I've always heard that proprietary trading was a good alternative for those who were looking for way around that 25 K. minimum on retail accounts or those simply seeking more leverage. After lurking around for the past few days, I decided to join this invaluable forum as an active participant and make my first post. I've already benefited from the information I found here; in that it has prevented me from joining up with firms that have less than stellar reputation and/or of questionable nature. I come from a retail trading background and have used tradestation as my platform to do some swing trading as time and other life obligations have permitted me. Although I love the tradestation software, I didn't particularly care for their commissions structure and knew there were better deals out there. I also like wave59 charting software. I've more recently become interested in Day and want to make this my full-time career. My passion for trading grew so much that I deliberately passed over good day jobs for mediocre part-time/odd jobs at night just so I could have the opportunity to watch/ trade the market in the day. Jobs are jobs and they'll always be there but successfully maneuvering your way around the market is an endeavor that's worth pursuing for more than just the money. I think it's ultimately a study of human cycles of behavior and the interaction of the variables that affect that behavior on a mass scale and that aspect of it makes it very interesting to me In Day trading, I'm totally aware of the psychological component in live trading as opposed to paper trading but I figure some kind of trading is better than no trading at all. I basically live, sleep, eat, and breathe trading; for me it's not just about the money a successful trader can make but it's about the challenge of using technical analysis combined with the fundamental understanding of the markets in order to decipher market direction. I love a good intellectual/academic challenge especially when there are monetary awards attached to it. I'm self educated when it comes to trading the markets but I'm willing to listen to others and gather ideas. I really feel as if I already found the Holy Grail for deciphering market direction but let's just say that's hearsay/conversation for the purposes of this post because I bet a lot of traders have thought that or said the same exact thing at some point in their trading careers; so I suppose one could take that statement with a grain of salt. I shy away from firms that virtually force you to pay for additional training which I feel I don't need. While I'm sure the training is great, I already have my strategy in place and know exactly how I want to proceed. If you're asking me for a deposit and you'll be earning commissions off me, than at least let me do as I will with my own money. (For crying out loud) I'm simply undercapitalized as of this moment to begin a retail day trading account. (25 K.) It seems there are various variables to weigh in making a good prop decision here; deposit, commissions structure, percentage of payout, leverage and last but not least, how reputable a firm is? Do they pay on time? Do they pay at all? (for that matter) are they compliant with all the regulations? I have one firm that has offered me 100% payout/.005/per share with 10: 1 leverage/10 K deposit. (Don't think it's appropriate to mention names here in that regard) Could some of you more experienced prop traders tell me if this is a good deal or not? It seems decent but I keep reading about firms offering .003 or better and 20: 1 but they seem kind of sleazy or dubious. (for lack of a better word) What should one look for in a good prop firm? What's considered a standard deal for someone without a track record? How much weight does that carry? What is the probability of negotiating a better deal after starting out with a less desirable one? Are no compete contracts the standard? Thanks for taking the time to read this and thanks in advance for any advice and/or suggestions.