- Establish your hourly rate, write it on a card and stick it in your pocket. Why? Because this rate is now your “counter offer threshold.” Accept any work that meets or exceeds your hourly rate. Counter ANY and ALL work that falls short of your hourly rate.
- Establish a radius that you are willing to serve with no travel allowance. Everything beyond that radius do the math and counteroffer.
- Speaking of radii, expand yours. The United States is a beautiful country, and you might be neighboring some underserved rural areas. This allows for you to offer high travel conditionals, and have them accepted.
- Recognize deployments. Instead of handling the phase of a deployment that is in your area, talk to the PM after the work is done and see if they have more. This will allow you to ride a wave as far as you are willing to travel. This gives you a little security because you can foresee how much money you will be earning for a period of time. It gives you a predictable schedule, and allow you to continually do something familiar for a while.
- Always send buyers a note after you request a work order. BRIEFLY let them know about your experience related to the work order. It also doesn’t hurt to reiterate that you have all of the tools they outline in the ticket and that you are always 15 minutes early for appointments. Peppering an intelligent question also helps.
- Stay optimistic. Every person feels better when they have a few dollar in their pocket, so make sure your set aside a percentage of your earnings. It does wonders for your mind and it staves off confusion and frustration which is the number one enemy of field engineers. How many times have we ruined a good thing because buyers became evil in our mind? The answer is, “You’ll never know,” because most of the time buyers don’t bother giving negative feedback, they just add you to a list and avoid you.
- When the opportunity presents itself meet PM’s and buyers in person. Have you ever met one in person? Well, when you travel you open up the opportunity to do this. They’ll remember you, and oftentimes they’ll call you and give you work before they even post it, and sometimes you can ask them not to post it, and just send you a check (Just take precautions, because the platforms are good at keeping people honest). I met some dispatchers when I went to NYC and ended up making tens of thousands annually from them for a few years.
- Remember that everything on the platforms is easy if you have the correct tools. Buy good tools ASAP. Data testers and verifiers are worth their weight in gold. Extra Plenum Cable, RG59 Cable, Wall Plates, etc are easy money in your pocket. Simply invoice them on your own letterhead, don’t fall for the show my the receipt jazz, because everything you sell and use should have markup.
I know this is kinda 101ish but I hope this helps. These platforms have their issues, but when used correctly your life can change forever. These platforms allowed me to take my son to northern Indiana on his birthday and wee installed a couple of printers, and went to Chicago and had fun. He learned how to conduct himself in an office and how to program a Lexmark, and earned a couple hundred dollars on the side.
This platform allowed me to go to New York and receive AS400 training. I drove, and they paid for gas and hotel for me and my whole family. You will not get rich doing this work, but you can have experiences beyond your wildest imagination if you use these platforms correctly. I’ve worked everywhere from San Francisco and Los Angeles to Washington D.C. and NYC. From Des Moines and Wyoming to the Gulf of Mexico, and my family has been with me to experience it all.
As with everything in life, this platform will give you whatever you are willing to take from it.