Do High frequency trading firm pay commission ? I get charged a hefty price just to place one trade, and yet these guys are placing thousand of trade each day or even more
HFT trade under a maker-taker fee structure. They receive payment for having their posting quotations hit (or taken) by the market place. They pay access fees when they hit (or take) other lit market participants posted quotations. Access fees are capped under Reg NMS at $.003 per $100. HFT will also have overhead (mostly technology, market data, cost of regulation and clearing costs..etc.) associated with their transactions.
Probably difficult to measure true cost or your transactions vs. theirs but historically retail commissions have been on a steady decline over the years and the technology made available to process retail orders such as yours has never been better without a transfer of higher commission cost. The attached study is a good read if you have more interest.
Yes they do, but in a different manner. They have their own direct access to the trade floor, which costs a lot but allows them to make as many transaction as they want through it.