Congratulations on passing the exam. I took the same path a little over a year ago. I wanted to gain experience from seasoned inspectors and see how the business worked. It’s been an invaluable experience.
Over the course of the last year and a half, I have performed somewhere around 500 inspections (including 4 point and wind mitigation standalones). That’s a lot of business that I probably could not have done starting from scratch. And I received a lot of guidance that I would not have had access to if I was on my own.
I’ll be going out on my own at the start of the 4th quarter. I have negotiated modified terms to the original non-compete in order to meet my needs AND the needs of the folks I subcontract for.
I would recommend to be honest and upfront with any company you work for. They may not hire you because they don’t want to “train their competition”. On the other hand, when you find the right organization, you have just begun building the network you’ll need to be successful on your own.
I would also say to think of the terms of your contract as if you are already a small business owner (because you are). Remember you provide value and be sure to negotiate terms that work for both parties - especially since you may end up working within the same market.
Above all, have integrity! If you work for someone else, always put that organization as the top priority: never steal their clients/realtors lists, never bad-mouth them, represent them as if it was your own business. You never know, you may decide it’s much easier to work for someone else than to go after it on your own.
Best of luck!