Curtis Schroeder has a 5-star performance rating and has been a member of Field Nation since 2012. Specializing in the communications industry for over 20 years, Curtis got his start at a very young age.
“The contracting world goes hand in hand with what I’ve done my entire life,” Curtis says. “As a kid, my friends would come to me to fix their bikes. As a teenager, they would come to me to fix their car stereos.”
Initially starting to freelance while in school, Curtis says he worked odd jobs as an electrician in order to make supplemental income before becoming an apprentice and moving into the field of satellite. His biggest break, however, would come when he was completing a communications cabinet early in his career. Noticing the meticulous quality of Curtis’s work, a buyer who was also on-site approached him and the two got to talking – the conversation would eventually spark a 20-year collaborative partnership.
“I was introduced to a bunch of companies,” Curtis says, who was living in Florida at the time. “It sort of unintentionally built up my reputation.”
With the satellite industry booming and a growing number of companies requesting Curtis by name, life proved to be moving in the right direction. And even though Curtis maintained his position as a top provider in the area after satellite began to lose its stake in the telecom field, he knew he would have to make a major change in order to take his career to the next level. Along with his wife and three daughters, Curtis moved with his family to Michigan.
Enjoying what many would consider to be the “polar” opposite of life in Florida, Curtis has seen his business thrive in the northern United States. He started his own service company, CTK Communications, and has travelled everywhere from New York and Canada, to Puerto Rico and the Bahamas. Notably, Curtis points out that using online platforms like Field Nation has made his transition easier.
“Field Nation basically worked like a nationwide yellow pages for me,” he says. “It put me out there as a technician and service company. You get graded on your work and others can see that, so consistency comes through. There’s really no other good way to find techs other than word of mouth, and it’s hard as a service company to ask other companies if they’ll share their top people.”
Staying on top of the latest industry trends is something Curtis admits will play an important role for anyone working as an independent contractor. Over the course of his career he has seen several advancements firsthand that have changed the way people communicate with each other. The use of VoIP technology and the expansion of Internet and cable into rural areas have helped bring individuals closer together no matter their location, while our increased use and dependency on mobile communications has changed the way we work.
Regardless of the shifting technology and improvements made in the telecom industry, Curtis believes that the most important tool a service provider can have in their arsenal doesn’t come from technical experience; instead, it comes from within.
“If you see a shortcut, don’t take it,” Curtis says. “So many people get fooled by shortcuts and that says a lot about your character. If you go the extra mile, it may not always be reflected in your pay, but a couple years down the road when you can get work and others can’t, it’s all worth it. Reputation is key. Reputation follows you.”
To learn how you can collaborate with Curtis on your next project, visit his Field Nation profile.