 612.455.0500
Trepanier MacGillis Battina P.A. 8000 Flour Exchange Building 310 Fourth Avenue South Minneapolis, MN 55415 612.455.0500

Virginia Sales Representative Statutes

Photograph of Craig W. Trepanier

Virginia Sales Representatives’ Commissions Statutes

Independent manufacturers’ sales representatives are typically hired by manufacturers, distributors, and importers to solicit orders for their products from potential customers in designated territories in exchange for a sales commission. Such sales representatives often spend many months or years building up a customer base in their assigned territory and incur substantial up-front sales and marketing expenses that can include travel, lodging, entertainment, and trade show expenses with the hope of generating a stream of future commission income. The sales representative is vulnerable if the principal suddenly terminates their relationship and/or fails to pay all commissions owed to the sales rep.

In response to these concerns, starting in the 1980s and 1990s, many states enacted statutes to protect the interests of these independent manufacturers’ sales representatives. These statutes often:

• Require the sales representative agreement to be in writing;

• Require the principal to provide a copy of the written contract to the sales rep;

• Require the principal to pay the sales rep for all commissions owed promptly following termination (or incur liability for statutory penalties, attorney’s fees, and court costs);

• Strictly limit the circumstances under which the principal can terminate, or fail to renew, a sales representative agreement (e.g., requiring the manufacturer to have “good cause” for termination); and/or

• Prohibit the principal from imposing terms (such as choice of law or exclusive venue provisions) in the sales rep agreement that would effectively require the sales rep to waive its statutory protections under the law.

Thirty-five of the fifty states have enacted some form of sales rep protection legislation.

This article sets forth the text of Virgina’s laws protecting independent manufacturers’ sales representatives, as of January 1, 2023.

The Virginia Sales Representative Commission Payment Act

Virginia Statutes, VA Code Ann. § 59.1-455

As used in this chapter, unless the context requires a different meaning:

“Commission” means compensation accruing to a sales representative for payment by a principal, the rate of which is expressed as a percentage of the total dollar amount of orders or sales or as a specified amount per order or per sale.

“Principal” means a person who manufactures, produces, imports or distributes a product for wholesale and who contracts with a sales representative to solicit orders or sales for such product and compensates the sales representative, in whole or in part, by commission.

“Sales representative” means a person other than an employee who contracts with a principal to solicit wholesale orders or sales and who is compensated, in whole or in part, by commission, but shall not include a person who purchases exclusively for his own account for resale.

Virginia Statutes, VA Code Ann. § 59.1-456

When a principal contracts with a sales representative to solicit wholesale orders within this Commonwealth, such contract shall (i) be in writing, (ii) disclose the method by which the commission is to be computed and paid, (iii) disclose the territory of the sales representative and whether such territory is exclusive, (iv) be signed by the principal and the sales representative, and (v) be provided to the sales representative.

Virginia Statutes, VA Code Ann. § 59.1-457

A. Every sales representative shall be paid the earned commission and all other compensation earned or payable in accordance with the terms of the contract.

B. When a contract between a principal and a sales representative is terminated, for any reason, except by mutual agreement, all earned commissions shall be paid within a period specified in the contract, but in no event shall such period exceed thirty days from the date of termination or, in the case of orders processed subsequent to termination, thirty days from shipment. Such commission and other compensation shall be paid to the sales representative at the usual place of payment unless the sales representative requests that the commission be sent to him through regular mail. If the commission is sent through regular mail, it is deemed to have been paid for purposes of this subsection on the date that it is postmarked.

Virginia Statutes, VA Code Ann. § 59.1-458

Any provision of any agreement intending to waive the rights of any party to any provision of this chapter shall be void.

Virginia Statutes, VA Code Ann. § 59.1-459

The failure to execute a contract as required by § 59.1-456 shall not constitute an affirmative defense in any action relating to the provisions of this chapter.


Virginia, like a majority of states, has enacted sales representative legislation. Manufacturers, distributors, and importers typically bear the burden of compliance with these statutes and should ensure that their contracts and activities are consistent with applicable law. Sales representatives may wish to review applicable laws to understand their rights. If the laws of multiple states are involved, compliance with the relevant law may become even more complicated, and legal advice from a Virginia sales rep attorney may be appropriate.

If you are interested in the sales representative statutes of other states, click here to view our sales representative statute survey page.


About the Author

Craig W. Trepanier is a sales representative attorney who handles disputes under the Minnesota Termination of Sales Representatives Act and the laws of other jurisdictions. He can be reached at or at 612.455.0502. Trepanier MacGillis Battina P.A. is a Minnesota sales representative law firm located in Minneapolis. If you need advice regarding your sales representative agreement, or are having a dispute regarding the termination, non-renewal, or modification of a sales rep agreement or unpaid commissions, please contact us. Mr. Trepanier can represent you in the State of Minnesota. If appropriate, we can co-counsel with an attorney in your jurisdiction to leverage our specialized knowledge of sales rep law.