I got the feeling that all the Ferengi ships that the Enterprise encountered were renegades.
I think most of the Ferengi Alliance ships were probably used as escorts. They would rather get rich than be involved in any kind of war. Didn't Quark say the Ferengi had never been in a space war with another species unlike the Federation?
People have made money through war though, look at the British East India Company, Black Water and Halliburton.
I wonder how much control the Ferengi Alliance has over its own ships, because that Ferengi ship in Peak Performance attacked the Enterprise for no good reason. Also Quark said that the Ferengi never engaged in slavery, but the Ferengi crew in "Rascals" where planning to use the Enterprise crew as slave labor, so clearly some Ferengi have no problem with slave labor. Quark is not the most objective source on this issue.
I always thought it would have made more sense if the Ferengi Alliance was governed by a bunch of different mega corps, rather then a central government. So one corporate fleet could be friendly to the Federation, while another could be hostile.