‘The Office’: How Much Did Michael Scott Make?

The Office will be leaving Netflix soon. If you are like millions of other people, you are probably getting in at least one more binge watch before the streaming giant bids farewell to the famed sitcom. Over the years, The Office has become a classic and is regularly listed as one of the most popular shows of all time. Michael Scott, played by Steve Carrel, is primarily considered a beloved character, too. The question remains, though, how much would he have made if he was a real person and could he swing his lifestyle on his salary.

How much did Michael Scott make?

Scott serves as the regional manager of Dunder Mifflin Paper Company, while the company is fictional, Scott’s position is not. Regional management is necessary for a large variety of industries, ranging from food services up to commercial production.  

Steve Carell
Steve Carell as Michael Scott | Justin Lubin/NBCU Photo Bank

Scott’s role as a regional sales manager would have provided a perfectly comfortable life for a single man, as he was at the start of the series. In Scranton, where the fictional company is based,  the average regional sales manager makes around $79,000, according to Payscale. Further cash compensation can come in the form of commission and sales bonuses, but the range is almost entirely dependent on the industry and the contract agreement the sales manager signs. In short, it can be assumed that Scott made around $100,000 a year in his chosen career path.

Regional sales managers in Scranton do make substantially less than those in other areas. In places like New York, Dallas, and California, a regional sales manager can earn upwards of $200,000 when commission structures are factored in. Thankfully, for Scott, the cost of living in Scranton is pretty reasonable.

Where did Michael Scott live?

Dunder Mifflin Paper Company was located in Scranton, Pennsylvania, so fans can assume Scott lived in the same general area. Scott’s living accommodations are pretty nice in The Office. He doesn’t own a private home, but he does have a pretty sweet condo purported to be in a gated community.

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Gated communities, in general, are in demand and depict an air of luxury. Scranton, however, doesn’t have a ton of such communities and is considered an affordable city. According to Zillow, the average listing price for a home in Scranton is $99,000. If Scott went 15 minutes outside of Scranton to say, Clarks Green, he’d be looking at an average home price of $200,000. Even with the severe uptick of home prices, Scott could swing it on his single salary.

Did Michael Scott’s lifestyle match his income?

Unlike other shows, The Office worked pretty hard to ensure Scott’s lifestyle was within reason for his income. It certainly helped that the show was based in a city with an incredibly low cost of living. The writers didn’t have to contend with the outrageous cost of living prices while still making the show enjoyable. Scott could easily afford his home, his hobbies and anything else he really wanted because he was making a stable living in a reasonably priced area. Other writers aren’t nearly as lucky.

Writers who work on shows based in California and New York often run into issues when explaining away how their characters can afford pricey rent and dinners out. The writers for Friends, for example, relied on the concept of rent-control to clarify how a waitress and a sometimes-working chef could afford their pricey pad. The team behind The Big Bang Theory just never bothered to discuss Penny’s rent, although they were sure to depict her as regularly low on the lettuce.