minnesotainventor, you stated:
The best advice you will get....NEVER, NEVER, NEVER WAIT FOR A COMPANY TO RESPOND!!!! The one who waits loses (either case). period.
I agree if a company says we need more time to decide and it is more than a couple of days they need to put down some cash for this priviledge. That said, you can't take the approach with a company and say "You have 7 days to make up your mind or I move on to the next company" when they just got your package and think they will give you a favorable review. As I stated above you need to find out the companies review process and decide if that works for you. You also have the option of doing multiple submissions to different companies at the same time and see who bites and makes the best offer. The only drawback to that is if the company is interested and you pull it from them for another company they wil be less willing to spend time reviewing your future submissions for fear you will pull it from them again. This can end up limiting your choices for submissions in the future.
You can call companies and ask what their review process is upfront prior to submitting and then decide which ones to put on your priority list to hit first and then work your way down the list to the one that holds it the longest.
You have to learn to work within the system each company has and to be flexible. I am not saying be a pushover and never question anything. I am saying look at it from your end and theirs and decide if you can live with it or need to move on to something else. Taking the "My way or the highway!" approach will leave you with more No's than Yes's.