Black-owned construction firms are on the rise. Earlier this year, several black-owned construction firms were hired to build the $350 million Obama Presidential Center in Chicago. And David C. Delancy, owner of One Day Came, Inc., is making his mark in the construction space as well.
While growing up in Miami, Delancy had a passion for basketball, even earning All-American honors and a scholarship to University of South Florida (USF), but in the back of his mind, an entrepreneurial dream lingered. And after earning a degree in public administration at USF, he went on to found One Day Came, Inc. in 2004. Today, the company handles multi-million projects all over Florida, with offices in Tampa and Gainesville.
Becoming an entrepreneur was an early goal for Delancy. “As a kid, I grew up watching men and women go to work at jobs for someone and having to report to a certain place, organization, and etc. It was the American way. I was taught to go to school, get an education and find a career that I felt suited me, then learn how to grow inside of it. I was never taught “Entrepreneurship.” However, I was always curious about what it took and how to get started,” he shares. “I watched local Mom & Pop stores operate and it was common in African-American neighborhoods in such things as small convenience stores on the street corners, car wash businesses, and even perhaps food stands on street corners. Around my senior year of high-school, I grew more and more curious about the larger establishments such as corporations who’s brands were bigger.”
Still, even though he was curious at the time, there didn’t seem to be an outlet to learn about entrepreneurship. “While in college, we didn’t have courses that taught us about business start-ups, business lines of credit, the importance of having good personal credit or programs such as the Small Business Administration and Minority Business Enterprises, etc. So after graduating from USF, I set out to get a job and while working different ones over time, the urge and desire to establish my own never left my spirit because I knew I had the discipline to manage the different areas inside of a small business,” he recalls. “I dreamed and did quite a bit of research of my own. I learned about the pitfalls and successes. And having a ‘glass half full mentality,’ I launched One Day Came, Inc. inside of Sunbiz just to get the name started. I was only 17 years old, but there was a deep sense of pride and ownership that took over.”
To date, Delancy’s company has done projects for Florida A&M University, including a $7 million renovation of its historic Alatex Building, among other major projects in Florida. “Over the past year, I’ve performed new construction and renovation projects that ranged from $2 mil to $10 mil,” says Delancy.
Since opening One Day in 2004, Delancy, like other business owners, has faced challenges in growing his company. “The biggest challenge in growing my company was the ability to hire people around me to help me grow the brand. I wore many hats and was what you would call a “One Stop Shop.” I was the CEO, administrative assistant, business developer, you name it, I was it. I would drive all over the state of Florida to just about every college campus and municipality seeking construction opportunities. I’ve just about had a cup of coffee at every gas station throughout the major highways of the state and even slept in cars and hotels,” says Delancy.
And, like other companies, funding was a challenge as well. “Financing was a challenge. It was tough to establish the business lines of credit to hire the right people I needed and create payroll to maintain them. Most lenders won’t provide you the financial assistance you need unless you’re in business for at two years without any issues. With that, I was forced to take on small opportunities, save most of the little money I made from them and sacrifice until I was able to prove to the banks, lenders and clients that I was committed to growth,” he says.
Delancy has also branched out to other ventures. He started “Day Magazine.” “The ‘Day Magazine’ was an idea I flirted with to keep my followers in the know, and to give people more insight on who we are and the things we are doing. It also offers tips about the construction industry and business events to help aspiring companies out there,” he says.
He also has “On The Streets.” “‘On The Streets’ is more of a ‘What’s Happening’ throughout the communities and state in certain areas that people wouldn’t otherwise be able to find out unless they were out here,” Delancy explains.
Delancy is happy about his decision long ago to become a business owner. “Being an entrepreneur instills a sense of pride because you’re not only working for yourself, but you’re also creating jobs and opportunities for others. I strengthen my discipline and creativity. I feel more American and somewhat of a hero. It’s fun!” he says. And along the journey, he has learned a few business lessons. “Always pay your bills!” he declares. “And, as much as you would love to grow, never bite off more than you can chew. Taking risk is a part of my occupation, but being wise is extremely important.”
What are some of Delancy’s goals for 2018? He shares, “To become a national brand; to open offices in other states outside of Florida; and to target Charlotte, NC, Nashville, TN, Houston, TX, Los Angeles, CA and Seattle, WA.”