So for all you first time posters or wannabe posters. Take this in to consideration. There is definitely money to be made through nationals or direct work. I can't personally speak for regionals anymore. I first started off doing strictly trash outs for a company thought Freddie Mac. I was paid $25/cyd. It was hard to consistently make money at that price, but it was a way for me to learn the industry. I've have since moved on to direct work or through nationals but it wasn't with out the blood, sweat and tears. If you don't have experience I highly recommend finding a decent regional to start through. They are ultimately are the ones who will teach you the ropes. You definitely won't get rich with them but you will gain knowledge and understanding. Don't ever except work outside a comfortable coverage area. It's tempting but highly costly in the long run. Everything seems to run in cycles. It's all or nothing. Always maintain good books so to develop an understanding to what makes money and what doesn't. Bids will almost always cost you money but if you figure it out you will get that money back. You will have to take the good with the bad. You might make $5 on this job just so you can make $10000 on that job. Don't ever allow it to become a situation where your taking 100 to 1 though. To me it is no different that handling homeowners. Personally I hate having someone watch over me though. You can make money in this industry but it's not for everyone. I would say on average I receive 5k a week per every 50k owed. You have to have money to play the game. Don't ever get bigger than yourself unless your prepared to float a lot of money. And absolutely never put your eggs in one basket.
Decent advice for the most part, thank you.
I too started out in this business being mentored by a small regional company & yes, they taught me well, including the ugly aspects of the business. Interestingly, that regional has since grown into a very large national & there is no way I would ever sign on with them today.
I definitely agree on the importance of bids, without them all I'd ever do is lockchanges & winterizations. Bids, when done correctly, turn into thousands of dollars if not tens of thousands of dollars. Of course this is only true if you're submitting bids to a company that kicks bid approvals back to you (not all of them do).
I disagree with one of your points - "You will have to take the good with the bad".
I've never subscribed to this point of view. If I'm going to lose money on a line item, I decline it. They'll give me the $10,000 job whether I do the $5 or not, after all it's how they make money too. It helps that I live in an area of the country where the service companies don't have many options when it comes to contractors. MTMTNMAN & I live in the same town & cover the same areas and we routinely band together when these companies call. It's a "if they don't like his price - they're going to hate mine!" scenario.