do most work on a fee or commission basis?
Depends on the financial advisor.
I feel like a cheapo if I just come out and ask
If one of your first 3 questions isn't asking about how he gets paid, you are doing your hiring wrong.
but don't feel like I would interested currently if I had to come out of pocket for a significant amount.
I thought the employer is paying this fee. If the advisors fee is higher than that, tell the advisor that is what the employer is paying and see if they accept.
Also, who is managing the investment options? Would the advisor be doing that also? This is sorta weird.