When I joined this site back in Feb of last year, my credit was in fair shape, at best.
I had 4 paid collections(1 of which was Amex), a single 30-day, and a unpaid repo from 2007.
I was declined for secured cards at first (when I found this site and started "rebuilding") despite having a Belk (GE backed) store card, and an orchard unsecured card with $400 CL.
Now 11 months later I've had all paid collections and 30-day removed and have hit the all important SOL of 5 years (Florida) on my unpaid repo. In about 6 months, I'll start to send GW's until it falls off in 2-2.5 years.
I've also have closed my starter cards and secured crap one and finally have some prime plastic in my wallet to include Barclay Visa, Amex Zync NPSL, Amex Delta Gold, and just instantly approved this past tuesday for an Amex Gold PRG. I also have a Walmart and Amazon store card as well as Best Buy MC.
Though I'm no where near PRIME PRIME cards until this repo falls off, my scores are just under 700 and I'll continue to add credit to my reports and let them age, so when that repo does fall off, I'll see a very nice score increase.
My advice is to stay on top of the GWs and PFD's and TRACK everything. Keep records of everything. This is one sport where persistance pays-off, eventually.
5/2012: 560 credit scores across the board 12/2014 750+ 3/2017 780+ 5/2017 800+