I've spent the majority of my insurance career as a captive agent. Not really worring about advance or anything like that. I'm strongly considering going independent. What do you think is the better avenue? Can I say, "I want a 3 month advance and rest is as earned!"
It really depends on what the company is offering. Some will offer a 9 month advance, others a 12 month advance, etc. There are usually no other options available other that what the company offers. If they are not offering a 3 month advance I doubt that they will do that for just one agent.
When I went independent after being captive I took "as earned" from all the companies I contracted with. I didn't need the extra up front money so I didn't see any reason to contract that way.
I like having all my clients, except the ones paying annually, on my commission statement each month. I also understand that some companies will hold back a little when you ask for an advance to cover any cancellations.
I guess it really comes down to a personal preference.
If you can afford to go as earned, you will probably be ahead of the game after 6 months or so. Depending on the product you sell, how quickly it get's thru underwriting, etc. if you work it properly in about 6 months you will have enough coming in every month so you don't have to worry if you are going to make your house payment that month.
In 18 months or so you will be glad you never took advances.
You can also mix it up. Take an advance from one carrier and go as-earned with the rest. Then you get the best of both worlds. You have nice as-earned business built after a fews months but also a decent up-front check.
Don't worry about lapses. If you're selling the correct way to the correct clients they won't be remotely an issue.
If you want to do things right I recommend the following...
1) Pick one or two niches (health, life, seniors, etc.) and master the material.
2) Either sign up under a senior agent or find a mentor while starting your agency. There are quite a few people on here who have been in the trenches a while and all of us are happy to make recommendations.
2) Calculate your bills and save enough to cover at least 3-6 months worth. 3 months is the bare minimum.
3) Calculate your marketing costs for 3 months and save up that amount.
4) Devise your business, marketing and financial plans.
5) Go get em.....