1.How big of a service area do they expect you to service? 100 miles more or less? The entire state you live in?
It depends on the client. The bigger clients want a bigger area such as 75% of a state. These clients are Corelogic, Safeguard, MCS etc.
2nd tier clients, you have to play harder with. They want you to cover more but offer less volume. If you can land one good big client, then it makes other decisions easier.
2.My understanding is that checks are 3 months out, is this correct?
No. Most national companies pay less than 30 days now. Still, a big cash cushion is recommended. I would start with 10k in bank if you get a national.
3.Would it be smart to start off, just receiving work orders from 1 company? Would it be alot of work orders or a little?
I wouldnt turn down anything you think you will make a good profit on, potental profit on and is collectible.
4. Im trying to start with just myself, no subcontractors. Is it a must to start off with sub-cons, or is it realistic to start off with 1 companies amount of work orders and only me taking care of them?
You need 1 sub to be your backup. They wont last if you dont throw them some money. But no matter what, your business cant be based on just you because life happens. Get a sub, make sure he collects $700 per week, and you do the rest. Grow your business.
Second, hire someone for your office work instead of you, unless this is your strong point. Then hire 2 subs, no office.