Photos provided by Danny Wilson
When Danny Wilson was growing up, his dad worked as a janitor at a church. Every weekend Danny would help his dad clean the church, and it’s where he learned both the value of hard, honest work and the importance of cleanliness.
Years later, Danny started his career in janitorial services, working at hospitals and eventually becoming a supervisor at a medical center in Charlotte. He began picking up some janitorial work on the side as well, and as his side jobs became more and more profitable it led him to starting his own business, Profile Building Services. “I was always doing something. I always had a side hustle. The opportunity to open my business came up pretty organically,” says Wilson.
Along with his business partner Mike Kierstead, Danny made the jump to small business ownership as his company established its place in the Charlotte area as a reliable, locally owned janitorial service that helped places of worship, medical facilities, schools, and more present themselves in the best way possible.
“Cleaning is so important because appearance is so important,” says Wilson. “When you go to the mall and there’s trash everywhere, you immediately think that you don’t want to shop there. At medical facilities if you walk in and see stuff on the floor, you’re not going to feel comfortable. But if it’s clean and sanitized, you’re going to feel better and more comfortable. You’re not going to be comfortable anywhere if your first thought is ‘this is nasty.’”
But as was the case for so many small businesses, Profile Building Services had to pivot when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. For Wilson, he turned to Carolina Small Business Development Fund (CSBDF), a Community Financial Development Institution (CDFI), which he had learned about previously from a mentor.
“Once COVID hit, everybody took a hit,” says Wilson. “We had to change our target clientele from schools to healthcare facilities. We pivoted and as we pivoted, we were also growing. But we were also having some growing pains. I reached out and talked to the team at CSBDF, and at first we really just talked about what we were trying to do. Those conversations were very insightful and helpful as we decided to scale up our business.”
In working with Business Solutions Officers and the credit team at CSBDF, Danny decided to seek small business capital to help scale Profile Building Services. He worked with the team at CSBDF again, this time to ensure his success as he accessed funding. “I explained the issues that we were having to the team at CSBDF, and they knew what we were talking about. They helped guide us and access funding. And just like that, I haven’t looked back. CSBDF helped us to scale and grow our business more than we had even projected.”
Wilson received a loan from CSBDF in 2021 through the Meck Lending program, a partnership between CSBDF and Mecklenburg County, and he returned to CSBDF again in 2023 for another loan to help scale Profile Building Services. In working with CSBDF, Wilson has scaled Profile Building Services more than 30%, a significant boost from a projected 18% growth. “We were being aggressive and optimistic in how we were scaling, but we grew even more with the help of CSBDF. Without CSBDF, I don’t see how we could have grown like that. They explained things to me. They understood our business. They helped us get to where we are now.”
In addition to the capital Wilson has received, he has also found a partner in business with CSBDF that has helped to understand, guide, and teach him about small business ownership and lending while working to find solutions to common entrepreneurial issues.
“Talking to a big giant company is generic and can feel lonely,” says Wilson. “With CSBDF it’s so much more personal. It’s an actual relationship. I didn’t feel like a customer, I felt like a partner. I learned so much and understand the information I’m providing and why it’s important. It was no longer ‘no,’ but instead it was ‘here is why we can’t do this, but here’s how we work on it.’”
Using both the lending capital and knowledge capital attained from CSBDF, Wilson has been able to expand Profile Building Services immensely. They’ve purchased more equipment to make their work more efficient, hired more employees, and can focus on the future and growth of the business.
Wilson says that the relationship with CSBDF has been a stabilizer for Profile Building Services. He also says that the continued relationship with the organization, even after he received funding, has helped him to feel even more confident and comfortable as Profile Building Services continues to expand. “I felt like we and CSBDF were just on the same page. I can tell that they truly want our business to be successful, and they’ve given us every opportunity to accomplish that.”